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"Inner Sanctum" takes readers inside the Faculty Room of Princeton University's historic Nassau Hall. It explores the Faculty Room's role as the symbolic center of Princeton and venerable repository of its institutional memory, and looks at how the room and its portraits reflect and helped shape the University's identity.
Located at the very heart of the Princeton campus, the Faculty Room served variously as a prayer hall, library, and museum, until University president Woodrow Wilson had it remodeled in 1906 for executive and ceremonial use. The room is distinctive for its fine architectural features, stately design, and remarkable collection of portraits depicting University founders, American presidents, British monarchs, clergymen, scholars, scientists, and others. This book traces how the Faculty Room's changing function and the diverse portraits on its walls tell an evocative story of Princeton's evolution from a small school of dissident theologians to the world-renowned research university it is today. It demonstrates how the room's contents and design, as well as its long and varied history, invite interpretation across a range of narratives, including those of memory, religion, history, race, biography, portraiture, and architecture.
The accompanying volume to a 2010 exhibition in the Faculty Room itself, "Inner Sanctum" features a foreword by University president Shirley M. Tilghman and essays by Toni Morrison, Sean Wilentz, Eddie S. Glaude Jr., and volume editor Karl Kusserow, as well as a closing poem by Paul Muldoon.
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