Contents and Arrangement

Letters Removed, 1845 July 19-1865 August 26

1 box

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


Tower's original volume numbers start at 15 and go up to 72, with 3 miscellaneous volumes at the end. Items were removed from the volume if they constituted correspondence (letters, documents, postcards, etc.) or displayed significant postal marks or seals illustrative of postal history or the franking signatures of notable persons. Removed items are housed in folders, which are arranged in each box chronologically by date and by ascending volume number in 8 archival boxes (boxes numbered 1-8). Tower's original volumes containing his typed, annotated pages and the remaining (unremoved) items are in 10 record center carton boxes numbered 9-18.

Collection History


The decision was made to remove the letters and documents, the majority of which were folded up on the pages of the volumes, in order to preserve them for the long term. In general, items were not removed from the volume if they were unused envelopes, addressed covers without associated correspondence, postage or commemorative stamps, or other philatelic memorabilia. Tower's captions, which he researched and typed onto the pages of the volumes, were often lifted, in whole or in part, and incorporated into the box and folder list descriptions of this finding aid.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Sylvia Yu in 2003. Finding aid written by Sylvia Yu in 2003.

Collection title updated by Faith Charlton in 2022 to provide more specificity.

In 2022, restrictions on original material where researchers were required to use a surrogate were lifted as part of a restrictions review project.

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:

Letters Removed; William H. Tower Philatelic Collection, C0911, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Box 7

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Related Materials

Tower, William H., "A Philatelic Medley," in The Princeton University Library Chronicle, Volume V, Number 1 (November 1943), pp. 14-26.

Separated Materials

A Babylonian baked clay tablet letter enclosed in a partially broken envelope case (circa 2200 B.C.), from Drehem, Mesopotamia, is stored separately from the rest of the collection, and therefore its date is not included in this range of collection dates. The letter, in cuneiform characters, is the larger of the two pieces, and has to do with grain which was given out for seed by the priests of the temple.

Greely, A.W. (Adolphus Washington), 1844-1935