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Nearly 300 theses have gone missing over the years, Princeton officials said.
The restriction was lifted in 1983, after the elder Byrne left office.
Princeton junior Q Miceli says the theses can offer an interesting glimpse into the writers’ personalities.
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Princeton University and the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections value providing access to the materials that we steward both in person and via our digitization services.As legal scholars and the press began calling for copies, Princeton librarians contacted Alito’s old adviser on the off-chance he had kept a copy.The adviser, now retired in New Mexico, had saved a copy because he had admired Alito’s paper, titled "An Introduction to the Italian Constitutional Court." His photocopied version now sits on the library’s shelves.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.Many undergraduates spend much of their senior year researching and revising their papers, which can total hundreds of pages. Actress Shields’ 1987 thesis compared "Pretty Baby," the Louis Malle film featuring one of her most famous roles, with an earlier Malle film, "Lacombe Lucien." Her 124-page paper includes a transcript of her own interview with the filmmaker.Michelle La Vaughn Robinson was candid in her thesis — "Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community" — about her struggles as an African-American on a largely white campus in 1985."Regardless of the circumstances under which I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second," the future Michelle Obama wrote.Campus officials said other missing theses may simply have been "misshelved" — lost somewhere inside the miles of shelving inside the vast manuscript library.Linke is currently hunting for former governor Brendan Byrne’s 1949 senior thesis, "Proportional Representation in Municipal Government," which recently went missing."I believe it is simply misshelved, since we know it was in the building a few years ago," Linke said.