Biography and History

In February 1813, students of the College of New Jersey at the encouragement of college president Ashbel Green founded the Nassau Hall Bible Society, the first college Bible society. Its task was to distribute Bibles and New Testaments to those who did not have them; the students concentrated on Navy Ships and New Jersey's poor. The Society raised money on campus and in the community to buy and distribute the Bibles. In 1827, in a nationally-noted campaign, they distributed copies to five thousand of the seven thousand New Jersey households without Bibles.

The Society's influence spread beyond New Jersey. In 1816, two members of the Society participated in the founding of the American Bible Society. It donated Bibles to settlers in the West, and received financial support from the British and Foreign Bible Society of London. By the mid-1840s, however, student interest in the Society waned, and its work fell dormant.

In 1864, an agent of the American Bible Society living in Princeton urged the revival of the Society. The student members continued giving Bibles to the local poor and to missionary Sunday Schools, as well as raising money for the American Bible Society. The Princeton Society operated as an arm of the Philadelphian Society; the two groups held their annual meetings at the same time. The Bible Society went out of existence by the late 1880s.

Source: From the finding aid for AC038

  • Nassau Hall Bible Society Records. 1813-1877 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC038

    The Nassau Hall Bible Society was a student religious organization at the College of New Jersey, active from 1813 through the 1840s and from 1864 through the 1880s. It distributed Bibles and New Testaments throughout New Jersey and across the country. These records contain minutes and financial records of the Society's work.

  • Nassau Hall Bible Society Records. 1813-1877 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC038

    The Nassau Hall Bible Society was a student religious organization at the College of New Jersey, active from 1813 through the 1840s and from 1864 through the 1880s. It distributed Bibles and New Testaments throughout New Jersey and across the country. These records contain minutes and financial records of the Society's work.

  • Stephen Alexander Collection. 1827-1882 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C1004

    Consists primarily of correspondence of nineteenth-century American astronomer Stephen Alexander.