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

  • Annual Reports to the President

    Consists of the collected reports to the President prepared annually by each
    academic department and administrative office. The reports detail progress on
    departmental projects, curriculum developments, faculty and staff changes, and
    departmental spending. Reports for the academic years 1940-41 through 1995-96
    are bound in volumes. In subsequent years, the reports are housed in boxes.

  • James Penrose Harland papers

    From the time he was 15 years old until several years before his death in 1973, James Penrose Harland maintained a diary, journal, or daily log in which he recorded a few notes about each day's events. These yearly volumes, written in his own hand, comprise the bulk of the collection. Also included are clippings, photographs, postcards, and some correspondence.

  • Princeton at the World's Columbian Exhibition Records

    Consists of three certificates from the U.S. Congress honoring Princeton for the exhibit, three copies of a photograph of Dr. and Mrs. McCosh seated in the exhibit booth, a written proposal for the exhibit, layout plans for the exhibit, and two bound registers containing the autographs and home cities of visitors to the exhibit.

  • Grover Cleveland Collection

    The Grover Cleveland Collection consists of collected research materials regarding Grover Cleveland, his life in Princeton, and his relation to the University. The papers document a variety of topics both broad in nature (his work as a Trustee) and highly specific (a Venezualan table he received as a gift). Also in the collection are letters sent to the University by early researchers inquiring about Cleveland, facsimiles of speeches, and files on other biographical topics such as Cleveland's birthplace, gravesite, and family members.

  • Office of the Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel Records

    The Dean of the Chapel records document the activities of the Office and the
    Chapel and include former dean files, historical material, minutes, and
    marriage, birth, baptism, and death records as well as adminsitrative files and
    programs of services and concerts. Series 1 materials include files for the
    tenure of Dean Robert Russell Wicks (1928-1947), Assistant Deans of the Chapel
    Laurence Fenninger (1930-1946), Burton MacLean (1946-1948), H. Keith Beebe

  • University Chapel Stained Glass Windows Restoration records

    Consists of architectural surveys of the University Chapel with details of the window bays and the exterior facade, as well as photographs, slides, and microfilm documenting the work done on each window and sculpture and day logs recording daily progress. Also in the collection are several boxes of glass fragments from the original windows.

  • Department of Psychology Collection

    This collection includes group portraits and portraits of department faculty as well as some photos of individuals and locations that may not be Princeton-related. Also includes a framed print of Sigmund Freud with Princeton administrators.

  • Robertson Foundation Records

    Consists of materials from files of the Secretary of the Robertson Foundation, including Robertson Foundation Board of Trustees meeting minutes (1961-2009), Robertson Foundation chronological files (1959-2002), and miscellaneous Robertson Foundation Investment Committee materials (1961-1992). There are two sets of Board of Trustees meeting minutes. The set of minutes in binders (1961-1982, 2000-2008) also contains supplementary information.

  • Committee on the Education of Women at Princeton Records

    The Committee on the Education of Women at Princeton Records contain correspondence, subject files, drafts, notes, and research materials that were generated and accumulated during the time Gardner Patterson was Chair of the Committee and a member of the subsequently appointed Ad-Hoc Committee. The records also contain one copy of the final report, \The Education of Women at Princeton,\ which was produced by the committee.

  • Princeton University Broadsheets Collection

    This collection comprises broadsheets, posters and similar single-sided oversize printed objects created by or for Princeton University. Among the items included in the collection are advertisements for lecutres and exhibitions, 19th century necrology studies of Princeton alumni, diplomas conveying Princeton University congratulations to various schools and people, and miscellaneous announcements.

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