Princeton University Library Collection of Historical Subject Files, Grounds and Buildings
Permanent URL: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/xw42n7895
- Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.
- Title and dates:
- Princeton University Library Collection of Historical Subject Files, Grounds and Buildings
- The Princeton University Library Collection of Historical Subject Files, Grounds and Buildings contains information relating to the buildings, grounds, and architects of Princeton University. The collection also includes information on the development of the campus and the various chronologies of construction and land acquisition that have been gathered.
- 7.14 linear feet
- 17 archival boxes
- Call number:
- Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare
Books and Special Collections.
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.
Princeton University Archives.
Princeton, New Jersey 08540 USA
- Language(s) of materials:
- Storage note:
- This collection is stored onsite at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
The College of New Jersey was initially chartered in 1746. The first classes were held in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in the parsonage of the president, the Reverend Jonathan Dickinson. Upon his death, the College moved to Newark, New Jersey, and was headed by the Reverend Aaron Burr, Sr. Classes were held both in his home and a small room above the local courthouse. In 1756, upon the sufficient completion of a new edifice in Princeton, the College moved south to that town and has remained there since. The first building, Nassau Hall, was one of the largest structures in the Colonies at that time. It was the first of many buildings on the campus to become noteworthy for their architecture, size, beauty, or exemplification of a particular style. As has been the case with other rural campuses less disturbed by urban changes or population explosions, and rooted in appreciation of tradition, many of Princeton's earliest buildings have been preserved. Although the Princeton campus does not provide an encyclopedic representation of America's architectural heritage, the Colonial, Victorian, Collegiate Gothic, and Post-Modern periods are well represented. Due to the diverse needs of the student body, Princeton's architecture incorporates a range of functional types, including lecture halls, dormitories, athletic facilities, and laboratories.
The Princeton University Library Collection of Historical Subject Files, Grounds and Buildings contains information relating to the buildings, grounds, and architects of Princeton University. The collection also includes information on the development of the campus and the various chronologies of construction and land acquisition that have been gathered. The collection contains photocopies from university publications (most notably The Nassau Lit, The Daily Princetonian, The Princeton College Bulletin, The Princeton Weekly Bulletin, and the Princeton Alumni Weekly) and regional newspapers (including The New York Times, The Princeton Herald, The Princeton Packet, and Town Topics) about University buildings, grounds, and architects of Princeton University. Other printed materials include insurance surveys, press releases from the Department of Public Information, and programs from dedication ceremonies. Less frequently, there are general interoffice correspondence; schematic floor plans; student papers; excerpts from books on architects; excerpts from the Trustees Minutes; campus maps or diagrams; bibliographic references; and invitations to ceremonies.
This collection also contains information pertaining to several buildings in the town that have been connected with the University in some way – some owned by the University, some owned by faculty members, some tied by the University through historical events. There is also a limited amount of information on the buildings used or owned by the privately operated eating clubs on Prospect Avenue.
The coverage of the collection is weakest for the earliest and most recent buildings, with the exception of Nassau Hall. The construction booms under Presidents McCosh (1868-1888) and Hibben (1910-1932) enjoy a proportionate amount of documentation. The selections from the "Olla-Podrida" in The Nassau Lit, in the late 19th century, are a gold mine of student opinion on the buildings from that time.
Organized into the following series:
Series 1, 2 and 4 are arranged alphabetically by the name of the building (the word "hall" has been omitted so that Alexander Hall will be found as "Alexander.") Series 3 is arranged alphabetically by the last name of the person. Series 4 and 6 are arranged alphabetically by the topic of the file.
- Series 1, Buildings, 1838-2999
- Series 2, Campus Ornamentation, dates not examined
- Series 3, Architects, dates not examined
- Series 4, Grounds, 1912-1943
- Series 5, Buildings, dates not examined
- Series 6, General, 1911-2999
- Series 7, Beatrix Farrand Digital Images, 1909-1939
Access and Use
Collection is open for research use.
Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, users must submit the Publication and Broadcast Form. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. For materials where the copyright is not held by the University, in addition to completing this form for Princeton, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them.
Acquisition and Appraisal
Provenance and Acquisition
Varnum Lansing Collins, Class of 1892 and Secretary of the University (1917-1936), started the Historical Subject Files as a reference for his historical writing interests. An author of a history of the University and a guide to the campus and town, Collins collected a wide variety of materials pertaining to these topics. Eventually the files were transferred to the University Archives where staff continue to add to established files and create new headings. Originally stored in vertical filing cabinets, when files pertaining to particular topics grew significantly, they were removed to separate boxes. Over time, archives staff have removed multi-box portions concerning a single subject from the main body of files. The Department of Grounds and Buildings Files is one example. Many of the papers within the Department of Grounds and Buildings Files have been annotated by Collins, Earle Coleman (former University Archivist), or Gerald Breese (author of Princeton University Land, 1756-1984).
Appraisal was performed according to Mudd Manuscript Library guidelines.
The materials within each file are by no means exhaustive. More detailed information on the process of construction or renovation of some of these buildings is available in the Department of Grounds and Buildings Technical Correspondence Files. Researchers interested in further information are encouraged to consult the Trustees Minutes; the Historical Subject Files (especially the files on Princeton Borough); the Oversize Architectural Drawings; The Princeton Alumni Weekly (also an excellent source for photographic information); Alexander Leitch's A Princeton Companion (1978); Thomas Wertenbaker's Princeton, 1746-1896 (1946); Constance Grieff's Princeton Architecture (1967); Gerald Breese's Princeton University Land, 1756-1984 (1986); and the 1981 survey of Princeton by the Joint Historical Sites Commission.
Processing and Other Information
This collection was processed by Sara Bush in summer 1994. Finding aid written by Sara Bush in summer 1994.
Descriptive Rules Used
Finding aid content adheres to that prescribed by Describing Archives: A Content Standard.
Machine-readable finding aid encoded in EAD 2002 by Techbooks and Cristela García-Spitz on December 22, 2006.
Language(s) of this Finding Aid
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Department of Grounds and Buildings Subject Files, Box and Folder Number; University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
- Farrand, Beatrix, 1872-1959 -- Correspondence.
- Princeton University -- Buildings -- History.
- Architects -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
- Architecture -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
- Buildings -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
- Landscape architecture -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
- Nassau Hall (Princeton, N.J.)
- Outdoor sculpture -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
- Princeton (N.J.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
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