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This Week in Princeton History for December 5-11

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, the junior class selects a speaker for a campus event, a concerned writer condemns political activity among students, and more.

December 5, 1860—The Chapel has a new organ “instead of the old one which has grated upon the feelings of all for the last long while.” Made by Ernest Hartwick of Newark, the new organ came at a price of about $1,000 (about $36,000 in 2022 dollars).

December 6, 1887—The Class of 1889 selects W. James George as its orator for the 1888 Washington’s Birthday celebration. George will use the opportunity to denounce monopolies, socialism, and intemperance in an address entitled “National Dangers.”

College of New Jersey (Princeton) Washington’s Birthday celebration program, 1888. Washington’s Birthday Celebration Records (AC200).

December 7, 1772—A writer in the New York Gazette expresses concern that John Witherspoon’s leadership of the College of New Jersey will improperly influence the students in a manner “like those in Boston…a Disgrace to all Order and Government.” Students should not engage in politics, the writer feels.

The Students in their public Exhibitions have very often entered deeply into the Party Politics and Contentions of England, both in former and latter Times, and in such manner as to give the greatest Offence to many who were present.

December 8, 1935—A steer named Tippy flees his home at G. F. Updike’s barn and leads police on what will ultimately be a 10-day chase through Princeton’s town and college campus. Updike will later say, “He’s the fastest, nastiest animal I have ever seen on four legs—just a streak of well-oiled lightning.”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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