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This Week in Princeton History for June 10-16

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a delayed cookie shipment arrives, Commencement moves to a new home, and more.

June 12, 1996—Cookies mailed to Princeton-in-Asia intern Laura Burt on November 1, 1995 finally arrive unopened in Wuhan, China.

June 13, 1894—Commencement Exercises are moved from the First Presbyterian Church (which will later be renamed Nassau Presbyterian Church) to the new Alexander Hall (also known as Commencement Hall) for the first time, where they will be held until 1922.

The 1894 program for the College of New Jersey’s 147th annual Commencement (later named Princeton University but we often find “Princeton College” on official documents rather than its official name; see caption below for June 15th’s entry for more details. (Princeton University Commencement Records (AC115), Box 3.)

June 14, 1959—Harold Medina rereads Woodrow Wilson’s original baccalaureate to the Class of 1909. Two are so taken with the speech that they start a movement to have it reprinted and given to the incoming Class of 1963.

June 15, 1885—College president James McCosh says that he has reconsidered his position: “I have hitherto discouraged all proposals to make Princeton College a University. I am of opinion, however, that the time has now come for considering the question. … I think we can make Princeton College…a high class university.”

Though the legal name of the institution was the College of New Jersey, it was arguably best known as Princeton well before the official change to Princeton University in 1896. As a previous post revealed, it appeared in print as “Prince-town College” as early as 1756–five weeks before it began official operations in its new home after moving from Newark. This 1869 Class Day program is just one of many examples of the use of “Princeton College” on official documents. (Princeton University Class Records (AC130), Box 7.)

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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