How the Tiger Got Striped:
Ever Present (and Changing)
Princeton Traditions and Customs
We Are All Guardians of Princeton Traditions
Princeton, as the late Fred Fox '39
are things that you can't buy. It's like a reputation, you can't
buy a reputation, you have to earn it.
But traditions have to keep growing, and they have to keep fresh.
I like to describe tradition as a river, not a wall. A wall is
a rigid thing-- firm, you can never move it. But a river, although
the course stays the same, the water is always new. If it isn't,
it's stagnant, and then the tradition becomes a burden.
For generations of Princetonians, Fred Fox
'39 was a tireless source of inspiration and knowledge for all
manner of University Traditions. Indeed, he liked to be known
as The Keeper of Princetoniana. Not, The Guardian of Princeton's
traditions, for in his own words, "Every trustee, faculty
member, administrator, student, alumnus, and groundskeeper is
a guardian of our traditions."
In days of old, when this country and this
University were still young, many of the Princeton traditions
we now take for granted did not exist. Indeed, the history of
this University and its many customs, rituals, and traditions
has been ever-evolving throughout our history.
Through more than 250 years of its history, Princeton has enjoyed
a remarkable number of endearing and enduring traditions. But
as the following will indicate, many of these traditions are not
chiseled in stone, but rather, they are initiated, perpetuated
and modified by succeeding generations.
The Princetoniana Committee of the Alumni Council was established
"for the purposes of preservation, appreciation, and dissemination
of the campus traditions, artifacts, and lore." Through
the efforts of this volunteer committee, alumni have begun several
projects to insure that part of Princeton's past are made more
visible and accessible for all.
What follows is an introduction:
is an ancient Faculty,
most ancient in renown
That rules an ancient college built in an ancient college town
The town is in the inland, far from ye ancient sea
About the middle of the state of New Jer-see
We spend four years in studey, and we go with startling speed
On the precious little pony, which he who rides must read
If we get through our finals, we take the proud degree
Of "Baccalaureus Artium" in New Jer-see
Kenneth Clark, Class of 1905
Before we examine some of our historic traditions, we should also
Might Have Been
Had history been different, we might be discussing
a college in Elizabeth, New Jersey, named after a Colonial era
Gov. Jonathan Belcher
Or, even if after it became "situated,
celebrated" as Princeton University, that same college might
have had a lion as a mascot. [see Tiger
for this tale.]
And our school colors could have been
Orange and Blue
Cheers and Songs
Nassau..the Lyrics as well as Old
Nassau, Its Origins. An audio file is also available, featuring many campus singing groups.
Additional background may be found
thanks to Firestone and Seeley Mudd Library's Online Music collection
Classic Princeton Music.
- Tiger Rag   That great, great instrumental, thrilling Tigers (and others, too) everywhere for generations. Toe-tapping rhythms, soaring clarinets, and driving beat. And now it is official-- as we always knew-- designated by none other than the U.S. Library of Congress as part of the first
National Recording Registry . According to the Library of Congress, "the first recordings of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band initiated a craze for the new art form, jazz."
Orange and the Black, as sung by the late Hubert Alyea '24. [see Alyea, below, as well]
A version of this song can be seen as
Streaming Video, or downloaded either as Quicktime (file size= 9,355K) or Real Media (file size= 6,627K).
- Many Other Princeton Songs-
To listen to recorded versions of other traditional Princeton songs, visit the
Princeton Tunes pages of the Princeton University Marching Band-- one of the best online collections for this music, also providing links to lyrics and purchase information about recordings.
Pieces of Tradition
Traditions & Campus Changes
Legends, Lore, and Great Historic Figures