John Maclean, Jr. was a professor, vice president, and president of Princeton University. The John Maclean Jr. Papers consist of letters to and from John Maclean regarding the history of the College of New Jersey as well as family matters.
The John Maclean Jr. Papers consist of letters to and from John Maclean, his family and his associates documenting the history of the College of New Jersey during his time there, as well as family matters. Papers also include financial documents, notably the 1814 inventory of the estate of John Maclean, Sr., commencement programs, a photograph of the 20th reunion of the class of 1876, and other Princeton University memorabilia.
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John Maclean, Jr. was a professor, vice president, and president of Princeton University. Born on March 3, 1800, Maclean was the son of the College's first chemistry professor, John Maclean, Sr. Entering the College of New Jersey as a sophomore, he graduated in 1816 as the youngest in his class. He taught for a few months in Lawrenceville, New Jersey before earning a divinity degree from the Princeton Theological Seminary. In 1818 he was appointed as a tutor of Greek at the College of New Jersey, beginning a long, varied, and devoted career at his alma mater. Four years later he was elected to fill the chair of mathematics and natural philosophy, though he would later return to teaching languages and literature. Maclean also served as the College’s librarian from 1824 until 1849. Maclean was named vice president at the age of twenty-nine.
In 1854 Maclean assumed the presidency of the College of New Jersey. The following year Nassau Hall caught fire, forcing him to tighten the budget and raise funds from friends and alumni for the building’s restoration. He contributed part of his own salary as well, and Nassau Hall was completely restored in 1860. During the Civil War Maclean and his faculty supported the Union cause, yet demonstrated understanding towards the plight of Southern students. In 1868 he resigned after half a century of service to the College of New Jersey. During his presidency he added 10 new professors to the faculty, and 895 students (an average of 64 per year) graduated.
Maclean was also involved in a plethora of associations and charities. These included religious, educational, prison reform, literary, and temperance societies. Maclean was ordained to the gospel ministry by the Presbytery of New Brunswick in 1828. He was also a principal founder and first secretary of the College of New Jersey Alumni Association. During his retirement he wrote a two-volume history of the College of New Jersey from the granting of its charter to the resignation of his predecessor. He died on August 9, 1886.
The papers consist of three accessions, two of which were purchases. An accession consisting of approximately 1 linear foot was purchased from Amy Smith in March 2008.
A second accession, consisting of 230 letters, was purchased from Amy Smith in June 2008.
The third accession consists of membership certificates from the American Bible Society (Series 4), which were transferred from the Manuscripts Division of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections in March 2011.
Archival Appraisal Information
Appraisal has been conducted in accordance with Mudd Library guidelines. Two locks of George Maclean's hair were separated during processing in 2008.
This collection was processed by Casey Babcock in May 2008. Finding aid written by Casey Babcock in May 2008.
These papers were purchased, in part, with the generous support of Steven Brown '77, Dave Cleaves '78, Scott Clemons '90, Donald Farren '58, Jan Kubik '70, Gregg Lange '70, Sev Onyshkevych '83, Cynthia Penney '83, Robert Rodgers '56, Jonathan Sapan '04, Paul Sittenfeld '69 and Frank Sloat '55. These papers were processed with an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.
A Princeton Companion (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978) by Alexander Leitch was consulted during preparation of the biographical note.
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.
John Maclean, Jr. Papers; 1794-1935 (mostly 1852-1880), Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
The Princeton University archives holds additional John Maclean, Jr. material in the Office of the President Records (AC117). The Manuscripts Division of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections holds the John Maclean Letters and Papers (C0342).
Alternative Form Available
Digital images of the collection, created in 2009, are accessible in the contents list.