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This Week in Princeton History for January 13-19

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, frustrations arise from confiscated toasters and banned bicycles, Southerners celebrate Robert E. Lee’s birthday, and more.

January 14, 1998—Graduate student Kieran Healy *01’s “The Grinch Who Stole Breakfast” complains of a Christmas present being confiscated by overzealous dormitory inspectors, although he does not live in a dorm, because the unopened toaster was against rules prohibiting heat-producing appliances in campus housing. “My house has a six-ring Viking Professional gas stove in it, so why didn’t they confiscate that as well?”

January 15, 1974—Brendan Byrne ’49 is sworn in as New Jersey’s 47th governor.

Brendan Byrne ’49 (center) at Princeton University for his first Board of Trustees meeting (New Jersey’s governors are ex-officio members of the board), 1974. Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 128.

January 16, 1880—Students are frustrated by a new ban on bicycles in town.

Bicyclist in Princeton, New Jersey, ca. 1880s. Vandewater’s hardware store, visible behind the rider, is now the site of the Princeton Battle Monument, where Stockton Street and Bayard Lane meet at Nassau Street. Historical Photograph Collection, Student Photograph Albums Series (AC061), Box 186.

January 19, 1939—Princetonians from the South are celebrating the anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s birthday and have hoisted the Confederate flag up the poles of Little and Guyot Halls. The Daily Princetonian reports, “The display is a natural outgrowth of Princeton’s strong Southern tradition, which was only jarred briefly by the ‘late misunderstanding’ between the states.”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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