Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Princeton University. Department of Politics
Department of Politics Records
Princeton University Archives
Permanent URL:
1921-2017 (mostly 1921-1978)
39 boxes, 4 items, and 1 websites
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-39
English French


The Department of Politics at Princeton University is one of the University's largest academic departments, offering undergraduate and graduate courses touching on nearly every aspect of the discipline of political science. The Department of Politics records document the activities of the Department of Politics and its faculty from the time of its founding in 1924 until the mid-1960s, and contain correspondence, course syllabi and notes, examinations, and subject files.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Department of Politics records document the activities of Princeton University's Department of Politics from the time of its founding until the mid-1960s. The records consist of faculty correspondence and meeting minutes; course materials such as syllabi, exams, and grades; and subject files.

Please see series descriptions in contents list for additional information about individual series.

Collection Creator Biography:

Princeton University. Department of Politics

The Department of Politics at Princeton University is one of Princeton University's largest academic departments, offering undergraduate and graduate courses in the fields of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and nearly every other aspect of the discipline.

The study of politics at Princeton can be traced to the late 19th century, when a broad curriculum of courses dedicated to topics such as public law and political science were offered under the tutelage of professors such as Lyman H. Atwater, William Sloane, and Woodrow Wilson. Upon his elevation to the office of university president in 1902 one of Wilson's first initiatives was the institution of the departmental system, resulting in the newly created Department of History, Politics, and Economics. The politics curriculum and faculty was sufficiently developed by 1924 that it broke away from history and became its own department under the leadership of its first chairman Edward S. Corwin.

While early politics courses had been largely focused on theory and research, the establishment of the School of Public and International Affairs in 1930 added a new service-driven component to the department's offerings. At the same time, the department's faculty continued to grow in size and acclaim. Among the distinguished professors to join the department between 1930 and 1950 were Harwood L. Childs, founder of Public Opinion Quarterly, Harold Sprout, author of The Rise of American Naval Power, George A. Graham, and Alpheus Thomas Mason.

In more recent years, the Department of Politics has broadened its course offerings, drawing in faculty with increased specialization in areas beyond those covered by the traditional core curriculum. While the basic framework of the program has remained generally the same, elective course offerings have changed frequently in response to new developments in the field of political science and the world at large. In addition to classroom instruction, the Department of Politics has frequently supplemented its course offerings and lectures with guest speakers, conferences, research projects, undergraduate forums, and opportunities for field work.

The original campus location of the Department of Politics was Dickinson Hall; however in 1965, the department moved into Wilson Hall, former home of the School of Public and International Affairs. In recognition of its new occupants, this building was renamed Corwin Hall, and continues to house the offices of the Department of Politics.

Collection History


The records were transferred to the University Archives in two accessions: January 27, 1970 and June 10, 2011 .


Additional transfers of records are expected from the Department of Politics on a continual basis.


Appraisal has been conducted in accordance with Mudd Library guidelines. No separations were made during the 2007 processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Daniel Brennan with assistance from Joshua Muketha '10 in June of 2007.. Finding aid written by Daniel Brennan in June of 2007..

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Department of Politics records are closed for 25 years from their date of creation with the exception of those records that pertain to student academic performance or faculty personnel matters, which are restricted for 75 years. Restrictions beyond 25 years are noted in the relevant series descriptions and in the folder list. Series 5: Public Website 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:

Department of Politics 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 1-39

Find More

Related Materials

The Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library holds several collections which are especially relevant to the Department of Politics. The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs Records (AC129) document the history of that institution, of which the Department of Politics is one division. The Edward S. Corwin Papers (MC012), the Alpheus Thomas Mason Papers (MC177), the Hubert H. Wilson Papers (MC143), the William W. Lockwood Papers, the Harold Sprout Collection on the London Naval Conference (MC122), and the Joseph Coy Green Papers (MC065) contain the papers of several of the department's former faculty members. The University Archives also holds the Hubert H. Wilson Collection on the Department of Politics (AC167), a separate collection assembled by the professor which contains files on administration and trustees, as well as books and publications related to the department.

Other Finding Aids

Full text searching of this collection's archived website is available through the Archive-It interface.


Alexander Leitch's A Princeton Companion and the March 25, 1949 issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly were consulted in preparation of the historical note.

Subject Terms:
Political Science -- Study and Teaching -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
Political science -- Study and teaching (Graduate) -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
Universities and colleges -- New Jersey -- Princeton -- Departments.
Genre Terms:
Web sites.
Princeton University
Corwin, Edward Samuel (1878-1963)
Mason, Alpheus Thomas, 1899-1989.
Whitton, John Boardman, 1892-1977