Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee
Sesquicentennial Celebration Records
Princeton University Archives
Permanent URL:
circa 1887-1993 (mostly 1894-1904)
17 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-17


The collection consists of materials relating to the three-day Sesquicentennial Celebration in October 1896, at which the College of New Jersey became Princeton University. In addition to ephemera and printed material distributed at the celebration, the collection includes a typescript draft of President Francis Landey Patton's sermon, sesquicentennial memorial books, a published sketchbook, official congratulations from other institutions, and press releases and newspaper clippings reporting the events.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection is arranged in five series as follows:

Collection Creator Biography:

Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee

The celebration of the College's 150th anniversary in October 1896 was an event over two years in the making. By all accounts, it was a great success. Participants long remembered the eloquent speeches made by former U.S. President Grover Cleveland and future U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and the procession of torch-carrying Princetonians that marched through town to a Nassau Hall covered with orange electric lights. The culminating announcement came from College President Francis Landey Patton when he declared that "what heretofore for one hundred fifty years has been known as the College of New Jersey shall in all future time be known as Princeton University."

The three-day Sesquicentennial Celebration included hundreds of undergraduates, thousands of alumni, representatives from universities throughout the world, distinguished European scholars, and delegations of students from other colleges and universities. The College and the town were decorated everywhere with red, white, and blue, and orange and black banners; the College erected an arched gateway at one end of Nassau Street, while the town put up a matching gateway at the other end. Princeton won the sesquicentennial football game against Virginia, 48-0. In addition to Grover Cleveland and then Professor Woodrow Wilson, speakers at the celebration included several European scholars, the poet and professor Henry van Dyke, the president of Harvard, Charles Eliot, and the College's own president, Francis Landey Patton.

Collection History


Compiled by the Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee and the University Library. The third scrapbook in Series 4 and the contents of Series 3 were donated to the Library in June 1904 by the Rev. George Blackburn Kinkead III, Class of 1899.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Matthew Reeder in December 2002. Finding aid written by Matthew Reeder in December 2002. Boxes 16 and 17 were added by Christie Peterson in May 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

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:

Sesquicentennial Celebration 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
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-17

Find More

Related Materials

Other materials relating to the Princeton Sesquicentennial Celebration can be found in the P Collection and in the University Library's general catalogue.

Subject Terms:
Centennial celebrations, etc.
Genre Terms:
Printing plates.
Princeton University
Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908
Kinkead, George Blackburn
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924.