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John and Robb Carson Letters

The correspondence to their parents cover the period 1903-1908. The collection also contains undated and partially dated letters. The bulk of the letters were written from 1903 to 1907 when Robb and John were undergraduates at Princeton. A smaller portion of letters were written by John when he was an Electrical Engineering graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston and Princeton University from 1907 to 1908. John and Robb also wrote to their parents from Chautaugua, New York (July 1903) and Schenectady, New York (letters undated). The collection also contains nine postcards.Some of the letters convey a good sense of the issues and circumstances which shaped student life at Princeton University during a time of change.The letters from the academic year of 1903 and 1904 contain the most detail about the relationship between Freshmen and Sophomore students. A letter dated December 4, 1903, reveals some of the ways Sophomores “horse” the Freshmen. A discussion of the “expulsion of students” resulting from a cheating scandal is discussed in letters of February 6 and 7, 1904. Sophomores “horsing” of Freshmen involved a variety of initiation activities. Throwing bags of flour on Freshmen when they were having their class picture taken and being “ambushed” by Sophomores with snowballs as they crossed campus are but two of the many “horsing” rituals. In his February 10th, 1904 letter John relates how students reacted when they found out Robb and he were twins. The lifting of Freshmen restrictions and the number of “students flunked” after mid terms are discussed in a letter of February 21, 1904. A reaction to President Wilson's new policies and the preceptorial system can be seen in letters of May 1, 1904 and February 23 and 28, 1905. There are two letters from friends which are in response to invitations by John and Robb.