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

  • “Old Nassau” Collection

    This collection contains early scores and lyrics to Princeton University's alma mater “Old Nassau” as well as information about the song and the men who created it. Included are biographical information pertaining to the lives of the song's composer and lyricist, both before and after 1859. Other materials were assembled by Wilford Conrow (Class of 1901) as research for the publication Old Nassau (1905), a book containing the original song and its variations and several related essays.

  • Alan W. Richards Photographs of Princeton University Athletics, 1946-1970

    Alan W. Richards Photographs of Princeton University Athletics, 1946-1970 consists of photographic negatives and a very few photographic prints of images captured by Alan W. Richards of Princeton University athletes and sports events. Approximately 3/4 of the images are related to Princeton University football. These include shots of individual players, coaches, and staff, as well as action shots of games and activities at Blairstown training camp. The Princeton University varsity, junior varsity, freshman and 150 lb. football teams are represented.

  • 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.

  • Woodrow Wilson Foundation Records

    The collection consists of the administrative records of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. By far the bulk of the collection includes financial records, correspondence, notes, committee minutes, press releases, research proposals, and awards that document the foundation's activities from its inception and initial fundraising in 1921 through the beginning of the Papers of Woodrow Wilson project in 1963, although the collection also includes a few binders of annual meeting minutes and reports through 1987.

  • Nassau Hall War Memorial records

    The records document the planning and execution of the memorial to Princeton students of the Second World War, including pictures, preliminary lists of honorees, correspondence with parents and campus groups, and programs from the memorial's unveiling ceremony. Also included is some information about other war memorials in Nassau Hall.

  • Senior Thesis Collection

    The collection contains the senior theses of Princeton undergraduates. Not every senior thesis completed by a Princeton student is represented in this collection, as some science-related theses are held at the Lewis Library. Most of the senior theses remain in their original format, however select volumes have been converted to microfiche.

  • Department of Facilities Records

    The Department of Facilities records document the daily activities of the department and its numerous divisions, including real estate, grounds and buildings, and physical planning. Documents include blueprints, photographs, correspondence, memos, sketches, contracts, ledgers, tax returns, incorporation papers, by-laws, annual reports, financial statements, newspaper clippings, booklets, and meeting minutes. The history of new building construction and building renovation on campus in the mid-20th century is well represented.

  • 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.

  • John Cobb Cooper papers

    The collection is composed of correspondence and other materials pertaining to Cooper's activities as Curator of Class Records and as an active member of the Friends of the Library and the Graduate Council. In particular, the materials document the collection development efforts of the Friends of the Library Maps Committee; the proceedings of the Graduate Council's Executive Committee and the Committee on Departmental Advisory Councils; and Cooper's participation in university fundraising efforts and in the establishment of the Industrial Relations Section.

  • Princeton Playgoers, Inc. records

    Consists of financial records, correspondence, records of ticket sales,
    advertisements, contracts, and other materials documenting the planning and
    production of plays at McCarter Theatre in the summer of 1942.

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