Contents and Arrangement

Series 1: Jonathan Dickinson Records, 1746-1977

1 box
Restrictions may apply. See Access Note.

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Jonathan Dickinson, born in 1688 and graduated from Yale College in 1706, was the first president of the College of New Jersey. After becoming the pastor of the Congregational church in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, Dickinson shifted from Congregational to Presbyterian teachings in order to join the Presbytery of Philadelphia. Yet while becoming a leader within the Presbytery and the higher Synod of Philadelphia, Dickinson steadfastly maintained his belief in the freedom of the individual clergy. Having first envisioned an educational institute within the Synod, Dickinson only realized his dream of founding a school to train future Presbyterian ministers and pious laymen when he and others founded the College of New Jersey in 1746. Dickinson died in office in October 1747.

Material on Dickinson is arranged topically and divided into four categories: biographical information, his association with the College of New Jersey, genealogical material, and post mortem material. This series contains only secondary documents, most of which take the form of letters and clippings. The biographical folder contains brief summaries of Jonathan Dickinson's life, as well as a few cards referencing other sources. Material relating to his foundational work on behalf of the College of New Jersey includes numerous letters, documents concerning his death, such as the epitaph on his tombstone, and a paper discussing the establishment of the College. Family members are documented through the correspondence to and from descendents of Dickinson and his wife, Joanna Melyen, and include two genealogical charts. In several cases Dickinson's seven children, Abigail, Jonathan, Temperance, Joanna, Elizabeth, Mary, and Martha, are mentioned. Post mortem material details the buildings dedicated to him at both Yale and Princeton Universities. Also to be found are several images of Dickinson and a pamphlet about him and the College of New Jersey by Professor Henry Cameron.


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

Collection History


No information on appraisal is available.


These papers were processed with the generous support of former Princeton University President Harold T. Shapiro, Charles Brothman '51, and the John Foster Dulles and Janet Avery Dulles Fund.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Carol V. Burke and Stacey C. Peeples in 2002. Finding aid written by Carol V. Burke and Stacey C. Peeples in 2002.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Materials generated by the office of the president are closed for 30 years from the date of their creation. Some records relating to personnel or students are closed for longer periods of time.

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:

Series 1: Jonathan Dickinson Records; Office of the President Records : Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, AC117, 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): Box 1