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This Week in Princeton History for May 7-13

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Albert Einstein lectures on the Theory of Relativity, the track team competes in the first relay race, and more.

May 7, 1875—The Chicago Tribune editorializes in a comparison between Rutgers College and the College of New Jersey (Princeton), “Princeton is much better known. It is the only college in the country the President of which writes a book a week and thinks nothing of it.”

May 9, 1921—Albert Einstein accepts an honorary Doctor of Science and lectures on his theory of relativity in his native German in McCosh 50. Afterward, Professor E. P. Adams provides an English summary of the talk.

Ticket to lecture on the Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein, May 9, 1921. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 310, Folder 4.

May 11, 1973—Today’s issue of National Review takes Princeton to task for birth control literature provided to students in an article entitled “Maoism and sex.”

This logo on the bottom left corner of the “Birth Control Handbook” was one reason among many that the literature Princeton University’s Sexual Education Counseling and Health Program was controversial. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 282, Folder 9.

May 12, 1893—Princeton wins the first intercollegiate relay race, defeating the University of Pennsylvania with a time of three minutes and 34 seconds for the mile. The race is inspired by the horse relays used to deliver mail. Penn decides the experiment is a success, and thus the Penn Relays are born.

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

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