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Collection Overview

Edwards, Jonathan, 1703-1758.
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Jonathan Edwards Family Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists of selected correspondence, sermons, and documents of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) America's most important and original philosophical theologian, and his three sons, Timothy, Jonathan, and Pierpont Edwards.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of correspondence, sermons, and documents of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) and his three sons, Timothy Edwards (Princeton Class of 1757), Jonathan Edwards (Princeton Class of 1765), and Pierpont Edwards (Princeton Class of 1768). Among the other correspondents are Joseph Bellamy, Rev. Aaron Burr (1716-1757), Capt. N. Dwight, John Ely, Jonathan Sergeant, and Benjamin Trumbull. Of significance is one of the few letters Edwards wrote during the five weeks he served as president of the College of New Jersey, before his death from an inoculation for smallpox. In this letter, dated February 28, 1758, Edwards asks Jonathan Sergeant for an advance of his stipend for his work at the College. He died three weeks later on March 22, 1758. Also of significance is Edwards's letter (1752) to Burr about his proposed trip to Great Britain to collect funds for the College of New Jersey. Ironically, Edwards suggests that Burr get inoculated for the smallpox. There are three substantial sermons by Edwards (the son) and a broadside (1795) reporting his dismissal as pastor of the White Haven Church of New Haven, Connecticut. In addition, there are numerous notes and fragments for sermons, and receipts, including ones related to the College of New Jersey.


The folders are arranged in accession number order.

Collection Creator Biography:

Edwards, Jonathan, 1703-1758.

Jonathan Edwards, the elder, was a colonial American Congregational preacher and theologian. In 1757, on the death of the Rev. Aaron Burr, who had married Edwards's daughter Esther, he reluctantly agreed to replace his late son-in-law as the president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), where he was installed on February 16, 1758. Almost immediately after becoming president, he was inoculated for smallpox, which was raging in Princeton at the time. However, Edwards died of the inoculation on March 22, 1758, and was buried in the Princeton Cemetery.

Edwards's eldest son, Timothy, was a member of the Princeton Class 1757.

Edwards's middle son, also named Jonathan, was a member of the Princeton Class of 1765. A theologian and a pioneer of Native American languages, he became president of Union College in Schenectady, New York.

The youngest son, Pierpont, was a member of the Princeton Class of 1768, and the uncle of Aaron Burr. Pierpont was a delegate to the American Continental Congress from Connecticut in 1787-88, and served as United States Attorney for 17 years.

Collection History


Various AM. Letter to "Dear Brother" purchased from Forest H. Sweet. Letter to Capt. Nathaniel Dwight is a gift of Louise B. Caldwell.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

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. For instances beyond Fair Use, 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:

Jonathan Edwards Family Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1