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This Week in Princeton History for May 23-29

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, chapel services are praised, a donor comes through, and more.

May 24, 1851—A letter to the editor of the Trenton State Gazette describes chapel services:

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.

Princeton’s “Old Chapel,” 1862. (It was at that time simply the Chapel, but was dubbed “Old Chapel” following the construction of Marquand Chapel in 1882.) Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP28, Image No. 653.

May 25, 1961—Workers assemble a bench on the central campus as a memorial to landscape architect Beatrix Farrand.

May 28, 1989—A former Rutgers University student reportedly cuts nearly 1,000 pages worth of material from a number of bound journals in Firestone Library with a razor blade.

May 29, 1869—The Business Committee of the Board of Trustees meets to open bids for the construction of Dickinson Hall and finds that the cost will be higher than they initially thought ($75,000 instead of $50,000). Just before they decide to make the building less elaborate, Chancellor Green announces that his brother, John C. Green, will provide the funding for the additional expense.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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