Contents and Arrangement

Series 1, Buildings, 1838-1971

13 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


The Princeton University Library Collection of Historical Subject Files, Grounds and Buildings contains information relating to the buildings, grounds, and architects of Princeton University. The collection also includes information on the development of the campus and the various chronologies of construction and land acquisition that have been gathered. The collection contains photocopies from university publications (most notably The Nassau Lit, The Daily Princetonian, The Princeton College Bulletin, The Princeton Weekly Bulletin, and the Princeton Alumni Weekly) and regional newspapers (including The New York Times, The Princeton Herald, The Princeton Packet, and Town Topics) about University buildings, grounds, and architects of Princeton University. Other printed materials include insurance surveys, press releases from the Department of Public Information, and programs from dedication ceremonies. Less frequently, there are general interoffice correspondence; schematic floor plans; student papers; excerpts from books on architects; excerpts from the Trustees Minutes; campus maps or diagrams; bibliographic references; and invitations to ceremonies.

This collection also contains information pertaining to several buildings in the town that have been connected with the University in some way – some owned by the University, some owned by faculty members, some tied by the University through historical events. There is also a limited amount of information on the buildings used or owned by the privately operated eating clubs on Prospect Avenue.

The coverage of the collection is weakest for the earliest and most recent buildings, with the exception of Nassau Hall. The construction booms under Presidents McCosh (1868-1888) and Hibben (1910-1932) enjoy a proportionate amount of documentation. The selections from the "Olla-Podrida" in The Nassau Lit, in the late 19th century, are a gold mine of student opinion on the buildings from that time.


No arrangement action taken or arrangement information not recorded at the time of processing.

Collection History

Custodial History:

Varnum Lansing Collins, Class of 1892 and Secretary of the University (1917-1936), started the Historical Subject Files 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. Eventually the files were transferred to the University Archives where staff continue to add to established files and create new headings. Originally stored in vertical filing cabinets, when files pertaining to particular topics grew significantly, they were removed to separate boxes. Over time, archives staff have removed multi-box portions concerning a single subject from the main body of files. The Department of Grounds and Buildings Files is one example. Many of the papers within the Department of Grounds and Buildings Files have been annotated by Collins, Earle Coleman (former University Archivist), or Gerald Breese (author of Princeton University Land, 1756-1984).

Archival Appraisal Information:

No information on appraisal is available.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

Collection is open for research use.

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.

Remote patrons who wish to view the "Princeton University Photographs" within Series 7, Beatrix Farrand Digital Images, must contact the Environmental Design Archives of the University of California at Berkeley, as the Environmental Design Archives holds all rights to reproduction and use of the images.

Credit this material:

Series 1, Buildings; Princeton University Library Collection of Historical Subject Files, Grounds and Buildings, AC110, Princeton University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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 (mudd): Boxes 1-10; 17-19; 5A