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This Week in Princeton History for April 8-14

By April C. Armstrong *14

In this week’s installment in our recurring series, a professor is granted tenure by surprise, a new campus building’s construction will run to $250,000, and more.

April 9, 1975—The Daily Princetonian reports on an offer of tenure to religion professor John G. Gager, who was denied in 1974 due to budget constraints and has been working on a one-year terminal contract. Fearing that their tenure recommendation would be turned down, the faculty in the religion department kept the tenure recommendation a secret from him. Gager is quoted: “It came to me as just a complete and total surprise. … All of this went on without any knowledge on my part.”

April 10, 1877—College trustee William Henry Green displays a series of stereopticon images of the east side of the Jordan River for a local Princeton audience, with the assistance of someone the Princeton Press will identify as “Mr. Butler from the College.”

People generally are not aware of the vastness and splendour of ancient architecture and sculpture and of the luxury and pleasures of living in the early times, as revealed in these relics. 

April 13, 1894—The cost of the construction of Alexander Hall is estimated to reach $250,000 when completed. (In 2024, this will be the equivalent of approximately $9 million.)

Alexander Hall with scaffolding under a large window
Alexander Hall under construction, 1893. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111) Box MP02, Image 20.

April 14, 1819— In a statement released by the Board of Trustees and published in Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, parents are urged not to give students excess money to spend, saying the total annual expenditures for a student should not exceed $450 (about $11,000 in 2024 dollars).  “Many live with entire reputation, on much less, and none ought to expend more.”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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