“The purposes of the evening”

On January 29, 1981, Princeton President William G. Bowen (*1958) joined Leonard Firestone (’1931) for a luxurious evening. Firestone, an heir to the fortune amassed through the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, and his wife Nicki met Bowen at Pebble Beach, the California golf resort. The party then flew to Los Angeles, where Leonard hosted an alumni fundraising dinner at the Firestone Room of the California Club.[1]

“Only that morning,” Bowen noted upon his return, Nicki and Leonard had learned devastating news. Peter Firestone (’1962), their 40-year-old nephew, was dead of meningitis.[2]

“Both of them were terribly shocked and saddened,” Bowen recorded, “but they did remarkably well in preventing this family tragedy from distracting them from the purposes of the evening.”[3]

Bowen was on a mission: to convince the Firestones, who had financed Princeton’s world-class library nearly forty years prior, to keep giving. By the time they landed in Los Angeles, Bowen had, “needless to say,” done “everything I could to stress the importance of the Library and the critical need for [Leonard’s] continuing support.”[4]

Peter’s death emboldened Bowen’s efforts. In a thank-you note five days later, he told Nicki and Leonard it would be “splendid” if they funded “an appropriate memorial to Peter.”[5] The next year, the family gave $250,000 to establish the Peter S. Firestone ’62 Common Room in Rockefeller College. A dutiful Bowen welcomed “this warm and generous support from the Firestone family.”[6]

Bowen’s ploy in California had succeeded. “[T]he only problem,” he recalled, “was that, in the nature of things, it took some time to serve the dinner.”[7]

Bowen’s fond remembrance disguised the sordid truth: for more than five decades, the Firestone Company had exploited, oppressed, and perpetrated violence on Black laborers in the West African nation of Liberia. The family’s wealth depended upon what historian Gregg Mitman calls “a plantation world,” where brutal tactics coerced Liberian laborers to tap rubber, white physicians experimented on Black subjects, and the segregationist racism of Jim Crow reigned supreme.[8]

The wealth that the Firestone Company drained from Liberia made Princeton one of the world’s foremost research universities. In 1944, the Firestone family gave $1 million to build the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library, which today remains the academic heart of campus.[9] Even while the pall of economic depression hung heavy and World War II still raged, the Firestones paved the way for Princeton’s postwar ascent.

Firestone Library condensed

The Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library on Princeton's main campus, with a statue of Princeton President John Witherspoon in the foreground.

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Firestone Library was only the crowning gift in a relationship that spanned decades. Between 1920 and 1981, Harvey Firestone Sr. and his descendants—at least eleven of whom attended Princeton—donated to the University more than 150 times.[10] Firestone money touched every aspect of Princeton, from bookshelves to barbells, chapel pews to chemical pipettes.[11]

Donations flowed from the Company itself, Firestone family members, and a bevy of philanthropic entities, including the Firestone Foundation. By 1970, the Firestones had lavished the University with upwards of $3.58 million and pledged at least $1.3 million more.[12] Adjusted for inflation, their contributions to that point exceeded $39 million.[13]

Large though they were, even those figures may strike us as trifling today, when Princeton nets donations in the hundreds of millions. But Princeton’s astronomical wealth in the 21st century cannot be divorced from Firestone’s fortune in the 20th. The family’s leverage was not lost on President Robert F. Goheen (’1940), Bowen’s predecessor. “While the University grows and changes,” he wrote to Harvey S. Firestone Jr. (’1920) in 1967, “our gratitude for your loyalty never changes, it only grows.”[14]

Three years later, Princeton faced “an acute financial crisis,” precipitated by a national recession and inflation.[15] Goheen told The New York Times that Princeton risked a deficit of $2.5 million; the endowment threatened to dip below $400 million.[16] At a moment that found Princeton vulnerable, past and pledged Firestone gifts totaled $4.89 million. Three generations of the Firestone family had given or pledged more than a dollar of every one hundred in Princeton’s endowment.

By 1970, three generations of the Firestone family had given or pledged more than a dollar of every one hundred in Princeton’s endowment.

Princeton’s indebtedness to Firestone entwines Nassau Hall in the Company’s record of white supremacy. A century after slavery ended in the United States, Princeton continued to profit from the system of forced labor that Firestone devised in Liberia. The story of Firestone, Liberia, and Princeton reveals how racist exploitation entangled and enriched Nassau Hall through the 20th century. To implicate Princeton only in antebellum U.S. slavery ignores the bloody harvest that Firestone sowed and Princeton reaped.

Firestone donations thumbnail

Donations made to Princeton by corporate vehicles and members of the Firestone family, 1920–1982.

This table has been reconstituted across multiple sources, most of which date from the 1960s. The few donations listed after 1970 do not necessarily signify a decrease in Firestone support, but rather reflect the archival material available to the author.

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Firestone in Liberia

“Liberia is not faultless,” the Pan-Africanist scholar and renowned activist W. E. B. Du Bois wrote in 1933.[17] “But her chief crime,” he continued, “is to be black and poor in a rich, white world; and in precisely that portion of the world where color is ruthlessly exploited as a foundation for American and European wealth.”[18] Liberia’s punishment, Du Bois argued, was to suffer the Firestone Company’s depravations.[19]

In 1926, Harvey Firestone Sr. wrested from the Liberian government a 99-year lease over one million acres, roughly ten percent of the country’s arable land.[20] The concession, secured in collusion with the U.S. State Department, authorized the Ohio-based Firestone Tire & Rubber Company to cultivate millions of rubber trees.[21] In a country founded upon Black freedom, the Firestone rubber plantation became—and remains today—“the largest single natural rubber operation in the world.”[22]

Princeton’s entanglements with Liberia preceded Firestone’s by more than a century. In 1816, a cadre of Princeton-educated ministers and politicians created the American Colonization Society, which sought to relocate emancipated Black Americans to Africa.[23] The ACS established Liberia as a settler colony in 1822. The Society’s white founders hoped that free Black communities, which they perceived as a threat to U.S. slaveholder interests, would spread Christian civilization in West Africa.[24] When Liberia declared independence a quarter-century later, more than 10,000 formerly enslaved Americans had emigrated to Liberia through the ACS.[25]

A century later, the ACS championed Firestone’s arrival in Liberia.[26] Just as white proponents of colonization envisioned Liberia’s Black American founders subduing and edifying the nation’s Indigenous communities, their successors trusted a white U.S. corporation to bring progress.[27] Paternalistic racism underpinned Firestone’s pursuit of profit in Liberia, which Harvey Sr. described as “a child of the United States.”[28] The Company, the industrialist’s biographer would boast in 1951, had brought to “this backward land” “[m]odern plantation standards for thousands of natives only a drumbeat removed from primitive existence.”[29]

Drawing inspiration from the antebellum U.S. South, the Firestone Company created, in the words of historian Ibrahim Sundiata, “its own white imperium in the Black Republic.”[30] The plantation amounted to a network of forced labor camps. Firestone claimed that its food subsidies, healthcare, and education system gave Liberian workers—who tapped rubber up to 11 hours a day, 26 days a month—all they needed.[31] In reality, the Company exploited their labor and controlled their lives.[32]

As early as 1928, Raymond Leslie Buell (*1920, *1923), who taught at Harvard after receiving his M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton, concluded that the Company was committing grave abuses. Given that the U.S. State Department and Firestone had gained terms “manifestly unfavorable” to the West African nation, Buell warned that “conditions in Liberia” made “forced labor almost inevitable.”[33] He argued that Firestone’s carte blanche surpassed even the impunity enjoyed by colonial powers, which were at least “responsible to European opinion” and “subject to some form of restraint.”[34]

Firestone’s plantation project began with the forcible removal of Indigenous Bassa communities.[35] Firestone envisioned a workforce of 350,000—by Buell’s estimate, the total male population of Liberia.[36] The Company trusted Liberia’s powerbrokers to fill quotas that could never be met voluntarily.[37] The government violently relocated thousands of workers, dozens of whom were recorded to have perished.[38] Firestone sparked diplomatic scandal in 1926, when white staff, including a medical researcher from Harvard, beat a Liberian chauffeur.[39]

Two years later, prominent Black nationalist Marcus Garvey alerted the League of Nations that Firestone treated its Liberian laborers as “virtual slaves.”[40] Firestone, Garvey wrote, was “against the best interests of Liberia, and the natives thereof, and the Negro race at large, for whom the Republic of Liberia was intended.”[41]

The scathing criticism from Buell, Garvey, and others panicked Firestone and the State Department, which devised a “preemptive strike” against Liberia.[42] U.S. diplomats alleged that Liberia was practicing slavery—a charge that scandalized the world’s second-oldest Black republic.[43] Spurred by U.S. complaints, the League of Nations investigated the allegations. The League found Liberia’s Black political elite guilty of forced labor and other practices akin to slavery, including coercing laborers to work at the Firestone plantation.[44] The League vindicated the Company of wrongdoing, finding “no evidence that the Firestone Plantations Company consciously employs any but voluntary labour on its leased plantations.”[45]

The white supremacy of former Princeton and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson (’1879) loomed large in the League’s conclusions. Although the U.S. never joined the League, it was Wilson who designed its terms of membership. Political scientists such as Adom Getachew have argued that the League’s Wilsonian structure disadvantaged non-European member states, including Liberia.[46] Wilson’s design, Getachew argues, led the League to champion white capital, exemplified by Firestone, at Liberia’s expense.[47]

Though the League absolved Firestone, conditions on the plantation recalled the U.S. South before abolition. Tapping latex, the most important ingredient in natural rubber, was grueling and dangerous work. Each laborer covered some 300 trees daily. Upon finishing, laborers shouldered two brimming pails of latex, a load that could exceed one hundred pounds.[48] Until 1950, the Company paid tappers 18 cents per day—“a wage rate,” historian Gregg Mitman writes, “less than half of what unskilled laborers earned across much of colonial West Africa and 1 percent of what a factory worker earned in Firestone’s Akron, Ohio, plant.”[49] Buell’s nightmare had come to pass.

Tapper Buckets

Workers carry buckets of latex at a Firestone plantation near Cavalla, Liberia, in 1966.

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The Company’s abuses in Liberia were not an anomaly. Racism pulsed through the corporation that Harvey Firestone Sr. built within the United States. The Company’s housing development outside of Akron, Ohio, barred Black residents.[50] Firestone’s Akron factory almost exclusively employed white workers. While the Company assimilated European immigrants into an American myth of whiteness, it reserved the lowest-paying and most dangerous roles for African American workers.[51]

Likewise, the rules of Jim Crow segregation governed the plantation’s hospitals, schools, and social spaces.[52] By the late 1940s, fewer than 200 white Firestone managers oversaw more than 25,000 Liberian laborers.[53] The Company’s white staff enjoyed amenities, such as a nine-hole golf course and social club, that barred anyone of African descent, including Liberian dignitaries.[54] Not until 1958 could Liberia overcome Firestone’s opposition and pass legislation that outlawed segregation within its borders.[55] Nonetheless, Firestone refused to desegregate the plantation’s schools—four years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled school segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education.[56]

To combat the risks that infectious disease posed to the plantation’s productivity, the Firestone Company embraced medical racism.[57] In 1931, the year Leonard Firestone graduated from Princeton, the Company administered plasmoquine, a potentially lethal antimalarial, to more than 250 plantation residents, including children.[58] Medical staff claimed the Liberian subjects showed no adverse effects.[59] The Company’s research institute for tropical medicine, which Harvey Firestone Jr. endowed amid the philanthropic spree that included Princeton’s Firestone Library, became a locus of racist experimentation.[60] In 1958, the same year that Princeton accepted at least $13,700 from Harvey Sr.’s sons, white researchers infected dozens of Black staff and residents—including two infants—with a live strain of malaria.[61]

Neither the passing of decades nor the Black Freedom Movement in the United States uprooted Firestone’s enclave of white supremacy. World War II had propelled the Company, which supplied the U.S. military and made its plantation an Allied airbase, to corporate dominance.[62] In 1963, tens of thousands of Firestone’s Liberian laborers went on strike, protesting the Company’s cuts to food subsidies.[63] The Company enlisted Liberian troops to retaliate. At least one worker is believed to have been killed.[64] The plantation’s oppressive order returned when Firestone reinstated the subsidies.[65]

During Liberia’s successive civil wars, which spanned from 1989 to 2003, the Company sought to keep rubber flowing. In 1992, Firestone recognized war criminal Charles Taylor as Liberia’s president, giving his regime more than $2.3 million in tax revenue.[66] Taylor, in turn, allowed business as usual. When Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia occupied the plantation in 1990, the Company assured all staff they would be safe. Days later, Firestone evacuated only U.S. personnel, leaving an untold number of Liberian employees to be massacred.[67]

Firestone, today a subsidiary of Japanese auto giant Bridgestone, still champions its legacy of racism, violence, and exploitation in Liberia. “Firestone Natural Rubber,” a corporate website reads, “has been a trusted partner of the people and country of Liberia for more than 90 years.”[68]

Princeton has long propagated the Company’s paternalistic narrative. “It has been said, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness,” President Goheen wrote to Harvey Jr. in 1969. “One thing I do know, that wherever the name of Firestone is heard, warmth and enlightenment are sure to abound.”[69] The next year, he asked the Firestones to fund a professorship in African Studies, citing “the Company’s long-established and forward-looking interest in Africa.”[70]

Although Princeton’s leaders never acknowledged Firestone’s forced labor, latex seeped into every gift that the family made. The Firestones often donated corporate equity, making Nassau Hall a shareholder to which the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company was accountable.

