This blog includes text and images drawn from historical sources that may contain material that is offensive or harmful. We strive to accurately represent the past while being sensitive to the needs and concerns of our audience. If you have any feedback to share on this topic, please either comment on a relevant post, or use our Ask Us form to contact us.

This Week in Princeton History for September 25-October 1

By April C. Armstrong *14

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, Lafayette is on campus, a sophomore secures an unusual mode of transportation, and more.

September 25, 1824— Marie Jean Paul Joseph Roche Yves Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, is on campus to receive an honorary L.L.D. in a “temple” constructed for the occasion. Charles Willson Peale’s portrait of George Washington hangs inside. The diploma itself was prepared in 1790, and thus bears John Witherspoon’s signature. Lafayette says,

While the name of this city recalls important military remembrance, it is also connected with that of the illustrious college which in diffusing knowledge and liberal sentiments, has greatly contributed to turn those successes to the advantage of public liberty. Your library had been destroyed, but your principles were printed in the hearts of American patriots.

September 26, 1927—Frederick D’Amato, professor of architecture, makes out a will while at sea just before an emergency appendectomy, which he will not survive. The will leaves all of his personal belongings in the United States to Princeton University, save six paintings to be given to the family of attorney Martin Colie in East Orange, New Jersey. His property in Europe is left to his father and brother in Italy.

September 27, 1890—Princeton sophomores paint a giant “94” in green numbers within a white circle on the local water tower after rigging a system in which one student sits on a chair suspended with ropes held by other students atop the tower. They write a song about their feat. A portion of the lyrics will be printed in the Chicago Tribune:

Way up on the water tower,
Painted white and green,
There is where fresh 94
May be plainly seen.

October 1, 1958—As a creative way around the “car rule,” sophomore Eric A Grinnell ’61 has purchased a horse and buggy.

Princeton Alumni Weekly cover (October 1, 1958) with a photo of a horse and buggy driven by Eric Grinnel '61
Eric Grinnel ’61 on the cover of Princeton Alumni Weekly, October 1, 1958.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

Fact check: We always strive for accuracy, but if you believe you see an error, please contact us.

One response to “This Week in Princeton History for September 25-October 1”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.