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 (mudd): 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 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.

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 (mudd): 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.