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This Week in Princeton History for September 2-8

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Frist Campus Center opens, an alum writes to Princeton about surviving a major earthquake in Japan, and more.

September 2, 1973—An article in today’s Sunday magazine of the New York Times provokes contentious correspondence between Dean of the College Neil L. Rudenstine ’56 and the author, Harvard professor Martin Kilson. Kilson claims that Princeton, like many other institutions, has lowered its standards when increasing its admission of African Americans. Rudenstine insists Kilson’s portrayal of academic performance among African Americans at Princeton as subpar is inaccurate.

September 5, 2000—Frist Campus Center opens.

Frist Campus Center, September 2000. Image from negatives found in Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 197, Folder 14.

September 6, 1923—Alden Lofquist (Class of 1921) writes to Princeton about surviving the Tokyo-Yokohama earthquake, which reached a magnitude of 7.9 on the Richter scale. Though the quake destroyed the five-story building where he was working, and killed most of its employees, Lofquist’s desk protected him from the collapsing structure. After digging himself out of 10 feet of rubble, he tried to save the injured, but then an explosion threw him into the sea. To escape the fires in the aftermath, Lofquist swam to a boat he saw nearby. “We are all penniless and the clothes that I have on my back belong to a Princeton man from Englewood who recognized me.” The death toll will later be estimated in excess of 140,000.

September 7, 1880—Princeton holds the second of its regular entrance examinations for the year. Exams are offered in Princeton, St. Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati, and San Francisco.

This Greek exam (ca. 1880) was one of several exams prospective students would have taken. In 1880, the exams included English grammar and composition, world and U.S. history, geography, Latin grammar and literature, Greek grammar and literature, and mathematics. Course Examinations Collection (AC054), Box 1.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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