18 August 2010

Princeton Freshmen - 1922

Like John Muldoon, I was a 22 year old freshman. I wonder what put Muldoon on his 'fast track.' Was it the military like myself? Maybe the Merchant Marine. Mining down in South America. Who knows.

In some ways this Fall means more to me than my graduation from college. It will be 30 years ago this September I started my freshman year. And I remember those last words of a story written by an alum of John's college.

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
The Great Gatsby


Trailer Trad said...

These guys looked more mature at 17 than most 50 year olds do today.
-The wonders of a good haircut and a litte pomade!

Mom on the Run said...

I started college 30 years ago, too....probably this very week if I remember the dates correctly.

I was a 17 year old girl from a town of 200 people (and that was probably a generous accounting) who couldn't wait to shake that small town dust off my shoes.

If I'd known then what I know now....

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you chose that little college in Florida - otherwise we would have never met you! Thank you! DMW

Anonymous said...

'An alumnus'


tintin said...

Trailer Trad- great observation. I was wondering why most under 30, Hell, under 40, don't part their hair anymore but instead have these silly ass flips going on.

I guess the idea is to look like you just got outta bed and didn't comb your hair and to match your attire which looks like my pjs.

Mom OTR - Going to school after the Army was the best thing I ever did. For reasons best not mentioned here.

DMW- Not everybody at that school feels the same.

Who's Your - I changed it to alum. Seems less pretentious than alumnus but your observations and spell check are always appreciated here.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you chose to quote Fitzgerald in a post of Princeton student pictures, as he didn't graduate, I am sure you know, and like so many others born into that fringe of waspdom known as the "shabby genteel" (Richard Yates comes to mind) he was sore about it for the rest of his life.


W.Essex said...

Great post! As a Jersey resident, I find it interesting that many of the towns these lads come from are now absolute shitholes (e.g., Elizabeth, Newark, East Orange). Pingry and Newark Academy are still going strong. But I wonder what happened to Princeton Prep.

brohammas said...

That line in Tommy Boy where Chris Farley says "lotsa people take 8 years to finish college", to which little squirly nerd replies "yeah, they'r called Doctors." always stung me a little bit. I played rugby too...hmm... who wrote that movie anyways? Maybe I knew them.
I say 22 year old freshmen are cool whether it be the military, Merchant marines, a 2 year religious mission, or a really great year snowboarding. Long live the underachieving, poor spelling, bloggers!!

Anonymous said...

Interesting note from "The American Flint" official mag of the American Flint Glass Workers' Union, May 1918, on Muldoon. Looks like a John Muldoon was soon leaving for Camp Sherman. Crazy internet...


LPC said...

Why always Princeton? Not that I mind, really, just curious.

Alice Olive said...

Okay, I'm going to focus on something a tad shallow. If I was John Muldoon, I'd be more concerned about looking 50 at the actual age of 22.

Genuine Lustre said...

Back when handwriting was beautiful.

njglenn said...

Love this!
Quick google search turned up that the widow of Charles Bannerman is still living (at least as of Dec. 2009) at 99 years old. Fascinating article about "Bannerman's Castle". I'm compelled to look for more.


njglenn said...

More on Bannerman...


M.Lane said...

What a great post. Why Princeton, indeed? Because it is [as stated in the old Esquire that enchanted me with the school] "the most southern of Ivy League schools". 33years ago to college [at good old Florida State] for me...


Claire Fontaine said...

A friend (and university librarian) told me today that most students graduating from university in 2014 (those entering as freshmen this year) don't know how to write in cursive. HA!

Never mind how to use a comb.

And - that Gatsby quote. I will read that book over and over just to experience the full breath of that last line.

Anonymous said...

but what does this have to do with Take Ivy?

Richard M said...

Trailer Trad's comment was spot on!

Anonymous said...

These are an example of the original form of Facebook.

J.P. said...

It's pretty incredible how old a lot of these guys look.

Laguna Beach Prep said...

I still don't understand the focus here on so-called 'Ivy League' colleges, as if the grasping lower-middle class (more foreign than domestic these days) have placed them on some pedestal we're all supposed to admire.

tintin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tintin said...

Ricini- I have the 25 year alumnui directory for the class of '61. Amazing bios. Some were not so keen on Princeton and explain why. Lack of diversity. Lack of women. Too many snobs. There are also well those who love the school by attending alumni events and being very active. I'll post some of these soon.

W Essex- I thought the same as well. Amazing what the riots did to Newark and how it has never recovered despite the mayor's best efforts.

Brohammas- I hated Tommy Boy. Maybe it's a generational thing.

Anon- Thanks for the link on John. Great stuff.

LPC- About three years ago I read a paper on the impact Princeton had in men's apparel in the '30s. I've seen a number of Ivy yearbooks and Princeton dominates the rest in style.

