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This Week in Princeton History for August 5-11

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Gleason’s Pictorial praises the institution’s influence, a Confederate flag is missing, and more.

August 6, 1853—Gleason’s Pictorial runs a front-page feature on the College of New Jersey, praising its campus resources (including its four buildings and 12,000-volume library). “This institution has ever taken higher ground, and its influence has been felt in all departments of professional life. Its sons are found in every State, occupying the pulpit, the bar and the forum.”

Illustration from the front page of Gleason’s Pictorial, August 6, 1853. Only a few years later, Nassau Hall would suffer extensive damages in a fire, and repairs in the latter part of the 1850s would enlarge the cupola and add towers to flank the structure on either end; many of these changes were reversed in the 20th century.

August 7, 1768—The Peggy arrives from Glasgow carrying new College of New Jersey president John Witherspoon and his family up the Delaware River to Philadelphia.

August 8, 1994—In today’s issue of Sports Illustrated, head Princeton University women’s cross country and track coach Peter Ferrell is quoted: “My experience is that 70 percent of my runners have dabbled in (eating disorders) in (their) many hideous forms.”

August 11, 1944—A student’s Confederate flag, usually flown out of his window in South College, has apparently been stolen. Some believe the theft was politically motivated.

The Confederate flag continued to play a role in political conflict on campus for decades after the 1944 stolen flag incident. This photo shows a supportive student at an appearance of then-presidential candidate George Wallace, segregationist governor of Alabama, in May 1967, though Wallace’s visit also sparked widespread protest among the student body. The Daily Princetonian noted the Confederate flag’s presence in dorm rooms on campus as late as 1979. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 283, Folder 13.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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