Princeton University Senior Thesis Catalog

Princeton University Senior Thesis Catalog-16
The current hot paper is "To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933," written in 1981 by Elena Kagan, now a Supreme Court nominee.

The current hot paper is "To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933," written in 1981 by Elena Kagan, now a Supreme Court nominee.Anticipating Kagan’s confirmation hearings this week in Washington, readers ranging from members of Congress to legal scholars and political bloggers have been picking apart the 156-page paper written by the then-21-year-old undergraduate.

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Nearly 300 theses have gone missing over the years, Princeton officials said.

Most disappeared decades ago, when the theses were kept in the open stacks at the main campus library. Bush nominated Samuel Alito, a 1972 Princeton graduate, to the Supreme Court, library officials were horrified to find Alito’s thesis was among the missing.

Visitors are asked to lock their belongings in lockers before they enter.

Those who take notes must do so in pencil on the library’s orange paper, which has a hole in the center of each piece to ensure that no one tries to slip out the door with a thesis hidden in a stack of papers.

Many aspiring teachers will read Kopp’s thesis before applying for the highly competitive program. For those who can’t get to the university, the library offers to send photocopies by mail, for a fee.

But most of the theses can be read for free in the reading room of Mudd Library, at wood desks under brass reading lamps.Brendan Thomas Byrne Jr., son of then-governor Brendan Byrne, similarly used his family connections to write "The Backroom Boys," his thesis on political patronage and backroom deals in New Jersey politics.More coverage: • After restricting access, Princeton University releases Michelle Obama's thesis• U. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's writings, views while at Princeton to be examined• U. Supreme Court pick Elena Kagan is a graduate from Princeton University• Princeton University graduate program admissions are on the rise The 1976 paper, in which the younger Byrne quotes many current and former political figures, includes a letter from his attorney forbidding anyone to copy the thesis without the author’s permission.Miceli, 19, said she takes the time to read the acknowledgments at the start of each thesis."That’s a quick way for me to judge the person," said Miceli, a religion studies major. "It just pulled me in right away."ORANGE NOTEPAPERIn recent years, Princeton officials say, the most-requested thesis has been Wendy Kopp’s 1989 proposal for a Peace Corps-like program to place teachers in struggling schools.Kopp famously used her thesis as a blueprint for Teach for America, which has placed 20,000 young teachers in urban and rural districts.But many are requested by scholars and fans who make the pilgrimage to Princeton to peek into the young mind of someone who later became famous."There is an emotional attachment people have to their theses," said Princeton University archivist Daniel J.Linke, who oversees the 60,000-volume collection of theses.The neatly typed thesis, which analyzes the ultimately unsuccessful socialist movement in New York, is bound in a hard cover with Kagan’s name handwritten on the spine.It is dedicated to her parents and her brother Marc, whose "involvement in radical causes" helped clarify her own political ideas, she wrote.PRINCETON — Every year, more than a thousand Princeton University students spend the last months before graduation slaving away on a senior thesis. Mudd Manuscript Library — known as "The Vault" — contains the theses of Michelle Obama, Brooke Shields, Ralph Nader, Bill Bradley, Tom Kean, David Duchovny, Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito and more.After graduation, each paper is cataloged and filed on a shelf in the bowels of the campus library, where it is usually never touched again. About 1,000 theses are pulled from the shelves and read each year, mostly by Princeton students shopping for a topic for their own papers, school officials say.


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