Contents and Arrangement

Series 7: Samuel Stanhope Smith Records, 1790-1979

2 boxes
Restrictions may apply. See Access Note.

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Samuel Stanhope Smith, born in 1751 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was the first alumnus to become president of the College of New Jersey. His father, Robert Smith, taught him at the school he headed in Pequea, Pennsylvania until the age of sixteen, when Samuel entered the College of New Jersey as a junior. He graduated with honors in 1769 before returning to Pennsylvania to teach in his father's school. In 1771 he returned to Princeton to tutor and study theology under John Witherspoon. For health reasons, he left Princeton to work as a missionary in Virginia. In 1775 the seminary that later became Hampden-Sydney College was founded, and Smith became its president. Married to Ann Witherspoon, Witherspoon's daughter, Smith returned to Princeton in 1779 as a professor of moral philosophy, and his brother, John Blair Smith, replaced him as president of Hampden-Sydney College. On Witherspoon's death in 1794, Smith, who had become vice president in 1786, assumed the leadership of the College. After the Nassau Hall fire of 1802, he raised enough money not only to reconstruct the landmark but also to add two additional buildings. Unfortunately, a riot in 1807 led to the suspension of 125 students and a growing distrust on the part of trustees. Faculty resignations and a declining student body led to Smith's resignation in 1812.

This series is arranged topically and contains biographical and family information, details of Smith's Hampden-Sydney College and College of New Jersey years, and original correspondence. Material relating to Hampden-Sydney College includes a document describing the courses of study there and a pamphlet about the institution. The correspondence folder contains a short letter from Smith written in 1806 relating to a stock of books. There are also two letters to Smith: one relating to a shipment of books and one concerning administrative matters. Other correspondence dates from the twentieth century and pertains to gifts to and from Princeton University. A number of portraits of Smith can be found in this series.


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 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.

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 7: Samuel Stanhope Smith 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 253, 4