Architecturally, as well as intellectually, the year 1896, when the College of New Jersey became Princeton University, marks the official beginning of the modern Princeton. For in connection with the Sesquicentennial celebration of that year, the first buildings at Princeton designed in the "collegiate Gothic," or "Tudor Gothic," of Oxford and Cambridge - the style that has dominated the architecture of the campus from that day to this - were promised to the University.
Professor Andrew Fleming West, later first Dean of the Graduate School, who more than any other one man was responsible for the success of the Sesquicentennial celebration, was also largely responsible for introducing the collegiate Gothic. As secretary both of the committee in charge of the Sesquicentennial celebration itself and of the committee that secured gifts for Princeton in connection with the celebration, he was in a particularly good position to influence the nature of those gifts. West was enthusiastic about the Gothic of Oxford and Cambridge and communicated his enthusiasm to Moses Taylor Pyne, a wealthy and influential trustee who was likewise a member of the same two Sesquicentennial committees. And because Pyne was also chairman of the trustees' committee on grounds and buildings, through Pyne's influence West was able to gain the support of other members of the board.
As a result, the trustees had designs in a Gothic style prepared for a new library, for several dormitories, and also for a graduate college, a physics laboratory, and a lecture hall, in the hope that friends of Princeton might be induced to present these buildings to the University as Sesquicentennial gifts. Four of the buildings so designed were actually given at that time, and were erected in 1897, while a fifth was presented shortly thereafter. Moses Taylor Pyne gave two dormitories, Upper and Lower Pyne, on Nassau Street across from the campus, both designed in an English Tudor half-timbered style which they helped to make widely popular for domestic architecture in Princeton. He also persuaded his mother to present the Pyne Library, built at his insistence in that masonry version of English Tudor architecture known as collegiate Gothic. Meanwhile, West had induced John Insley Blair, the great railroad magnate who was then a trustee of the university, to present Blair Hall; and this, likewise erected in 18997 (though added to later), was the first campus dormitory in the same style. Furthermore, West soon secured the gift of the second collegiate Gothic dormitory at Princeton - Stafford Little Hall, built between 1899 and 1902.
Thus in the four years between the Sesquicentennial and the beginning of the twentieth century, the Tudor Gothic had become firmly established on the Princeton campus and to this day is customarily used for new buildings. However, although this style was not introduced at Princeton until the year when the College became a University, it had nevertheless been foreshadowed in some of the architectural developments made during the presidency of James McCosh (1868-1888), much as the intellectual development of the College of New Jersey into Princeton University had also first been foreshadowed in his administration. For many of the buildings erected under McCosh - such as the Chancellor Green Library, the School of Science, destroyed by fire in 1928, and Witherspoon Hall - had been designed in Victorian style which, by breaking sharply away from the formal symmetry of the earlier Georgian architecture, helped to pave the way for the collegiate Gothic. Although these Victorian buildings of McCosh's day were mostly inspired, not by those of the Tudor period, but by the Ruskinian version of Venetian Gothic then popular in England, nevertheless it was a relatively easy step from the informal picturesqueness of this Ruskinian Gothic architecture to that of the otherwise very different collegiate Gothic. And once that step had been taken at Priinceton, for over a quarter of a century the collegiate Gothic was to meet with almost unanimous approval from Princetonians and non-Princetonians alike.
Only in the 1920's did much criticism of it begin to arise, criticism which continues to the present day and which is usually based on one or more of three different but related points of view - related because they all maintain that the Gothic does not organically express the function and character of Princeton University as an American university of the twentieth century. Thus one group of critics has attacked the style primarily from a "modern" point of view, maintaining that architectural elements derived from a style of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance ipso facto cannot adequately express a university today. And still others have argued that an English Tudor style not only cannot express a modern American university, but from the standpoint of utility is necessarily impractical, uncomfortable, and hence thoroughly unfunctional.
Yet despite all such criticism, for better or worse the influence of the Tudor Gothic continues at Princeton, as the new Dillon Gymnasium and the Firestone Library indicate. Evidently, then, whatever the practical and expressive limitations of the style today, most Princetonians continue to feel that in more or less modified form this kind of architecture is still the best available expression of the ideals of Princeton University, and the best available answer to its needs. In order to understand why this is so, whether or not one agrees or not, it is necessary on the one hand to investigate the traditions and ideals of Princeton University; and on the other it is necessary to investigate the collegiate Gothic at Princeton to see why and to what degree it imitates and differs from the Tudor architecture of Oxford and Cambridge. Only then can one understand why the Gothic was so gladly adopted at Princeton and why it has persisted for half a century.
One obvious reason why the style was adopted, though one which does not account for its persistence, is the fact that by 1896 when Princeton officially became a university the collegiate Gothic was just beginning to be a highly fashionable style in the eastern United States, rivaled only by those various versions of Classic architecture which so many young architects had learned from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. And one excellent proof of the new fashionableness of the collegiate Gothic is the fact that William A. Potter, architect of the Pyne Library, was persuaded to use the style for that building. For Potter, the brother of a celebrated Episcopal bishop of New York, was one of the most fashionable architects of his day and always adapted himself quickly to changing modes, as his various buildings at Princeton show. Thus, in the early 1870's he designed the School of Science and the Chancellor Green Library in versions of the then fashionable Ruskinian Gothic. By 1892, however, when he built Alexander Hall, the trend that had changed and he now used the Richardsonian Romanesque," recently popularized by a great American architect, Henry Hobson Richardson. Yet it was only five years later that, at the behest of Moses Taylor Pyne, Potter designed the Pyne Library in the collegiate Gothic style.
