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This Week in Princeton History for March 11-17

By April C. Armstrong *14

In this week’s installment in our recurring series, students are arrested for voting, a newsmagazine reports that the Class of 1949 still has most of its hair 10 years after graduation, and more.

March 12, 1889—A member of the Class of 1891 writes to his mother:

I subscribed for a class cane. Do you want me to write to you for the money for it? I am afraid you will think it extravagant in me to get one as they cost $4.00. But I thought that I ought to have a cane of some kind, and although this is more than I would have thought of paying for one not a class, as nearly every one in the class is getting them and they will [be] something for one to keep in after years I thought I ought to get one. We have no class or society pins to get here as they have in other colleges. And most other colleges they get class canes besides. I will need the money for it in a couple of weeks.

March 14, 1878—The New York Tribune reports that two students have been arrested for voting in a local township election in Princeton, New Jersey. The paper explains the motive for a recent law that prohibits students from voting in local elections:

The greater number of voting students have of late years voted the Republican ticket; indeed the seminary is almost entirely, and the college largely Republican. This vote, with the addition of the negro vote, has made the town Republican, and the Democrats, knowing they would not miss the few scattering votes of the Democratic students, set to work to prevent all students from voting, and thus gain control of the township, and have the college under their power.

March 16, 1959—Today’s issue of Time includes the results of a survey of Princeton’s Class of 1949 ten years after graduation. The average member, Time writes, “is plump, prosperous, has most of his hair, [and] is worried about the state of the world, yet comfortably sure of his place in the sun.” Still, 40 out of the 760 surveyed say it is “impossible” to live on their incomes.

"The Ten Year Book: Princeton University Class of 1949" with a cartoon tiger leaning back on one paw, smoking a cigarette, and drinking a martini
Princeton University Class of 1949’s 10th reunion book, 1959. Class Reunion Books Collection (AC214).

March 17, 1897—Word reaches Princeton that students will be allowed to wear orange and black while participating in the Olympics.

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.

Special thanks to Phoebe Nobles for alerting me about the Clarence Gordon letter.

3 responses to “This Week in Princeton History for March 11-17”

  1. Does the Reunion Book Collection include the 50th Reunion book for 1972, published last year?
    If not, to whom should send one?

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