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This Week in Princeton History for September 17-23

In this week’s installment of our returning series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the campus remembers Aaron Burr, Nassau Hall celebrates its bicentennial, and more.

September 17, 1836—At Aaron Burr’s funeral in the College of New Jersey’s Chapel, College president James Carnahan is careful to avoid inflaming controversy. Burr’s connection to Princeton and his “honorable parentage” are both noted, but his public career is “delicately touched, with only such allusions to his duel with [Alexander] Hamilton as might be of service to the assembly without wounding the feelings of any.” After the closing prayers, the funeral procession buries Burr at the foot of his father’s grave in the cemetery on what will later be named Hamilton Avenue.

September 20, 1880—Dr. C. McDermont of Dayton, Ohio lectures to students on proper hygiene upon the reopening of the College following a typhoid epidemic that brought normal business to a halt. He warns that there are “more deaths from sickness caused by lying on the ground, than from battle-wounds.”

James Perrine Shaw of the Class of 1881 was a casualty of Princeton’s 1880 typhoid epidemic. Historical Photograph Collection, Alumni Photographs Series (AC058), Box SP08.

September 21, 1968—When a female friend spends the night in a Princeton frosh’s room, his two roommates panic over “visions of being kicked out of the university” due violating the parietal rules and irreconcilable conflicts result among the three students.

September 23, 1956—An crowd of 3,600 Princeton students, faculty, and administrators; local residents; and distinguished visitors gather to celebrate the bicentennial of Nassau Hall. Rev. John Baillie gives a surprisingly negative address at the gathering, denouncing the university’s science and engineering programs for teaching “no consideration of the meaning of life.”

Stamp commemorating the bicentennial of Nassau Hall, 1956. Committee on the Bicentennial of Nassau Hall Records (AC191), Box 1, Folder 13.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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