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This Week in Princeton History for December 25-31

By April C. Armstrong *14

In this week’s installment in our recurring series, the holiday meal excites a student, the Glee, Mandolin, and Banjo Clubs are praised, and more.

December 25, 1839—On this “glorious Christmas” at Princeton, a student notes, dinner is “rather better than common—and oh, wonder! Mince pies!!!”

December 26, 1900—West Virginia’s Wheeling Daily Intelligencer reports on the coming performance of the Glee, Mandolin, and Banjo Clubs tonight:

The Princeton College men, at the Market Street Theatre this evening at 8:15 o’clock, claim the attention of all society, young and old, for the pet of society to-day, the new generation being college bred and traveled, is the college boy, and especially that boy that can give the college song in its incomparableness.

A group of men in suits with bow ties, a few holding guitars, and several holding banjos
Princeton University Banjo Club, ca. 1900. Photo from 1903 Bric-a-Brac.

December 28, 1877—James McCosh visits alumni and other prominent residents of Chicago, where at a reception at Tremont House he explains the challenges of restoring Princeton after the Civil War. Though enrollment is not as high as it would be otherwise, McCosh maintains that it is important to keep standards high, though not so high as to exclude students from rural areas without access to the same resources as those in more densely populated regions, the Chicago Tribune will report.

December 29, 1917—Speaking at the Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania State Educational Association, Dean of the Graduate School Andrew Fleming West, Class of 1874, says, “The End of the World happened some three years ago. A new world is here. A judgment of the Nations has begun. The supposedly educated man who does not believe this is mentally and morally defective.”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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