Princeton University History

The Princeton University Archives consists of over 15,000 linear feet of records including administration records (presidents, provosts, deans, and department records, faculty files, undergraduate and graduate alumni files); photographs and other audiovisual materials; and publications that document the history of Princeton University. The University Archives is also the repository for Princeton senior theses and doctoral dissertations.

Additional historical information about Princeton University

Alexander Leitch's A Princeton Companion (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1978) contains biographies of University presidents, trustees, deans, noted alumni, and prominent professors. Other topics include academic department histories, athletics, campus buildings, research, and student activities. This resource is available online and is searchable by keyword.

A host of historical facts about Princeton University are available online through the University's main web page.  In addition to A Princeton Companion, researchers will find links that provide further details on the Presidents of Princeton University, Princeton's History, the Princetoniana Committee, and information on the American Revolution and Princeton.

The Daily Princetonian Archives are available online as well.

Collections with Divisional Holdings

  • Master's Theses Collection

    This collection consists of theses submitted toward the fulfillment of requirements for master's degrees at Princeton University. While Princeton students who write doctoral dissertations and senior theses are required to deposit copies of their work with the University Library, a student who completes a master's thesis may choose whether or not to deposit it with the library. Therefore, this collection does not represent all master's theses written at Princeton University.

  • Department of Grounds and Buildings Technical Correspondence Records

    The collection consists largely of correspondence among architects, contractors, donors, and university officials, as well as inter-office memos concerning the construction, maintenance, and removal of buildings. Although many of the documents are of a desultory nature, in some instances they provide detailed information about the design of a building and the process by which an idea was transformed into concrete reality.

  • Princeton University Library Records

    The Princeton University Library Records consists of the files of the University Librarian and other Library administrators and departments, as well as of the Friends of the Princeton University Library. Materials in the record group include correspondence, reports, publications, clippings, minutes, press releases, proposals, statistics, photographs and other audiovisual materials, and microfilm.

  • Historical Photograph Collection, Student Photographers Series

    With the introduction of the Kodak box camera in 1888, many students began to take their own photographs. Princeton students were taking and possibly developing their own photographs on campus as early as the 1870s and early 1880s, perhaps in the darkrooms in the John C. Green School of Science.The photographs in the Student Photographers Series comprise what must be a small proportion of the photographs taken by Princeton students in the late nineteenth century.

  • Class Reunion Books Collection

    The collection consists of class yearbooks that are published to mark class reunions and to provide updates on the lives of alumni. Many classes have more than one book to commemorate reunions, such as the 10th, 25th, etc. Though each reunion book is unique, they generally contain entries for each class member that list current contact information, occupation, marital status, and usually a short biographical entry detailing activities since graduation.

  • Princeton Listening Center Records

    The Records of the Princeton Listening Center consist of transcripts of Axis and Allied propaganda broadcasts monitored by the Listening Center staff from November 1939 through May 1941 until the operations of the Center were taken over by the Federal Communications Commission of the United States government. Also included are subject and research files of the organization, as well as reports published by the members.

  • Gauss Seminars in Criticism Records

    The collection is composed of correspondence with the guest speakers. Most folders contain a letter of invitation to speak at the Gauss Seminars, correspondence concerning presentation dates, lodging, and material for distribution during the presentation. Other items include payment for lectures and correspondence requesting additional lecture dates at other institutions during the speaker's stay in the United States.The final folder contains material from a symposium on the subject of Thomas Mann's Dr. Faustus.

  • Alumni and Faculty Offprint Collection

    This collection consists of offprints of articles written by Princeton alumni and faculty; however, in some instances the articles are written about an individual alumni or faculty member. The offprints generally consist of journals, published articles, speeches, lectures, sermons, memorials, and articles from scientific journals and magazines. While the offprints of many of Princeton's notable alumni and professors are found within this collection, a sizable number by Henry Fairfield Osborn, A. F. Buddington, Gerhard Fankhauser, Harold R. Medina, Whitney J. Oates, and William J.

  • Office of the Provost Records

    Though the records of the Office of the Provost contain some material that is duplicated in other University record groups (such as those of the Office of the President and the dean of the faculty), there are specific subjects that this collection documents especially well. The provost (rather than the president) has primary responsibility for oversight of the University's affirmative action programs, computing, the University Library, the Art Museum, and the Plasma Physics Lab, which results in extensive documentation of these topics.

  • War Service Bureau Records

    Consists of the records of the Bureau. Included in the documentation are biographical, military, and school-related information; correspondence between students and University staff, faculty, and students; and subject files from the Bureau’s office. While there are only information cards for Class of 1943 members, there are individual folders for most men in the Classes of 1944 through 1949. There are also questionnaires (see restrictions) containing academic and personal information, and issues of TIGER TALES, the Bureau’s monthly newsletter.

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