The Pyne Library and its contemporary, Blair Hall, were not only the first examples of Tudor Gothic architecture on the Princeton campus, but they were among the very early examples in this country. The Tudor Gothic had been revived in England a few years before, primarily for church architecture, as the expression of a consciously archeological movement within the Gothic Revival, a movement seeking to remedy the worst limitations of the earlier Victorian Gothic. One of these limitations had been the manhandling of Gothic details, for the earlier Victorian craftsmanship had often been exceedingly crude. Moreover, elements had been borrowed not only from the Venetian Gothic but from various other regions and periods of Gothic architecture in a valiant attempt to produce a new style, and had therefore usually been mixed together on a given building with no particular feeling for the original styles - as Witherspoon Hall, built in 1877 from the designs of Potter's partner, R. H. Robertson, so clearly shows. In addition, the revival of the Tudor gothic represented a reaction against the earlier Victorian lack of regard for the natural qualities of materials, a lack exemplified by Alexander Hall at Princeton on which soft crumbly brownstone arches hold up heavy granite walls. and while in the 1860's and 1870's the Ruskinian Gothic had been used deliberately for any and all types of buildings, including many (such as railroad stations, factories, etc.) completely unknown to the medieval architect, the Tudor Gothic, on the contrary, has usually been restricted to the particular kinds of buildings (such as churches, residential colleges, and country houses) which were also frequent in the late Middle Ages.
The first major example in the United States of this archeologically more "correct" Gothic is said to have been the chapel of St. Paul's School at Concord, N. H., built in 1888 from the designs of Henry Vaughan, an imported English architect who later was to design parts of the Episcopal Cathedrals in Washington and New York. However, among the first architects to apply this new kind of Gothic revival to American college dormitories was the Philadelphia firm of Cope and Stewardson, who thereby helped revolutionize, for a time at least, the design of college building in the united States. the earliest designs made by Cope and Stewardson in the collegiate Gothic style were executed at Bryn Mawr College where Professor West of Princeton saw and admired them. The Bryn Mawr buildings were followed almost immediately by others at the University of Pennsylvania and by Blair Hall at Princeton - the masterpiece of the firm. And shortly thereafter Cope and Stewardson designed Little Hall (1899-1902) at Princeton, as well as the Gymnasium erected in 1903 but destroyed by fire in 1944. the Gymnasium was one of the last great buildings designed by the firm, as by the end of 1902 both senior partners had died. However, they had succeeded in firmly establishing on the Princeton campus an architectural tradition that has lasted to this day.
The next Princeton buildings erected in the same general style were two dormitories, `79 Hall and Patton, both designed by B. W. Morris. Meanwhile another firm was becoming widely known for its work in Gothic style, namely the young firm of Cram, Gooodhue and Ferguson, which in 1903 haad won a great competition for rebuilding much of the Military Academy at West Point. As the Gothic revival was particularly fostered in this country by the Episcopal Chhurch, it is significant that Ralph Adams Cram, originally a unitarian, had become a fervent Anglo-0Catholic.
In 1907 Cram was appointed supervising architect of Princeton University, an office he was to hold until 1929. As a result, he, more than any other man was responsible for the character of the buildings erected on the campus during his term of office and indeed his influence has persisted ever since. His own firm designed a considerable number of important buildings at Princeton, including Campbell Hall, completed in 1909, the Graduate College, opened in 1913, McCormick Hall (1922), and the Chapel, dedicated in 1928. And he supervised the work of the architects of many other Princeton buildings. Of these other architectural firms the most important was that of Day and Klauder of Philadelphia, a firm continued by Klauder himself from the time of his partner's death in 1918 until his own death in 1938. As Klauder had been a draftsman in the office of Cope and Stewardson in the middle `90's when they were executing the designs for Blair Hall, his connection with Princeton Gothic lasted well over forty years. Among the works of his firm were Holder and the Dining Halls, completed in 1910 and 1916 respectively, as well as most of the other recent dormitories including Hamilton (1911), Cuyler (1912), Pyne (1922), Class of 1901 and Laughlin (1926), Lockhart (1927), Class of 1903 (1929), Walker (1929), and Joline Halls (1932), as well as Eno Hall (1924), the McCosh Infirmary (1925), the Engineering Building (1927), the Frick Chemical Laboratory built in 1929, and Dickinson (1930) and Fine Halls (1931).
The works of Cope and Stewardson, of Cram, Day and Klauder, and of the other architects who have designed collegiate Gothic buildings at Princeton, all reflect much the same general point of view. The general effect is quite Gothic, with Gothic picturesqueness of composition, Gothic methods of construction, and usually also historically correct Gothic detail. At times whole features are copied almost literally - Holder Tower, foe example, is a close copy of the crossing tower at Canterbury Cathedral. Yet the primary reason for such copying is not the love of imitation just for the sake of imitation, or of archeology for the sake of archeology, or even fashion for the sake of fashion. As the statements of those who were most responsible for introducing the collegiate Gothic at Princeton show, their primary reason, namely, to express the ideals and function of Princeton in its new status as a university, was a self-consciously functionalistic one (although with romantic and "literary" overtones). Furthermore, since apart from their detail and picturesqueness massing, etc., the collegiate Gothic buildings at Princeton have been designed to meet the specific needs of Princeton as a twentieth century American university, they necessarily are in many fundamental respects far fro being historically imitative. And necessarily so, not only because Princeton University, like most other American universities, has grown from a single college (instead of from a group of almost completely independent colleges as at Oxford and Cambridge), but also because Princeton has made its own unique contributions demanding architectural expression. Yet it is the non-imitative and modern characteristics of Princeton's architecture which are customarily ignored by those who, usually from a lack of knowledge of the actual Tudor Gothic of Oxford and Cambridge, criticize the Princeton buildings as being purely derivative.
However, even the more imitative elements, by recalling Oxford and Cambridge, were deliberately adopted in 1896 for the conscious purpose of expressing the fact that Princeton was now no longer just a small and almost sectarian college, but a great university. And because, like Oxford and Cambridge, Princeton is a residential university with its students living on the campus in college buildings and not, as in most Continental universities, scattered in private lodgings throughout a great city, the collegiate Gothic at Princeton is in large part the direct and conscious expression of a distinct philosophy of higher education.