Princeton also offers up the best yearbooks save for a couple when I don't know what happened. That's pretty much why.

Alice- I kinda like to think John had some interesting stories.

Genuine Lustre- They are charming, legible and not at all faded. I have signed certificates from the Army where felt tip pens were used and the signature is almost invisible.

njglenn- There's a photo of her as well. Parsons grad in 1930. Fanatastic find. Thank you.

M Lane- Stats from the Princeton class of '61 reveal from 434 responses:
Northeast- 40.7
Mid-Atlantic- 23.0
Mountain West- 2.8
West Coast- 2.5
Canada- 0.5

Claire- I think there's a lotta knowledge but not much understanding. There was an expression in the 18th C. "Books on a donkey's ass."

anon- you must be new around here.

Richard M- 100%

Anon- Nice description although I wouldn't want to 'poke' any of these guys.

JP- Nobody was using Clinique For Men.

LBTrad (now Prep?) - I've always enjoyed having you around although we disagree on some things. You're hatred of all Jazz. Your hatred of Mad Men despite having never watched it except for 10 minutes this season. But your comment has this smarminess that I can only hope was not your intent. "Grasping lower middle class more foreign than domestic these days..."

Being a lower middle class guy myself and from pretty earthy and humble origins, I'm tempted to stick your Belgian loafers where the sun don't shine. Please see my reasons for the focus on Princeton in my answer to LPC.

Matt Fox said...

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

Sartre said...

Fitzgerald was class of '17; this cohort is tantalizingly close.

Family Man said...

What struck me was the maturity that all these young men display. Neatly-combed hair (with pomade!), sober expressions, suits, ties--even the ones who are clearly few in years don't look as childish as many modern "adults."

In our modern fixation on youth, we have forgotten, and lost, something far more important. As Diana West observed (and wrote a book about), there was once a world without teenagers (the word hadn't been coined yet). There were children, who aspired to be adutls, and adults, who also aspired to be adults. We have largely lost the understanding that each stage of life has its own beauties; we have also lost our appreciation of the benefits of maturity, sobriety, responsibility, as well as the rest of the hallmarks of adults--and their rewards.

I'm from the West Coast, went to state colleges, and currently live in the nation's hellish heartland of juvenility: Mexifornia. Even someone of my background can appreciate the goodness of the people depicted in this post. They were a product of the goodness of their society, a society that is no more, partly because of the inevitability of change, but mainly due to its intentional destruction by the left-wing ideologies embraced by not only the Worst Generation (the Boomers), but also many of their elders (not one Boomer voted for the "Great" Society, nor even for the politicians who did--and that was the worst set of domestic policies to be crammed down our throats since the New Deal).

But I digress.

Laguna Beach Prep said...

Well, TradGod, I do understand your appreciation of the Ivy League students previous to the 1960s. And I am somewhat grateful to you for that. After the '60s though...well, the Ivy League in recent decades is hardly representative of prep or trad style, or whatever you want to call it, as any empirical or demographic analysis of current I.L. student body population groups could tell you. I suppose I want to see a distinction between the I.L. of yore, when it was still American trad, and the I.L. of more recent occupied years when it has been anything but. But that's my issue, not yours. And I still think Mad Men sucks, despite what dozens of Williamsburg, Brooklyn hipsters say.

tintin said...

Matt- Love your ties.

Sartre- Very.

Family Man- My father calls it Juvenalia. As I do. Rich, white and republican isn't my bag but it seems to suit you. Sadly, life isn't nearly as simple as you paint it. The one thing I have learned, this year more than any other, is that if you call yourself a democrat or republican, you're very naive. But feel free to digress away.

Laguna Prep- My feeling is that while these pictures depict all American young men whose hearts were in the right place - it was in direct contrast to the godless heathens of Oxford and Cambridge.

Horrible people (and most likely all homosexuals) who wore ladies underwear and pranced around London from post WW I to present. We all know it - it's just rarely spoken of thanks to the liberal media.

I'd list books and stuff to support my argument but I pretty much made this all up based solely on how I feel about it. I'm sure you understand.

LPC said...

I'm always struggling to inhabit a world where "Trad" clothing and manners exist without "Trad" repression of deep emotions and oppression of disadvantaged classes.

Sartre said...

To Laguna Prep's comment about the Ivy League post-1960s -- I would have thought a token scan of Take Ivy and/or a run through the Mens Club stuff on Heavy Tweed Jacket's blog would be proof enough that the prep/trad style was more than alive and well in (at a minimum) the 1970s and perhaps early '80s.

And to LPC's comment about repression and opression...well, I'm having an awfully tough time with that generalization. I've found it's possible to wear the clothing without feeling irresistible urges to do down your neighbor, but maybe I'm a heartless bigot somewhere deep down that I don't even have access to because of how repressed I am emotionally.

