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This Week in Princeton History for August 12-18

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a member of the Class of 1963 finds his music festival in upstate New York more popular than expected, a professor recaps the recent earthquake on campus, and more.

August 12, 1926—After a woman faints and falls into the Yukon River in Carcross, Alaska, George Seward of the Class of 1927 jumps in and rescues her.

August 15, 1969—The concert Joel Rosenman ’63 organized with his business partner, John Roberts, turns out to be more popular than initially expected, as an audience of more than 400,000 overwhelms the dairy farm in Bethel, New York where it takes place. As a result, Rosenman and Roberts will spend more than a decade working to repay debts they will incur in association with the three-day music festival best known as Woodstock, though Woodstock is 60 miles from Bethel.

Clipping from the Daily Princetonian, September 10, 1969.

August 16, 1884—Professor Charles Augustus Young describes the earthquake recently felt in Princeton, New York, and Philadelphia: “Taking it altogether it was certainly an excellent earthquake, vigorous enough to be instructive and interesting, but not cruel and ferocious like those which have desolated other lands and almost ruined nations,” in spite of being “one of the most violent, if not the very sharpest, that has ever been felt upon the Atlantic Coast of the United States.”

In the weather record book used at Princeton’s Observatory, we find a note for August 10, 1884, with the time and duration of the earthquake. Astrophysical Sciences Records (AC157), Box 17, Folder 4. This earthquake, with an estimated magnitude of 5 on the Richter scale, remains the largest ever known to have hit New York.

August 17, 1805—Two sophomores get into a fight after the one responsible for taking attendance told a professor the other had been absent the previous day. “When called upon for his reason of absence Milligan asserted that he had not been absent, & in a low tone of voice, said Kean was a liar. … Immediately after the class were dismissed, Kean demanded of Milligan what right he had to call him a liar. Milligan replied that he was a damned liar, for he had not been absent. Kean then called him a damned rascal & struck him; upon which an encounter ensued.”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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