Thus it is certainly significant that Andrew Fleming West - the professor of classics who was so largely responsible for bringing the collegiate Gothic to Princeton, and who later as dean was responsible for erecting the great Graduate College which more closely imitates the spirit and organization of the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge than any other Princeton building - was a great admirer of the educational ideals of the English universities. And he admired them not just because they were English but because he considered them to be closely akin to the ideals of Princeton. Furthermore, unlike many contemporaries, West never sought a German Ph.D. and never succumbed to the German influence then so powerful in American education. Both as a Princeton graduate and as an experienced scholar and teacher, he firmly believed that the residential colleges and universities of the Anglo-Saxon world, which are based on the traditions of Oxford and Cambridge and which have no counterpart in Germany, offer the best possibilities for producing liberally educated men. As he put it in 1903 when describing the future Graduate College which he hoped eventually to see at Princeton: "Whatever may be true of other subjects, liberal studies at least find their greatest charm amid odd associations and their natural home in the peace of rural life. Quadrangles enclosing sunny lawns, towers and gateways opening into quiet retreats, ivy-grown walls...vistas through avenues of arching elms - these are...the answers in architecture and scenic setting to the immemorial longings of academic generations back to the time when universities first began to build their homes. Nothing so deeply appeals to our students today as this type of architecture - the exquisite collegiate Gothic found at its best in the remaining examples of Oxford and Cambridge. Nothing so fully accords in the spirit with our desires for Princeton."
Dean West's future opponent, Woodrow Wilson, had already expressed a closely related point of view. In December 1902, six months after he had been elected president of Princeton, Wilson said in an address to the alumni, "By the very simple device of building our new buildings in the Tudor Gothic style we seem to have added to Princeton the age of Oxford and Cambridge; we have added a thousand years to the history of Princeton by merely putting those lines in our buildings which point every man's imagination to the historic traditions of learning in the English-speaking race. We have declared and acknowledged our derivation and lineage...and as the imagination...of classes yet to be graduated from Princeton [is] affected by the suggestions of that architecture, we shall find the past of this country married with the past of the world..."
But even though Princeton thus turned for architectural inspiration to Oxford and Cambridge in order to express in traditional terms, albeit from a twentieth century point f view, its new purpose as a residential university in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, nevertheless the collegiate Gothic at Princeton is in many respects not traditional at all. For, as already suggested, many of its characteristics are the direct, if sometimes unconscious, expression of twentieth century tendencies in architecture. One twentieth century characteristic of the collegiate Gothic at Princeton and elsewhere is the emphasis placed on expressing the specific nature and function of each of the materials used. Thus most Princeton Gothic has a "modern" conscious emphasis on the specific qualities of stone masonry, whether on its stoniness, as in the Pyne Library, or on the color and method of laying the stone, as in the random ashlar of Cuyler Hall. As a result, the inherent character of the particular material and method of construction is brought out and even exaggerated in a way that would be highly exceptional in buildings erected under the Tudors. Furthermore, in some of the later buildings, and especially in those whose peculiarly modern programs have little precedent in Tudor England, such as the Engineering Building, the Frick Chemical Laboratory, etc., even the high and picturesque rooflines customary in the Tudor Gothic of Oxford and Cambridge have been abandoned for flat roofs. And while these flat roofs have been used at Princeton primarily as a matter of economy, their appearance would probably not have been acceptable had not Princetonians, like most people of the twentieth century, become somewhat, at least, accustomed to the blocky simplification of form which is so typical of the "abstract" tendencies in contemporary art, tendencies most clearly revealed in the movement known in painting and sculpture as Cubism. This same blockiness of form - encouraged, it is true, by the increasing costliness of Gothic ornament - can likewise be observed in the treatment of the sides and back of the chapel, dedicated in 1928. It is also visible in some of the recent dormitories, which, although they retain the Gothic high roofs, are more simplified and blocky in mass and in the treatment of their wall surfaces. Class of 1901 Hall and Joline Hall, among the last dormitories to be built at Princeton, both illustrate this particularly well, even though ivy now frequently obscures the "cubistic" effect. It should be noted here that this same cubistic tendency is chiefly responsible for one of the most justifiably criticized features of the later dormitories - the smallness of the windows; for lack of light was certainly not characteristic of the actual Tudor Gothic buildings of England in which the area of the windows often equaled or surpassed the area of wall.
Some of the Princeton Gothic buildings, like those of other American universities, can also be justly criticized as sacrificing good interior design to the Gothic picturesqueness of the exterior. But such lack of coordination between exterior and interior is basically not Gothic. It grows partly out of an over-romantic approach to architecture, and partly out of the fact that the twentieth century architect, unlike the architect of the Middle Ages, too often designs entirely in two dimensions on paper, and hence too often forgets that direct relation of the exterior to the interior which is usually so characteristic of medieval Gothic design.
The most significant differences, however, between the collegiate Gothic buildings of Princeton and their prototypes at Oxford and Cambridge are to be found in plan - that is to say, in the horizontal rather than in the vertical dimension. In contrast to the buildings of the Classic tradition - such as Nassau Hall, for example - in which ordered regularity, symmetry, and rigidly axial design customarily dominate the plan., Gothic architecture permits much freer and more organic planning. Consequently, the collegiate Gothic, beneath its more or less archeological dress, can use that freedom to solve the specific needs and express the specific ideals of Princeton University all the more directly because it is unhampered by the formality of Classic design. Indeed, a primary reason why the collegiate Gothic has persisted at Princeton is the same organic and functional freedom which particularly appeals to the modern functional point of view toward architecture, even though it lacks the romantic appeal to nationalism inherent in the revival of Colonial architecture so popular at many American colleges and universities today.
