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. Unviersity members can access the book via JSTOR.

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

  • Department of Politics Records

    The Department of Politics records document the activities of Princeton University's Department of Politics from the time of its founding until the mid-1960s. The records consist of faculty correspondence and meeting minutes; course materials such as syllabi, exams, and grades; and subject files.Please see series descriptions in contents list for additional information about individual series.

  • Scrapbook Collection

    The scrapbook collection consists of scrapbooks maintained by 220 students totaling 296 volumes and documents the social and academic activities of Princeton undergraduates. By their very nature, scrapbooks are idiosyncratic, but generally they contain mementos relating to athletic events (such as tickets, programs, printed cheers, ribbons, and buttons), reunions, or life as a Princeton undergraduate.

  • President's Program Records

    Consists of regional files containing correspondence with program representatives throughout the nation. The rest of the collection is made up of subject files arranged alphabetically, however the subject files from A-Hu are missing from the run.

  • Committee on Safety and Insurance records

    Consists of Commitee minutes, accident reports, insurance policies, general subject files, and correspondence.

  • Princeton University Doctoral Dissertations

    The Mudd Manuscript Library holds most dissertations completed at Princeton since 1877, when the first graduate degree was awarded, and annually receives graduate students' most recent efforts. Of the few degrees awarded by departments originally offering doctoral programs, only about half are preserved in the archives. Because President McCosh supported the creation of the school of science, it is not surprising that a slight majority of the degrees awarded during his tenure are in the sciences.

  • John W. H. Simpson Photograph Collection

    Consists of negatives, contact sheets, and slides of John W. H. Simpson's photographs of Princeton.

  • Office of General Counsel Records

    The Office of General Counsel records document the financial and legal matters
    involving the University and the Office of General Counsel. While the records contain
    information that predates the formation of the office, the majority of the material
    dates from the official inception of the position of University Counsel in 1972. The
    records relate to legal matters involving litigation over estates, trusts, and gifts,

  • Andrew C. Imbrie Papers

    Consists of papers of Imbrie (Princeton Class of 1895), including undergraduate letters sent home (1891-1895), Princeton University records (1906-1942), and an Imbrie family genealogy. Among subjects touched frequently in his student letters to his parents are housing, campus customs, campus organizations, buildings and grounds, the course of study, campus figures, honors, football, and skating on the local canal.

  • Hikoichi Orita Diary

    The diary is photocopied in two volumes. The first volume dates from January 1, 1872 to December 31, 1873 and the second, from January 1, 1874 to December 31, 1876. The handwritten entries are for the most part quite legible and written in English, but the memoranda, which are placed at the end of each year, are written in Japanese. There are also listings of bills and accounts by month.Generally, the entries are brief.

  • Varnum Lansing Collins Papers

    The Varnum Lansing Collins Papers consist primarily of materials generated by
    Collins while writing several of his most well-known works on Princeton history.
    The papers include manuscripts, notes, correspondence, and research materials
    consisting of both original documents and facsimiles. Also included in the
    papers are materials pertaining to Collins' personal life, such as undergraduate

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