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Collection
Princeton University Office of the Registrar.
Since its first class of six graduates and one honoree in 1748, Princeton University has awarded over 80,000 diplomas. This collection contains 213 original diplomas and photostats, including executed diplomas as well as blank, sample or spoiled diplomas.
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As president of the College of New Jersey, Samuel Finley is known for increasing enrollment and for his popularity as a teacher. Finley was born in 1715 in Armagh County, Ireland. On immigrating to America in 1734, he immediately began to educate himself with the goal of becoming a minister and was ordained in 1740 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. During his seventeen years as pastor of the church of Nottingham, Maryland, he oversaw its educational academy. Early in his career, Finley preached in a contentious manner, very much in keeping with the spirited religious revivals of the Great Awakening, but he later moderated his tone. He received an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow before becoming the fifth president of the College of New Jersey in June 1761, serving in this role until his death in July 1766.
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The first volume (1748-1796) is a gold mine of information about the personalities and activities of the young College of New Jersey. As these minutes date from the very beginning of the College, they address the multitude of issues and problems the trustees initially addressed. It was the era of the group decision, with the entire Board involved in solving every type of problem at their infrequent (two or three times a year) meetings. This volume is contained in two forms: the original volume (which does not circulate) and a typed transcript in two parts.
Collection

Princeton University Commencement Records, 1748-2022

AC115 30 boxes 1 folder
SOME ONLINE CONTENT
Princeton University. Office of the Secretary
The Commencement Records contain programs, bulletins, announcements and newspaper clippings which document commencement activities from 1748 to the present. Files are arranged chronologically by year. In addition there are separate series consisting of bound programs, electrical broadcast transcriptions, bound commencement notices, oversize material, and audio recordings of various commencement, class day, and baccalaureate activities.
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Series 9: Indexes to the Board of Trustee Meeting Minutes consists of photocopied indexes to Volumes I-IV of the Board of Trustees meeting minutes (1748-1868), a photocopied index for the years 1976-1987, as well as cards arranged alphabetically by topic that provide an index to the contents of the Board of Trustee meeting minutes for the period roughly from 1898 to the mid 1970s. A card in the "Key" section of the index, which was written in 1968, explains, "This reference file was prepared from Board and Executive Committee minutes and covers the period from October 1948 through January 1968. It goes into little or no detail in the matters dealt with in minutes of the Finance and Grounds and Buildings Committees...The file incorporates cards from the old index, from c. 1898 until c. 1929." The card index was updated into the mid 1970s.
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Series 2, General Records, 1748-1966, contains one volume of early commencement notices and articles which have been copied in full from newspaper articles. These are penciled, handwritten reprints of articles regarding commencement activities which have been bound into one volume. There is an index in the volume listing the title of each publication and the date. Also present is a notebook from Alexander Leitch (1938-1966) containing articles regarding commencement, typewritten notes with annotated remarks, Commencement Committee reports, notes, and other material, and correspondence with Paul Bedford, Class of 1897, and head of the Commencement Committee.