Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Diggin' In The Mudd: Riots — A Princeton Tradition?

Life Magazine, 1946. That phrase probably makes you think of advertisements like this one:
(Yes those ads really did exist.) But, Life Magazine had articles too, and, it just so happens, on September 23, 1946, Life did an inside look into Princeton, its campus, and student and faculty life. Read about rioting, athletics and tradition after the cut.

The article title tries to create drama:
The article goes on to talk about the history of Princeton, concluding:
Princeton has been often and correctly accused of being "collegiate". This characteristic is caused mainly by its numerous moss-grown traditions, its country location, its small size (half the size of Yale, a quarter the size of Harvard, a tenth the size of Columbia) and by its fierce love (wait for it...) of athletics and rioting.

Yes, they did say athletics and rioting. Well, there was that time when half the school was expelled. (And the article says, Another year they barricaded Nassau Hall, patrolled it with daggers, and beamed their vice president with a decanter when he crawled into the basement to make arrests.) Anyway the article continues...

Rioting today has been largely submerged by the rise of sports. Nevertheless the freshman and sophomore classes still tear each other apart every autumn during a "cane spree" and a bus full of prominent New Jersey citizens was turned over not long ago on Nassau St. during a presidential election campaign. Princetonians are proud of having been the first to play college football- with Rutgers in 1869- proud also of their overall football record of 445 victories, 41 ties, and 112 defeats during 77 years of competition. They are even proud of the clappers which they still steal from Nassau Hall belfry.

Princeton students in 1946 indeed kept up a rowdy tradition! Being Life Magazine, the article of course has lots of pictures to go along. Beside more traditional professor headshots and scenery shots are the following:

So next time you get in trouble for a too-loud room party or stealing from belfries just say you're keeping up Princetonian tradition!


JohnnyMiles said...

sweet. love these old photos

Anonymous said...

Princeton's riot tradition goes back way further than that; there were several in the 1800s, one of which has a crazy painting of students burning things.