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Isely, Jeter A. (Jeter Allen)
Jeter A. and Elizabeth Riggs Isely Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
5 boxes and 2.1 linear feet
Storage Note:
ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 1-5


The Jeter A. and Elizabeth Riggs Isely Collection consists of manuscripts, notes, notebooks, and correspondence relating to research by the American historian and Princeton professor Jeter A. (Jeter Allen) Isely (1913-1954) and his wife, Elizabeth ["Lisette"] Riggs Isely (1914-1957).

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collectin consists primarily of manuscript material, notes, and notebooks of Elizabeth ["Lisette"] Riggs Isely's Ph.D. thesis, "George and Sophia Ripley" (1942). There is also correspondence between Jeter A. Isely and several university and public libraries regarding his Horace Greeley manuscript; a small selection of original Greeley letters (1856-1871), as well as copies of passages from assorted Greeley letters (1841-1872); transcripts of correspondence by George Ripley to Whitelaw Reid (1869-1881); copies of letters by Jerome Ripley to Lydia Ripley (1824-1840); and photographs and negatives of Greeley materials.

The following standard abbreviations, or their variations, are used to identify materials in this collection: ANs = autograph notes, and TMs = typed manuscript.

Collection Creator Biography:

Isely, Jeter A. (Jeter Allen)

Jeter Allen Isely was born on 4 November 1913 in Morristown, Tennessee. He studied at the United States Naval Academy from 1935 to 1937, and graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1937. Isely then went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton in 1939 and 1941, respectively. His Ph.D. thesis was titled "Horace Greeley, Apostle of Social Democracy, 1853-1861."

After instructing in Princeton's History Department for a year, Isely entered the Navy in 1942 and taught at the Naval Academy and the Naval War College during World War II. In 1946 he returned to teaching at Princeton, became an assistant professor of History in 1947, and then an associate professor from 1951 until his death of a heart attack in 1954. Isely conducted historical studies of first rank importance, and carried forth a full-length biography of Horace Greeley. At the time of his death, he was in the midst of writing a biography of George Ripley, one of the founders of the Brook Farm literary circle and the Literary Editor of the New York Tribune for four decades. Isely was the author of Horace Greeley and the Republican Party, 1853-1861 (1947); co-author with Philip Axton Crowl of The US Marines and Amphibious War (1951); and co-author with Commander John Meigs of German Military Power.

Isely married Elizabeth ["Lisette"] Catherine Riggs in 1943. Together they had five children, two sons and three daughters. Elizabeth collaborated with her husband on his George Ripley research, particularly by sharing her Ph.D. thesis, "George and Sophia Ripley" (1942), written while she studied at the University of Maryland. She died in May 1957.

Collection History


Gift of the author.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Ran Tao in 2004. Finding aid written by Ran Tao in 2004.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing 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:

Jeter A. and Elizabeth Riggs Isely 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:
ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 1-5