Initially known as the Stafford Little Lectureship
on Public Affairs, the fund was "[f]ounded in 1899
with a gift of $10,000 by Henry Stafford Little of the
Class of 1844, who suggested that Grover Cleveland,
ex-President of the United States, be invited to deliver
before the students of the University 'such lectures
as he might be disposed to give from year to year.'
Mr. Cleveland was the Stafford Little lecturer until
his death in 1908." Between 1954-1955 and 1970-1971,
the Committee on Public Lectures expressed an intent
to use this fund to address topics in the "general
area of the social sciences."
Lecturers have included Theodore Roosevelt on "National
Strength and International Duty" (1917-1918); Albert
Einstein on "The Meaning of Relativity" (1920-1921);
Henry L. Stimson on "Democracy and Nationalism
in Europe" (1933-1934);
Arnold Shoenberg on "Twelve-tone music composition"
Thurgood Marshall on "The
Constitutional Rights of the Negro" (1963-1964);
and Gunnar Myrdal on "The Racial Crises in the
United States in Historical Perspective" (1969-1970).
A lawyer by profession, Little was active in New Jersey
politics and was the first president of the New York
and Long Branch Railroad Company. According to Dean
Andrew West, Princeton "took the place of the wife,
home, and children he never had." He died, greatly
mourned, in 1904.