The Making of Princeton University: From Woodrow Wilson to the Present

James L. Axtell

Published by Princeton University Press, 2006
ISBN 10: 0691126860 / ISBN 13: 9780691126869
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In 1902, Professor Woodrow Wilson took the helm of Princeton University, then a small denominational college with few academic pretensions. But Wilson had a blueprint for remaking the too-cozy college into an intellectual powerhouse. The Making of Princeton University tells, for the first time, the story of how the University adapted and updated Wilson's vision to transform itself into the prestigious institution it is today.


James Axtell brings the methods and insights from his extensive work in ethnohistory to the collegiate realm, focusing especially on one of Princeton's most distinguished features: its unrivaled reputation for undergraduate education. Addressing admissions, the curriculum, extracurricular activities, and the changing landscape of student culture, the book devotes four full chapters to undergraduate life inside and outside the classroom.


The book is a lively warts-and-all rendering of Princeton's rise, addressing such themes as discriminatory admission policies, the academic underperformance of many varsity athletes, and the controversial "bicker" system through which students have been selected for the University's private eating clubs.


Written in a delightful and elegant style, The Making of Princeton University offers a detailed picture of how the University has dealt with these issues to secure a distinguished position in both higher education and American society. For anyone interested in or associated with Princeton, past or present, this is a book to savor.

From the Inside Flap:

"How did a small men's college in a quiet town grow to become one of the world's great universities? James Axtell's insightful, comprehensive, and compelling account of the last century of Princeton explores this question through unique methods. The Making of Princeton University is different from the best of institutional histories. Axtell tells the story of Princeton in the round; not just the presidents and trustees, but faculty, students, staff, academics, social life, sports, artistic life, admissions, and alumni."--John Milton Cooper, University of Wisconsin


"I know of no recent piece of work like this in terms of its in-depth command of its material, its success in contextualizing content about one university, and its readability. A terrific accomplishment."--William Bowen, President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and former president of Princeton University


"A wonderful read. Anyone who reads this book, from well-informed insiders, who like myself have experienced nearly half of the story, to interested outsiders, will give the author the highest marks for meticulous scholarship and vigorous writing."--Robert Tignor, Princeton University


"The Making of Princeton University is the product of prodigious scholarship, graceful prose, and insight into many of the less appreciated corners of university life. Those who scorn traditional institutional history will heap praise on this book."--Roger Geiger, Pennsylvania State University


"Axtell forges a new genre. He is the first to have written an anthropologically informed history of a university as an intellectual center. This book is an exciting contribution to the history of higher education."--Bruce Leslie, SUNY College, Brockport, and Wolfson College, University of Cambridge


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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Making of Princeton University: From ...
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: 2006
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Acceptable

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2006. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1902, Professor Woodrow Wilson took the helm of Princeton University, then a small denominational college with few academic pretensions. But Wilson had a blueprint for remaking the too-cozy college into an intellectual powerhouse. The Making of Princeton University tells, for the first time, the story of how the University adapted and updated Wilson s vision to transform itself into the prestigious institution it is today. James Axtell brings the methods and insights from his extensive work in ethnohistory to the collegiate realm, focusing especially on one of Princeton s most distinguished features: its unrivaled reputation for undergraduate education. Addressing admissions, the curriculum, extracurricular activities, and the changing landscape of student culture, the book devotes four full chapters to undergraduate life inside and outside the classroom. The book is a lively warts-and-all rendering of Princeton s rise, addressing such themes as discriminatory admission policies, the academic underperformance of many varsity athletes, and the controversial bicker system through which students have been selected for the University s private eating clubs. Written in a delightful and elegant style, The Making of Princeton University offers a detailed picture of how the University has dealt with these issues to secure a distinguished position in both higher education and American society. For anyone interested in or associated with Princeton, past or present, this is a book to savor. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780691126869

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