Contents and Arrangement

Series 1: Grounds and Buildings Photographs, 1726-2019

104 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


Many of these photographs have been digitized and are searchable in Digital PUL.

The Historical Photographs Collection -- Grounds and Buildings Photographs documents the enormous growth and change of the face of Princeton University's campus from the late 1850s to the present. During this time a great number of buildings at Princeton were razed or destroyed by fire and replaced by new buildings; some of these buildings were subsequently demolished or moved to make way for newer ones.

Buildings which were razed include: Philosophical Hall (1803-1873), the first Chapel (1847-1896), Bonner-Marquand Gymnasium (1869-1907), Carpenter Hall/House (undated-1909), East College (1833-1896), Halsted Observatory (1869-1932), Reunion Hall (1870-1965), University Hall (1876-1916), and Upper Pyne Building (1896-1963).

Buildings that were moved to other locations include Corwin Hall (originally called Wilson Hall), and the Joseph Henry House (which was moved three times, first in 1870, then in 1925, and again in 1946). A series of houses which served as faculty homes or rooming houses on Nassau St. (numbering 31 and 39, and 45, 49, and 51) were all moved in 1909 when the construction for Holder Hall was begun. Carpenter House/Hall (37 Nassau St.) was demolished at this time. President McCosh's post-presidency residence was moved from 103 Prospect St. to 391 Nassau St. in 1916.

Buildings lost to fires include: Dickinson Hall (1870) and Marquand Chapel (1882) both went up in flames in 1920; in 1924 the Casino (1895) burned; in 1928 the John C. Green School of Science (1873) and the Dynamo Building (1889) burned down; and in 1944 the University Gymnasium (1903) and the Brokaw Memorial (1892) caught on fire while U.S. soldiers were being housed in the gymnasium. Nassau Hall has also been a victim of fire several times since it was built in 1756.

A number of the grounds on campus are no longer in existence. The University Field was eliminated when the Engineering Quadrangle was built in 1962. The only remaining evidence of the field and its buildings and stands are the Ferris Thompson Gates on Prospect St. The 1892 Osborn Field House, which in 1971 became the Third World Center, was demolished to make way for the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. The area where Brokaw Field used to be is now the site of 27 tennis courts and the Mathey Tennis Pavilion (1961). The locations of several athletic fields have been changed: currently Clarke Field, Strubing Field, Finney Field, Campbell Field, and Sexton Field now stand where Laughlin Field once stood. Bedford Field moved from its original location to its present location in 1986, and Lourie-Love Field took its place.

Many other elements of the campus have changed. The Class of 1881 Memorial Fountain no longer exists on campus; the Bulletin Elm was cut down in 1888. The Princeton Student Monument (a.k.a., the Christian Student, c1880), stands now inside Jadwin Gymnasium. The first Boat House was probably destroyed when the Class of 1877 Boat House was built in 1912, and the vast areas of open land that can be seen in the campus views of the 1860 and 1870s stretching out beyond Prospect House are now filled with residential subdivisions, corporate buildings and roadways.

Over the years both the name and function of many buildings on campus changed. An important distinction is to be made between the name of a building and its function. It is the name of a building and the date(s) of construction and alteration that are the key aspects for this collection. Photographs relating to the function of buildings, including photographs of students engaged in activities connected to or relevant to a specific building have been removed to the Campus Life series of the Historical Photograph Collection. Photographs which were removed include photographs of dormitory rooms, dedication ceremonies of buildings, and student activities including sports, clubs, and social events.

Duplicates of photographs post-dating 1880 have been discarded, unless the quality of different photographs necessitated keeping more than one copy. Multiple copies of photographs pre-dating 1880 have been retained. Copy negatives have been discarded as well, unless no original photograph exists.

Some photographs relating to Princeton Borough have been removed and given to the Historical Society of Princeton. Researchers interested in photographs of the Princeton Borough and surrounding areas not owned by Princeton University should contact the Historical Society of Princeton.

Some photographs in this finding aid are housed in Boxes AD42, AD46, and AD52. These are unprocessed boxes which may not be available for review in the reading room.