The Firestones often donated corporate equity, making Nassau Hall a shareholder to which the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company was accountable.

Between 1946 and 1972, the Firestones gifted Princeton more than 24,000 shares of common stock of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, making at least one transfer every year between 1956 and 1970.[71] Excluding 7,700 shares whose worth went unrecorded, the Firestone stock inventoried by Princeton neared $698,000—roughly a fifth of the value of all Firestone donations made to 1970.[72] The shares’ number and worth may exceed the recorded amounts. Table 1 (below) gives a representative selection of gifts, both of stock and from other sources, that Firestone family members and corporate entities made to Princeton between 1957 and 1967.

Year

DonorAmount ($)Purpose
1957Harbel Corportation250,000Expansion of Firestone Memorial Library
1958Leonard K. Firestone ('1933)100Charles Caldwell Memorial Fund
1959Firestone Tire & Rubber Company85,000First installment of $250,000 for new engineering building
1963Firestone Foundation20,000Unrestricted gift to capital campaign
1967Roger S. Firestone ('1935)5,034Rowing tank
1967Firestone Tire & Rubber Company25,000Construction of Mathematics-Physics-Astrophysics Complex

Table 1 (Above): A partial selection of donations made to Princeton by Firestone family members and corporate entities, 1957–1967. Not all featured gifts were stock transfers.

Despite those sums, the University was a modest shareholder. The Malkiel Report, which Goheen commissioned in 1968 to assess the University’s investments in apartheid South Africa, found that Princeton held 21,849 Firestone shares.[73] Of 29 million Firestone shares then outstanding, Princeton controlled 0.075 percent.[74] Indeed, Firestone’s coffers eclipsed Princeton’s. Compared to the University’s $400 million endowment, Fortune 500 reported that Firestone shareholders’ equity in 1970 surpassed one billion dollars.[75]

Dodds Firestone letter 30 December 1946

1946 letter from Princeton President Harold Dodds to Harvey Firestone Jr.'s wife, thanking her for the "generous Christmas present" of Firestone Company shares that she and her husband donated to Princeton that year.

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Less than a decade later, the fight for racial justice led two of Princeton’s institutional peers to divest from the Firestone fortune. In 1978, Smith College and Hampshire College sold a combined $726,000 of Firestone stock.[76] The Company’s dealings with apartheid South Africa, rather than its abuses in Liberia, motivated their decisions.[77]

Hampshire’s then-president, Adele Simmons, had left her role as Princeton’s first woman dean the year before.[78] In the 1970s and ’80s, anti-apartheid activists decried Princeton’s holdings in Firestone’s South African subsidiary.[79] Calls for Princeton to sell its Firestone stock, which activists estimated between $1.1 and $1.6 million, crescendoed in 1978, the year of a Nassau Hall sit-in.[80] But the University never abandoned the family whose generosity, as President Harold W. Dodds (*1914) remarked in 1955, “continues to add lustre to the name of Princeton throughout the world.”[81]

Three Princeton presidents—Dodds, Goheen, and Bowen—cultivated four decades of friendship and collaboration with the Firestones. In 1969, Goheen wrote to Harvey Jr. of “one of my favorite privileges -- telling the Firestone Family, individual and corporate, how much their help means to Princeton, to her students, her faculty, and, of course, to me.”[82] The presidents who bookended his term were no less effusive. It was the bonds forged between Princeton and Firestone’s white male executives that coiled the two institutions together.

Harvey Jr., the man most responsible for Firestone’s abuses in Liberia, enjoyed the closest ties with Princeton. The eldest of five brothers, all of whom attended Princeton, Harvey Jr. was heir apparent to his father’s empire.[83] Mitman writes that Harvey Jr. had already received an “education in racism and segregation” by the time he entered the University.[84] Yearbooks from Harvey Jr.’s elite North Carolina boarding school frequently show white students partaking in blackface minstrelsy, while Firestone family records document how Black domestic laborers served Harvey Jr.’s every whim.[85]

Tasked by his father to survey the globe for plantation sites, Harvey Jr. proposed Liberia.[86] Five years after graduating from Princeton, he took control of the Firestone Plantations Company, the forerunner of Firestone Liberia.[87] As Time magazine reported in 1928, “U. S. industrialism went to Africa, in the person of white-helmeted, soft-spoken Harvey Samuel Firestone Jr.”[88] In 1946, the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company named Harvey Jr. CEO, a mantle he would hold for the next seventeen years.[89]

Tubman And Firestone

Liberian President William Tubman and Ambassador S. Edward Peal with Roger S. Firestone (‘1935), Raymond C. Firestone (‘1933), and Harvey S. Firestone Jr. (‘1920) in 1961.

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A friend and confidant to Dodds and Goheen, Harvey Jr. served as a University trustee for thirty years.[90] As the family’s most loyal and generous donor to Princeton, Harvey Jr. orchestrated the gift that funded Firestone Memorial Library.[91] “[I]n a thousand days and in a thousand ways,” Goheen wrote to Harvey Jr. three years after the latter retired from Princeton’s board, “I never really could thank you adequately for all that you do for Princeton.”[92]

Princeton and the Firestone Company were well-suited partners. Just as the Firestones included only white employees in their corporate embrace, Princeton—“the shining citadel of white supremacy,” as one alumnus proclaimed in 1948—denied entry to Black students and students of color.[93] The Company and Princeton alike welcomed Harvey Firestone Sr.’s five sons but excluded their sister.[94] The creation of Firestone Library benefitted the interests of both.

Firestone Library: In the Service of Rubber

Firestone fulfilled Princeton’s decades-long ambition to build a modern research library, the crown jewel that would transform Princeton from a sleepy “college” to a world-class university.[95] Princeton and Firestone conceived of the library as a joint enterprise, whose profits would accrue to both. Their pact wed the library to Firestone’s corporate interests, including its Liberia plantation.

In 1944, Firestone’s Board of Directors stipulated that the new library should advance the Company’s desire “of maintaining its high position in the Rubber Industry."[96] Princeton would educate the public about “the many advantageous uses of rubber in the industrial and commercial fields through an outstanding University Library” and “increase the available supply of men scientifically trained in rubber”—in so many words, prepare white, male students for Firestone careers.[97]

The library would “enure to the benefit of the Company,” which funded the Library “for the advancement of its Corporate interests.”[98] On December 26, 1944, Princeton’s Board of Trustees accepted the gift “on the terms therein specified.”[99]

Firestone founding document

Firestone Library's founding document, in which Princeton University agrees to advance the Firestone Rubber Company's "corporate interests."

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The Firestones’ gift was a windfall for Princeton. As early as the 1890s, University administrators had ranked a library among Princeton’s greatest needs.[100] Chancellor Green, the first library on campus, wanted for space and light; the dim, octagonal chamber could hold no more than 100,000 volumes.[101]

In 1897, University trustee Moses Taylor Pyne (’1877) underwrote a new library, which abutted Chancellor Green—what is today East Pyne Hall. Praised as Princeton’s first experiment in Collegiate Gothic architecture, “Pyne Library” belied the fortune its benefactor had inherited, in part, from enslaved labor in the U.S. South and Cuba.[102]

Princeton’s holdings, however, soon outpaced the 700,000 volumes that East Pyne could contain. While Harvard and Yale broke ground on spectacular new facilities, Princeton stored books wherever space was to be found, including in dormitories and the crypt beneath the newly-built University Chapel. By the 1930s, students complained that finding a book required crisscrossing campus. The Great Depression stymied efforts to streamline the system.[103]

According to historian James Axtell, the lack of an adequate library had become “a serious brake on Princeton’s rise to academic prominence.”[104] So “untenable” was the state of affairs, he notes, that the trustees approved a new library “even before the outcome of [World War II] was certain and all of the funds for construction were in hand.”[105]

The Firestones first donated to Princeton nearly two decades before they memorialized their patriarch with a library—and even before they entered Liberia. Between 1920 and 1926, while their two eldest sons attended Princeton, Idabelle and Harvey Firestone Sr. gave $40,000 to fund a room in the student infirmary.[106] But it was not until 1938, the year that Harvey Sr. died and his eldest son, Harvey Jr., became a trustee, that the Princeton-Firestone bond began in earnest.[107]

Harold W. Dodds, president since 1933, fostered a warm friendship with Harvey Jr. The two men exchanged counsel and asked favors of one another. Although both were University trustees, they often shielded their consultations from Princeton’s Board.

Dodds, for example, asked Harvey, Jr. “confidentially” in 1939 whether he should invite Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford and a potential Princeton donor, to a football game.[108] In 1945, Harvey Jr. urged Dodds to petition the president of Colgate University to bestow an honorary degree upon a Firestone employee.[109]

The University’s archives do not record when Dodds first suggested to Harvey Jr. that his family finance a new library for Princeton. In November 1943, he wrote to Harvey Jr. of “certain conversations we had about the Library some time ago. They were of a most confidential nature and the Trustees do not know anything about them.”[110]

Dodds Firestone letter 15 November 1943

1943 letter from Princeton President Harold Dodds to Harvey S. Firestone Jr. Dodds refers to "confidential" conversations with Harvey Jr., likely related to funding a new library on campus.

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Dodds stressed the problem that had dogged his predecessors: Princeton needed a new library—and fast. Princeton’s “failure to produce on this project over a period now running to fifteen years,” he warned, “is becoming a disgrace to the University and a reflection on the Board itself.”[111] He hoped Harvey Jr. would help his alma mater.

Dodds acknowledged the unseemly optics of his request, given that Harvey Jr. had begun his term as a powerful Charter Trustee not six months before. “You know as well as I do that entirely other considerations moved the Board to your unanimous election,” Dodds wrote. “I really am ashamed to mention the matter and would not except that it clears my conscience to do so.”[112]

Whatever Harvey Jr. made of his friend’s overture, he complied. Within three months, Dodds and Harvey Jr. had met to discuss the library further. Dodds pledged to “respect your confidence in the matter and therefore am not revealing it to any of the Trustees individually.”[113]

By January 1945, Dodds informed the Board of the Firestone family’s imminent gift.[114] He proclaimed that the library would commemorate Harvey Firestone Sr., “a gentleman who understood and sympathized with the highest ideals of the University.”[115]

Over the decades that followed, Princeton and the Firestones framed the library as “the one really lasting memorial” to Harvey Sr.[116] Replete with his name, bust, and portrait, the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library lionized the man credited for bringing “the American working day” to Africa.[117]

Firestone bust

Bust of Harvey S. Firestone Sr. at Firestone Library on Princeton's main campus.

