The Flour Picture


From the 1925 Nassau Herald.
From the 1925 Nassau Herald. Courtesy of Princeton Alumni Weekly

Between 1905 and 1929 sophomores welcomed the new freshman class to college with a hazing ritual that became known as the "flour picture." As the freshmen posed for their first class photo on the steps of Whig (sometimes Clio) Hall, they had to endure a barrage of flour, water and even rotten fruit from the sophomores.

The first flour picture to appear in the "Bric-A-Brac" (1905) was of the Class of 1907, but it is unclear if it was the first taken. It is not mentioned in the 1907 "Nassau Herald" class history nor in the "Daily Princetonian," which only started announcing the "flour picture" in 1913.

Over the years other ingredients were added to the mix. The use of acid in 1923 led to immediate abolishment of the tradition, but it was reinstated in 1924 with strict limitations. With only water and flour, however, the interest of the sophomores waned and the last flour picture was taken in 1925. Film footage survives for 1922 and 1924 in the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.