October 9, 2002: From the Archives
This fall PAW will feature excerpts from Elizabeth Greenberg 02s senior thesis about Princeton rituals and student traditions. Greenberg, who hopes to turn her thesis into a book, seeks further anecdotes and memories from PAWs readers. What activities constituted the Cane Spree when you were an undergraduate? How did you make a mark on this tradition? E-mail Greenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to her c/o PAW. To learn more about her project, go to www.princeton.edu/paw.
Cane Spree In 1865 freshmen were not allowed to carry gentlemens canes; this privilege was reserved for sophomores and upperclassmen. One evening, when impudent freshmen were strolling on Nassau Street with their carved sticks, sophomores attempted to seize the canes, and a small riot erupted. Within several years, the behavior became formalized into an annual battle between the two classes. Selected representatives would fight for possession of a cane, after which entire classes would participate in a rush. By the mid-1930s, one goal of this giant melee was the removal of the rival classs clothing. After World War II, the Cane Spree competition was managed by the Department of Athletics.