Contents and Arrangement

Series 4: Samuel Davies Records, 1753-1997

2 boxes
Restrictions may apply. See Access Note.

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Having declined the presidency of the College of New Jersey in 1758, Samuel Davies accepted it in 1759 with a reluctance akin to that of his predecessor, Jonathan Edwards. Davies, who thought that his successor, Samuel Finley, was the right man for the job, was urged to take the position, even though some of the College's trustees shared his high opinion of Finley. Born in 1724 in Summit Ridge, Delaware and educated both at home and in the Rev. Samuel Blair's seminary, Davies received his license to preach in 1746 in Newcastle, Delaware. Ordained the following year as an evangelist to Virginia, he went on to serve as the first moderator of the Presbytery of Hanover, encompassing all the Presbyterian ministers in Virginia and North Carolina. At the request of the trustees, Davies traveled to Great Britain with Gilbert Tennent in 1753 to raise funds for the College. Among other uses, the donations collected abroad served to fund the construction of Nassau Hall and the president's house. As president and professor at the College of New Jersey, he was renowned for his emphasis on public service.

This series is arranged topically and documents Davies's life, his years as president, his family, and his legacy. Materials include letters referring to his travels to Great Britain, excerpts from his diary, articles about his death in office, and letters and documents concerning his immediate family, including his first and second wives, Sarah Kirkpatrick and Jean Holt, and distant descendents. Also included is information about Davies "artifacts," such as his portrait and a book of his sermons, and the performance of music he composed. There are also several images of Davies.


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 4: Samuel Davies 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): Boxes 1-2; 1A