Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Historical Photograph Collection, Lake Carnegie Construction Photographs
Princeton University Archives
Permanent URL:
circa 1905-1907
30 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-30


The Lake Carnegie Construction Photographs of the Historical Photograph Collection contains 479 dry gelatin glass plate negatives measuring 5 x 7 inches that document the construction of Lake Carnegie in Princeton, NJ. There are also 314 black and white paper prints developed at approximately the same time the glass plate negatives were made, 38 amateur photographs, and the 36 original glass plate negative boxes. The negatives and prints date from circa 1905 to 1907, with the bulk dating from 1905 to 1906. As a part of this project, funded in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission, archival contact prints (5 x 7 inches) of each negative have been created for research use and photo duplication. In addition to the glass plate negatives, original prints, and contact prints made from these negatives, there are 38 photographs taken from March through May 1905, early in the project, before any construction work had begun. These are amateur photographs, most likely taken with a Kodak Brownie camera. While many of these images are faded and soiled with fingerprints, many of the subjects are identified in writing on the border or verso of the image. There are also 7 amateur photographs and two photograph albums of unknown or uncertain provenance.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection contains 479 dry gelatin glass plate negatives measuring 5 x 7 inches that document the construction of Lake Carnegie in Princeton, NJ. There are also 314 black and white paper prints developed approximately at the time the photographs were taken. The negatives and prints date from circa 1905 to 1907, with the bulk dating from 1905 to 1906. In addition, there are 38 amateur prints taken in March through May 1905 depicting the land before any construction work commenced, and two photograph albums containing construction images.

It is not known who took the photographs that document the construction of Lake Carnegie, but there are several possibilities, and because there appears to be more than one negative numbering system there may have been more than one photographer. The engineer of the lake project would have overseen the taking of photographs, and upon the death of J. J. R. Croes a great deal of photographic equipment and supplies were inventoried in his office. However, it is unlikely that Croes took the photographs himself; as engineer of the entire Lake Carnegie project he would probably have hired a photographer. F. P. Gridley, who worked as foreman and timekeeper of the lake project, owned copyright of the photographic souvenir booklet published for the lake's opening celebrations (1906), but Gridley is never mentioned in the records of the lake project as the photographer. James M. McKenzie writes to Alexander Gulick that he was making a complete photographic record of the work done on the lake, but because McKenzie also writes to Gulick of "the photographer" or "his photographer" at various points, it does not seem likely that McKenzie took these photographs. At the end of December 1906 McKenzie wrote to Gulick that a photographer by the name of Hazard was going to come to take photographs of the lake. This must refer to E. W. Hazard, and there is one photograph taken by E. W. Hazard of the Delaware & Raritan Canal in the Historical Photograph Collection - Grounds and Buildings Series - Lake Carnegie. Hazard may have taken some of the construction photographs, although he did not sign any of the negatives or prints found in the negative boxes as he did the photograph of the Canal.

As mentioned above, there appears to be more than one system of numbering the Lake Carnegie glass plate negatives. In some instances there are duplicate negative numbers, and some negatives have what appears to be a date indicated on the negatives. For example, a negative in the box identified as "Washington Street July" is labeled "864 7/3." This may indicate that the photograph was taken on July 3, but this is not certain and should not be taken at face value.

Collection History


The main body of the Lake Carnegie Construction Photographs was discovered in a crate in the stock room of the MacMillan Building at Princeton University in 1994. The side of the crate was inscribed with the name A. R. Gulick. Alexander Reading Gulick (Princeton, Class of 1889), a lawyer, was hired by Howard Russell Butler to oversee the acquisition of the lake property and the construction of the lake. The origins of the "Brownie" prints and other amateur prints are unknown.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Melissa Johnson with assistance from Scott Hamilton in 2000. Alison Speckman produced the archival contact prints from the glass plate negatives. Finding aid written by Melissa Johnson, Scott Hamilton in 2000. Box 12 was added by Christie Peterson in August 2012. Glass plate negatives were rehoused and new box numbers were assigned for the collection in September 2019.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The glass plate negatives have been rehoused and retired from use. Research will be conducted using the archival contact prints, and reproductions will be made from these new paper prints. The paper prints developed circa 1905-1907 will be available for research use, and are housed as a separate series with the contact prints.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. For instances beyond Fair Use, if copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of materials from the Princeton University Archives.

For instances beyond Fair Use where the copyright is not held by the University, while permission from the Library is not required, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Historical Photograph Collection, Lake Carnegie Construction Photographs; Princeton University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-30

Find More

Related Materials

Facilities - Lake Carnegie Construction Records.

Historical Photograph Collection - Campus Life Series.

- Administrative - Celebrations - Dedications and groundbreaking ceremonies of University buildings and grounds - Carnegie, Lake.

- Social and Residential Life - Athletics - Crew.

- Social and Residential Life - Extracurricular - Boating.

- Social and Residential Life - Extracurricular - Ice-Skating.

- Social and Residential Life - Pranks, stunts, and fights - Swimming Lake Carnegie.

Historical Photograph Collection - Campus Life - Oversize Photos - Crew.

Historical Photograph Collection - Grounds and Buildings - Carnegie, Lake.

Subject Terms:
Bridges -- Design and construction -- Photographs.
Construction workers -- Photographs.
Dams -- New Jersey -- Carnegie, Lake -- Design and construction -- Photographs.
Excavation -- Photographs.
Genre Terms:
Gelatin dry plate negatives.
Photographic prints
Carnegie, Lake (N.J.) -- Photographs.
Delaware and Raritan Canal (N.J.) -- Photographs.
United States Highway 1 -- Photographs.