This blog includes text and images drawn from historical sources that may contain material that is offensive or harmful. We strive to accurately represent the past while being sensitive to the needs and concerns of our audience. If you have any feedback to share on this topic, please either comment on a relevant post, or use our Ask Us form to contact us.

This Week in Princeton History for May 24-30

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a writer praises the new chapel building, a student publication urges kindness for Civil War veterans, and more.

May 24, 1851—A letter to the Trenton State Gazette describes chapel services at Princeton: “If any of our alumni, or other college acquaintances, who associate the service of daily prayers with the old ‘Prayer Hall,’ its whittled benches and dingy walls, would drop in at the same exercises as they are now conducted, they would wonder at the change. The beautiful chapel, the painted pews, the carpeted and cushioned platform, and the sweet organ, give a new aspect to the whole service. It is true that now and then a student forgets the proprieties so much as to enter in his study-gown, and that some begin to leave the pews before the prayer is quite ended, but the general deportment is far better than in old times.”

The College of New Jersey (Princeton) Chapel, ca. 1860s. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box_MP28, Image 651.

May 25, 1772—An anonymous young woman writes in a poem:

In arts and sciences my knowledge
Might shame the lads of Princeton college
I can explain the globes and maps,
As readily as pin my caps;
Mechanics too, and hydrostatics,
Astronomy and mathematics,
Discoveries by sea and land;
I know them all—and understand
The works of Newton, Boyle, and Locke,
As well as—how to make a smock,
Or fix a tucker to my frock!

May 28, 1900—Reliable train service between Princeton and New York is instituted, with one train running to New York and one returning daily, except on Sunday, to spare riders the hassle of switching trains at Princeton Junction.

May 30, 1890—As students observe Decoration Day, the Nassau Literary Magazine warns them not to denounce living Civil War veterans despite their “shameless hunt for pensions.”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

Fact check: We always strive for accuracy, but if you believe you see an error, please contact us.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.