Thus the collegiate Gothic, originally selected as a fashionable style which also best symbolized the general Anglo-Saxon tradition of higher education, could, in plan at least, be more easily adapted than any other past style to express the educational developments and contributions of Princeton University itself. All of these educational developments - and they have all had direct architectural repercussions - have been in some way or other founded upon the traditional Princeton belief in educating the individual as a person. As President Dodds has expressed it, "Princeton must not be deceived by thoughts of `mass' education. Individuals must be educated but not masses." And this point of view in turn implies a close individual relationship between the teacher and each of his pupils, a Princeton tradition going back at least to the time of President Witherspoon, in the words of Dean West: "The only sure way known to history of producing the greatest intellectual man is by bringing the strongest young men into the closest possible contact with great masters...The way Witherspoon formed Madison here...is the way." Only in this way can the student best be given truly liberal education, liberal not merely in its scope - a scope achieved more easily by a university than a college- but liberal also in its emphasis on education for freedom and hence for that responsibility which is always the obverse of freedom. Indeed, it was one aspect of responsibility - that of the individual to the group, to the community, and to society as a whole - which Woodrow Wilson considered so necessary for the free citizens of a republic, and which he had in mind when he spoke of "Princeton in the Nation's Service" at the Sesquicentennial celebration in 1896.
In important respects responsible freedom had been emphasized at Princeton from the very beginning. Even the first charter of the College of New Jersey, granted in 1746, had guaranteed that there would be no discrimination against any student because of his religious beliefs, a point of view then unique in American institutions of higher learning. But it was under James McCosh, the president who first foresaw the rise of Princeton University out of the little College of New Jersey, that there began to develop a much broader point of view regarding the place of freedom and responsibility in a liberal education.
Before McCosh came to Princeton, the undergraduates had been kept under the most austerely rigid discipline. The younger members of the faculty were not only expected to live in the dormitories but to patrol them regularly as proctors, with the inevitable result that every faculty member was looked upon as the natural enemy of the student. In McCosh's presidency, however, these conditions began to change, for while he said "We have a tutor or officer in every building, whose office it is to see that those living there conduct themselves properly," he added, "we have abandoned the spy system, and our officers do not peep in at windows or through keyholes." And this change in point of view became still more marked after Princeton became a university. As a result, in many respects Princeton began to go well beyond Oxford and Cambridge and beyond most American universities in the degree of social freedom and responsibility accorded the individual. The honor system in examinations, for example, finally adopted in 1893, five years after McCosh retired and just three years before the College of New Jersey became Princeton University, has no real counterpart abroad and is found in very few American colleges and universities.
But it is especially in the plans of the Princeton Gothic dormitories, which in fundamental respects are so different from those of the English colleges, that the greater degree of social freedom given to the Princeton student can be seen most clearly. At Oxford and Cambridge the undergraduate must be in his college by midnight, he is frequently under the eye of resident faculty members and especially of the porter; and the quadrangular plans of the English colleges, each with its supervised entrance, directly express the restraint and supervision thus placed upon the goings and comings of each student. At Princeton, on the contrary, the Gothic dormitories are not quadrangles )with the exceptions of Holder Hall and the Graduate College, to be discussed later), but meander pleasantly across the open campus. Few faculty members now live in dormitories and those few are never expected to serve as proctors; there are no directly supervised entrances to campus or dormitories, and the numerous separate entries of the dormitories all open directly on the campus so that each undergraduate can come and go as he pleases.
It is true that dormitories with several completely separate entries had been introduced at Princeton - as in West College, built in 1836 - for disciplinary reasons. The separate entries served to prevent students from gathering in large and riotous numbers to engage in such favorite pastimes as rolling hot cannonballs down long continuous corridors, pastimes permitted by the original plan of Nassau Hall. Indeed, after a fire burned out Nassau Hall in 1855, new intermediate walls were built across that building, too, in order to prevent such practices.
Yet although the multiple-entry system was introduced on the Princeton campus as an aid to discipline, its further development was largely the result of conscious effort to build in the undergraduate that sense of responsible freedom which had become so important a part of Princeton's ideal of education. This latter point of view was already beginning to be reflected in the dormitories built under President McCosh, notably Reunion and Witherspoon Halls, both erected in the 1870's. But it has been given its most complete expression in the collegiate Gothic dormitories in which, only partly under the influence of English precedent, the individual entries were made still smaller and more numerous, so that they could still offer more privacy and freedom to the undergraduate.
As part, too, of the education of the individual for maturity, it was long the rule at Princeton that each undergraduate was to be responsible for furnishing his own dormitory room, and hence was entirely free to furnish it as he might wish. Only lately has this rule been modified in some dormitories, because of the difficulties encountered by individuals in buying furniture during war-time shortages, and also in an effort to reduce the cost. Largely because of the responsibility on the students at Princeton in this and other ways, even the worst-behaved Princeton undergraduates, as any Rhodes scholar will tell you, have rarely approximated the destructiveness of the "binges" so frequent at Oxford and Cambridge despite much closer supervision.
The development of greater social freedom at Princeton was paralleled by the growth of intellectual freedom, and this, too, has been given architectural expression. Before McCosh's time the rigidly prescribed curriculum was required of all students alike, with no allowance for individual tastes and abilities. And it was taught from a relatively narrow point of view by a faculty composed almost exclusively of Presbyterian ministers with no special training in the fields of their teaching. McCosh not only greatly increased the number of able specialists on the faculty, partly by developing graduate studies at Princeton to help train such specialists, but he also greatly increased the number of courses offered. Furthermore, McCosh introduced a partly elective curriculum in which some of the liberty of choice was permitted the individual, and which therefore allowed the student to specialize to a greater degree, though always within a framework of some required subjects for which he was made responsible in order to ensure him a rounded education. For McCosh strongly opposed the free elective system popularized by his contemporary, President Eliot of Harvard, maintaining, in public debates with Eliot, that it destroyed the sense of the unity of knowledge while encourage irresponsibility and lack of mental discipline. Consequently, Princeton never succumbed so completely to the free elective system as did most American universities. And even Harvard itself was eventually to abandon it for a curriculum partly elective, partly required, and based upon a philosophy of education quite comparable to that of McCosh.
