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This Week in Princeton History for November 18-24

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, undergraduates are urged not to embarrass women on campus, Clio defeats Whig in a debate over companionate marriage, and more.

November 20, 1891—A letter to the editor of the Princetonian urges Princeton students not to embarrass the women with applause and cheering when their peers from Evelyn College appear on campus in the future, condemning their conduct toward them earlier in the week.

Evelyn College students walking across the Princeton campus, ca. 1890s. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box AD25.

November 22, 1988—While making her rounds of the campus to enroll in courses, Wendy Bower ’89 is disappointed to find that two out of the three courses she wanted are full.

Registration for classes at Princeton University, ca. 1980s. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box AD25.

November 23, 1928—In an intersectional debate over companionate marriage, Clio’s team wins with their argument in favor of changing current laws about marriage to allow legal access to birth control, divorce by mutual consent, and abolishment of alimony. As the Prince summarizes their position, “By holding the wantonness of married life in leash, the country would be spared a race of degenerates.” Whig’s team disagrees, calling companionate marriage “‘free love’ in an evil guise…”

Ad for Companionate Marriage, a controversial silent film, which appeared in the Daily Princetonian on May 8, 1929. A California judge, Ben B. Lindsey, advocated a radical change in American law and norms with respect to sexuality in a series articles and books in the mid-1920s, including a 1927 book with the same name as this film. In the late 1920s, a couple who had married in accordance with the principles of what became the “Companionate Marriage” movement made national headlines and was the basis for the film adaptation. The principles the movement advocated became a topic of conversation at colleges across the United States.

November 24, 1834—Edmund Lang (Class of 1837) writes to his father about his daily schedule:

  • Daybreak—a horn and bell (the “rouser”) sound to wake students in Nassau Hall; they have 15 minutes to get dressed for prayers and an hour of recitation followed by a 15 minute break, then breakfast
  • 9:00AM—students must return to their rooms to study
  • 11:00AM—recitations
  • 12:00PM—students visit the post office, read letters, and play ball
  • 1:00PM—lunch
  • 2:00PM—students return to their rooms to study
  • 3:30PM—recitations, then evening prayers
  • 6:00PM—tea (dinner), after which students visit one another’s rooms
  • 8:00PM—students return to their rooms to study

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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