Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Creator:
Burr, Aaron, 1716-1757
Collector:
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Title:
Aaron Burr (1716-1757) Collection
Repository:
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/bc386j21x
Dates:
1750-1761
Size:
1 box and 0.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1
Language:
English

Abstract

This is an open collection for accessions of Aaron Burr (1716-1757) manuscripts, letters, documents, and related material.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Description:

Consists of Burr manuscripts, correspondence, and documents dating from the period (1748-1757) he was president of the College of New Jersey, now Princeton. Included are original manuscripts of sermons, a Latin oration, and letters and documents, as well as photostats and copies of additional material. There is a contemporary silhouette of Burr as well as a letter, dated 1761, presenting a bill to his estate.

Arrangement:

The collection has been organized into three series: 1. Writings; 2. Correspondence--A. By, B. To, C. About; 3. Pictorial Material.

Collection Creator Biography:

Aaron Burr was born on January 4, 1716, to Daniel and Elizabeth Burr in Upper Meadows, Connecticut. He excelled in languages and sciences at Yale College, from which he graduated in 1735. He stayed at Yale for an additional year to study theology, supported by the Berkeley Foundation, during which he became involved in the colonial revival of religion led by Jonathan Edwards.

Burr converted to the Calvinistic belief in the absolute sovereignty of God and was ordained a minister in 1736 by the Presbyterian Church of Newark. He was well known for his reasonable and thoughtful sermons, which contrasted starkly to those of his contemporary revival leaders. Burr also began teaching local boys Latin, Greek, and other liberal arts and became a popular educator.

Burr and fellow "New Side" Presbyterians from the Middle Colonies who favored revivals (as opposed to the "Old Side" Presbyterians and Anglicans from New England) felt that they were in need of an educational institution to train ministers in their philosophies as well as to provide general education to gentleman scholars. Several "New Side" ministers began planning a college and raising funds, and were able to obtain a charter for the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1746. The institution was to be an institution for higher learning for all men, not only those interested in joining the Presbyterian clergy.

John Dickinson was appointed by the trustees of the college to be its first president, but he died only four months after assuming the position. Burr was chosen to be his successor and became a driving force behind the institution, establishing its location, educational standards, and reputation. He was involved in all aspects of the college, regularly teaching classes and tutoring students, as well as supervising construction and raising funds. Burr was president of the college from November 1748 until his death.

Burr continued to fulfill his ministerial duties in Newark during his time as president. He married Esther Edwards, daughter of preacher Jonathan Edward, in 1752. The couple had two children, Aaron and Sarah. Burr died on September 24, 1757.

Collection History

Acquisition:

The collection is the result, over time, of a departmental policy of gathering together different small accessions relating to a specific author. Holograph pages of Burr's sermons were the gift of Mrs. Eli Whitney, widow of the inventor of the cotton gin.

Archival Appraisal Information:

No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Anna Bialek in June 2005. Finding aid written by Anna Bialek in June 2005.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Aaron Burr (1716-1757) Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/bc386j21x
Location:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184