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But neither nostalgia nor goodwill had moved the Firestones to underwrite the library. Rather, the library benefitted the family’s corporate interests. As per the terms quoted above, Princeton agreed that the new library should propagandize rubber in general and the Firestone Company in particular.[118] A “section devoted to the history and development of Natural and Synthetic Rubber, and the Rubber Industry in all its phases and activities” would target “at all times” both the public and Princeton students.[119]

The description that the Firestone Company gave of Princeton reveals its self-interest. Upon authorizing an inaugural $250,000 to fund the library, the Company noted that Princeton, “a corporation existing under the laws of the State of New Jersey,” “offers advanced courses and carries on extensive research work in the fields of Chemistry, Physics, and Engineering, which have wide application in the development in the Rubber Industry, and has engaged in important research projects in the field of Rubber.”[120]

Princeton herald february 1945 library

February 1945 article from The Princeton Herald announcing funding from the Firestone family for a new library on campus.

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The next year, Dodds dedicated the Firestone Company’s new research laboratory in Akron, Ohio.[121] Introducing his “very good friend,” Harvey Jr. explained, “we naturally thought of asking Doctor Harold Willis Dodds to be our speaker. I say ‘naturally’ because, Doctor Dodds is one of the nation's foremost advocates of scientific research.”[122] Harvey Jr. and Dodds drew no distinction between the interests of their respective institutions. Dodds’ presence underscored the benefits that Princeton brought to Firestone—and mattered enough for Harvey Jr. to postpone the ceremony until Dodds recovered from a brief illness.[123]

Firestone transacted with Princeton, whose scientific curriculum was a boon to the rubber industry.[124] To the Company, building the library—and tapping into Princeton’s brain trust—was business.

On June 16, 1947, all five Firestone sons gathered to see the library’s cornerstone laid. “It is a family privilege to have a part in this treasure house of knowledge,” Harvey Jr. remarked.[125] Dodds waxed poetic about the coming library, designed to hold some two million volumes: “In a library where the barriers between young men and the company of the great are broken, the past speaks its wisdom to the present which can then prepare for the future.”[126]

Harvey Jr. and Dodds had good reason to contemplate the future. Both understood that the library was an ongoing investment, rather than a one-time gift. Time and again, the Firestones would finance projects to expand and modernize the library, one of the world’s largest open-stack facilities.[127]

To the extent that the Firestones advanced their interests through the library, so too did the institution that had educated them. Since the 1930s, the Friends of the Princeton University Library, which comprised wealthy alumni who collected books, had lobbied Dodds to build a new library. The University’s antiquarian “friends” knew that a world-class library would entice fellow alumni to give their rare books and other memorabilia to Princeton.[128]

Firestone Library stood to profit Princeton, both by bringing “treasures” into its possession and by burnishing its reputation. “The new Library will, in a substantial degree, be a University in itself,” Princeton announced in 1945.[129] “As a safe and ideal repository of books, it will attract notable collections to its shelter and care. As the capstone of our preceptorial system, it will strengthen teaching. And as a Library built for the use of books, it will be a powerhouse for creative scholarship.”[130]

Recent years have revealed how ingeniously Firestone and Princeton made their plan. In 2015, Princeton received the largest gift in its history: the $300 million rare books and manuscripts collection of William Scheide (’1936).[131] Scheide bequeathed his holdings to Firestone Library, where curators painstakingly reconstructed his father’s personal study. Seven decades after the Firestones financed the library, their gift still gave to Princeton.

Firestone and the Question of African Studies

In the autumn of 1968, Raymond Firestone (’1933) welcomed a personal guest to Harbel, the seat of the Company’s Liberia plantation and a portmanteau of “Harvey” and “Idabelle,” his parents’ names. Raymond, then Chairman of the Firestone Company, was hosting David Probst, Princeton’s director of corporate relations.[132]

Probst’s five days in Liberia marked the first stop on a planned tour of the Company’s global empire. “[Raymond] is personally arranging for me to visit their operations in Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines when I am on vacation in Japan this summer,” Probst wrote in a memo to Princeton President Goheen’s office. “He asked that I send him a detailed itinerary and said that he would handle the arrangements.”[133] Thirteen years later, Probst would plead guilty to misappropriating University funds for personal travel.[134]

While at the plantation, Probst broached an idea as obvious as it was out of place: that the Firestones fund Princeton’s program in African Studies. Raymond cautioned, “they have many requests for support of African Studies but, thus far, have not supported any.”[135] He counseled Probst to seek $125,000 from Firestone’s Corporate Grants Committee.[136]

For Raymond and his aging brothers, the times were good. The 1960s found Firestone a household name and a mainstay of the global economy. The Firestone Company had ranked among the Fortune 100 largest U.S. corporations since the list began in 1955.[137] The scandal of defective radial tires that would tarnish Firestone’s reputation among U.S. consumers was years away.[138] And even as the Black Freedom Movement strove for multiracial democracy in the United States, Firestone continued to exploit Liberia.

Princeton, however, was at a crossroads. The Civil Rights Movement gave the University, long the Ivy League’s most “southern” and overtly white supremacist member, no choice but to admit increasing numbers of Black students.[139] On a campus that opposed their presence and denigrated their experiences, Black undergraduates—who in 1967 numbered 56—forced a reckoning.[140]

Two years before Probst visited Harbel, a pair of Black Princeton students, Paul Williams (’1968) and A. Deane Buchanan (’1968), founded the Association of Black Collegians (ABC), a group that supported Black students and confronted racism at Princeton.[141] Their mentor was Carl A. Fields, Princeton and the Ivy League’s first African American dean.[142] ABC members, drawing inspiration from the Black Power movement, were among the first students in the U.S. to demand that their university divest from apartheid.[143]

Princeton held $127 million, nearly a third of its endowment, in some 40 companies with subsidiaries in South Africa.[144] Firestone, South Africa’s largest tire manufacturer, was central among them.[145]

Princeton held $127 million, nearly a third of its endowment, in some 40 companies with subsidiaries in South Africa. Firestone, South Africa’s largest tire manufacturer, was central among them.

In the spring of 1968, student demonstrations compelled Goheen to form a committee that would assess Princeton’s investments in South Africa and consider divestment.[146] Chaired by economics professor Burton G. Malkiel (*1964), the committee included four faculty members, one administrator, and five students. Four of the student members were Black.[147]

The Malkiel Report, released in January 1969, rejected divestment and instead advised Princeton to voice its opposition to apartheid.[148] The four Black students dissented. “No real validity was given to our insights and understanding of the South African situation derived from our experiences as black people,” William Scott (*1972) and Carl Spight (*1971) wrote.[149] The white student on the committee endorsed their position.[150]

The Report intuited that divestment would cost Princeton dearly—and invite scrutiny beyond companies with South African subsidiaries. “The problem is that once the precedent had been established, a case could be made for avoiding investment in virtually any company,” the authors cautioned.[151] They feared that Princeton’s investments in “companies with ‘unfair’ labor practices,” among many others, would be next.[152]

Thus, the Report sought to vindicate corporations such as Firestone. “Many of the designated companies,” the authors claimed, “pursue notably progressive policies in their domestic operations or in their business relationships in other parts of Africa.”[153] The Report cited Xerox’s support for “social progress” in the United States.[154] Whom else the authors meant was unsaid.

Firestone Africa cartoon 1977

A cartoon that ran in the March 14, 1977 issue of The Daily Princetonian. The artist included the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company (depicted at the top center) among Princeton’s investments in Africa.

View Primary Sources

On March 4, 1969, Goheen declared that Princeton would divest only from companies that conducted a “primary amount of business” in South Africa.[155] The ABC occupied New South, the tower that housed Princeton’s administrative offices, in protest one week later.[156] While students intensified their campaign of direct action, Goheen appealed to a promise not only endorsed by the Malkiel Report, but also already underway: the creation of programs in African and (as it was then called) Afro-American Studies.[157]

Although it made no concrete proposals, the Malkiel Report noted “increasing interest on the campus in African affairs and Afro-American studies.”[158] The authors urged that Princeton “give high priority” to considering how “research into apartheid, or more generally, race relations” could be supported.[159] Goheen concurred. “The positive recommendations of the Malkiel report can count on our strong support,” he stressed two months later. “Beyond that, here at Princeton we can and will do more to enable all our students -- black and white -- to study and learn from the Afro-American experience.”[160]

The day before Goheen announced Princeton’s refusal to divest, the faculty approved an undergraduate African American Studies program, as well as undergraduate and graduate programs in African Studies.[161] The faculty’s “enthusiastic” vote attested to Black students’ efforts to bring both disciplines to Princeton.[162]

But the studies of African and African American culture and history emerged in critical tension. The first belonged to a broader trend in U.S. academia, which parsed the globe by region. So-called “regional studies” emphasized linguistic and cultural expertise about their respective areas. In a world wracked by the Cold War, such programs complemented U.S. geopolitical interests.[163] Princeton first considered an African Studies program in 1964.[164]

The Black scholars who devised African American Studies, or “Black Studies,” sought a new way of knowing. To understand the Black American experience, African American Studies centered Black perspectives. “Black studies begins with the lives of black people and reaches out to all humanity,” Julius Lester, a scholar at the forefront of African American Studies, wrote in 1979.[165] Johnnetta Cole, the first Black president of Spelman College, writes that Black Studies challenged not only what liberal arts colleges taught, but also “to whom and by whom it is taught; how it is taught; and why it is taught.”[166]

Students at Princeton petitioned for both African and African American Studies.[167] But it was the philosophy behind African American Studies that guided the ABC, along with Black student movements across the U.S.[168]

In their dissent to the Malkiel Report, Scott and Spight wrote that Princeton had acted “solely upon the frame of reference of white America.”[169] They urged Goheen to heed “the black referent”—to consider the lived realities of being Black at Princeton.[170] “As black people, we recognize our common cause with that of black people all over the world who have been systematically victimized by racism, oppression, and colonialism,” they wrote. “To ignore and thereby tacitly accept South African racism in exchange for either American corporate tokenism, complicity in economic exploitation, or assimilation into the Princeton status quo, we cannot do.”[171]

The dissent challenged Goheen, whose reputation as a “much admired leader and advocate of racial diversity” persists to this day.[172] Scott and Spight indicted his administration for claiming to serve humanity. “[A]s long as white Americans participate, to any degree, in the exploitation of black people in Africa,” Spight and Scott wrote, “we have no choice but to view their professions of liberalism regarding human rights in America as pure hypocrisy.”[173]

Faced with Black students’ condemnation, Goheen made the request discussed between Probst and Raymond Firestone in Liberia. On March 23, 1970, Goheen sent Raymond and Harvey Jr. copies of a proposal that the Firestone Company finance a professorship in African Studies.[174] “Because of the close ties that have long linked the name of Firestone with this University, and because of the Company’s long-established and forward-looking interest in Africa,” his request read, “Princeton would consider it a special privilege to include in its present [African Studies] Program The Firestone Visiting Professorship.”[175]

Goheen drafted a personal note to each brother. In his message to Harvey Jr., he paid tribute to the family’s imprint across campus. “For the past three decades,” Goheen wrote, “the name of Firestone has been associated with almost every major Princeton effort to enhance her program and facilities. Naturally it is our hope that you will join us in our current undertaking.”[176] There was cause for optimism. The year before, Princeton had secured $89,000 from the Ford Foundation to launch its program in African American Studies.[177]

Furthermore, the Firestone family had supported educational programs for Black students. Roger S. Firestone (’1935) was a longtime trustee of Lincoln University, the oldest degree-granting historically Black college in the United States.[178] In 1963, Roger asked Goheen to join Lincoln’s development board—an invitation that Goheen had accepted.[179]

Goheen’s proposal came at a fraught moment. 1970 was the year when Princeton’s finances flagged and Firestone donations amounted to more than one percent of the endowment.[180] Later that year, scholar Blyden Johnson would find Firestone to be “in complete cooperation with the South African government.”[181] Upon receiving the Malkiel Report’s list of designated companies, Goheen himself had authorized a student-faculty committee to determine “the extent of each company’s involvement and the nature of its operations in all of southern Africa.”[182] Firestone’s were significant. The month before Goheen sent the African Studies proposal, the committee reported that Firestone’s South African subsidiary both manufactured and sold tires, employing “about 1,550 South Africans, 40% Europeans and 60% non-Europeans.”[183]

