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This Week in Princeton History for July 17-23

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, fears of violence turn out to be unwarranted, a student is bewildered by the behavior of the locals during a visit from the U.S. President, and more.

George McCulloch McGill, Class of 1859. Undergraduate Alumni Records (AC104), Box 114.

July 20, 1867—Physician George McCulloch McGill, Class of 1858, dies alone of cholera by the side of the road, having gone to bury his wife, who died of the same illness.

July 21, 1918—K. D. “Dusty” Miller, Class of 1908, is making the most of his time in Russia:

They call me the ‘Uncle from America,’ as all our Y.M.C.A. men are called. … I am the proprietor and manager of the following enterprises: A soldiers’ club, with reading room, cinematograph, theatre, and buffet; a bakery, where rolls are baked for the men; a sausage factory, which turns out about four hundred pounds of sausage a day; shower baths, installed near the station; a travelling refrigerator car, which we keep running out to the front to provide the men with cold drinks and sausage; a theatrical troupe, which performs three times per week in the club, and which has a travelling theatre for the men at the front; a store for the wounded, a rest room and entertainment hall for the same; a traveling shower bath fixed up in a freight car, and general supervision of all the Y.M.C.A. work among the Czech-Slovaks.

July 22, 1895—As will be reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, the father of a Princeton student on a scientific expedition rumored to have been captured by Bannock people in Idaho receives a letter reassuring the family, “Don’t worry about the Bannock Indian troubles. They are seventy-five miles from here, but we are daily leaving them farther behind.” (Fears of violence from the Bannock people will later prove to be based on unjustified rumors.)

July 23, 1853—Granville Wilcox (Class of 1856) writes to his father from Princeton about Franklin Pierce’s recent visit:

I tell you, Pa, if this place is celebrated for its College there are some awful queer ‘uns’ here for all that. This one, for instance, when the President landed on the platform the people wished to give him a chair to stand in to speak so that he might be seen by all so the cry was raised of a “chair for the President!!” and the queer cries yes three “cheers” for the President!! I tell you when he saw the chair was fall over he was “kinder” boned as the saying is here and I don’t think he offered his mouth again the whole time.

Engraving of Nassau Hall, 1850. Nassau Hall Iconography Collection (AC177), Box 1, Folder 17.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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2 responses to “This Week in Princeton History for July 17-23”

  1. Cholera years — as Charles Rosenberg — has written in a consequential book — extended periodically extended from 1830s until 1880 when a German scientist — Charles Koch –identified water borne impurities. This prompted a movement for water purification in US and the scourage much eventually much abated.

    A side note of consequence. When local
    Governments sought to impose public regulatory measures to curb the mass outbreaks people sought to rebuff such action as antithetical to their their ingrained prerogatives.

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