In 1905 Wilson introduced the preceptorial method of teaching - still the pride of Princeton's educational system - which, by means of its small instructional groups ideally limited to half a dozen students, brings the individual into much closer intellectual contact with his instructors and fellow students. As a result, a higher degree of responsibility is developed for student and teacher alike, a responsibility useful not only for developing the mind but the character as well. Since its introduction, the preceptorial system has necessarily affected the planning of various buildings because the size and shape of new faculty offices and other rooms in which preceptorials are to be held have been determined very largely by the amount of space requires for a group of six or seven men. the first building to be erected with some rooms specially designed for preceptorial groups was McCosh Hall, completed in 1907, two years after the new system went into effect.
The next major step at Princeton intended to develop the intellectual freedom and responsibility of the individual was the introduction of independent study in a specific field of learning, study culminating in the original thesis now required of each Princeton senior. Foreshadowed in the "honors" courses introduced by a few departments for only a few of their students during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, independent work toward "honors" was first required of all upperclassmen in 1923; and since that time the Princeton honors plan has been widely imitated elsewhere. In 1945 the plan of study at Princeton was once more revised to expand still further into underclass years the advantages of independent work, as well as of the preceptorial system.
All these educational developments have been reflected in the architecture in one way or another. Thus, after the final introduction of independent study in 1923, large numbers of individual carrels were built in the stacks of Pyne Library and of some of the departmental libraries, each carrel being assigned to an upperclassman engaged in preparing, under the personal supervision of a single faculty member, his original thesis on a subject related to the contents of the books on the neighboring shelves. However, the most complete architectural expression of this aspect of Princeton's philosophy of education is to be found in the great new Firestone Library, planned as a "humanistic laboratory" to house not only books but also those departments which are not already housed in their own special buildings. In the new Library these departments (and also some of the interdepartmental programs of study introduced at Princeton in recent years to cut across the barriers of departmental specialization) will each have the studies of its faculty members, its seminar and conference rooms, and its undergraduate carrels all grouped together in a single are to bring students and faculty together in close human relationship around the books in their particular field. In the words of President Dodds the Library is to be a campus workshop "where the three elements of the educational process, students, teachers, and books, can be brought together in intimate contact." And by means of movable partitions the Library will be readily adapted to the future changes that will eventually be necessary as a result of inevitable alterations in the relative size and importance of the different fields of learning.
Hence at Princeton the kind of instruction in large lecture or class groups (which is still almost the sole method of teaching in most American universities, where the student is so often just a number on an examination book to his teachers) is employed only for those particular types of subject matter which can best be taught in this way. Probably more than at any other university, lectures have been largely replaced not only by instruction in small preceptorial and conference groups, but also by personal and friendly contact between teachers and students engaged in the common enterprise of learning. And each of these methods for developing the minds of students and faculty alike, has received at Princeton its own special architectural expression.
Furthermore, the architecture of the campus reflects the fact that Princeton philosophy of education includes much more than just the training of the intellect. Like other universities in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, and unlike most Continental universities, Princeton has come to accept responsibility for developing not only the mind of the student, but his spiritual and physical life as well: for developing, in short, the whole man. Nor is that man now held to be liberally educated unless he has required some understanding of the unity of knowledge as well as a particularly thorough grounding in some specific field or fields of learning. And while Princeton believes that only a university can today provide a sufficiently broad curriculum for complete education, it also maintains that a sense of the unity of knowledge can best be achieved only at a university in which the liberal arts college is the focus of the institution, and is not lost in a welter of miscellaneous and highly specialized graduate schools.
While, as already noted, this Princeton philosophy of education stems chiefly from the Anglo-Saxon tradition of higher learning, it is actually a synthesis of several ideals and traditions, a synthesis in part characteristic of many American universities but in part unique. In origin it can be described as a philosophy in which the medieval education of the clerk, for which universities were originally founded, has been combined with the Renaissance and humanistic ideal of the universal gentleman, trained in body as well as in mind for leadership, an ideal that produced the English college within the university and almost in opposition to it. then, partly out of the medieval tradition but reshaped in the dissenting academies of England came that austere Calvinistic belief in the need for an educated clergy which was so prominent at Princeton until the latter part of the nineteenth century. In addition, out of the aristocratic Renaissance ideal of the gentleman educated for leadership grew the related but more democratic ideal of the well-rounded citizen trained to accept responsibility in his community - an ideal first strongly impressed on American thought by one of Princeton's greatest presidents, John Witherspoon, and reemphasized with new force by another great president, Woodrow Wilson. At Princeton, too, the English tradition of the residential university as the most effective setting for a liberal education has been greatly reinforced by that peculiarly American and romantic belief stemming especially from Thomas Jefferson that the country, not the city, is the best place for educating the future citizens and leaders of a republic.
As a result of this last-mentioned belief, ever since the Calvinistic austerity which had dominated Princeton for so long began to wane in the second half of the nineteenth century, more and more emphasis has been placed on the beauty of the natural setting of the Princeton campus as an important element in the liberal education of Princetonians - an emphasis reflected in Dean West's statement already cited, that "liberal studies...find...their natural home in the peace of rural life." And in connection with this point of view every effort has been made since McCosh's time to increase the natural beauty of the campus at Princeton, a development all the more necessary as the town and its surroundings have gradually become less countrified.
In the eighteenth century - as may be seen in the well-known engraving of 1764 - there were no trees to speak of around the College, and Nassau Hall, standing badly on its gentle eminence, was visible for miles around. While elms were first planted on the front campus during the presidency of James Carnahan (1823-54), it was under President McCosh that the real shift was made away from the austerely Classic symmetry and formality so well illustrated by the plan for the campus drawn by Joseph Henry in 1836 in connection with the campaign to raise money for the original Whig Hall. It was McCosh who was largely responsible for adopting the present park-like "English-garden type of landscaping at Princeton, a type which had originated in England as an expression of the romantic return to nature. In 1869 McCosh suggested to the trustees that a landscape gardener be engaged "to furnish a plan for the improvement of the College." And in his spare time McCosh himself loved to design new paths and select the sites for new buildings, laying out the campus, as he said, "somewhat on the model of the demesnes of English gentlemen." The picturesquely informal kind of collegiate Gothic architecture which fit so well into such a setting. And without stressing the parallel too strongly, it is worth noting that the shift from a rigidly fixed and axial campus plan to the present free and informal layout, was contemporary with the first shift - also made under McCosh's guidance - from the rigidly fixed curriculum of a small Calvinistic college to that of a future university in which a considerable amount of freedom of choice was left to the individual: in short, the same general point of view gave rise to both developments.