Goheen requested a $600,000 endowment or a renewable five-year grant of $26,000 annually—both of which were higher than what Raymond Firestone had suggested to Probst.[184] The endowed post, Goheen wrote, “would bring to our campus each year a distinguished scholar, teacher, or author expert [sic] in some sector of Africa’s multifarious peoples and cultures.”[185]

Goheen stressed Princeton’s noble intentions. A foreword that bore his signature appealed to “the hope of furthering understanding between the peoples of Africa and the United States … of gaining new insights into the aspirations of mankind through an understanding of the past and the emerging promise of the future.”[186]

The rhetoric outpaced his request. Goheen described Princeton’s African Studies program as “a flexible, interdisciplinary system of course and research offerings that encompasses and draws upon virtually every department of instruction in the humanities and social sciences.”[187] It was for the program’s own benefit, Goheen wrote, that African Studies lacked structure. “The African Program is not designed to simulate either the traditional structure of a self-contained academic ‘Department’ or the micro-university organization of an independent ‘Center,’” the proposal elaborated.[188]

Princeton withheld departmental status from both African and African American Studies. In addition to the programs’ “interdisciplinarity,” administrators cited expedience. When the faculty first considered a program in African American Studies, Nassau Hall advised “a programmatic rather than departmental set-up,” given “that the former can be established faster and with less financial difficulty.”[189]

The decision flew in the face of the change sought by Black students, who struggled just to enroll in Princeton’s handful of African and African American Studies courses.[190] In the weeks leading to their New South occupation, ABC leaders called for Princeton to make the African American Studies program a department.[191] Princeton would not do so until 2015.[192]

Goheen’s 1970 proposal noted that African Studies “is also related to another program that has just been formally established; this is the Program in Afro-American Studies, for which African Studies provides a historical and comparative basis.”[193] Goheen echoed the Malkiel Report, which suggested that programs about Africa “could be related to the present discussion of Afro-American studies.”[194] His gesture to the burgeoning field of African American Studies would, however, help to doom the request.

In May, Goheen flew to Akron, Ohio, where he discussed the proposal with Raymond Firestone and Harvey Firestone Jr. The nation was reeling from the Kent State and Jackson State shootings earlier that month. Goheen’s meeting—as recorded by University development head Henry Bessire (’1957), who was in attendance—failed. Bessire’s account reveals how the social upheaval of 1970 was straining even the bond between Firestone and Princeton.

Most of the hour-long conversation, Bessire wrote, “was taken up attempting to communicate recent events at Princeton.”[195] Far from the hospitality that Probst had received in 1968, Raymond now raised a litany of grievances against his alma mater. Though “[t]he Firestone brothers were most cordial throughout our three-hour stay,” Goheen and Bessire left empty-handed.[196]

Raymond declared that Kent State “had been a ‘bed of radicalism’ for years” and blamed “radicals” for the shooting.[197] He perceived the same crosswind at Princeton. “There is a lack of University interest,” he complained to Goheen and Bessire, “in teaching and research in the field of economics centering on the American free enterprise system.”[198] Raymond also expressed that he was “most distressed with the ‘forced’ departure of ROTC at Princeton,” a program he counted “among the highlights of his higher education.”[199]

Raymond informed Goheen and Bessire that the Company had reviewed and rejected their African Studies proposal. He named two reasons. The first he had mentioned to Probst: supporting Princeton’s program would invite similar requests from other institutions, “to which they could not respond affirmatively.”[200]

The second reflected the challenge that African American Studies raised to academia’s white gaze. Raymond would support only the regional study of Africa. “It seemed,” Bessire wrote, “the company considered this request to be support for Afro-American Studies about which it was obvious they had no interest.”[201] For reasons that went unrecorded, Raymond had misconstrued the proposal. “This was a confusion on their part,” wrote Bessire, “as it was quite clear that this request was for support of an academic program having to do with the study of Africa.”[202]

Bessire’s memo strategized how Princeton could persuade the family to still donate.[203] Raymond’s denial had not dissuaded Bessire from the African Studies tack. “As a result of this visit,” he wrote, “the writer is considering whether or not we should go back to Mr. Raymond Firestone seeking support for African Studies from the Firestone Foundation, as opposed to the company.”[204] The Firestone Visiting Professorship never materialized.

Bessire urged Princeton to keep courting the Firestones. “I believe that in the long run,” he wrote, “it will prove of some value in maintaining the strong relationship between Princeton and the Firestone family which has held forth in the past.” Bessire ended his memo with an eye to the mortality of the men who had declined his most recent attempt. “Also,” he concluded, “under consideration is the next step to be taken to ensure that Princeton shares in the estates of the Firestone brothers.”[205]

While Princeton turned yet again to the Firestone fortune, Black students were challenging racism on campus and holding the University to account. That Princeton should have programs in African and African American Studies was no foregone conclusion. But neither was Princeton’s appeal to a company that ravaged Liberia and bolstered apartheid—the injustice that spurred decades of Black student activism.

Conclusion

As midnight approached on March 12, 1971, some 150 Asian American, Black, Latinx, and Native American students streamed into Firestone Library’s cavernous reference room.[206] Members of Princeton’s Third World Coalition, they occupied the floor to protest Princeton’s cap on the percentage of “disadvantaged” students it would admit.[207]

Although the students faced disciplinary threats, they remained for almost three hours.[208] As they filed out at 2:45 a.m., they passed beneath the stone arches and through the chrome doors that form the library’s entrance. Mounted above them was the visage of its namesake, Harvey S. Firestone Sr.

Harvey Firestone’s bust has been perched between the library’s twin sets of front doors since 1962. “[A]t the urging of Harvey Firestone [Jr.],” Goheen wrote to University librarian William Dix that year, “we agreed to place a bust of Harvey Firestone, Sr., presented by Mr. Firestone, in the Firestone Library.”[209]

The bust, like the library that surrounds it, propagandizes the Firestone Company. It obscures Firestone’s exploitation of Liberia—a legacy that Princeton has never confronted.

Princetonian Firestone sit in 1971

Front page of The Daily Princetonian from March 13, 1971, covering a student protest at Firestone Library.

View Primary Sources

Time and again over the past half-century, Firestone Library and Firestone Plaza have witnessed student demonstrations against racial injustice.[210] The 1971 sit-in yielded the founding of Princeton’s Third World Center—today, the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding.[211]

But the history of Firestone Library, known on campus as “’Stone,” has escaped scrutiny. Firestone’s abuses in Liberia rarely appear in Princeton’s archives and campus publications. To the extent that Princeton’s ties with Firestone have drawn criticism, they primarily concerned divestment from South Africa. In the 1970s, student activists demanded that Princeton divest from Firestone, given that its subsidiary, Firestone S.A. (Pty) Ltd., was South Africa’s largest tire manufacturer.[212] The Company gave capital and credibility to apartheid, including by operating in “bantustans,” segregated ‘homelands’ that perpetuated white supremacist rule.[213]

In 1978, students protested outside Clio Hall, where Firestone and GE recruiters were conducting interviews.[214] Earlier that year, the Third World Center Governance Board found Princeton’s investments in Firestone, along with ten other corporations, “blatantly inconsistent with any statement made against apartheid.”[215] U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-MI) visited Firestone Plaza to speak in favor of divestment.[216]

The spring of 1989 marked twenty years of student activism against Princeton’s holdings in South African companies. In a column published by The Daily Princetonian, Gautam Gode (’1990) criticized his peers’ “faddish concern” with apartheid and questioned why they ignored Princeton’s role in oppression elsewhere.[217] “We are vociferously protesting Princeton’s links with apartheid,” Gode wrote, “but we forget that it also invests in multinational companies that exploit and degrade cheap labor, buy out democratic institutions and contribute to the growing economic inequalities in the developing world.”[218]

“We are vociferously protesting Princeton’s links with apartheid,” Gode wrote, “but we forget that it also invests in multinational companies that exploit and degrade cheap labor, buy out democratic institutions and contribute to the growing economic inequalities in the developing world.”

In the next paragraph, the author named Firestone Plaza, where students had erected an anti-apartheid “shanty,” as the place that gave him “the idea of writing this column.”[219] If Gode knew of Firestone’s record in Liberia, he made no mention.

About the AuthorPanel Toggle

Jonathan Ort is a Master of Divinity candidate at Yale Divinity School. He graduated from Princeton in 2021 with an A.B. in History and certificates in African Studies and Spanish Language & Culture. Jon is a co-recipient of Princeton’s Laurence Hutton Prize in History. His senior thesis, which challenged the dominant narrative about Jamaica’s 1938 anticolonial protests, received the Barbara Hadley Stein Prize in Latin American History. In 2020, Jon served as Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Princetonian, Princeton’s independent student newspaper.

View all stories by Jonathan Ort »

BibliographyPanel Toggle

It has been an honor to research and write this piece. To all those who have given of themselves to help me, I owe my deepest gratitude.

Isabela Morales and Marni Sandweiss guided me every step of the way. Julia Chaffers, Tera Hunter, Isabela Morales, Joe Ort, Julie Ort, and Marni Sandweiss served as brilliant and attentive editors. Adom Getachew, Gregg Mitman, and Robert Tignor generously spoke with me as I conducted research. Dexter Thomas profiled my work, and Anna Salvatore photographed archival material on my behalf. Eddie Cole shared insightful citations, and Nancy Weiss Malkiel directed me to the text of the Malkiel Report. Dan Linke helped me find critical information. Patrick Kerwin of the Library of Congress retrieved files at my request. The staff of Mudd Manuscript Library made this research possible. In particular, Rosalba Varallo Recchia took the archival scans that accompany this piece. I thank them all.

I have previously called for Princeton to investigate and disclose its ties with Firestone. I authored two opinion columns on the subject, both of which ran in The Daily Princetonian: “Liberian labor: Confronting Firestone’s historical complexity” (Feb. 2019) and “Reviewing the legacy of Harvey Firestone” (Dec. 2017). I discussed my authorship of those columns, as well as my subsequent work on this piece, in “If Everybody Knew” (Feb. 2022), a podcast sponsored by Princeton’s Humanities Council.

Primary Sources

Archival Sources

Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999 (mostly 1830-1869). Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Princeton University Library.

Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972). Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Princeton University Library.

Office of the President Records: William G. Bowen Subgroup, 1940-1998 (mostly 1972-1987). Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Princeton University Library.

Office of the Treasurer Records, 1754-2009 (mostly 1939-2006). Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Princeton University Library.

Scott, William R., and Carl Spight. “Princeton University, South African Investments and the Black Experience.” The Association of Black Collegians and The Committee for Black Awareness. https://projects.kora.matrix.msu.edu/files/210-808-8134/african_activist_archive-a0b0x1-a_12419.pdf.

Books

Buell, Raymond Leslie. The Native Problem in Africa, Vol. II. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1928.

Firestone Sr., Harvey S. and Samuel Crowther. Men and Rubber: The Story of Business. New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1926.

Lief, Alfred. Harvey Firestone: Free Man of Enterprise. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1951.

Journal Articles

Bray, R. S. “The Susceptibility of Liberians to the Madagascar Strain of Plasmodium vivax.” The Journal of Parasitology, Vol. 44, No. 4 (Aug. 1958): 371-373.

Du Bois, W. E. B. “Liberia, the League and the United States.” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 11, No. 4 (Jul. 1933): 682-695.

Jackson, Blyden B. “Apartheid and Imperialism: A Study of U.S. Corporate Involvement in South Africa.” Africa Today, Vol. 17, No. 5 (Sept.-Oct. 1970): 1-39.

Young, James C. “Liberia and Its Future.” Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life, Vol. VI, No. 10 (Oct. 1928): 327-331.

Newspapers & Periodicals

Princeton Alumni Weekly, 1982–2000.
Princeton Weekly Bulletin, 1945–1982.
The Daily Princetonian, 1965–2015.

The New York Times, 1938–1994.

The Princeton Herald, 1947.

Time Magazine, 1928.

Town Topics, 1969–1988.

Online Sources

“About Us.” Firestone Natural Rubber Company. Accessed July 23, 2022. https://www.firestonenaturalrubber.com/about-us/.