Photographs in Series 1: Grounds and Buildings are arranged first according to size of photograph: Small photographs are those that measure 5"x7" or smaller; Medium photographs are those that measure 11"x14" or smaller; and Large photographs are those that measure 16"x20" or smaller. Within each of these sizes the photographs are arranged alphabetically by name of building and ground. Photographs have then been placed in as close to chronological order as possible.

Photographs of buildings and grounds may be located by using the formal, or proper, name of the building. For example, photographs of Henry Hall or 1904 Hall will not be found under the headings Henry Hall or 1904 Hall, but will be found under the entry of "Class of 1904-Henry Hall."

Change of name and function: Buildings have been arranged in the collection according to their most recent name. For example, photographs of Pyne Library will be found under the heading of East Pyne. (A name authority list exists on paper in Mudd Library.)

Dates: The dates given after the name of a building are the original dates of construction. If a building was altered or additions were made, those dates are given after the construction date. In some cases, dates are given in parentheses. This indicates the date span of a function of a building or ground. For example, dates given after all of the Eating Clubs are in parentheses. These dates refer to the period in which the Eating Club was in existence, not the dates of the building. (We don't know all of the dates for the different buildings, and many Eating Clubs have had more than one building.) The various sources that can be consulted on the history of buildings at Princeton University often provide contradictory information for the original date of many buildings. In most cases, the variation in dating can be attributed to the difference of opinion over whether it is the date of construction, dedication, or occupation which constitutes the original date of the building. In the case of some older buildings acquired by the University the date of construction is not known [i.e. Faculty Housing -- 31 Nassau St. (Guyot (Arnold) House, 1901 acquired by PU; 1901 sold to Mrs. Horatio W. Turner and moved to 8 Greenholm)].

Types of buildings or grounds: Most photographs of buildings and grounds appear under the name of the individual building and ground. Exceptions are those buildings, or groups of buildings, and grounds that fall under certain categories. These include: Boat Houses, Chapels, Faculty Housing, Gymnasiums, Libraries, Observatories, Sculpture, and Tennis Courts. Another category of photographs is identified as "Campus Views." These photographs are comprised of photographs that show more than one building on campus, and thus provide a "view." The "Campus Views" have been divided into different geographical areas: Front Campus; Middle Campus; South Campus; West Campus; and Storm Pictures.

Maps which represent the campus at different periods of time may be found in the General Catalogue of Princeton University (located in the reference room), the Historical Subject Files -- Grounds and Buildings Collection [AC110], the book Princeton University Land, 1756-1984 (1986) by Gerald Breese, Princeton Architecture (1967) by Constance Grieff, and in the Archives' Map Collection (AC113).

Negatives have not been separated, and may be found in all three size boxes.

Collection History

Archival Appraisal Information:

No appraisal information 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.

Credit this material:

Series 1: Grounds and Buildings Photographs; Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series, AC111, 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 SP1; MP1; MP2; LP1; MP20; MP63; MP3; MP50; MP4; MP5; MP6; MP7; MP8; MP9; MP10; MP11; MP12; MP13; MP14; MP15; MP16; MP17; MP18; MP19; SP2; MP21; MP22; MP23; MP24; MP25; MP26; MP27; LP2; MP28; MP29; SP6; MP30; MP31; MP32; MP33; MP34; MP35; MP89; SP4; MP90; SP5; SP3; MP36; MP37; MP38; MP39; MP40; MP41; MP42; MP43; MP44; MP45; MP46; MP83; MP84; MP85; MP86; LP6; MP47; MP48; MP49; MP51; MP52; LP3; MP53; MP54; MP55; MP56; MP57; MP58; MP59; MP60; MP61; MP62; MP64; MP65; MP66; LP4; MP67; MP68; MP69; MP70; MP71; MP72; LP5; MP73; MP74; MP75; MP76; MP77; MP78; MP79; MP80; MP81; MP82; SP7; MP87; MP88; MP91

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Existence and Location of Copies

Many of these photographs have been digitized and are searchable in Digital PUL.

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