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This Week in Princeton History for November 13-19

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the first football season concludes, the Graduate Student Union holds its first meeting, and more.

November 13, 1869—The first college football season ever finishes with a game at Princeton, who defeats Rutgers 8 to 0. (A game planned for November 27 will not be played, because the faculty of both Princeton and Rutgers feel the contests are interfering too much with the students’ coursework.)

Early football at Princeton bore greater resemblance to soccer than rugby, including the use of a spherical ball rather than an oval, as seen in this College of New Jersey (Princeton) 1873 team photo. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box LP036, Image No. 2522.

November 14, 1988—The Graduate Student Union, precursor to Princeton’s Graduate Student Government, holds its first meeting.

The Graduate Student Union formed in response to a variety of student concerns. Some of these are listed in the GSU’s first survey of the graduate student body in 1988. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 274.

November 17, 1936—Professor Franklin Gary concludes this year’s lecture series in the extension courses sponsored by the Women’s College Club of Princeton with a talk entitled, “The Origins of the Modern Novel.” Princeton University undergraduates are not permitted to attend, but anyone else is free to do so.

November 18, 1794—The late College of New Jersey (Princeton) president John Witherspoon’s body is laid in state at Nassau Hall.

Engraving of John Witherspoon. Office of the President Records (AC117), Box 3.

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

Fact check: We always strive for accuracy, but if you believe you see an error, please contact us.

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