Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Princeton University. Committee on the Bicentennial of Nassau Hall.
Committee for the Bicentennial of Nassau Hall Records
Princeton University Archives
Permanent URL:
1953-1956 (mostly 1956)
3 boxes
Storage Note:
Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-3


The Nassau Hall Bicentennial Committee was established to plan the 200th anniversary of Nassau Hall over a two-day period beginning on September 22, 1956. The collection documents the activities of the Committee through correspondence, publications, news articles, and press releases.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection documents the activities of the Committee through correspondence, publications, news articles, and press releases. Also included are a sheet of commemorative stamps and a resolution issued by the State of New Jersey observing the bicentennial event.

Collection Creator Biography:

Princeton University. Committee on the Bicentennial of Nassau Hall.

Built in 1756, Nassau Hall originally housed the entire College. Designed by Robert Smith and William Shippen, the building was named for King William III, Prince of Orange-Nassau. Today, Nassau Hall houses the office of the president and other administrative offices.

A fire in 1802 left only the walls standing. Benjamin Henry Latrobe was engaged to rebuild it along its original lines. After a second fire in 1855, John Notman, who was also the architect for Prospect House and Walter Lowrie House, made a number of exterior changes, including the staircases at the ends of the building and the arched front doorway.

The sturdy stone structure has survived bombardment during the American Revolution (a cannonball scar is visible on the exterior south wall of the west wing), occupation by troops of both sides during this war, and two fires. George Washington drove the British from Nassau Hall in 1777, and during the latter half of 1783 it served as the Capitol of the United States. On August 26th of that year, Washington returned to Nassau Hall to receive the thanks of the Continental Congress for his conduct of the war, and on October 31st news arrived there that the Treaty of Paris had been signed, formally ending the War for American Independence.

In 1953, the Committee for the Bicentennial of Nassau Hall convened its first planning meeting. Comprised of representatives from the Trustees, faculty, and administration, the Committee developed a comprehensive celebratory program to commemorate not just a physical structure, but also the very heart and soul of the Princeton campus. Events included a dinner at Procter Hall with guest speaker Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Marshall Harlan '20, various alumni functions, and the awarding of honorary degrees. The federal government also recognized Nassau Hall's momentous early history. The building has been given both national landmark status and acknowledgement with a commemorative postage stamp–the first in United States history printed on colored paper–issued to celebrate its 1956 bicentennial.

Collection History

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Carol Burke in December 2002. Finding aid written by Carol Burke in December 2002. Box 3 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:

Committee for the Bicentennial of Nassau Hall 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