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This Week in Princeton History for July 20-26

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Ivy League’s first Black dean dies, the FBI arrests a graduate student and holds him without charges, and more.

July 20, 1998—Carl Fields, a former Princeton University administrator and the first Black dean in the Ivy League, dies at 79.

Carl Fields (center) with members of Princeton University’s Association of Black Collegians, ca. 1960s. Carl Fields Papers (AC365), Box 12, Folder 12.

July 21, 1804—All of the sophomore class may advance to their junior year, though the faculty have concerns about a few of them, recording in their minutes: “Messrs. W. Williams & Yeates having appeared criminally deficient on arithmetic, it was thought proper to mention their names to the class with disapprobation.”

July 22, 1942—The FBI arrests Theodore H. von Laue ’39 *43, a graduate student in the history department, on no specific charges. They will take him to Ellis Island for questioning and he will be held for a few months. Von Laue left Germany, he will later say, because his father “did not want me growing up in a country run by gangsters.”

July 26, 1759—Samuel Davies begins working as president of the College of New Jersey, though he will not be formally inducted until September.

Samuel Davies, undated. Image via Library of Congress.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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