Biography and History

The study of biology began at the College of New Jersey with the appointment in 1830 of botanist John Torrey into a part-time faculty position; it expanded with the formation of the School of Science in the 1870s; and was established as a department in 1904. Four years after the department was formed under the leadership of President Woodrow Wilson and William Berryman Scott, Blair Professor of Geology, Edwin Grant Conklin was appointed as the first full-time chair of the department. With the completion of Guyot Hall in 1910, the Department of Biology was given an official home, which it soon outgrew after a period of rapid growth. In 1960 the Moffett Laboratory was added to the building, and a biology library was formed soon after. Over the years the course of study offered by the Department of Biology has changed frequently to reflect advances in the field and the particular strengths of faculty, and in 1990 the Department was divided into the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and the Department of Molecular Biology.

Source: From the finding aid for AC142

  • Department of Biology Records. 1892-1997 (inclusive), 1910-1969 (bulk).

    Call Number: AC142

    The study of biology began at the College of New Jersey with the appointment in 1830 of botanist John Torrey into a part-time faculty position; it expanded with the formation of the School of Science in the 1870s; and was established as a department in 1904. The collection primarily consists of the records of the Department of Biology assembled during the tenures of Department Chairmen Edwin G. Conklin and Elmer Butler. Included are correspondence, general subject files, and records pertaining to grants, research endowments, publications, and administrative matters such as budgets and staffing. Also includes sponsored research reports and student grade cards.

  • Department of Biology Records. 1892-1997 (inclusive), 1910-1969 (bulk).

    Call Number: AC142

    The study of biology began at the College of New Jersey with the appointment in 1830 of botanist John Torrey into a part-time faculty position; it expanded with the formation of the School of Science in the 1870s; and was established as a department in 1904. The collection primarily consists of the records of the Department of Biology assembled during the tenures of Department Chairmen Edwin G. Conklin and Elmer Butler. Included are correspondence, general subject files, and records pertaining to grants, research endowments, publications, and administrative matters such as budgets and staffing. Also includes sponsored research reports and student grade cards.

  • Edwin Grant Conklin Papers. 1897-1952 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0322

    An ardent evolutionist, Edwin Grant Conklin specialized in embryology and cytology and was Chairman of the biology department at Princeton from 1908-1933. His collection consists of personal and professional correspondence, documents, manuscripts and notes of articles, lectures, and speeches, many of which reflect his life-long interest in three organisms, crepidula, cynthia (styla), and amphioxus, as well as Darwinism, and heredity and environment.

  • Selected Papers of Ulric Dahlgren. 1864-1936 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0414

    Consists of writings, correspondence, and subject files of Ulric Dahlgren (Princeton Class of 1894), a professor in Princeton's Department of Biology.

  • Charles F. W. McClure Papers. 1852-1944 (inclusive), 1891-1929 (bulk).

    Call Number: C0488

    Charles F. W. McClure (Princeton Class of 1888) was a professor in the Princeton biology department. His papers contain approximately 1200 letters sent to McClure by some 440 biologists and anatomists of the academic community in the United States and throughout the world.