Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Osborn family
Osborn and Dodge Family Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
14 boxes and 5.6 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-14


Consists of correspondence, documents, photographs, printed material, and miscellanea of three generations of the Osborn and Dodge families.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of Osborn and Dodge family papers representing mainly three generations of family members, including William Henry Osborn (1820-1894), his wife, Virginia Reed Sturges (1831-1902), and several members of the Sturges family; their sons Henry Fairfield Osborn (1857-1935, Princeton Class of 1877) and William Church Osborn (1861-1951, Princeton Class of 1883), William's wife, Alice Clinton Hoadley Dodge (1864-1946), as well as several Dodge family members; the sons of Henry Fairfield Osborn and his wife, Lucretia Perry (1858-1930), Fairfield Osborn (1887-1969, Princeton Class of 1909) and Alexander Perry Osborn (1884-1951, Princeton Class of 1905); and the children of William Church Osborn and Alice Clinton Hoadley Dodge, Frederick Henry Osborn (1889-1984, Princeton Class of 1910), Aileen Osborn (b. 1892), and William Henry Osborn (1895-1971, Princeton Class of 1916).

The collection contains family correspondence of members of the Osborn, Dodge, and Sturges families; business correspondence (New York City) of William Henry Osborn, much of it concerning the Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans Railroad and the Illinois Central Railroad, both of which he served as president; correspondence relating to the art collection of Frederick Henry Osborn; and letters to Mary Hoadley Dodge by Henry James and the painters John Singer Sargent and Edwin A. Abbey. Also included in the correspondence are letters relating to the political life of William Church Osborn, who was active in Democratic politics in New York State; letters written from Europe during World War I by Earl Dodge Osborn and William Henry Osborn to their parents; and letters by the philanthropist Evert Janson Wendell (1860-1917) to his boyhood friend William Church Osborn when they were students at Harvard and Princeton respectively.

In addition, there is a diary (1915) kept by Earl Dodge Osborn during the war; documents; wills (1849, 1934); an English deed (1726); receipts, appraisals, and inventories of the art collections of Frederick Henry Osborn and William Church Osborn; photographs of family members, John Singer Sargent, and Edward Robinson, head of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; genealogies of the Osborn, Dodge, and Sturges families; and printed matter.

The following standard abbreviations, or their variations, are used to identify materials in this collection: ALS = autograph letter signed, TLS = typed letter signed, ACS = autograph card signed, ANS = autograph note signed, AMsS = autograph manuscript signed, and TMsS = typed manuscript signed.

Collection Creator Biography:

The three generations of the Osborn and Dodge families represented in this collection include a number of distinguished Princeton University graduates. William Henry Osborn was president of the Chicago, St. Louis, and New Orleans Railroad and the Illinois Central Railroad; Frederick Henry Osborn was an avid art collector; and William Church Osborn was active in Democratic politics in New York State.

For the names and relationships of family members, refer to the family tree: Family tree.

Collection History


Gift of Mrs. Gerald Breese.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Rachel Jordan in 2004. Finding aid written by Rachel Jordan in 2004.

Biography written by Jessica Marati, Princeton Class of 2008.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

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:

Osborn and Dodge Family 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 1-14