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This Week in Princeton History for January 23-29

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a drawing is held for room assignments in a new dorm, the basketball team plays its first game ever, and more.

January 23, 1767—Jonathan Baldwin secures an affidavit from Job Stockton to defend himself against accusations that he has defrauded the College of New Jersey of about 30 pounds of mutton. “Tho’ I have been employed ten years in buying and providing for the college, this is the first instance, in which I have been charged with this surprising facility, in being imposed upon in my bargains,” Baldwin writes.

January 24, 1898—Students participate in a drawing to secure lodging in the newly-built Blair Hall. Rents range from $200-$300 per year including meals.

Blair Hall, ca. 1897. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP04, Image No. 69.

January 25, 1867—The New York Tribune expresses concern that Leonard W. Jerome’s gift of $5,000 to the College of New Jersey (Princeton) for a medal for the student voted “first gentleman” will encourage the wrong sort of gentility. “It would be hard if the taking of a gold medal in college should render a man insincere or insufferable for the rest of his life.” The Trib need not worry, however; due to student refusal to accept any such award, the Jerome Prize will never be awarded.

January 26, 1901—In its first game ever, the just-formed basketball team defeats States Schools 23-5 in Trenton.

Princeton University’s first basketball team, 1901. Photo from 1903 Bric-a-Brac.

For last week’s installment in this series, click here.

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