Billingsley, Amy. “Badi Foster details the struggle for an African American Studies department at Princeton University.” The History Makers Digital Archive. January 25, 2003.

“Firestone Tire & Rubber.” CNN Money. Accessed July 23, 2022. https://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500_archive/snapshots/1964/3034.html.

“Fortune 500: A database of 50 years of FORTUNE’s list of America’s largest corporations.” Fortune Magazine. Accessed July 23, 2022. https://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500_archive/full/1955/.

“Scheide donates rare books library to Princeton; collection is largest gift in University’s history.” Princeton Development Communications. February 16, 2015. https://www.princeton.edu/news/2015/02/16/scheide-donates-rare-books-library-princeton-collection-largest-gift-universitys.

“Trustee Index, 1746-2001.” Princeton University Library Special Collections. Accessed July 23, 2022. https://library.princeton.edu/special-collections/databases/trustee-index-1746-2001.

“Who Are We?,” Firestone Natural Rubber Company, accessed July 16, 2022, https://www.firestonenaturalrubber.com.

Secondary Sources

Armstrong, April C. Mudd Manuscript Library Blog. Accessed August 25, 2022. https://blogs.princeton.edu/mudd/author/april-c-armstrong-14/.

Axtell, James. The Making of Princeton University from Woodrow Wilson to the Present. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006.

Bennicoff, Tad. “African Americans and Princeton: A Brief History.” African American Studies Library Guide. March 11, 2005. https://libguides.princeton.edu/c.php?g=84056&p=544526.

Bradley, Stefan. “The Southern-Most Ivy: Princeton University from Jim Crow Admissions to Anti-Apartheid Protests, 1794-1969.” American Studies, Vol. 51, No. 3/4 (Fall/Winter 2010): 109-130.

Cole, Eddie R. The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020.

Cole, Johnnetta B. “Black Studies in Liberal Arts Education.” In Jacqueline Bobo, et al., eds. The Black Studies Reader. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Getachew, Adom. Worldmaking After Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019.

Glass, Maeve. “Moses Taylor Pyne and the Sugar Plantations of the Americas.” Princeton & Slavery Project. https://slavery.princeton.edu/stories/moses-taylor-pyne#ref-103.

Hollander, Craig. “Princeton and the Colonization Movement.” Princeton & Slavery Project. https://slavery.princeton.edu/stories/princeton-and-the-colonization-movement#anchor-references.

Katzenstein, Peter J. “Area and Regional Studies in the United States.” PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol. 34, No. 4 (Dec. 2001): 789.

Knoll, Arthur J. “Firestone’s Labor Policy, 1924-1939.” Liberian Studies Journal, Vol. XVI, No. 2 (1991): 49-75.

Lester, Julius. “Growing Down.” Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, Vol. 11, No. 7 (Oct. 1979): 34-37.

Mazower, Mark. No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.

Miller, Christian, and Jonathan Jones. “Firestone and the Warlord: The Untold Story of Firestone, Charles Taylor, and the Tragedy of Liberia.” ProPublica. November 16, 2014. https://www.propublica.org/article/firestone-and-the-warlord-print.

Mitman, Gregg. Empire of Rubber: Firestone’s Scramble for Land and Power in Liberia. New York: The New Press, 2021.

“Our History.” Lincoln University. Accessed September 21, 2022. https://www.lincoln.edu/about/....

Rooks, Noliwe M. White Money/Black Power: The Surprising History of African American Studies and the Crisis of Race in Higher Education. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006.

Slater, Robert Bruce. “Opinions on Current Readings: Blacks at Princeton; Member of the Club by Lawrence Otis Graham.” The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Issue 9 (Autumn 1995): 107.

Sundiata, Ibrahim. Brothers and Strangers: Black Zion, Black Slavery, 1914-1940. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.

“The History of AAS at Princeton University.” Department of African American Studies. Accessed July 24, 2022. https://aas.princeton.edu/about.

Whitaker, Mark. “Princeton, Woodrow Wilson and my father.” CNN. June 30, 2020. https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/30/opinions/princeton-woodrow-wilson-and-my-father-whitaker/index.html.

Whyte, Christine. “A State of Underdevelopment: Sovereignty, Nation-Building and Labor in Liberia 1898-1961.” International Labor and Working Class History, No. 92 (Fall 2017): 24-46.


ReferencesPanel Toggle

[1]

William G. Bowen to John C. Stone II, February 4, 1981; Firestone Gathering, 1981; Office of the President Records: William G. Bowen Subgroup, 1940-1998 (mostly 1972-1987), Box 253, Folder 8; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[2]

Peter Firestone had held corporate positions in the family business from 1964-1970. “Peter S. Firestone ’62,” Princeton Alumni Weekly, January 25, 1982; William G. Bowen to John C. Stone II, February 4, 1981.

[3]

William G. Bowen to John C. Stone II, February 4, 1981.

[4]

William G. Bowen to John C. Stone II, February 4, 1981.

[5]

William G. Bowen to Nicki and Leonard Firestone, February 3, 1981; Office of the President Records: William G. Bowen Subgroup, 1940-1998 (mostly 1972-1987), Box 253, Folder 8; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[6]

“Firestone gift provides Rockefeller College with a social area,” Princeton Weekly Bulletin, February 8, 1982, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[7]

William G. Bowen to John C. Stone II, February 4, 1981.

[8]

Gregg Mitman, Empire of Rubber: Firestone’s Scramble for Land and Power in Liberia (New York: The New Press, 2021), xii.

[9]

“Construction Fund for New Library Assured; Building to Bear Name of Harvey S. Firestone,” The Princeton Bulletin, February 21, 1945, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[10]

All five of Idabelle and Harvey Firestone Sr.’s sons graduated from Princeton: Harvey S. Firestone Jr. (’1920), Russell A. Firestone (’1924), Leonard K. Firestone (’1931), Raymond C. Firestone (’1933), and Roger S. Firestone (’1935). Other members of the family who attended the University include David Morgan Firestone (’1953), A. Brooks Firestone (’1958), Peter S. Firestone (’1962), John D. Firestone (’1966), William C. Ford (’1979), and Elizabeth Ford (’1983). Firestone relatives by marriage raise the count of Princeton alumni by at least three. To calculate the number of times that they donated to Princeton, I cross-checked two records within the University’s archives: a chart from May 20, 1970, which gives the donations made by Firestone family members and subsidiaries between 1943 and 1969, and a registry from January 2, 1968, which records Firestone gifts between 1920 and 1967. I also considered donations encountered elsewhere in the record, such as the 1982 gift mentioned above. “University Confidential: Research Information,” January 1981; Firestone Gathering, 1981; Office of the President Records: William G. Bowen Subgroup, 1940-1998 (mostly 1972-1987), Box 253, Folder 8; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library; “Gifts to Princeton University,” January 2, 1968; Firestone Foundation, 1943-1972; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 215, Folder 9; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library; Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 16.

[11]

Among hundreds of other Firestone donations, the Firestone family gave $1 million to build Firestone Library in 1944; the Firestone Foundation, $60,000 for Jadwin Gym between 1965 and 1967; Harvey Firestone Jr., $50,000 for the Chapel Building Fund between 1929 and 1937; and the Firestone Company, $2,295.25 for chemistry research in 1943. “Gifts to Princeton University,” January 2, 1968; Firestone Foundation, 1943-1972, Box 215, Folder 9; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972); Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library; “A Proposal for Expanding the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library,” 1968; Firestone, Harvey S., Jr, 1942-1973; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 485, Folder 8; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[12]

I reached these figures by consulting the aforementioned records (see footnote 10), both of which are accurate but neither of which provides the full picture. Whereas the 1970 chart gives an annual dollar amount for each family member and corporate entity, the 1968 registry tracks family and corporate gifts, often restricted to a particular program or project, across ranges of years. In the absence of further documentation, I could not determine the annual distribution of such gifts. Furthermore, the 1968 registry spans a longer period and includes Firestone family members who do not appear in the 1970 chart. Although a side-by-side comparison of both records allowed me to identify many common gifts, I could not resolve every discrepancy. To avoid double-counting, I took the 1970 chart as authoritative, and I added from the 1968 registry only those gifts whose date or donor are not covered by the chart.

[13]

I calculated this sum by entering each gift and the year in which it was given into an inflation calculator, which adjusted the amounts for 2021 (the most recent year for which data is available). I then totaled the inflation-adjusted amounts. The inflation calculator that I used may be found here: https://westegg.com/inflation/.

[14]

Robert F. Goheen to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., December 22, 1967; Firestone Foundation, 1943-1972; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 215, Folder 9; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[15]

M. A. Farber, “11 College Presidents Caution Money Crisis Imperils Future,” The New York Times, July 13, 1970.

[16]

The University had never run a deficit until 1969. Farber, “11 College Presidents Caution Money Crisis Imperils Future”; Dave Franks, “University trustees try to use capital gains from endowment,” February 2, 1970, The Daily Princetonian, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[17]

W. E. B. Du Bois, “Liberia, the League and the United States,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 11, No. 4 (Jul. 1933), 695.

[18]

Du Bois, “Liberia, the League and the United States,” 695.

[19]

Du Bois, “Liberia, the League and the United States,” 695.

[20]

Ibrahim Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers: Black Zion, Black Slavery, 1914-1940 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 114-116; Christine Whyte, “A State of Underdevelopment: Sovereignty, Nation-Building and Labor in Liberia 1898-1961,” International Labor and Working Class History, No. 92 (Fall 2017): 32-33; T. Christian Miller and Jonathan Jones, “Firestone and the Warlord: The Untold Story of Firestone, Charles Taylor, and the Tragedy of Liberia,” ProPublica, November 16, 2014, https://www.propublica.org/article/firestone-and-the-warlord-print.

[21]

Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers, 114; Mitman, Empire of Rubber, Chapters 1-3.

[22]

Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers, 114; Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 31-35; “About Us,” Firestone Natural Rubber Company, accessed July 23, 2022, https://www.firestonenaturalrubber.com/about-us/.

[23]

Craig Hollander, “Princeton and the Colonization Movement,” Princeton & Slavery Project, https://slavery.princeton.edu/stories/princeton-and-the-colonization-movement#anchor-references; Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers, 22; Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 33-35.

[24]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 34.

[25]

Hollander, “Princeton and the Colonization Movement”; Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 33-35.

[26]

Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers, 167, 222; Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 82, 151, 152.

[27]

Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers, 223; Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 81-82.

[28]

Harvey S. Firestone Sr. and Samuel Crowther, Men and Rubber: The Story of Business (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1926), 264.

[29]

Alfred Lief, Harvey Firestone: Free Man of Enterprise (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1951), 260.

[30]

Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers, 226.

[31]

Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers, 225.

[32]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, Chapter 6.

[33]

Raymond Leslie Buell, The Native Problem in Africa, Vol. II (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1928), 832, 845.

[34]

That Buell condemned Firestone’s abuses should not be taken to assure him of righteousness or vindicate him of racism. Racist and paternalistic assumptions pervade his work. For example, Buell claimed that most African communities lacked the maturity to govern themselves, in contradistinction to the white influence that distinguished Liberia. “[T]he Liberian,” he wrote, “does have an intelligence and savoir faire which is unique throughout the continent of Africa. The very fact that the inhabitants of Liberia have been called upon to carry the full burden of government has developed in them qualities which have not yet appeared among natives elsewhere.” Buell, The Native Problem in Africa, 729, 835.

[35]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 81-91.

[36]

Whyte, “A State of Underdevelopment,” 33.

[37]

Whyte, “A State of Underdevelopment,” 33.

[38]

Arthur J. Knoll, “Firestone’s Labor Policy, 1924-1939,” Liberian Studies Journal, Vol. XVI, No. 2 (1991): 54-55.

[39]

Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers, 226; Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 66-67.

[40]

Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers, 122-123; Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 56-57.

[41]

Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers, 122.

[42]

Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers, 120-121.

[43]

Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers, 1-3; Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 120-131; Adom Getachew, Worldmaking After Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019), 58-59.

[44]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 127.

[45]

League of Nations report quoted in Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 120-131. See also Getachew, Worldmaking After Empire, 61.

[46]

Getachew, Worldmaking After Empire, Chapter 2; Mark Mazower, No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), Chapter 1.

