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This Week in Princeton History for May 1-7

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, athletes enjoy a special treat after defeating Yale, a student is arrested for participation in “unbridled idiocy,” and more.

May 1, 1934—In an interview with Redbook Magazine, Harold Dodds explains how the Great Depression is changing Princeton. In 1929, 20% of incoming students were self-supporting; now, 40% of them are. “Nobody talks about careers nowadays. A job will do—any job guaranteeing three square meals per day.”

May 4, 1867—Following victory over Yale, the Princeton baseball team heads to Mercer Hall for “a game supper…served up in Anthony Simmons’ best style.” It will later be recorded that

Special orders had been issued by our careful President, that we should have no wine, so Anthony in order to give us something in which to drink the health of our guests, provided a weak solution of claret and water, for the occasion. This delightful mixture was dignified by the name of “plush beverage.” There is now a great demand for it, but alas Anthony has passed away and the receipt has departed with him.

May 6, 1963—In what is known as the “Spring Riot,” Howard Snyder ’65 is arrested for his leadership in a “panty raid” on a women’s dormitory at Westminster Choir College. Town Topics will pronounce the actions of Princeton students on this night a “vehement display of unbridled idiocy.”

"I have learned from Howard that he has been temporarily suspended from the University because of his involvement in the student riot the evening of May 6th. This disciplinary action resulted from his participation in the panty raid when he attempted that evening to enter a dormitory at the Westminster Girls Choir School.

"Since this is the only incident of misconduct during Howard's four years of prep school and two years at Princeton, I am confident he will not again be subject to University disciplinary action and request that his temporary suspension be removed at the earliest possible time."
Letter from Howard Snyder, Sr. to William Lippincott, May 16, 1963. Undergraduate Alumni Records (AC199).

May 7, 1880—Commenting on a rumor that the Board of Trustees is considering appointing a committee to handle student discipline, currently managed exclusively by the faculty, the Princetonian editorializes in favor of such a plan. “It strikes us that the dignity of the professor’s calling is very seriously impaired by such trivial work as investigating the merits and truthfulness of a student’s excuse for absence from morning chapel and the like.”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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