But the informal layout of the campus since McCosh's time has certainly not meant that planning has ever been entirely abandoned. It is true that for a long time such planning was mainly by amateurs, including McCosh himself, and was by no means always completely successful. In 1907, however, during Woodrow Wilson's presidency, Ralph Adams Cram was appointed to be the first supervising architect of the University, and soon produced the first really long-range plan for the development of the campus. Thus, just as the curriculum, while still permitting considerable freedom of choice to the individual student, was reorganized under Wilson in accord with a new and far-seeing plan for the future, so also was the campus itself. For as Cram said in a talk to the alumni in 1908: "One of the essential elements in al education is that the students should feel themselves surrounded...by definite...law, from which there is, however, a way out into the broadest and highest freedom. this must absolutely be shown in the material form of the University." But in his zeal for giving material expression to organization and law, Cram went too far when he included a new and rigid major axis running straight back from the center of Nassau Hall between Whig and Clio along great monumental staircases and other highly formal elements, an axis which would largely have destroyed the easy informality and natural charm of the campus. Princetonians, with a better, if partly unconscious, sense of the kind of setting best suited to the ideals of the University and to its collegiate Gothic architecture, rejected this particular feature, even though in other important respects the influence of Cram's plan upon the physical development of the University has been great.
But although Princetonians believe that beautiful architecture in a lovely natural setting is an important element in the process of liberal education, it must be admitted that this point of view has been applied more to the quarters of the students than to the living quarters of the faculty. Indeed, one noted French scholar, Gabriel Millet, on his first visit to Princeton, pointed to Henry Hall and the other neighboring dormitories as he walked up from the railroad station with a Princeton friend, and asked: "These Gothic palaces - what are they?" "That's where the students live," replied his friend. At that point the Frenchman's eyes moved to the row of faculty houses across the street, cramped on its relatively narrow lot, "And what are those simple dwellings?" "Why, that's where members of the faculty live," replied his friend. The Frenchman rolled his eyes and shook his head slowly in amazement: "Quelle chose curieuse!" said he.
But although these houses, like most of the faculty houses at Princeton, have been very cheaply constructed, the architects have managed to achieve surprisingly effective and charming results in spite of the severe limitations imposed upon them. Moreover, it can be said with truth that much more has been done for housing the faculty at Princeton that at either Yale or Harvard, probably because of sheer necessity as the growth of the faculty has at times outstripped the number of houses available in the small town that Princeton still is. the first large faculty housing development was not, however, built by the University itself but was the gift of a generous friend. For when the housing situation became acute after Woodrow Wilson added some fifty "preceptor guys" in 1905, Moses Taylor Pyne formed a company to develop the Broadmead section of Princeton in which, beginning in 1907, a considerable number of single houses were built for the faculty, and at his death in 1921 Pyne bequeathed these to the University. As the faculty gradually grew still larger, more housing became necessary with the result that in 1921 the row of faculty houses mentioned above was erected on College Road near the railroad station, while in 1946 the University set forth a proposal to raise, as part of its third century fund, no less than $2,000,000 for additional faculty housing, now more than ever before considered a major facto in Princeton's future as an educational institution.
To many non-Princetonians who are accustomed to urban universities with departments and graduate schools either scattered widely throughout a city, or jammed together in high buildings on a narrow campus behind a forbidding wall, the pleasant, open and semi-rural aspect of Princeton's architecture has led them to assume, mistakenly enough (and often with some envy), that Princeton University is nothing but a glorified country club. And this assumption has no doubt been further encouraged by the great playing fields and the numerous outdoor sports at Princeton, where - as part of the education of the whole man - that training of body and character encouraged by participation in team sports is considered to be nearly as important as the training of the mind.
Physical education at Princeton really began when the austere and narrow theological point of view which dominated the College at the beginning of the nineteenth century was gradually overthrown by the more liberal point of view introduced by James McCosh, himself a Presbyterian minister. It was in his inaugural address that McCosh first called for the introduction of physical training as a regular part of the curriculum, stating that "every college should have a gymnasium for the body as well as for the mind." As a result of his plea the Bonner-Marquand Gymnasium was immediately presented to the College, built at a cost of $32,000 about where Campbell Hall now stands, and opened for use in 1870. the gymnasium - primitive enough from present-day standards, particularly in its lack of ventilation - was considered one of the best of its times and an important addition to the College. The only previous gymnasium had been a simple wooden shack, erected behind West College in 1859 with the munificent sum of $984 subscribed by students and faculty, but this was intentionally destroyed six years later after a tramp suffering from smallpox had slept there. The Bonner-Marquand Gymnasium was the first college building at Princeton to be designed with even primitive bathing facilities, which in this instance consisted of two tin tubs. Its director, George Goldie, whom McCosh called "the most accomplished gymnast in America," and who was one of the first teachers of physical training at any college, was still in charge of physical education at Princeton, when, in 1903, a great new gymnasium - destroyed by fire in 1944 - was erected on the site now occupied by the Dillon Gymnasium.
Meanwhile, interest in outdoor sports steadily increased and many playing fields for these sports were developed, most of them after Princeton became a university in 1896. the quadrangle behind Nassau Hall and, later, a hilly field southwest of Clio Hall had long been the only playing grounds. Then the town field at the foot of Chambers Street was used for baseball until 1876 when University Filed was aquired by the University Hotel Company. the company used part of the land for a vegetable garden and rented the rest to the Baseball Association for a nominal fee until 1888 when the field was transferred to the trustees of the College. A track was early laid out there, and for many years University Field was also used for varisty football games before the Palmer Stadium was built in 1914.