LPC said...

Perhaps I failed to make myself clear. I laud your capacity to wear trad clothes and remain open-minded. I try to do the same myself. I was speaking more to what I perceive as a societal desire to insist that if you wear Trad you've got to subscribe to a certain set of political beliefs.

I'm rooting for the promise of oxymorons.

Family Man said...


Thanks for letting me digress.

I'm white, but neither rich nor Republican. But I can still see that the young men depicted here were almost certainly decent people. There's no cynicism, no self-referential irony, no in-your-face attitudes--none of the hallmarks of the modern hipster. It's refreshing.

Yes, I know life isn't simple. But there are generalizations that can be made, general statements that are true, regardless of the existence of exceptions. Sadly, leftist dogma pumped into impressionable minds as "education" has destroyed most people's ability to form, or accept, generalizations, even ones that are backed with the weight of what we see and experience daily.

This is illustrated by common examples such as the following: someone says something obviously and demonstrably true, like "on average, men are taller than women," then some guy pops up and says, "but I know a woman who's taller than I am!"

Unfortunately, LPC's comment about "oppression" is just the regurgitation of the anti-white, anti-establishment, anti-man, anti-Christian, anti-Western zeitgeist. If WASPs really were oppressing "disadvantaged classes" (a Communist turn of phrase if ever there were one), then why is it that some minorities perform better than whites?

Which is not to deny the exclusivity found in some elements of the America of the past.

And yes, somehow I, too, find the intestinal fortitude to refrain from repressing my feelings and/or oppressing my minority co-workers, friends, and wife when I wear a tie. Amazing, idn't it?

tintin said...

I'm tempted to say that Trad clothing is not owned by conservative republicans. Many a liberal out there shops at Andover and Press. God only knows where Orin Hatch buys his clothes.

But all of you are bringing up some good stuff and the comments hold a mirror to the author.

Sartre is right in that Mens Club published photos of Trad long after 1965 and well into the early '80s. But by then the OPH kicked this dress into a caricature that was no longer authentic as it was in 1970- 1980. Not everybody was walking around bare foot and flashing the peace sign. And if you were at Dartmouth how could you not buy clothes at LL Bean? Heavy Tweed Jkt scanned some beautiful mid to late 70s stuff from Men's Club with tons of Bean, Button down collars and Norge sweaters.

Family Man, your assumption that all these young men are decent is naive. Any of these fellas could have been ethically challenged, cocaine addicted and cowardly all at the same time. I haven't even brought up intolerance.

LPC is the only Princeton graduate I know of who comments here and I, like her, love a good oxymoron. Like a "Right to Bear Arms" bumper sticker on a Volvo Station Wagon. Or, a liberal who works in property casualty insurance. Or a black man who loves LL Bean. They're all out there. Maybe you don't see us everyday but I think we can all enjoy these images without any baggage. They are what they are. White boys in nice clothes. What we think they are says a lot more about who we are.

Family Man said...

Fair 'nuff, tintin.

You point out execptions; I know they're there. That still doesn't make them the norm.

As for the photos, I'm just basing my interpretation of the images the young men project on my gut reaction, and on knowledge of the social mores of the past, and the general naivete of youngsters, especially those of the past.

Yes, I have no doubt that some of the Princeton class of 22 went on to be bad people, however we might interpret that phrase. But until someone produces evidence that most of them did, I will continue to see what I saw the first time: innocence, sobriety, maturity, hope, trepidation--and decency. (Though I will admit that your favorite has an unsettling glint in his eye. No wonder--he wanted to go to law school!)

P.S.: "intolerance" has become a PC buzzword, so it's hard to know what you mean by that.

tintin said...

Family Man- Def of Intolerance- Hating Canadians.

Laguna Beach Prep said...

The Trad said: "Being a lower middle class guy myself and from pretty earthy and humble origins..."

Your words, not mine. That much is painfully obvious at least.

Anonymous said...

I was one of the first people to know you well when you arrived at Flagler. In my Spanish tutoring sessions there was an air of worldliness about you that made you very interesting. I remember you came to each session asking me to translate a word that I you hoped I didn't know. You didn't look as old as the men in these photographs but you had an interesting soul...that is why I found you so appealing. MB

Andrew said...

These are wonderful. What can I say?

Our country has been in decline either since the end of Vietnam, the end of WWII or the beginning of the Depression.

Or maybe we are not in decline--and we just had better architects, barbers and tailors 80 years ago.

Andrew said...

Look! Someone just bought William Henry Inloes' home:


tintin said...

Andrew- Those are amazing shots of the house. Many thanks for the heads up.

tintin said...

Andrew- Those are amazing shots of the house. Many thanks for the heads up.