Biography and History

In the earliest years of the College of New Jersey, the study of history was typically marginalized as an ancillary aspect of politics such to the extent that in 1904 when Princeton University president Woodrow Wilson established the departmental system, history was grouped together with politics and economics in an arrangement that remained until 1924. The Department was carried through its formative years by the teaching skill and scholarship of its first two chairmen, Dana Carlton Munro and Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker, both of whom would also serve terms as president of the American Historical Association. A newfound interest in the study of history among undergraduates following World War II sparked growth in the Department's faculty and course offerings, and since this time the Department of History has typically been one of the most popular undergraduate concentrations at Princeton, offering 40 or more undergraduate courses each year.

In 1965 faculty from Princeton University's Department of History applied for federal funds under the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) for a summer program for the advanced education of secondary school history teachers. The program took place in the summer of 1966 and enrolled approximately 40 students. It was taught by faculty from Princeton as well as other universities.

Founded in 1968, the Davis Center for Historical Studies is named after Shelby Cullom Davis '30, who provided a generous gift to assure the continuance of excellence in scholarship and the teaching of history at Princeton University. The Davis Center has funded numerous research projects, including projects to document all Princetonians of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Source: From the finding aid for AC049

  • Department of History records. 1926-2017 (inclusive), 1926-1979 (bulk).

    Call Number: AC049

    From the time of the department's institution in 1924, history has typically been one of Princeton's most popular undergraduate concentrations, with the Department of History offering 40 or more undergraduate courses each year. The records consis of subject and faculty files, correspondence, departmental budgets, course syllabi, as well as records from several special projects.

  • Arthur S. Link Papers. 1940s-1992 (inclusive).

    Call Number: MC182

    Arthur S. Link was an author, editor, scholar and publisher, but is best known as the leading historian on Woodrow Wilson and for his leadership over the publication of Wilson’s papers. This collection consists of the personal papers of Link, which includes articles, correspondence, notes, office files, and presidency records of the American Historical Association.