In 1895 the Princeton Golf Club was founded by friends of the College, and when, about 1900, the present eighteen-hole course was laid out, it was considered the finest college course in the country. As the campus expanded to the south, other playing fields were developed as part of the campus itself, the first being Brokaw Field, given by the alumni in 1893 "for the benefit of undergraduates who are not members of university teams." However, most of the playing fields at the southern end of the campus have been laid out since Princeton became a University, and particularly since 1914 when Goldie Field was first opened.
Many other athletic facilities were developed for both intramural and intercollegiate athletics. Although a tennis club was founded in 1882, it used the courts of the town club at the foot of Chambers Street until the first formal courts on the campus were laid out back of Brown Hall in 1895. In 1906 the Millstone River was damned at the expense of Andrew Carnegie to form Carnegie Lake, which has added so greatly to the beauty of Princeton. And the lake finally made it possible for Princeton to engage regularly in intercollegiate rowing, after a previous valiant attempt in the '70's, when the present canoe house was built on the canal as a boathouse, had petered out because of the inadequacy of the canal for training purposes. It is significant that Woodrow Wilson was not satisfied with Carnegie's gift, for during his presidency he especially emphasized the intellectual needs of the University (and thereby eventually aroused the opposition of many alumni who felt, rightly or wrongly, that he did so at the expense of the Princeton tradition of the well-rounded man). Hence, when on a later occasion Wilson pressed Andrew Carnegie to contribute to the endowment of the university, and Carnegie said, "But I have already given a lake to the Princeton," Wilson is said to have retorted, "We needed bread and you gave us cake." In the light of Wilson's retort it is not surprising to find that, during his administration, no intercollegiate races were allowed in the Lake. Nor were any of the major structures for specialized sports or other extracurricular activities at Princeton erected during his presidency. the Brokaw swimming pool was opened in 1896 in the administration of his predecessor, President Patton, while the Class of 1887 Boathouse built in 1913, the Palmer Stadium (1914), the Baker Rink (1923), and the McCarter Theatre (1929) were all erected under his successor, John Grier Hibben.
However, it was Wilson who particularly reemphasized the Princeton tradition, first firmly established in the eighteenth century by President Witherspoon, that a major aim of Princeton education is to produce individuals trained to take their responsible place as citizens in a democratic society. As a part of their education, therefore, each undergraduate and graduate student at Princeton has long been expected to take a responsible and loyal place within the closely-knit student body. To foster such solidarity Princeton has always been limited to men only, and is proud of the fact that, unlike Yale and Harvard, it is one of the relatively few American universities which have never succumbed in any way to coeducation, believing that adequate social contact with the other sex is best achieved as an extracurricular activity. Moreover, since 1922 the enrollment has been limited so that "Princeton spirit" and "class spirit" can be more easily maintained, not just as ends in themselves, but as elements contributing to a compact student community and hence to that education of the well-rounded individual as a member of that community.
It was primarily on this account that Woodrow Wilson's "quad plan," proposed in 1907, was so bitterly and successfully opposed by many alumni, for they felt that the division of the undergraduate body into "quads" (or complete residential quadrangles each directly modeled on the English colleges of Oxford and Cambridge) was an artificial division when imposed on a compact American college, and one which would inevitably tend to destroy both class spirit and Princeton spirit and thereby to disintegrate the social solidarity of the student body. Although Wilson himself had proposed the plan primarily as a device for improving the intellectual life of the campus, he increasingly came to believe that it was necessary also for preserving the democratic unity of the undergraduate body which he felt was being destroyed by the increasing number of upperclass eating clubs. Said he, "The only ways in which the social life of the undergraduate can be prevented from fatally disordering and perhaps even strangling the academic life of the university is by the actual absorption of the social life into the academic." To which his opponents retorted that he was not only destroying the very social solidarity he sought to preserve, but was also interfering with the liberty of each student to choose his own friends and thereby attacking the Princeton tradition of the freedom of the individual. Thus, paradoxically enough, the arguments of both sides in the dispute were based on much the same Princeton traditions.
The opposition proved to be so strong that the quad plan was soon shelved, although its influence is to some degree reflected in the quadrangular plan of Holder Hall, which was completed in 1910 and which more closely imitates the spirit of an English college than any other Princeton dormitory. However, the chief influence of the quad plan was to be felt over twenty years later, not at Princeton but in the "houses" of Harvard and in the "colleges" of Yale. For some solution of this kind had become imperative at both Cambridge and New Haven to give at least a partial coherence to undergraduate life which was being swallowed up not only by the two surrounding cities but by the ever-increasing number of specialized graduate schools.
One of Wilson's best friends on the faculty at Princeton, John Grier Hibben, has strongly opposed the quad plan because he felt that it involved too fundamental a change and might unfavorably affect the traditional solidarity of the student body at Princeton. But he had heartily approved when, early in 1906, Wilson had established for the freshman eating-clubs a commons in University Hall, the former somewhat ramshackle hotel and dormitory which then stood on the corner of Nassau Street and University Place. And when, two years later, after the quad plan had failed of adoption, a sophomore commons was also organized, Hibben approved again. However, University Hall was obviously inadequate and in February 1912, one month after he had been elected to succeed Wilson as president, Hibben strongly emphasized in an address to the alumni the need for a new group of dining halls, plans for which had first been published in the Alumni Weekly during the preceding June. Said Hibben: "It is because of the possibility which our seclusion affords of developing the intimate relations and associations of our campus life where the undergraduates in daily intercourse have a common round of duties and of pleasures that we have been able to develop an ideal democratic community." To preserve this democratic spirit he called for a "University Club or Commons Hall, I do not care what name you give to it, so long as it serves the purpose of a central home for our university family." Through his efforts the last necessary funds were raised, and Madison Hall, as the great group of dining halls is known, was completed in 1917, and there are all underclassmen still take their meals. Most of those upperclassmen who did not join clubs also ate in the dining halls until, in 1936, the University took over the Gateway Club for their benefit.
