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This Week in Princeton History for January 18-24

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a professor explains the language he used in the Army, an anonymous Princetonian writes that “Satan has fallen like lightning from Heaven upon this college,” and more.

January 18, 1882—In a lecture in Princeton’s Methodist Church, Prof. Joseph Karge refers to the controversy that plagued him in the 1870s over the language he had used as a general in the Union Army during the Civil War. The Princetonian summarizes: Karge “added that, in war, words not used in polite society were sometimes useful.”

Joseph Karge. Historical Photograph Collection, Faculty Files Series.

January 19, 1991—Joshua Berman ’87 awakens to the sounds of an air raid siren, dons his gas mask, and joins friends in a sealed room while Iraq’s missiles hit Tel Aviv. Iraq has attacked Israel in the hopes of provoking them to retaliate and thus discourage a coalition of nations that opposes Iraq in the Gulf War, since many of them might not be willing to fight on the same side as Israel.

January 20, 1913—The Department of History, Politics, and Economics splits in two, becoming the Department of History and Politics and the Department of Economics.

January 23, 1817—An unnamed Princetonian writes a letter to the editor of Virginia’s Alexandria Gazette: “Have you heard that Satan has fallen like lightning from Heaven upon this college? … I went over the college this morning surveying the desolations. The doors and windows are nearly all broken, the furniture dashed to pieces, and REBELLION written on the walls everywhere.”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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