Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Diggin' in Mudd: Bragging Rights

As December drags on, "Diggin' in Mudd" continues to explore the contents of the Admission Office Records found in the University Archives in the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. This time we move forward to 1958.

Princeton University likes to brag about how smart and talented its students are. I could go on listing the other excellent qualities we and the world are told we have, but unfortunately, modesty precludes such bragging. It wouldn't really be nice and dignified if I went on and on about how in 2008, Dean Malkiel bursts with pride mentioning that the new class is composed of more Academic 1s than ever before.

But, since I wasn't here in 1958, it wouldn't really be immodest to brag about how smart Princeton students where in 1958. In fact, I don't even have to brag. I can let the Alumni Council do it for me (they already did). Feast your eyes on this pamphlet which seeks to inform alumni how hard it is to get into Princeton because of the excellent academic program and rigorous expectations reassure alumni that their sons can get into Princeton, no matter how dumb they are.

Wait...

What?

Pamphlet after the cut.
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That's right kiddies, in 1958 Princeton was actually bragging about how dumb its students were. Or, at least, how dumb certain of its students were. To be fair, Princeton was also bragging about how smart and awesome its students were... at the same time. Talk about your mixed messages.

All images are courtesy of the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Any other use of these images requires written permission from the archive.

12 comments:

echomikeromeo said...

This is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

awesome/ hilarious!

Anonymous said...

So, this is clearly inspired by the 'Grave Robber' from the now dead Underside of Paradise blog. Credit where credit's due.

Martha Vega said...

Dear Anonymous,

Actually, it's not. I've never read Underside of Paradise, so I am not familiar with "Grave Robber". This segment is inspired by the Mudd Library, which I first encountered as a junior last year doing JP work. JP work on the Admission Office, mind you.

The fact that I'm a tremendous history nerd helps.

Thank you however, for calling me dishonest on what is merely a (completely unfounded) suspicion. Also, thank you for being so brave as to remain anonymous.

Meg Byrne said...

Also, Grave Robber never came up with anything nearly as interesting. Mostly just old cartoons from Firestone, or something. Not to mention, it's not exactly like finding old Princeton documents is intellectually patented...

As for this- I always KNEW they had a secret admissions policy for legacies. Damn it!

Anonymous said...

A very funny piece. However, I want to defend the University of 1958 to some degree. They were right that not accepting alumni "sons" embitters some alums. My kids aren't old enough, but I've seen it many times, especially when the children get into another Ivy League school. In addition, multi-generational Princeton families led to a strong alumni/University bond and the passing on of traditions. Sadly, I notice that these traditions are waning. Last night after the Princeton/Rutgers basketball game, only the alums bothered to stand and sing Old Nassau, hand to heart and all. Even just 20 years ago, that was unthinkable.

Anonymous said...

could you explain how the pamphlet was from 1958, yet mentioned over and over the current entering class of 1962?

also, when did princeton become co-ed?

and to the dude who posted above me, about waning traditions and all that: screw your pompous traditions!

keep on diggin that mud!

Anonymous said...

the class of 1962 was admitted in 1958.

Anonymous said...

anyone care to lay some direct links to the admission office records site on princeton.edu?

Penny said...

Pompous traditions? You think that singing Old Nassau is a pompous tradition? Its *the school song*. If you have no Princeton pride or spirit, then don't insult those who do. Maybe you haven't noticed the host of current and recent students who sing Old Nassau whenever the moment comes up. No one I knew would ever have thought of doing otherwise.

thanbo said...

Think about the timing, though. This was issued in June of 1958, reassuring Old Boys that their sons would get in. But that February had been the Dirty Bicker. Perhaps, even likely, then, that this pamphlet was issued as a response to the Dirty Bicker? That the Jews and other undesirables weren't going to displace the Legacies, oh no.

Anonymous said...

you know, penny, lots of schools have songs while still managing to be far less pompous than ours. you should get out more.