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This Week in Princeton History for March 9-15

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Martin Luther King’s visit to campus is attracting controversy, a new card-playing club forms, and more.

March 9, 1989—A bomb threat—the third in two weeks—cuts midterms short for three classes forced to evacuate McCosh Hall.

March 11, 1874—Students and townspeople alike are alarmed by news of the murder of a peddler passing through town. The Nassau Literary Magazine reports, “The Juniors were so affected that the ‘final’ in logic was altogether forgotten… On the night following, few single rooms were occupied, but companies formed for mutual protection and defence” [sic].

March 13, 1960—Amid controversy, Martin Luther King., Jr. preaches in Princeton University Chapel. His originally scheduled visit was postponed due to the injuries King sustained in an assassination attempt at a department store in 1958. Alumni are divided over whether his visit should be viewed positively. David Baker, Class of 1915, responded in a letter to Robert Goheen, “I would also like to enter my protest against the University selecting a Dean of the Chapel who is not even a naturalized American citizen, and who cannot therefore understand the feelings of the people in America” (Office of the President Records (AC193), Box 193, Folder 16).

March 14, 1895—Students organize the Whist Club, devoted to playing the popular card game of the era.

Students from the Princeton Class of 1889 playing cards, ca. 1889. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box SP14, Image No. 3470.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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