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The Early Treasurer's Records are among the oldest records relating to the early history of the University. They include annual treasurer's reports, ledgers, vouchers, receipts, bills, correspondence, committee reports, and other records relating to general accounts such as repairs, purchases, or account balances for the University. Also included are financial records relating to charitable funds and individual departments as well as a large number of vouchers and receipts.
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Series 2: Aaron Burr, Sr. Records, 1753-1999

2 boxes
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While Jonathan Dickinson bears the distinction of serving as Princeton University's first president, Aaron Burr played a central part in organizing the College after its initial establishment and overseeing its move to Princeton in 1756. Burr was born in Fairfield, Connecticut in c. 1715/1716 and graduated at the head of his Yale College class in 1735. From there he moved to Newark, New Jersey to head both the Presbyterian church and a school in classics. Burr, along with Dickinson and five others, established the College of New Jersey in 1746. In 1748 Burr was named president of the college, though he had filled this office unofficially since Dickinson's death in 1747. During Burr's ten years of service he increased enrollment, raised much-needed funds, presided over the erection of Nassau Hall, and instructed the first classes of students to graduate from the College of New Jersey.
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Having declined the presidency of the College of New Jersey in 1758, Samuel Davies accepted it in 1759 with a reluctance akin to that of his predecessor, Jonathan Edwards. Davies, who thought that his successor, Samuel Finley, was the right man for the job, was urged to take the position, even though some of the College's trustees shared his high opinion of Finley. Born in 1724 in Summit Ridge, Delaware and educated both at home and in the Rev. Samuel Blair's seminary, Davies received his license to preach in 1746 in Newcastle, Delaware. Ordained the following year as an evangelist to Virginia, he went on to serve as the first moderator of the Presbytery of Hanover, encompassing all the Presbyterian ministers in Virginia and North Carolina. At the request of the trustees, Davies traveled to Great Britain with Gilbert Tennent in 1753 to raise funds for the College. Among other uses, the donations collected abroad served to fund the construction of Nassau Hall and the president's house. As president and professor at the College of New Jersey, he was renowned for his emphasis on public service.
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Series 10: John Maclean, Jr. Records, 1752-1997

36 boxes
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John Maclean, Jr. was the eldest of six children of John Maclean, Sr. and Phoebe Bainbridge. His father was born in Glasgow, studied for the medical profession, and became a surgeon. At 24, the elder Maclean immigrated to the United States for political reasons. He was invited to take the vacant chair of natural philosophy, which included chemistry, at the College of New Jersey, becoming the institution's first professor of chemistry. He married in 1797, and John was born on March 3, 1800. Entering the College of New Jersey as a sophomore, he graduated in 1816 as the youngest in his class. He taught for a few months in Lawrenceville, New Jersey before earning a divinity degree from the Princeton Theological Seminary. In 1818 he was appointed as a tutor of Greek at the College of New Jersey, beginning a long, varied, and devoted career at his alma mater. Four years later he was elected to fill the chair of mathematics and natural philosophy, though this did not prevent him from subsequently teaching languages and literature. Maclean also served as the College's librarian from 1824 until 1849.
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University Land Records, 1752-1992 (mostly 1752-1860)

AC028 10 boxes 1 folder
SOME ONLINE CONTENT
Princeton University
The University Land Records consist of deeds, mortgages, bonds, other legal papers, and maps concerning the acquisition, disposition, or description of University properties. The records document the physical expansion of the University from its earliest period through the acquisition of large tracts of land in the 20th century, including the properties around Carnegie Lake and numerous farms. A portion of the papers relate to research conducted by Professor Gerald Breese for his book Princeton University Land, 1752-1984 (1986).
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Hamilton Cottier Papers, 1752-1977

C0594 17 boxes 8 linear feet
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Consists of correspondence, documents, photographs, account books (1925-1975), financial papers, and printed matter of Hamilton Cottier (Princeton Class of 1922, professor of English, 1925-1962), and material relating to "Southlawn," the home of his father, Alonzo Cottier, in Scarsdale, N.Y.
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Series 2: Office of the Controller, 1752-1966

4 boxes
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Series 2: Office of the Controller, 1752-1907, contains original deeds, bonds, maps, correspondence and other legal papers concerning the acquisition and disposition of Princeton University lands. Approximately one-fourth of the collection relates to the 18th century with most of the rest pertaining to the 19th century. One folder relates to 1907. The series concludes with a legal size leather bound volume, Copy of Deeds. It consists of approximately 100 handwritten pages of copies of deeds, of which many of the originals are found in this collection. However, in many cases, the handwritten transcription in Copy of Deeds is more legible than the original. (n.b.: The first folder of the series contains an annotated list of all the papers transferred from the Controller's Office to the University Archives on September 23, 1966.)
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Series 1: Gerald Breese Papers, 1750-1985

1 box 1 folder
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Series 1: Gerald Breese Papers, 1752-1976, contains photocopies of maps and deeds, mortgages and correspondence collected by Breese concerning the transfer of tracts of land to the University. Some of Breese's research notes are also included. Most of the papers relate to transactions made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The series contains a folder on woodlots and close-in properties from 1752 to 1785, as well as digital research materials such as scanned maps, development plans, and photographs.
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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.
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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.
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Series 11: James McCosh Records, 1747-1995

10 boxes
SOME ONLINE CONTENT
James McCosh was the first president since John Witherspoon who was not an alumnus of the College of New Jersey. Many similarities have been noted between the two men. Both were born in Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. Witherspoon was inaugurated in 1768, and McCosh was inaugurated one hundred years later in 1868. They died one hundred years apart, almost to the day, and like all presidents until Woodrow Wilson, both were ministers.
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Princeton University. Library. Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
Jonathan Belcher, was a merchant and colonial governor of the Provinces of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Jersey and was instrumental in the founding of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton). The Jonathan Belcher Collection consists of collected research materials regarding Jonathan Belcher's relation to the history of Princeton University and consist of correspondence, articles, clippings, and copies of original materials from Belcher collections held at Princeton and elsewhere.