Series 1: Jonathan Dickinson Records

4 folders

This collection is stored at Mudd Manuscript Library.

Requests will be delivered to Princeton University Archives, MUDD Reading Room .

Collection Creator: Princeton University. Office of the President..

Dates: 1746-1977.

Extent: 4 folders

Languages: English.

Access Restrictions

Materials generated by the office of the president are closed for 40 years from the date of their creation. Some records relating to personnel or students are closed for longer periods of time.


Jonathan Dickinson, born in 1688 and graduated from Yale College in 1706, was the first president of the College of New Jersey. After becoming the pastor of the Congregational church in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, Dickinson shifted from Congregational to Presbyterian teachings in order to join the Presbytery of Philadelphia. Yet while becoming a leader within the Presbytery and the higher Synod of Philadelphia, Dickinson steadfastly maintained his belief in the freedom of the individual clergy. Having first envisioned an educational institute within the Synod, Dickinson only realized his dream of founding a school to train future Presbyterian ministers and pious laymen when he and others founded the College of New Jersey in 1746. Dickinson died in office in October 1747.

Material on Dickinson is arranged topically and divided into four categories: biographical information, his association with the College of New Jersey, genealogical material, and post mortem material. This series contains only secondary documents, most of which take the form of letters and clippings. The biographical folder contains brief summaries of Jonathan Dickinson's life, as well as a few cards referencing other sources. Material relating to his foundational work on behalf of the College of New Jersey includes numerous letters, documents concerning his death, such as the epitaph on his tombstone, and a paper discussing the establishment of the College. Family members are documented through the correspondence to and from descendents of Dickinson and his wife, Joanna Melyen, and include two genealogical charts. In several cases Dickinson's seven children, Abigail, Jonathan, Temperance, Joanna, Elizabeth, Mary, and Martha, are mentioned. Post mortem material details the buildings dedicated to him at both Yale and Princeton Universities. Also to be found are several images of Dickinson and a pamphlet about him and the College of New Jersey by Professor Henry Cameron.


No arrangement action taken or arrangement information not recorded at the time of processing.

Preferred Citation

Series 1: Jonathan Dickinson Records; 1746-1977; Office of the President Records : Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

    Request Checked Items
    Title Date Container
    Biographical Information 1915-1977 Box 1, Folder 1
    The College of New Jersey Years 1746-1961 Box 1, Folder 2
    Family Members 1906-1967 Box 1, Folder 3
    Post Mortem 1928-1946 Box 1, Folder 4

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