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This Week in Princeton History for May 3-9

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a “Wild West” show is in town, a junior asks his father to send news about riots at home, and more.

May 4, 1807—Trenton’s True American prints a letter from “A Collegian” from Princeton responding to a recent statement by the Board of Trustees about student rebellion, “With respect to this publication of the trustees, it is necessary further to observe, that their relation of the matter is by far too indefinite; they merely skim over in a superficial manner the most material cause of the insurrection, in order to suit their own purpose, and to conceal their injustice under the base disguise of prevarication.”

May 7, 1895—The “Wyoming Historical Wild West” show is in town, led by Buck Taylor. Students can attend for an admission fee of 25 cents.

This ad appeared in the Princetonian on April 26, 1895. Wild West shows like these were popular in Princeton and elsewhere in the United States in this era. They tended to be characterized by fictionalized reenactments of historical events on the American frontier. Typical shows would have sensationalized portrayals of Native Americans.

May 8, 1844—Charles Godfrey Leland, Class of 1845, writes to his father asking for him to send newspaper accounts from home in Philadelphia about the city’s anti-Catholic Nativist Riots.

May 9, 1872—A group of students annoys the campus with a bonfire on Cannon Green. “They evidently like hard work better than we do, for it must have been no small amount of labor to have lugged such heavy stuff so great a distance, and all for the insignificant reward of seeing it burn up.”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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