[47]

Getachew, Worldmaking After Empire, Chapter 2.

[48]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 193-194; Miller and Jones, “Firestone and the Warlord.”

[49]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 191.

[50]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 18-19.

[51]

In 1926, the year he exported his racism to Liberia, Harvey Sr. wrote, “We have found the Negro particularly adapted to handling our raw materials.” Quoted in Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 19.

[52]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 184, 234, passim.

[53]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 179.

[54]

Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers, 202, 225-228.

[55]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 234.

[56]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 234.

[57]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 202-205.

[58]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 202-204.

[59]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 202-204.

[60]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 205.

[61]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 205; R.S. Bray, “The Susceptibility of Liberians to the Madagascar Strain of Plasmodium vivax,” The Journal of Parasitology, Vol. 44, No. 4 (Aug. 1958): 371-373.

[62]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 176.

[63]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 236, 237.

[64]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 236, 237.

[65]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 237.

[66]

Miller and Jones, “Firestone and the Warlord,” ProPublica; Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 242.

[67]

Miller and Jones, “Firestone and the Warlord.”

[68]

“Who Are We?,” Firestone Natural Rubber Company, accessed July 16, 2022, https://www.firestonenaturalrubber.com.

[69]

Robert F. Goheen to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., October 31, 1969; Firestone, Harvey S., Jr., 1942-1973; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 485, Folder 8; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[70]

Proposal for The Firestone Visiting Professorship in African Studies, March 23, 1970; Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, 1968-1972; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 215, Folder 10; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[71]

Correspondence between Firestone personnel and Princeton personnel, December 30, 1946; Firestone Jr., Harvey S, 1937-1948; Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999 (mostly 1830-1869), Box 109, Folder 4; correspondence between Firestone personnel and Princeton personnel, December 23, 1946, December 22, 1947, December 23, 1948, December 30, 1949, December 28, 1950, December 26, 1951, and December 22, 1953; Firestone Foundation, 1943-1972; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972); Box 215, Folder 9; correspondence between Firestone personnel and Princeton personnel, December 24, 1953, December 30, 1954, December 27, 1956, December 14, 1957, July 30, 1958, December 28, 1959, December 2, 1960, December 5, 1961, December 31, 1962, December 31, 1963, December 31, 1964, June 30, 1965, August 9, 1966, August 21, 1967, November 8, 1968, October 31, 1969, December 18, 1970, February 4, 1972, November 30, 1972; Firestone, Harvey S., Jr, 1942-1973; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 485, Folder 8; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[72]

I calculated this sum by cataloging and summing every stock transfer receipt I encountered. See footnotes 12 and 13 for additional information about my methodology.

[73]

Burton Malkiel, Leon Gordenker, Frederick Harbison, Ricardo Mestres, and John Schrecker, “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Princeton’s Investments in Companies Operating in Southern Africa,” January 1969; Malkiel Committee – South African Investments, 1969; Office of the Treasurer Records, 1754-2009 (mostly 1939-2006), Box 68, Folder 30; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[74]

In terms of total annual trading volume, Princeton’s proportion increased. Of the 2,389,000 Firestone shares traded during the year ending September 1968, Princeton held 0.91 percent. Malkiel, et al., “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee,” January 1969. For more context on the Firestone Company’s issuance of tens of millions of shares in the 1960s, see: “Profits Mark Set By Firestone,” The New York Times, December 22, 1960; “Firestone Posts Record Earnings,” The New York Times, September 14, 1961; Clare M. Reckert, “Firestone Shows Slump In Profit,” The New York Times, December 8, 1970.

[75]

“FORTUNE 500 Data; Firestone Tire & Rubber | 1970,” Fortune Magazine, accessed July 23, 2022, https://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500_archive/snapshots/1970/3034.html.

[76]

Idabelle and Harvey Firestone’s only daughter, Elizabeth, had attended Smith. Sally Swenson, “Divestiture campaigns vary at colleges across the nation,” The Daily Princetonian, April 12, 1978, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; “At other colleges,” Princeton Weekly Bulletin, April 3, 1978, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; William C. Taylor, “Divestiture: Other schools take action,” The Daily Princetonian, April 11, 1979, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; “Harvey Firestone Is Dead In Florida,” The New York Times, February 8, 1938.

[77]

Sally Swenson, “Divestiture campaigns vary”; Taylor, “Divestiture: Other schools take action.”

[78]

Jon Laramore, “Simmons assays Hampshire, shoulders role of president,” The Daily Princetonian, June 1, 1978, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Taylor, “Divestiture: Other schools take action”; “Princeton gets woman dean,” The New York Times, April 17, 1972.

[79]

Blyden B. Jackson, “Apartheid and Imperialism: A Study of U.S. Corporate Involvement in South Africa,” Africa Today, Vol. 17, No. 5 (Sept.-Oct. 1970): 38.

[80]

In 1976, Adhimu Chunga (’1978) put Princeton’s investments in Firestone at “87,429 shares of stock with a market value of $1,639,294.” Noting that Firestone “pays African workers as little as 35 cents an hour,” Chunga asked whether holding Firestone and other South African corporations was “not enough evidence to show that Princeton supports apartheid?” Adhimu Chunga, “Princeton in the corporation’s service,” The Daily Princetonian, May 5, 1976, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Jonathan Fox, “Our university dollars at work,” The Daily Princetonian, March 14, 1977, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; April C. Armstrong, “Princeton and Apartheid: The 1978 Nassau Hall Sit-In,” Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, October 24, 2014, https://blogs.princeton.edu/mudd/2014/10/princeton-and-apartheid-the-1978-nassau-hall-sit-in/.

[81]

Harold W. Dodds to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., December 30, 1955; Firestone Foundation, 1943-1972; “Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 215, Folder 9; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[82]

Robert F. Goheen to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., November 24, 1969; Firestone, Harvey S., Jr, 1942-1973; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 485, Folder 8; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[83]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 16.

[84]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 19.

[85]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 19.

[86]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, Chapters 1-3, 102.

[87]

Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 67-68, 70-73.

[88]

“Business & Finance: Lever, Firestone, Ford,” Time Magazine, August 6, 1928.

[89]

“Harvey Firestone Jr., Director Of Rubber Company, Dies at 75,” The New York Times, June 2, 1973.

[90]

Princeton named Harvey Jr. an Alumni Trustee in 1938. He was elevated to Charter Trustee, a position he would hold until 1968, four years later. “Trustee Index, 1746-2001,” Princeton University Library Special Collections, accessed July 23, 2022, https://library.princeton.edu/special-collections/databases/trustee-index-1746-2001.

[91]

Harvey Firestone Jr. was the only Firestone family member who gave to Princeton at least once annually between 1943 and 1969. During that period, Harvey Jr. donated more than $500,000, eclipsing any other relative by at least six figures. In the words of a University fundraising official: “Frankly, I think they have been most generous especially Harvey, the Firestone Foundation and the Firestone Fund. Some of the brothers have been more generous than others.” Harold H. Helm to H. Chapman Rose, January 2, 1968; Firestone Foundation, 1943-1972; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 215, Folder 9; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[92]

Robert F. Goheen to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., January 29, 1971; Firestone, Harvey S., Jr., 1942-1973; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 485, Folder 8; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[93]

The alumnus was William White (’1923). Quoted in Stefan Bradley, “The Southern-Most Ivy: Princeton University from Jim Crow Admissions to Anti- Apartheid Protests, 1794-1969,” American Studies, Vol. 51, No. 3/4 (Fall/Winter 2010): 113.

[94]

Mitman notes that the Firestone family business did not include women. “In his actions toward both employees and family members, Harvey [Sr.] relished his patriarchal role,” he writes. Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 16.

[95]

James Axtell, The Making of Princeton University from Woodrow Wilson to the Present (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), 86-87.

[96]

Final draft of Princeton and Firestone library agreement, June 13, 1944; Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, 1944-1957; Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999 (mostly 1830-1869), Box 109, Folder 5; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[97]

Final draft of Princeton and Firestone library agreement, June 13, 1944.

[98]

Final draft of Princeton and Firestone library agreement, June 13, 1944.

[99]

Copy of Princeton to John W. Thomas, Chairman of The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, December 26, 1944; Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, 1944-1957; Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999 (mostly 1830-1869), Box 109, Folder 5; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[100]

Axtell, The Making of Princeton University, 439.

[101]

Axtell, The Making of Princeton University, 439, 444; Maeve Glass, “Moses Taylor Pyne and the Sugar Plantations of the Americas,” Princeton & Slavery Project, https://slavery.princeton.edu/stories/moses-taylor-pyne.

[102]

Glass, “Moses Taylor Pyne and the Sugar Plantations of the Americas,” Princeton & Slavery Project.

[103]

Axtell, The Making of Princeton University, 443-444, 449-450.

[104]

Axtell, The Making of Princeton University, 436.

[105]

Axtell, The Making of Princeton University, 456.

[106]

“Gifts to Princeton University,” January 2, 1968; Firestone Foundation, 1943-1972, Box 215, Folder 9; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972); Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[107]

Upon Harvey Jr.’s election, Dodds sent his congratulations and recalled his “sincere affection for your father.” Harold W. Dodds to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., June 23, 1938; Firestone, Jr., Harvey S, 1937-1948; Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999 (mostly 1830-1869), Box 109, Folder 4; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[108]

The Firestones and Fords were close associates and friends. Edsel’s son, William Clay Ford Jr., would marry Harvey Jr.’s daughter, Martha Firestone Ford, less than a decade later. Harold W. Dodds to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., October 2, 1939; Firestone, Jr., Harvey S, 1937-1948; Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999 (mostly 1830-1869), Box 109, Folder 4; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[109]

Colgate President Everett Case was a 1922 Princeton graduate and served as an Alumni Trustee. Harvey S. Firestone Jr. to Harold W. Dodds, November 3, 1945; Firestone, Jr., Harvey S, 1937-1948; Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999 (mostly 1830-1869), Box 109, Folder 4; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library; “Memorial: Everett N. Case ’22,” Princeton Alumni Weekly.

[110]

Harold W. Dodds to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., November 15, 1943; Firestone, Jr., Harvey S, 1937-1948; Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999 (mostly 1830-1869), Box 109, Folder 4; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[111]

Harold W. Dodds to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., November 15, 1943.

[112]

Harold W. Dodds to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., November 15, 1943.

[113]

Harold W. Dodds to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., February 2, 1944; Firestone, Jr., Harvey S, 1937-1948; Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999 (mostly 1830-1869), Box 109, Folder 4; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[114]

Harold W. Dodds to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., January 15, 1945; Firestone, Jr., Harvey S, 1937-1948; Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999 (mostly 1830-1869), Box 109, Folder 4; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[115]

Harvey Sr. had graduated from Spencerian Business College in Cleveland. Harold W. Dodds to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., January 15, 1945; Mitman, Empire of Rubber, 8.

[116]

A 1968 fundraising solicitation provides an illustrative example. The proposal, which concerned expanding the Library, appealed by name to “the Firestone Foundation, the Firestone Trust Fund, the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, and the members of the Firestone family.” Princeton closed with a quote from Romantic poet James Russell Lowell: “There is no way in which man can build so secure and lasting a monument for himself as a library ... The pyramids may forget their builders, but memorials such as these have longer memories.” A hand-written comment on the first page, dated April 19, 1968 and bearing Goheen’s initials, reads: “File 1 copy for the record. Not used as family pledged $2MM without special urging.” For material quoted in text, see: File memorandum from William G. Bowen, February 4, 1981; Firestone Gathering, 1981; Office of the President Records: William G. Bowen Subgroup, 1940-1998 (mostly 1972-1987), Box 253, Folder 8; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library. For material quoted in footnote, see: “A Proposal for Expanding the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library,” April 19, 1968; Firestone, Harvey S., Jr, 1942-1973; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 485, Folder 8; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[117]

In 1928, Harvey Firestone Jr. told Opportunity, a magazine published by the National Urban League, “So far as I know, we are the only employers of African labor to establish the American working day.” James C. Young, “Liberia and Its Future,” Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life, Vol. VI No. 10 (Oct. 1928): 327-331; Robert F. Goheen to William S. Dix, March 1, 1963; Firestone Library, 1962-1969; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 359, Folder 1; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[118]

Final draft of Princeton and Firestone library agreement, June 13, 1944; Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, 1944-1957; Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999 (mostly 1830-1869), Box 109, Folder 5; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[119]

Final draft of Princeton and Firestone library agreement, June 13, 1944.

