As the holidays approach, I look forward to certain changes around town. Holiday décor and lights gradually get added. You hear the bustling of shopping bags and the familiar sounds of holiday music drifting from the storefronts. And my favorite coffee shops are offering their holiday blends and specials. The holidays in Princeton are something special and, while the continued storms throughout the season grow cumbersome and inconvenient, I always look forward to that first snowfall of the year.
The streets and sidewalks are messy and slushy but Princeton University campus is beautiful under fresh snow. As is Lake Carnegie. As I daydream about the winter wonderland to come, my thoughts drift to our town’s past. What was it like decades ago? Even a century? At Princeton Public Library, we have the tools to find out. So, I turned to Papers of Princeton. This is an online searchable database of full text digitized images from area publications including Town Topics, Princeton Herald, Princeton Recollector, The Daily Princetonian, Princeton University Weekly Bulletin, Local Express, and Nassau Literary Review, plus early issues of Princeton Packet (under its earlier names) and The Woman’s Newspaper of Princeton. It is a fantastic resource for not only searching past newspaper articles, but all facets of Princeton history. Using it, I was able to discover that nearly 99 years ago, there was much fun to be had.
On January 12, 1924, The Photographic Weekly from The Daily Princetonian published an image of Princeton University students, who had just returned to campus from winter break, playing a pick-up game of hockey on a frozen-over Lake Carnegie. Thus proving my theory that winter in Princeton has always been magical and fun.
At Princeton Public Library, local history resources can be found on our Local History web page and include books, newspapers (available through Papers of Princeton as well as on microfilm), maps, directories and more. We thoroughly enjoy exploring and tracking down obscure sections of our town’s history. If you are researching Princeton, or just have a lingering curiosity, ask us. We’re here to help.
Featured image by Miguel Alejandro García Bilbao on Unsplash.
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