Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Paterson, William, 1745-1806
Paterson Family Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
6 boxes and 8.6 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-6


Consists of selected papers of members of the Paterson family of New Jersey, chiefly those of William Paterson (Princeton Class of 1763), his father, Richard Paterson, his son, William Bell Paterson (Princeton Class of 1801), and twin grandsons, William and Stephen Van Rensselaer Paterson (Princeton Class of 1835). The collections provides 17th, 18th, and 19th-century source material for the history of the College of New Jersey and of the Colonial and post-Colonial history of the State of New Jersey.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of selected manuscripts, correspondence, letterbooks, documents, commonplace books (1763, 1793-1796), an account book (1786-1787), and legal opinions of chiefly four members of the Paterson family of New Jersey: William Paterson (Princeton Class of 1763), his son, William Bell Paterson (Princeton Class of 1801), and his twin grandsons, William and Stephen Van Rensselaer Paterson (Princeton Class of 1835). There is also some material of Paterson's father, Richard Patterson. The collection contains official documents of William Patterson the elder that relate to the Revolutionary War, the New Jersey Continental Army, and East Jersey Properties, as well as material dating from his undergraduate years at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). There are college essays, debates, and orations delivered at the Princeton Cliosophic Society, post-college political essays by William Bell Paterson, some of which were published in the Guardian (1808-1809) and the Palladium of Liberty, and poems by William and Stephen Van Rensselaer Paterson including the autograph manuscript of their Poems of Twin Graduates of the College of New Jersey (1882).

Among the papers of William Paterson (grandson) are twenty letters (1837-1846) addressed to him and his sister Cornelia Bell by their friend Anthony Walton White Evans. In these letters, mailed from Syracuse, N.Y., while Evans was working as an engineer on the Erie Canal, he writes about his life in northern New York State and the Onondaga Indian Tribes, among other details.


Organized by family member.

Collection Creator Biography:

Paterson, William, 1745-1806

The Paterson family was a prominent New Jersey family. William Paterson (Princeton Class of 1763) was the first attorney general of the State of New Jersey and was a member of the New Jersey delegation to the Constitutional Convention. Paterson was elected to serve in the first Senate of the United States and, in 1793, was chosen by George Washington to serve as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. Paterson also served as governor of New Jersey from 1790 to 1793.

Collection History


Presented by Dean Mathey. Various AM.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Folder inventory added by Allyse Terrell '2014 in 2011. Rearranged by Hilde Creager '2015 in 2013.

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:

Paterson 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 1-6