[120]

Final draft of Princeton and Firestone library agreement, June 13, 1944.

[121]

Harvey S. Firestone Jr., “Introduction of Doctor Harold W. Dodds By Harvey S. Firestone, Jr. On The Occasion Of The Dedication Of The Firestone Research Laboratory,” September 18, 1945; Firestone Jr., Harvey S, 1937-1948; Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999 (mostly 1830-1869), Box 109, Folder 4; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[122]

Harvey S. Firestone Jr., “Introduction of Doctor Harold W. Dodds,” September 18, 1945.

[123]

Harold W. Dodds to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., June 18, 1945; Firestone Jr., Harvey S, 1937-1948; Office of the President Records: Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999 (mostly 1830-1869), Box 109, Folder 4; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[124]

Princeton again aligned itself with Firestone’s corporate (and nationalistic) interests in 1965, when Goheen asked Raymond Firestone (’1933), who had succeeded Harvey Jr. as CEO, to finance a new facility for mathematics, physics, and astrophysics. “As you know, Princeton is approaching several rubber companies, including your own, for capital support to this program,” he wrote. Goheen expressed confidence that Raymond would approve the proposal, given “that industry shares our belief that funds to support higher education are essential to the advancement of science, and hence to the country.” Two years later, the Company gave $25,000—a quarter of what Goheen had requested. Robert F. Goheen to Raymond C. Firestone, October 28, 1965; Firestone Foundation, 1943-1972; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972); Box 215, Folder 9; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library. See also “Gifts to Princeton University,” January 2, 1968.

[125]

“Firestone Library Cornerstone Laid; Five Sons Present,” The Princeton Herald, June 20, 1947, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[126]

“Firestone Library Cornerstone Laid; Five Sons Present,” The Princeton Herald.

[127]

See, for example, Robert F. Goheen to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., January 29, 1971; Firestone, Harvey S., Jr, 1942-1973; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 485, Folder 8; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[128]

Axtell, The Making of Princeton University, 444.

[129]

Press release, February 1, 1945; Firestone Foundation, 1943-1972; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 215, Folder 9; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[130]

Press release, February 1, 1945.

[131]

“Scheide donates rare books library to Princeton; collection is largest gift in University’s history,” Princeton Development Communications, February 16, 2015, https://www.princeton.edu/news/2015/02/16/scheide-donates-rare-books-library-princeton-collection-largest-gift-universitys.

[132]

Eric Pace, “Raymond C. Firestone, 86, Dies; Was Chairman Of Tire Company,” The New York Times, September 12, 1994; David A. Probst to President’s Office, May 14, 1969; Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, 1968-1972; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 215, Folder 10; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[133]

David A. Probst to President’s Office, May 14, 1969.

[134]

Probst admitted to siphoning $127,500 from Princeton. His trip to Liberia occurred four years before his earliest known misconduct. “Ex-Princeton Aide Guilty of Theft,” The New York Times, May 5, 1983; Chris Gachet, “Fired exec to pay $127,500 settlement,” The Daily Princetonian, October 1, 1982, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Richard Waechter, “Probst complaint still pending,” The Daily Princetonian, November 2, 1981, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[135]

David A. Probst to President’s Office, May 14, 1969.

[136]

Davi A. Probst to President’s Office, May 14, 1969.


[137]

“Fortune 500: A database of 50 years of FORTUNE’s list of America’s largest corporations,” Fortune Magazine, accessed July 23, 2022, https://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500_archive/full/1955/; “Firestone Tire & Rubber,” CNN Money, accessed July 23, 2022, https://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500_archive/snapshots/1964/3034.html.

[138]

Reginald Stuart, “Battle Rages Over Recall of Firestone 500’s,” The New York Times, August 6, 1978.

[139]

Princeton excluded virtually all Black students until the mid-1900s. In the late 1700s, three Black men — John Quamine, Bristol Yamma, and John Chavis — undertook studies with John Witherspoon, Princeton’s sixth president. Witherspoon defended slavery and held enslaved people himself. In the 19th century, a handful of Black students attended classes at Princeton but could not enroll or seek degrees. The U.S. Navy’s V-12 program brought the first Black undergraduates—John Leroy Howard (’1947), James Everett Ward (’1947), Arthur Jewell Wilson (’1947), and Melvin Murchison Jr. (who did not graduate)—to Princeton during World War II. The University formally integrated in the late 1940s. For more on Princeton’s integration, see Bradley, “The Southern-Most Ivy,” 116-117; Tad Bennicoff, “African Americans and Princeton: A Brief History,” African American Studies Library Guide, March 11, 2005, https://libguides.princeton.edu/c.php?g=84056&p=544526; April C. Armstrong, “Integrating Princeton University: Robert Joseph Rivers ’53,” Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, February 8, 2017, https://blogs.princeton.edu/mudd/2017/02/integrating-princeton-university/; April C. Armstrong, “African Americans and Princeton University,” Seeley G. Mudd Mansucript Library, May 27, 2015, https://blogs.princeton.edu/mudd/2015/05/african-americans-and-princeton-university/. For Witherspoon’s relationship to slavery, see Lesa Redmond, “John Witherspoon,” Princeton & Slavery Project, https://slavery.princeton.edu/stories/john-witherspoon.

[140]

Bradley, “The Southern-Most Ivy,” 116-121. For the number of Black undergraduates in 1967, see Bob Durkee, “A new era for the Negro at Princeton?,” The Daily Princetonian, October 17, 1967, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[141]

Joseph A. Field, “Negro Undergraduates Unite,” The Daily Princetonian, April 18, 1967, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Durkee, “A new era for the Negro at Princeton?,” The Daily Princetonian.

[142]

Bradley, “The Southern-Most Ivy,” 116-117.

[143]

Bradley, “The Southern-Most Ivy,” 121.

[144]

For the size of Princeton’s investments in South Africa, see: Charlie Rankin, “South African investments committee splits evenly,” The Daily Princetonian, November 19, 1968, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[145]

David Addams, “Southern Africa: The Princeton connection,” The Daily Princetonian, March 7, 1977, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Jackson, “Apartheid and Imperialism,” 38.

[146]

For the student protests that prompted the Malkiel Committee’s formation, see Rankin, “South African investments committee splits evenly,” The Daily Princetonian, and William H. Paul, “Board to study power structure,” The Daily Princetonian, May 20, 1968, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries. For other protests against Princeton’s investments in South African companies, see Richard Balfour, “Nassau Hall protestors score university morals,” The Daily Princetonian, February 27, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Emmett Pritchard, “Goheen okays adoption of two Front demands,” The Daily Princetonian, February 24, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Jeff Collier, “Front rejects role in committee,” The Daily Princetonian, March 10, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Emmett Pritchard, “Front validates boycott,” The Daily Princetonian, February 20, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[147]

Charlie Rankin, “Malkiel group issues 3 reports,” The Daily Princetonian, January 6, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[148]

Malkiel, et al., “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee,” January 1969; Luther Munford, “The president speaks,” The Daily Princetonian, March 5, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Rankin, “Malkiel group issues 3 reports,” The Daily Princetonian; Luther Munford, “Are the new security policies worth a can of beans?,” The Daily Princetonian, March 14, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Luther Munford, “ROTC bounced; Goheen calls open meeting,” The Daily Princetonian, March 4, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Luther Munford, “Half-formed Frank committee maps out South Africa strategy,” The Daily Princetonian, April 1, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[149]

The question of how to determine complicity in apartheid fractured the Committee. “It was difficult to set criteria, for it is not easy to define precisely which companies appreciably contribute to the economies of southern Africa,” the authors wrote. The Malkiel Report included companies “only if they had affiliates or subsidiaries operating in southern Africa.” That criterion yielded a list of 40 “designated companies,” which ranged from Chrysler to IBM. Both Firestone and long-time competitor Goodyear appeared on the list. The Report’s authors expressed their dissatisfaction with the methodology, which was apparently proposed by Scott and other student members. For their part, the students also disputed the Committee’s criteria. At least one member (almost certainly a student) had argued, “any company that profits at all -- directly or indirectly -- from the economies of southern Africa should be considered as helping to support racist regimes.” The Report admitted, “By this second criterion it is probably true that almost every company in Princeton’s portfolio is contaminated.” In their dissent, Spight and Scott wrote, “It was the student's opinion that ‘doing business’ in South Africa encompassed all of these activities,” which included “selling to or buying from southern Africa”; “making intermediary products that are finally sold to southern Africa”; and “using products bought from the region.” Conceding “that complete disengagement from such activities was a practical impossibility,” Spight and Scott accepted that companies with South African subsidiaries “have clearly acquiesed [sic] to the policy of Apartheid” and “should be the principal targets.” Malkiel, et al., “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee,” January 1969; William R. Scott and Carl Spight, “Princeton University, South African Investments and the Black Experience,” The Association of Black Collegians and The Committee for Black Awareness, https://projects.kora.matrix.msu.edu/files/210-808-8134/african_activist_archive-a0b0x1-a_12419.pdf, January 1, 1969; Rankin, “South African investments committee splits evenly,” The Daily Princetonian; Rankin, “Malkiel group issues 3 reports,” The Daily Princetonian; Steve Dreyfuss, “ABC burns ‘bogey,’ seeks confrontation with administration,” The Daily Princetonian, January 13, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[150]

Rankin, “Malkiel group issues 3 reports,” The Daily Princetonian.

[151]

Malkiel, et al., “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee,” January 1969.

[152]

Malkiel, et al., “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee,” January 1969.

[153]

Malkiel, et al., “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee,” January 1969.

[154]

Malkiel, et al., “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee,” January 1969.

[155]

Munford, “The president speaks,” The Daily Princetonian.

[156]

Greg Conderacci, “ABC abandons New South after 11 hours of orderly South African demonstration,” The Daily Princetonian, March 12, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Greg Conderacci, “Birth of ‘Black South’: The ABC comes of age,” The Daily Princetonian, June 21, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[157]

For Goheen’s appeasement, see Badi Foster, interviewed by Amy Billingsley (“Badi Foster details the struggle for an African American Studies department at Princeton University”), The History Makers Digital Archive, January 25, 2003, https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/7241; Mark Whitaker, “Princeton, Woodrow Wilson and my father,” CNN, June 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/30/opinions/princeton-woodrow-wilson-and-my-father-whitaker/index.html.

[158]

Malkiel, et al., “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee,” January 1969.

[159]

Malkiel, et al., “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee,” January 1969.

[160]

Robert F. Goheen, “Statement on the Issue of the University’s Investments in Companies doing Business in South Africa,” March 4, 1969; Malkiel Committee – South African Investments, 1969; Office of the Treasurer Records, 1754-2009 (mostly 1939-2006), Box 68, Folder 30; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[161]

Tom Henderson, “Faculty okays black studies,” The Daily Princetonian, March 4, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; “Goheen States Policy,” Town Topics, March 6, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Bill Highberger, “Faculty okays proposal to begin African studies,” The Daily Princetonian, March 5, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[162]

Henderson, “Faculty okays black studies,” The Daily Princetonian; Tom Henderson, “Faculty to vote on committee’s recommendations for African and Afro-American study programs,” The Daily Princetonian, February 28, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[163]

Peter J. Katzenstein, “Area and Regional Studies in the United States,” PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol. 34, No. 4 (Dec. 2001): 789.

[164]

Ted Weidlein, “Committee to Evolve Plan For New African Program,” The Daily Princetonian, February 16, 1965, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[165]

Julius Lester, “Growing Down,” Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, Vol. 11, No. 7 (Oct. 1979): 34-37.

[166]

Emphasis in original. Johnnetta B. Cole, “Black Studies in Liberal Arts Education,” in Jacqueline Bobo, et al., eds., The Black Studies Reader (New York: Routledge, 2004), 23.

