Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Princeton University. Office of the Registrar.
Office of the Registrar Records
Princeton University Archives
Permanent URL:
330 boxes
Storage Note:
This is stored in multiple locations. Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Boxes 1-316; S-000075; S-000077; S-000076; S-000078; S-000079; S-000080; S-000081; S-000082 sc: Box 317-322


The Office of the Registrar is the administrative office of Princeton University responsible for the collection and maintenance of the academic records of the student body, as well as the establishment of course and examination schedules and the collection of fees related to matriculation and registration. The records contain the academic records of individual students, subject files on topics related to admissions and matriculation, statistical reports, and other official documents issued by the Office of the Registrar.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The Office of the Registrar Records document the role and responsibilities of the University Registrar as they pertain to the student population of Princeton University and to the University administration and community as a whole. Included are the academic records of individual students at the graduate and undergraduate level, subject files on topics related to admissions and matriculation, statistics, and official documents issued by the Office of the Registrar such as examination schedules. Also included in the Office of the Registrar records are several items which predate the establishment of the position, and which document early attempts at student registration and records-keeping.

Collection Creator Biography:

Princeton University. Office of the Registrar.

The Office of the Registrar, comprised of the University Registrar and a supporting staff, is the administrative unit of Princeton University charged with the collection, maintenance, and distribution of the academic records of Princeton's undergraduate student body. The Office of the Registrar is also responsible for the preparation and distribution of diplomas and the imposition and collection of fees relating to student registration. As an ex officio member of the Committee on Examinations and Standing, the University Registrar takes part in deliberations over academic matters pertaining to individual students, and as a member of the Faculty Committee on Schedule, the Registrar oversees the establishment of the University's academic calendar and course schedule.

Like many of the University's administrative offices, the responsibilities of the Registrar have shifted dramatically throughout the position's history. As early as the academic year 1840-1841, a recent graduate of the College was responsible for the collection of certain fees from students. These included the $9.50 seniors were to pay for their diploma and an additional $5 to defray expenses related to Commencement. The first significant mention of the Registrar's duties beyond those related to fee collection can be found in the 1870-1871 edition of the Princeton University Catalogue, which states that "A report of the standing of each student is made at the close of the Term to his parent or guardian by the Registrar of the College."

As enrollment at Princeton swelled, the responsibilities of the Registrar expanded accordingly and by 1897 the registration of students had become a systematic undertaking. That year's catalogue made it clear that "Students must report to the Registrar's Office at the beginning of each term to register. They must give their full name, home address and Princeton address to the Registrar." In that same year the Registrar was charged with coordinating undergraduate admissions by distributing forms to inquiring parties and arranging for necessary entrance examinations. These tasks soon became too large for a single office to oversee, and the establishment of the Office of Admissions in 1923 largely removed the Office of the Registrar from the admissions process. The duties of the Registrar have remained relatively static since that time, with one notable change in 1970, when the Registrar began keeping the academic records of graduate students.

In addition to acting as a liaison between administrators, faculty, and students, the Registrar aids in the compilation of statistical information on the student body. Notably, the Registrar assisted the University's Statistical Unit throughout the early 1960s as the latter organization researched and reported on matters such as undergraduate attrition. The Registrar has also commonly conferred with the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Dean of the College, and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students in carrying out its duties.

Since the institution of the position, the title of University Registrar has changed hands frequently. Prior to Henry Nevius Van Dyke (Class of 1872) who served as Registrar from 1873-1910, no single person had held the office for a period longer than five years. The growth of the University, the formalization of the Registrar's responsibilities, and the increasing importance of the position have demanded a higher level of administrative continuity, and in the twentieth century several University Registrars have served terms lasting over 15 years. Notable among these are Wilbur F. Kerr (1925-1947), Howard W. Stepp (1947-1969), and C. Anthony Broh (1984-1999). In the early days of the position the Registrar was located along with most other administrators in the University Offices building, later renamed Stanhope Hall. In 1911, the Office of the Registrar moved to Nassau Hall, and once again in 1959 to West College.

Collection History


The records were transferred to the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library by the Office of the Registrar.


Periodic transfers of records are expected from the Office of the Registrar indefinitely.

Archival Appraisal Information:

In processing this collection some materials which were determined to be unrelated to the Office of the Registrar and which are duplicated elsewhere in the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library's collections were separated and discarded, including computer manuals, campus telephone directories and administrative bulletins.

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Daniel Brennan and Joshua Muketha '10 in March 2007. Finding aid written by Daniel Brennan in March 2007.

In the course of a collections survey in 2019, an item titled "Registration Book, 1897-1898" that had been listed in the Miscellaneous series was noted as missing. An accession of scholastic cards for the Classes of 1970-1972 (AR.2021.019) was added in 2021 by Phoebe Nobles. An accession of eight boxes (AR.2021.056) was added by Phoebe Nobles in December, 2021. Scholastic cards of students in the Critical Languages Program (AR.2019.034) were added by Phoebe Nobles in 2022. Scholastic cards from 1973-2006 that were previously described in a Series 4 were added to the rest of the undergraduate scholastic cards in Series 1 in 2022.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research use with the exception of academic records of individual students found in Series 1: Student Records, which are restricted for 75 years from the date of the creation of the records.

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:

Series 1: Student Records contains documents on microfilm and microfiche.

Other Finding Aids:

Full text searching of the Undergraduate Student Goverment archived website is available through the ArchiveIt interface.

Credit this material:

Office of the Registrar Records; 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

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Related Material:

In addition to the Office of the Registrar Records, the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library holds the records of many other University administrative offices who work in conjunction with the Registrar to establish and enforce policies. These collections include the Office of the President Records, the Office of the Dean of the College Records, the Office of the Provost Records, the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students Records, and the Office of the Secretary Records.

Additionally, the Library's Historical Subject Files Collection contains some materials pertaining to the Registrar, and the annually published editions of the Princeton University Catalogue provide some sense of the evolving responsibilities of the position.

Finally, many of the student academic records found in Series 1 of the Office of the Registrar Records are duplicated in the Undergraduate and Graduate Alumni Files of individual students.

Publication Note:

A Princeton Companion by Alexander Leitch and yearly editions of the Princeton University Catalogue were consulted in the preparation of the historical note.

Subject Terms:
College students -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
Grading and marking (Students) -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
Student records -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
Genre Terms:
Web sites.
Princeton University
Princeton University.
Princeton University. Admission.
Princeton University. Students.