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This Week in Princeton History for December 3-9

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, construction of the Halstead Observatory is underway, Gloria Steinem urges Princetonians to do something outrageous daily, and more.

December 3, 1867—The New York Tribune reports that Princeton’s Halsted Observatory is almost ready to have the telescope mounted. When mounted, it will be the largest telescope in the United States.

Halstead Observatory, ca. 1860s. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box AD05, Image No. 8669.

December 4, 1806—The faculty record in their minutes: “John Evans of the junior class was charged with going from one entry in the college to another at a late hour in the night and shouting in a savage like manner to the great disturbance of those who were in their beds. Mr. Evans confessed that he was guilty of this offence, and also that he had been drinking strong drink in the college in the former part of the night. The faculty sentenced him to be suspended from the college, and he was…ordered to leave the town without delay.”

December 5, 1997—Gloria Steinem speaks in McCosh Hall on the “Changing Face of Feminism.” She argues that the feminist movement, having expanded women’s roles, should also expand men’s into traditional female roles like child caregiving and urges her audience to do something outrageous every day.

Gloria Steinem speaks in McCosh Hall, December 5, 1997. Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 154.

December 7, 1962—Malcolm Bell ’63 editorializes in the Daily Princetonian that the razing of 44 Washington Road to make room for the Woodrow Wilson School was the wrong thing to do: “Our university has chosen to compromise its responsibility by building for the future and at the same time destroying the past.”

The house that previously sat on the current location of the Woodrow Wilson School at 44 Washington Road was designed by Charles Steadman and built ca. 1830. Its destruction was controversial among Princeton alumni. Some wanted it to be moved, as it had been previously, but some experts said that it would not have survived being moved another time. The house was featured on the cover of the Princeton Alumni Weekly on January 25, 1963.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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