What: As President Obama campaigns, it’s been 60 years since another Illinois liberal with an odd-sounding name and an egghead reputation first was the Democratic nominee for president: Adlai Stevenson ’22, who faced off against Dwight Eisenhower. Relics from Stevenson’s campaign, including the magazine covers and other items above, are in Mudd Library.
The 1952 race was a campaign for the ages: The Cold War and McCarthyism were in full force; “I like Ike” made for a catchy slogan; and Republican vice presidential nominee Sen. Richard Nixon foreshadowed the political value of television with his emotional “Checkers” speech, vowing to keep the pooch that his children loved so well.
Seldom has Princeton’s campus seen so many politicos. On the left, there were speeches by Estes Kefauver and Norman Thomas 1905; on the right, by Harold Stassen, Bill Buckley, John F. Dulles 1908, and Nixon (who warned at the Battle Monument of the Red menace amid what the Prince called “considerable heckling”). Tigers drove to Trenton to hear President Harry Truman and Eisenhower, too. Stevenson (once “Rabbit” to his fellow staffers on the Prince) did not visit campus, although he had pre-ordered tickets to the Harvard game.
A Prince poll showed that 67 percent of faculty supported Stevenson, but only 27 percent of undergrads. Following his landslide defeat, Stevenson next visited campus in 1954 to deliver an inspiring address to the senior class in Dillon Gym.
What: Adlai Stevenson Papers, Princeton University Archives