After the Marquand Chapel, built in 1881, burned in the spring of 1920, it was President Hibben who was primarily responsible for securing the great new Chapel, second in size only to that of Kin's College at Cambridge. Hibben, like all of his predecessors except Woodrow Wilson, was an ordained minister. To him the new Chapel was an important symbol of the religious spirit which from the beginning had been considered a necessary factor in liberal education at Princeton. furthermore, the Chapel at Princeton (a college and university always non-sectarian by charter, even though long under the patronage and influence of the Presbyterian Church) has ever symbolized that unity of the student body which transcends religious difference, for the Chapel has long been the one place where the students as a group have regularly gathered together. And while, as President Hibben wished, the requirements for Chapel attendance were made less strict than ever before, nevertheless, to him it was the most important symbol of unity at Princeton.
Toward the end of his term of office President Hibben came to believe that a "university center" in addition to the Chapel and dining halls, a center open to all members of the university community alike, was necessary as a further focus for the social life of the campus and as a remedy for possible undemocratic tendencies in the upperclass clubs. Although his last report to the board of the trustees called this one of the two chief needs of the University - the other being a new library - Hibben's university center was never built. Nevertheless, during the Second World War when the dining halls were completely occupied by servicemen, Dodge Hall, erected in 1900 to house the social service activities on the campus, was made into a center for undergraduates, and has since continued to be used in that capacity. Thus the dining halls. the University Gateway Club, and the campus center in Dodge Hall have been the answers actually made at Princeton to the problems which Woodrow Wilson had sought to answer by means of the quad plan.
Wilson's quad plan had probably drawn its inspiration not only directly from the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge as suggested above, but also from the original plans for the proposed new Graduate College which likewise were based on English precedent. these original plans were prepared for the trustees by the firm of Cope and Stewardson in connection with the Sesquicentennial celebration, and with the strong approval of Professor Andrew F. West. During the celebration ceremonies President Patton had stressed the great need for the Graduate College, which then was to form a quadrangle located north of McCosh Walk on and beyond the site now occupied by McCosh Hall. During the following year the designs were published in the book entitled Plans and Sketches of the New Buildings Erected or Proposed for Princeton University, a book prepared largely under West's guidance. the statement accompanying the plans said, "There is today no projected institution or foundation of so much importance to Princeton as the Graduate College. It has been made the subject of a special memorial addressed to the trustees by the faculty of the University, and has been adopted by the trustees as the project of the highest importance for Princeton's university development." The proposed building was to be in the collegiate gothic style because "the consideration that Princeton is not a city but a quiet old academic town had weight, and for this no style presented so many advantages as the historic collegiate Gothic of Oxford and Cambridge."
With statements such as these, which carried further the traditional Princeton philosophy of education, Woodrow Wilson was in hearty agreement. In 1902, when Wilson delivered his inaugural address as president of the University, he, too, had called for this new Graduate College. And he emphasized the fact that it was to be located at "the very heart, the geographical heart of the university," for he believed that, as at Oxford and Cambridge, the undergraduates would be inspired to greater intellectual effort by the presence of more advance and mature students in their midst.
However, Wilson's interest shifted to the development of the preceptorial method of instruction, with the result that in 1905 it was decided to build McCosh Hall, designed in part to house the preceptorial system, on the site formerly set aside for the Graduate college. As time passed, Dean West became convinced that Wilson was intentionally delaying the project for the Graduate College; and after Wilson proposed the quad plan, a bitter dispute arose between the two men and their respective adherents. West now insisted on a site away from the main campus, partly, no doubt, out of a desire to be as independent of Wilson as possible. But he also undoubtedly had come to feel that a Graduate College designed as a completely separate and compact quadrangle was highly necessary in order to help give that sense of intellectual and social solidarity - so important an element in a Princeton education - to a body of graduate students who were gathered from many very different institutions and who were specializing in a wide variety of fields. For without such solidarity West believed, that, as at most other universities, the graduate students would tend to become narrow and isolated specialists unable to profit by a liberal education.
After a long and complicated dispute in which many sites for the proposed College were discussed, Wilson's final choice was the area between '79 Hall and "Prospect," across from McCosh Walk from the site originally proposed. Meanwhile West's choice and that of his friends, Grover Cleveland, chairman of the trustees' committee on the Graduate School shifted from "Merwick"(a former private estate on Bayard Lane where a provisional Graduate College had been installed since 1905) to the site on the golf links where the Graduate College stands today. In 1910, just as Wilson seemed to have won, Isaac Wyman, Class of 1948, died leaving to the Graduate a sum thought - mistakenly - to be at least $2,000,000 with West as an executor of the will. Wilson gave up and a few months later resigned to run for governor of New Jersey. The Graduate College, built overlooking the golf course in accordance with West's specifications, was opened in 1913 with the Cleveland Memorial Tower, President Cleveland's national memorial, as part of the design. It was the first residential college in America devoted solely to the higher liberal studies.
But although Wilson and West had disagreed on the location of the Graduate College, it is too often forgotten that in certain major respects they were in agreement as to what the nature of a university should be. Both of them believed in emphasizing the unity of knowledge, and believed in the liberal arts as the focus on which such unity must center. Consequently, for them both the best architectural expression of a university involved a single compact campus for the liberal arts college and a single compact campus for the liberal arts college and a single compact residential graduate college devoted to the arts and sciences: an ideal sharply different from that of so many sprawling American and Continental universities whose frequently uncoordinated schools, departments, and campuses are often scattered through a large city, and whose students in many cases commute daily from widely scattered homes and thereby lose the advantages of close association with university life. Furthermore, as already indicated, both Wilson and West felt that a single architectural style was necessary to express this unity, and chose the collegiate Gothic as best expressing Princeton's belief in the Anglo-Saxon tradition of the residential university.
Osgood, Charles., et al;. 1947. The Modern Princeton. Princeton University Press