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This Week in Princeton History for December 14-20

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a protester finds tea in his shoes, potential abuse of women seeking abortions is causing concern, and more.

December 16, 1773—Thomas Melville, Class of 1769, joins other protesters at the Boston Tea Party and is surprised to find tea in his shoes when he goes home.

December 17, 1805—Princeton announces that it has established a museum of natural history, which conflates indigenous peoples of the Americas and Africa with animals. “It consists, at present, of many hundred species of birds, beasts, fishes, reptiles, insects, minerals, fossils, corals, shells, earths, together with domestic utensils, and warlike instruments of several savage nations of America and Africa.”

Princeton’s natural history museum, Nassau Hall, 1886. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box MP042, Image No. 1256.

December 18, 1970—Now that abortion is legal in New York as of April 10, 1970, and many women are traveling there to end their pregnancies, an ad in the Daily Princetonian from Concerned Collegians Against Abortion Abuse warns those seeking a legal abortion not to be scammed by “profit making ventures” offering to help them make appointments and lists contact information for three clinics in New York Princeton students might call. Ads from several such “ventures” have been running in the Prince for weeks.

Clipping from the Daily Princetonian.

December 20, 1888—Professor Cyrus Brackett lectures to the new Electric Club in New York City.

The lecture room in New York’s Electric Club, 1888. Illustration from Scientific American, March 3, 1888.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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