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This Week in Princeton History for October 15-21

In this week’s installment of our returning series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, tensions are boiling between town and gown, Dwight D. Eisenhower expresses thanks for the support of Princetonians, and more.

October 16, 1883—According to reports in the New York Sun, the governor of New Jersey has sent the entire state militia and police force to prevent full-scale warfare between students at the College of New Jersey and the residents of Princeton following a bloodbath on October 15. “To-night the annual cane-spree takes place and the students threaten to lynch any townsmen who appear on the Campus. The latter, on their part, declare their intention of cleaning out the College. Both parties are heavily armed. Trouble is feared. The desperate ruffianism of Princeton students is well known.”

October 17, 1952—Dwight D. Eisenhower, who is seeking election as U.S. President, notices a “PRINCETON LIKES IKE” sign among a crowd of 5,000 supporters in Princeton and says he is “really delighted to see some Princeton signs here.

Clipping from Daily Princetonian.

October 18, 1981—Melanie Drane ’85 is quarantined in her dorm room for three hours while a state official with a Geiger counter confirms that she is not in danger of spreading radiation poisoning on campus after a chance encounter with materials labeled radioactive.

Melanie Drake ’85. Photo from 1985 Nassau Herald.

October 20, 1868—The Tripoli lands in New York harbor carrying James McCosh and his family, who are soon to begin a new life in Princeton as McCosh takes the helm as president of the College of New Jersey.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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