Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Historical Subject Files Collection
Princeton University Archives
Permanent URL:
441 boxes, 21 folders, and 8 items
Storage Note:
Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Boxes 1-33; 36-443; 406A


The Historical Subject Files Collection documents Princeton University history and related topics from 1746 to the present. The collection consists of documents in almost every two-dimensional format: articles, books and booklets, clippings, correspondence, memoranda, non-photographic images, notes, pamphlets, posters, and reports.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The Historical Subject Files documents Princeton University history and related topics from 1746 to the present. The collection consists of documents in almost every two-dimensional format: articles, books and booklets, clippings, correspondence, memoranda, non-photographic images, notes, pamphlets, posters, and reports. Because documents are continually added to each series, the date range for each series and the entire collection is listed simply as "present."

All series refer to the subject's relationship or association with Princeton University except for Series 29 (Princeton Area) which refers to subjects associated mostly (or only) with the communities surrounding the University. For example, Series 26 (Occasions and Events) refers to Princeton University occasions and events. Material on a town-sponsored July Fourth celebration, because it has little to do with the University, is filed in Series 29 (Princeton Area).

Photographs have been removed from all series in this collection except for Series 29 (Princeton Area) and added to the Historical Photograph Collection (AC 112 and others). Oversize materials from each series have been replaced by a cross-reference form and moved to larger folders at the end of the collection for Subseries 37A (Oversize Boxes) and in the Mudd Library basement for Subseries 37B (Oversize Cabinets).

Please see series descriptions in the contents list for additional information about individual series.

Collection History


The Historic Subject Files Collection was transferred to the University Archives after its establishment in 1959 . Archives staff continue to add to established files and, where necessary, create new subjects and folders.

Custodial History:

Varnum Lansing Collins, Class of 1892 and Secretary of Princeton University (1917-1936), created the Historical Subject Files Collection as a reference for his historical writing interests. An author of a history of the University and a guide to the campus and town, Collins collected a wide variety of materials pertaining to these topics. The files were transferred to the University Archives after its establishment in 1959.


As documents deemed appropriate for inclusion in the Historical Subject Files are accessioned by the University Archives, they are added to the collection and finding aid. A major contributor to the collection is the Communications Office, which provides copies of printed materials it produces for various campus offices.

Archival Appraisal Information:

Boxes 34 and 35, material created by the Department of Geosciences, have been removed and placed in AC139, the Department of Geosciences Records.

Processing Information:

Processed by Susan Hamson, Paris Makell '05, Matthew Reeder, and Rosalba Varallo with the assistance of John Adamo '07, Marilyn Agbeko '06, Samuel Clendon '07, Rodney Deavault '07, Emma Harper '08, Lindsey Huddle '07, Christina McMillan '07, Eric Meng '07, Devin Silva '06, Victor Wakefield '07, and Ian Withrow '05. in 2004-2005. Accession AR.2010.134 digital content processed by Elena Colon-Marrero in 2015.Accession AR.2018.003, Civil War memorial wall research material, processed by Phoebe Nobles in 2018.

Finding aid written by Matthew Reeder in 2005.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. If copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers will not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with non-commercial use of materials from the Mudd Library. For materials where the copyright is not held by the University, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. If you have a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting us through the Ask Us! form.

Special Requirements for Access:

This collection contains digital materials. Researchers are responsible for meeting the technical requirements needed to access these materials, including any and all hardware and software.

Credit this material:

Historical Subject Files Collection; 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

Find More

Related Material:

The subject files of the University Archives related to grounds and buildings are held in a separate collection, Grounds and Buildings: Historical Subject Files (AC110). Other collections created or maintained by the University Archives to document Princeton University history include the Audiovisual Collection (AC47) and the Memorabilia Collection (AC53). Researchers may also be interested University Publications.

Because the Historical Subject Files is a vertical file which includes documents related to many aspects of Princeton's History, nearly every record group held in the University Archives may contain related material. Researchers may wish to examine finding aids for the high-level University offices, including the records of Office of the President, Provost, Secretary, Dean of the College, and Dean of the Faculty, as well as records of various departments and organizations within the University.

Publication Note:

A portion of the provenance statement was taken from the Grounds and Buildings: Historical Subject Files (AC #110) finding aid, written by Sara Bush '94 in 1994.

Civil War (United States, 1861-1865)
Subject Terms:
Education, Higher--New Jersey
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Monuments
Genre Terms:
Born digital.
Princeton University
Princeton University.
Collins, Varnum Lansing, 1870-1936
Princeton (N.J.)