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This Week in Princeton History for July 1-7

By April C. Armstrong *14

In this week’s installment in our recurring series, an administrator offers advice to fathers, a student writes to his cousin about a recent outbreak of war nearby, and more.

July 1, 1933—In an article in Parents’ Magazine, Christian Gauss warns fathers not to neglect their sons, observing that only half of fathers respond to the letters he sends them as Dean of the College at Princeton University.

There is a certain type of offish father who when you tax him with the unsatisfactory character of his relations to his son, quotes Shakespeare at you and tells you complacently that crabbed age and youth cannot live together.

Christian Gauss. Photo by Bachrach. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box 61.

July 2, 1968—A memo from Newark’s FBI office states that a Princeton admissions officer has provided “background information and personal knowledge” about left-wing students on campus. These activities are part of “Cointelpro,” an FBI campaign to harass and disrupt political organizations.

July 4, 1798—A speaker at Independence Day exercises at the College of New Jersey asserts that the current political upheaval in France and the fall of Switzerland is a warning to the United States. The speaker urges the youth of America to imitate the youth of Bern:

They fought in the fatal battle of the 5th, under the walls of their city, until they were all stretched on the field. The youth of America will imitate their glorious example. … will fly to arms, and defend their country, or perish in the glorious struggle.

His remarks will later be printed in the New York Gazette.

July 6, 1812—Walter Kirkpatrick, Class of 1813, writes to his cousin about the recent outbreak of war:

…it will not have that effect on this institution which you seemed to imagine it would have, the probability is that we shall continue here as we have done as idle spectators of the scene, since no student is obliged to perform military duty while he is a member of college…

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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