[167]

See, for example, Bruce Smith and Edward R. Weidlein, “Faculty Expands Anthropology; Student African Studies Course Passes,” The Daily Princetonian, February 8, 1966, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; W. Roderick Hamilton, “White Hyper-Insensitivity,” The Daily Princetonian, February 4, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[168]

Cole, “Black Studies in Liberal Arts Education,” 23.

[169]

Emphasis in original. Scott and Spight, “Princeton University, South African Investments and the Black Experience.”

[170]

Scott and Spight, “Princeton University, South African Investments and the Black Experience.”

[171]

Scott and Spight, “Princeton University, South African Investments and the Black Experience.”

[172]

Robert Bruce Slater, “Opinions on Current Readings: Blacks at Princeton; Member of the Club by Lawrence Otis Graham,” The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Issue 9 (Autumn 1995): 107.

[173]

Scott and Spight, “Princeton University, South African Investments and the Black Experience.”

[174]

Proposal for The Firestone Visiting Professorship in African Studies, March 23, 1970.

[175]

Proposal for The Firestone Visiting Professorship in African Studies, March 23, 1970.

[176]

Robert F. Goheen to Harvey S. Firestone Jr., March 23, 1970; Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, 1968-1972; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 215, Folder 10; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[177]

The Ford Foundation, a white philanthropic organization, underwrote dozens of African American or Black Studies programs in the 1960s and ’70s, shaping the field’s development. Under the presidency of former National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy, the Foundation pursued a utopian vision of race relations, in which African American Studies programs would educate and conscientize white students. Princeton’s grant was among ten that the Ford Foundation disbursed to support African American Studies in 1969. Half were given to Historically Black Colleges and Universities: the Atlanta University Center, Howard University, Jackson State College, Lincoln University, Morgan State College, and Tuskegee University; the other half, predominantly white institutions: Princeton, Rutgers University, Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, and Yale University. Given their geographic proximity, the Ford Foundation arranged for Princeton, Lincoln, and Rutgers to share resources and faculty members. The Ford fortune derived from Henry Ford, close friend and associate of Harvey Firestone Sr. Ford’s racism and antisemitism are widely known. For the Ford Foundation’s influence upon African American Studies, see Noliwe M. Rooks, White Money/Black Power: The Surprising History of African American Studies and the Crisis of Race in Higher Education (Boston: Beacon Press, 2006). For the Foundation’s 1969 grants, see Rooks, pp. 107-110. For coverage of Princeton’s grant, see James H. Hinton, “Afro-American Studies plan emerges,” The Daily Princetonian, September 17 , 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[178]

Roger died less than two months before Goheen asked his brothers to support Princeton’s program in African Studies. In 1977, the Firestone family funded Firestone Plaza, which stretches from Firestone Library to the Chapel, in Roger’s memory. “Our History,” Lincoln University, accessed September 21, 2022, https://www.lincoln.edu/about/...; “Roger Firestone of Tire Company,” The New York Times, January 28, 1970. The plaque that marks Firestone Plaza describes the details of its dedication.

[179]

Lincoln University encapsulated the entanglements between Princeton, Firestone, and Liberia. Founded in 1854 by a Princeton Theological Seminary graduate prominent in the American Colonization Society, Lincoln was often called “the Black Princeton.” Goheen’s distant cousin, William Hallock Johnson (’1888), served as Lincoln’s president from 1927 to 1936. Robert F. Goheen to Roger S. Firestone, March 8, 1963; Press Releases and Related Materials, 1951-1979; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 296, Folder 7; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library; “Our History,” Lincoln University, accessed September 21, 2022; Eddie R. Cole, The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020), 238; “Rev. Dr. William Johnson Dies; Former President of Lincoln U.,” The New York Times, November 29, 1963.

[180]

See explanation of my methodology in footnotes 12 and 13.

[181]

Blyden B. Jackson, “Apartheid and Imperialism,” 38.

[182]

“Report of the Subcommittee on Corporate Investment,” February 10, 1970; Malkiel Committee – South African Investments, 1969; Office of the Treasurer Records, 1754-2009 (mostly 1939-2006), Box 68, Folder 30; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[183]

Although the Malkiel Report rejected divestment, the authors established that Princeton “as a stockholder might itself” denounce the practices of the companies in its portfolio. I found no record of Princeton raising concerns to Firestone, either about South Africa or Liberia. “Report of the Subcommittee on Corporate Investment,” February 10, 1970; Malkiel, et al., “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee,” January 1969.

[184]

Robert F. Goheen to Raymond Firestone, March 23, 1970; Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, 1968-1972; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 215, Folder 10; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[185]

Robert F. Goheen to Raymond Firestone, March 23, 1970.

[186]

Proposal for The Firestone Visiting Professorship in African Studies, March 23, 1970.

[187]

Proposal for The Firestone Visiting Professorship in African Studies, March 23, 1970.

[188]

Proposal for The Firestone Visiting Professorship in African Studies, March 23, 1970.

[189]

Richard Balfour, “Faculty contemplates black studies program,” The Daily Princetonian, February 20, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[190]

In February 1969, only three of 41 seats in HIS 404: Afro-American History went to Black students. Emmett Pritchard, “Afro-American studies evolve,” The Daily Princetonian, February 4, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[191]

W. Roderick Hamilton, “White Hyper-Insensitivity,” The Daily Princetonian, February 4, 1969, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[192]

“The History of AAS at Princeton University,” Department of African American Studies, accessed July 24, 2022, https://aas.princeton.edu/about.

[193]

Proposal for The Firestone Visiting Professorship in African Studies, March 23, 1970.

[194]

Malkiel, et al., “Report of the Ad Hoc Committee,” January 1969.

[195]

Henry E. Bessire to Robert F. Goheen, June 17, 1970; Firestone, Harvey S., Jr, 1942-1973; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 485, Folder 8; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[196]

Henry E. Bessire to Robert F. Goheen, June 17, 1970.

[197]

Henry E. Bessire to Robert F. Goheen, June 17, 1970.

[198]

Henry E. Bessire to Robert F. Goheen, June 17, 1970.

[199]

Amid the Vietnam War, students and faculty organized against Princeton’s Air Force, Army, and Navy ROTC programs. The same day that it approved curricula in African and African American Studies, the faculty stripped Princeton’s ROTC program of departmental status. The spring of 1970 saw anti-war demonstrations across campus, leading Princeton’s trustees to disband ROTC altogether. In January 1972, the Board reversed course, allowing ROTC to continue as an extracurricular. “ROTC to End at Princeton,” The Daily Princetonian, June 25, 1970, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; “Princeton Votes to Revive R.O.T.C.,” The New York Times, January 15, 1972; Henderson, “Faculty okays black studies,” The Daily Princetonian; Henry E. Bessire to Robert F. Goheen, June 17, 1970.

[200]

Henry E. Bessire to Robert F. Goheen, June 17, 1970.

[201]

Henry E. Bessire to Robert F. Goheen, June 17, 1970.

[202]

Henry E. Bessire to Robert F. Goheen, June 17, 1970.

[203]

Henry E. Bessire to Robert F. Goheen, June 17, 1970.

[204]

Henry E. Bessire to Robert F. Goheen, June 17, 1970.

[205]

Henry E. Bessire to Robert F. Goheen, June 17, 1970.

[206]

Mark Stevens, “150 minority students sit-in at Firestone,” The Daily Princetonian, March 13, 1971; Firestone Library Incident 1971 (Third World Community Petition), 1971; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 415, Folder 8; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[207]

Stevens, “150 minority students sit-in at Firestone,” The Daily Princetonian.

[208]

Stevens, “150 minority students sit-in at Firestone,” The Daily Princetonian.

[209]

Dix had toured possible sites with Harvey Jr. “After long discussion,” Dix wrote to Goheen, “he narrowed his choice down to two locations,” both within the vestibule.” Princeton installed the bust in one of them: “between the two outside doors facing back into the Library.” Dix and Harvey Jr. “agreed also upon an inscription of appropriate size, reading simply ‘Harvey S. Firestone 1868-1938.’” The text and placement remain today precisely as Harvey Jr. wanted them. Robert F. Goheen to William S. Dix, March 1, 1963; Firestone Library, 1962-1969; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 359, Folder 1; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library; William S. Dix to Robert F. Goheen, January 22, 1962; Firestone Library, 1962-1969; Office of the President Records: Robert F. Goheen Subgroup, 1924-1988 (mostly 1957-1972), Box 359, Folder 1; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[210]

In 1980, students and an alumni trustee held an overnight anti-apartheid “study-in” within Firestone Library. See also coverage of the 1988 vigil held in Firestone Plaza on the 20th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. “Princeton Trustee Joins 73 Students in South Africa Protest,” Town Topics, March 19, 1980, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Bert Robinson, “Activism,” The Daily Princetonian, July 27, 1981, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Barton Gellman and Joel Achenbach, “1979-80: Year of continuity despite innovations,” The Daily Princetonian, July 28, 1980, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Tracy L. Friedman, “Students gather to honor King, protest racism,” The Daily Princetonian, April 5, 1988, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[211]

Students were not the only ones to organize in Firestone’s shadow. In early 1977, library assistants employed at Firestone Library voted to unionize, citing “inordinately low” wages and unfair conditions. Their union, AFSCME Local 956, argued that library assistants, most of whom were women and many of whom were Black, faced pay discrimination. In 1988, the Princeton RAINBOW Coalition, an antiracist organization, endorsed Local 956 as “an effort to combat exploitation, racism and sexism in the workplace.” The RAINBOW Coalition signatories added that library assistants, “the lowest paid workers in the University,” sought “to ensure that those employees with the least formal education — many of them Black — have an opportunity to advance within the library system.” For the Firestone protest’s role in creating the Third World Center, see: Connie Green and Kim Pearson, “Intracommunal relations: Solidarity and diversity,” The Daily Princetonian, January 17, 1977, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Shriya Sekhsaria, “Black History Month: Looking back at the 1970s,” The Daily Princetonian, February 25, 2015, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; “Third World Center unifies minority students on campus,” The Daily Princetonian, July 31, 1979, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries. For library assistants’ unionization efforts in the 1970s and ’80s, see: “Votes ‘Yes’ to Union,” Town Topics, February 10, 1977, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Bob Cooper and Seth Chandler, “1967-77: Year of resignations, labor problems, admissions controversies,” The Daily Princetonian, July 25, 1977, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Rob De Lossa, “Library conflict,” The Daily Princetonian, May 20, 1985, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Kevin Shopland, “Library union: Protecting workers’ rights,” The Daily Princetonian, May 7, 1985, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Peter Elkind, “Mediation efforts in library negotiations collapse,” The Daily Princetonian, April 11, 1978, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Rodney X. Ho, “Library workers rally to increase awareness of need for wage hike,” The Daily Princetonian, May 13, 1988, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Midge Quandt, Steve Carlip, David Stone, Hazel Staats-Westover, Michael F. Jimeniz, and Myrna Samuel, “The Rainbow Coalition Supports Library Asst’s,” Town Topics, July 13, 1988, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[212]

“Sunday’s forum: Morality, freedom and university policy,” The Daily Princetonian, March 17, 1978, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Steven Bernstein, “Administrators believe Malkiel study still valid,” The Daily Princetonian, April 5, 1978, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries; Addams, “Southern Africa: The Princeton connection,” The Daily Princetonian; Blyden B. Jackson, “Apartheid and Imperialism,” 38.

[213]

Blyden B. Jackson, “Apartheid and Imperialism,” 38.

[214]

Bob Fletcher, “Front demonstrates against recruiters,” The Daily Princetonian, November 16, 1978, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[215]

Chuck Alexander, Natalie Byfield, and Rhinold Ponder, “TWC: Open letter to President Bowen,” The Daily Princetonian, April 13, 1978, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[216]

“Congressman Scheduled To Speak for Divestiture,” Town Topics, April 2, 1986, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[217]

Gautam Gode, “Issues of import: Campus activism and its focus on faddish concerns,” The Daily Princetonian, April 25, 1989, Papers of Princeton Database, Princeton University Libraries.

[218]

Gode, “Issues of import,” The Daily Princetonian.

[219]

Gode, “Issues of import,” The Daily Princetonian.

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