Subseries 14D: Acting President Edward D. Duffield
2 boxes (1 partial)
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: Mostly 1929-1939.
Extent: 2 boxes (1 partial)
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.
Subseries 14D: Acting President Edward D. Duffield Records, 1871-1955
[bulk: 1929-1939], is arranged topically and includes biographical and
post-mortem information, a modest amount of correspondence, three
folders of addresses, a scrapbook of news clippings and photographs, and
a variety of other items. The inclusion of this material reflects the
fact that Princeton University's Board of Trustees had not found a new
president when Hibben retired in June 1932, leading to Duffield's
appointment as acting president. He filled this position until June
1933, when Harold W. Dodds took office. Images of Duffield can be found
at the end of the collection in boxes 242 and 245.
Duffield was born in 1871 in Princeton, New Jersey. His father, John T.
Duffield, was a clergyman and professor of mathematics at the College of
New Jersey, as well as an alumnus, and his mother was Sarah Elizabeth
Green of Groville, New Jersey. Duffield was also a descendent of
Jonathan Dickinson, Princeton University's first president. Like his two
older brothers, Duffield attended the College of New Jersey, graduating
in 1892. He was an active participant in Clio Hall debates and received
a prize in oratory. In 1894 he graduated from the New York Law School
and in 1895 received a Master's degree from his alma mater. Duffield
married Josephine Reade Curtis in 1897, with whom he had two children.
Josephine died in 1914, and Duffield married Barbara Freeman in
A practicing lawyer, Duffield served as Assistant Attorney General of New
Jersey from 1905 to 1906. He then became the general solicitor for the
Prudential Insurance Company, rising to vice president in 1916 and
president in 1922. His interest in education is reflected in his
appointment as chairman of a committee formed to adjust the relationship
between the State of New Jersey and Rutgers University. The work of this
committee resulted in the creation of the State Board of Regents, which
regulates higher education in New Jersey. From 1920 to 1938 Duffield
served as a trustee of Princeton University, and in 1932 he was asked to
fill the role of acting president. Retaining his position as president
of the Prudential Insurance Company, he stayed in Princeton two days per
week, leaving Dean Luther Eisenhart to run the University in his
absence. Duffield would also serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees
and president of the Class of 1892 before succumbing to the effects of a
stroke on September 17, 1938. For all his success, he was never prideful
and was quoted in the Princeton Alumni
Weekly as referring to himself as the trustee who represented
“the great intellectual middle-class.”
Duffield received many tributes in his lifetime, including honorary
degrees from Princeton and Rutgers Universities and Lafayette College.
In 1932 Time named him Man of the Year. He
was a member of numerous clubs involved in professional, religious,
civic, and leisure activities. He also served on many University
committees. As chairman of the Committee on Undergraduate Life, which he
was instrumental in organizing, he worked to ensure that Princeton
University remained hospitable to young men of all economic classes from
all parts of the country. He believed that the University would fail if
young men of ability who were poor in material terms could not enroll
and enjoy ample participation in campus activities. In 1939 a
scholarship fund was established in his memory, honoring his interest in
educating young men of moderate means.
Subseries 14D: Acting President Edward D. Duffield; 1871-1955 (mostly 1929-1939); 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.