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

  • Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration records

    The collection documents the activities of three consecutive administrators who held
    the position of vice presidents for finance, either solely or in combination with the
    roles of treasurer and vice president for administration: Paul B. Firstenberg
    (1972-1976), Carl W. Schafer (1976-1987), and Richard R. Spies (1988-2001). Also
    included are the records of Laurel B. Harvey, who served as assistant vice president

  • 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.

  • Richardson Auditorium programs

    The collection consists of programs for performances and other events held at Richardson Auditorium.

  • Nassau Hall Bible Society Records

    These materials record the Society's work during both phases of its existence. Bound volumes contain minutes of the Society's annual meetings–including reports from its managers (during the early years)–and of its board (1864-1866). Several pamphlets recount the semi-annual meeting of the Society; others give the reports of the Nassau Hall Bible, Tract, and Education Societies. The remainder consists of ledgers, donation records, and receipts from the Society's earliest years. A few historical notes conclude the collection.

  • Cyrus Fogg Brackett Lectureship Records

    The lecturer files contain correspondence, lecture manuscripts, and published lectures–although rarely all three. The other materials include lecture schedules, a biography of Professor Brackett, lists and directories of the lecturers, a scrapbook of clippings, and histories of the lectureship.

  • Princeton-Pennsylvania Accelerator records

    Consists of proposals and surveys compiled by the Office of Occupational Health and Safety in regards to radiation safety measures taken to protect workers and researchers at the Princeton-Pennsylvania Accelerator, a particle research facility that operated on Forrestal Campus from 1957 to 1971.

  • 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.

  • Benjamin Franklin Bunn Papers

    This collection contains correspondence, financial reports, papers and memoranda relating to numerous Princeton University associations and organizations. The correspondence is virtually all between Bunn and his classmates, friends, and University officials, though some letters from family members are included. The most voluminous series of papers relate to the Class of 1907, The Daily Princetonian, the Princeton Triangle (the file contains a handwritten letter from F.

  • Undergraduate Alumni Records

    Consists of personal files of former undergraduate students of Princeton University. Information in each file varies greatly but can include the names of relatives, notable achievements and news items, address updates, and obituaries.

  • Undergraduate Student Government Records

    The collection consists of records and publications of the Undergraduate Student Government from 1982 to 1997. Campaign and publicity materials from the Princeton University Democrats, and student activism files from the office of Professor Stanley Kelley are included in the collection as well as the records of Jeffrey Siegel '98, who served on the Undergraduate Student Government for four years.

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