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This Week in Princeton History for September 18-24

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, a new president formally takes the helm, the Dean of the Graduate School defends an unpopular policy, and more.

September 20, 1974—A Pepsi-Cola strike is now in its fourth week, and some of Princeton’s dining halls have run out of the carbon dioxide gas needed to make drinks out of flavored syrups in their soda machines. The institution has resorted to sourcing canned soda from regional suppliers.

September 21, 1881—Students strew flowers over the railroad tracks for the funeral train of President James A. Garfield as it passes through Princeton Junction, as will be reported in the Boston Globe:

Here it was found that the students had come from the college, three miles distant, and had strewn the track with costly flowers. The ties and rails for over 100 yards were literally buried in masses of flowers, and the engineer almost involuntarily slowed up, as if he was afraid of a broken rail or some other possibility. Hundreds of students and townspeople crowded the platform, with uncovered heads, as the black engine with its blacker draperies passed slowly by, crushing the flowers with whose bright colors it contrasted so strongly.

September 22, 2013—Christopher Ludwig Eisgruber is formally installed 20th president of Princeton University.

Shirley Tilghman hugging Chris Eisgruber; both wearing academic robes
Shirley Tilghman hugs Chris Eisgruber, September 22, 2013. Photo from Daily Princetonian.

September 24, 1953—Dean of the Graduate School Hugh Taylor (Class of 1913) is quoted in the Daily Princetonian defending the extraordinarily unpopular reinstatement of a policy requiring students to wear academic gowns when eating at the Graduate College’s Proctor Hall, even following a 2-to-1 vote of graduate students against it. Although the requirement was suspended during World War II, he says gowns were “a traditional feature and should be preserved,” noting he’d had no trouble with it in 1913.

A group of people wearing academic robes eating in a dining hall
Graduate students dining in Proctor Hall in academic gowns, ca. 1950s. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box MP191, Image 5162.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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