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This Week in Princeton History for December 19-25

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, alumni have the chance to see proposed dormitory plans, a student plot to make eggnog is foiled, and more.

December 22, 1890—The Charlotte News notes that “A large number of Princeton students passed the city yesterday en route south.”

December 23, 1908—Today’s issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly contains drawings of the proposed new dormitories to be built on the northwest corner of campus, thanks to a generous donation from Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage. Ultimately, none of the buildings in the group, later to be known as Rockefeller College, will bear her name, but one of the dining halls will be dubbed “Russell Sage Hall” in honor of her husband.

Though it is not that unusual to find references to “Sage Hall” or “Sage Tower” in archival records from the early 1910s, this tower is now much better known as Holder Tower, named for Christopher Holder, a 17th-century ancestor of Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage. Holder was an early Quaker who endured religious persecution in Massachusetts Bay Colony and returned to England to escape execution. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP51, Image No. 1788.

December 24, 1969—Home for the holidays, Jan Robinson ’75 writes in her journal, “Reality sort of rips me apart when I return to Bed[ford]-Stuy[vesant] to see how ugly things can be. Princeton can never be real. Life there will always be ideal. I have to return to reality, to this neighborhood. Never must I forget who I am and where I come from.” Robinson’s thoughts will later be published in Redbook.

Jan Robinson ’75, 1969. Photo from Class of 1973 Freshman Herald.

December 25, 1830—The faculty meet to discuss how to respond to a sudden crisis: four students “were detected this morning in the act of making preparation for the manufacture of a large quantity of egg-nogg [sic].”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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