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This Week in Princeton History for December 31-January 6

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the construction of Lake Carnegie begins, the faculty approve a program in Women’s Studies, and more.

January 2, 1905—Work begins clearing 170 acres of heavily wooded land for the construction of Lake Carnegie.

Laborers and horses who cleared land for the construction of Lake Carnegie, ca. 1905. Historical Photograph Collection, Lake Carnegie Construction Photographs Series (AC065), Box 11.

January 3, 1877—At a celebration of the centennial of the Battle of Princeton, Princeton’s president James McCosh defends the institution against ongoing negative press in the New York Tribune and other regional newspapers. Critics assert that Princeton is profoundly inferior to Yale intellectually, McCosh is alienating alumni with his arrogance, and the Trustees care only about money while students suffer. “I am sure you will not expect me to demean myself and demean the College by answering the abuse that has been lately heaped upon us. … We do not affect, as some have charged us, to claim to do better than our predecessors—than old presidents and graduates; we are simply following them by doing in our day what they did in theirs.”

January 5, 1981—The faculty approve a new program in Women’s Studies.

Women’s Studies pamphlet, ca. 1980s. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 51, Folder 15.

January 6, 1969—A student-faculty committee issues a report detailing Princeton’s financial ties to apartheid, resulting in the sale of $1,100,000 worth of investments in the First National Bank of Chicago, which has loaned money to the South African government.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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