Biography and History

Samuel Davies, fourth president of Princeton University, was born in New Castle County, Delaware, on November 3, 1723. He was licensed to preach when he was twenty-two, and was ordained as an evangelist to Virginia. In 1753 Davies and Gilbert Tennant were chosen by Princeton trustees to go to Great Britain and Ireland in search of donations for the College. Davies kept a diary of the mission, which was later published. During their stay in the British Isles they were able to secure sufficient funds to build Nassau Hall and the president's house. In 1758 Davies was elected to succeed Jonathan Edwards as president of the College, but declined election, partly because of a reluctance to quit his pastoral work in Virginia. The trustees subsequently re-elected Davies and persuaded him to accept. He took up his duties on July 26, 1759, and died of pneumonia on February 4, 1761.

Source: From the finding aid for C1042