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Collection Overview

Abbott, Charles C. (Charles Conrad), 1843-1919
Charles Conrad Abbott Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1770-1944 (mostly 1874-1916)
17 boxes and 6.7 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-17


Charles Conrad Abbott (1843-1919), American naturalist and author, was the first archaeologist to dig a historic site in New Jersey. This collection consists of diaries, correspondence, newspaper articles, essays, photographs, and other material, relating to his work and his family.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of correspondence (1885-1919) and diaries (1874-1918) containing personal reflections of Charles Conrad Abbott. The collection reflects Abbott's life-long interest in the investigation, observation, and description of nature and Native American archaeology in the Delaware River Valley of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A large portion of the correspondence is between Charles Conrad and his son Richard M. Abbott. Also included are a small selection of essays by Abbott, titled "The After-Thought of Age: A Series of Out-Spoken Essays," "The Archeological Significance of an Ancient Dune," "Old Fashioned Essays," "Paul Ingram: Pagan," and "Thoughts without Thinking."

Over 50 photographs are present depicting local scenes, friends and family, portraits, and archaeological work. Many are captioned on the verso. They range in size from 3 x 3 cm. to 19 x 24 cm. and consist of albumen prints, collodion prints, gelatin silver prints, a cyanotype and an ambrotype along with other photomechanical prints. Other material include newspaper clippings (1905-1918), two glass plate negatives, miscellaneous clippings, a Certificate for The Royal Northern Archeological Society, and Abbott's medical diploma from the University of Pennsylvania (1865).


This collection is arranged in five series: "Essays," "Diaries," "Correspondence To and From Charles C. Abbott," "Photographs and Images," and "Clippings and Ephemera."

Collection Creator Biography:

Abbott, Charles C. (Charles Conrad), 1843-1919

Charles Conrad Abbott (1843-1919), American naturalist and author, was the first archaeologist to dig a historic site in New Jersey. Abbott, the son of Timothy and Susan Conrad Abbott, was born on June 4, 1843, in Trenton, New Jersey, and spent the majority of his life in that area. He was educated at the Trenton Academy, from 1852 to 1858, and at the University of Pennsylvania, earning his B.A. in 1861 and his M.D. in 1865. During the Civil War, Abbott served as a member of the New Jersey National Guard. In 1867, Abbott married Julia Boggs Olden (1846-1921) and they lived in the Abbott family home, "Three Beeches," along with their five children, three of whom lived to adulthood. It was on the family property, just south of Trenton, that Abbott believed that he found proof of the existence of Paleolithic man, however, over the years, his theories were disproved. After "Three Beeches" was destroyed by fire in 1914, the Abbotts moved to Bristol, Pennsylvania, where Charles C. Abbott died in 1919.

An active naturalist, archaeologist, and author, Abbott was heavily involved in local archaeology and Native American history in the Delaware Valley. In 1875 he was appointed field assistant to the Peabody Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, presenting them with his extensive collection of early Indian material. Later in life from 1889 to 1892, Abbott was associated with the Museum of Science and Art of the University of Pennsylvania. Abbott's most important written contribution to science was Primitive Industry or Illustrations of Handiwork in Stone, Bone, and Clay of the Native Races of the North Atlantic Seaboard (1881), although he published over a hundred short papers in publications such as American Naturalist, Popular Science Monthly, and Science Gossip. He is most widely known for his works pertaining to a nature study near his home in Trenton entitled A Naturalist's Rambles about Home (1884), as well as Days Out of Doors (1889), Recent Rambles (1892), Upland and Meadow (1886), and Travels in a Tree-top (1894).

Charles Abbott's son, Richard M. Abbott, was born in 1871. He married Margaret Appleton and was the father of Charles Conrad Abbott II. Until at least 1907, Richard Mauleverer Abbott was working as a farmer on "Three Beeches," but he eventually moved to Maryland.

Collection History


Gift of the author.


No materials were removed during 2013 description work.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jim Flannery, '06 in 2004. Finding aid written by Jim Flannery, '06 in 2004.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

This 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:

Charles Conrad Abbott Papers; 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 1-17