- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
- Find Related Materials
- Alexander, Stephen, 1806-1883
- Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
- Stephen Alexander Collection
- Manuscripts Division
- Permanent URL:
- 2 boxes and 0.8 linear feet
- Storage Note:
- Firestone Library (mss): Box 1-2
Consists primarily of correspondence of nineteenth-century American astronomer Stephen Alexander.
Collection Description & Creator Information
The collection chiefly consists of correspondence between Alexander and John S. Hart, Joseph Henry, Alexander Dallas Bache, Benjamin F. Joslin, Francis Baily, Charles Babbage, de Rothenburg, James Challis, John T. Nixon, Caleb Smith Green, and William S. Stryker. The collection also contains a journal of a sea voyage, dated June 28 to August 6, 1860; an 1839 certificate of membership to the American Philosophical Society, signed by Bache; a receipt of funds from Stephen W. Woodbridge, treasurer of the Nassau Hall Bible Society; and handwritten notes of an address before the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent.
- Collection Creator Biography:
Stephen Alexander was an astronomer, a mathematician, an author, and an educator, under whose influence astronomy first developed as a separate discipline at Princeton University. He graduated with honors from Union College at the age of eighteen. A cousin and also a brother-in-law of Joseph Henry, he collaborated with Henry in his scientific investigations at Albany Academy and accompanied him to Princeton in 1832. Appointed tutor in mathematics in 1833 and professor of astronomy in 1840, Alexander's association with Princeton continued for fifty years. He gave Princeton's first discrete course in astronomy and the College's first astronomy building, the Halsted Observatory, was built through his influence and from his plans. He studied the atmospheres of Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter, and led expeditions for the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the National Academy of Sciences to observe solar eclipses. He was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1859 and was chosen as one of the original fifty members of the National Academy of Sciences in 1862.
Some items were acquired from the estate of Ellen J. and Caroline M. Alexander; and some were purchased from dealers. Various AM.
- Custodial History:
The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.
- Archival Appraisal Information:
No appraisal information is available.
- Processing Information:
Finding aid written by James Flannery on January 10, 2006. Folder Inventory added by Jameson Creager (2015) in 2012.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
- Conditions for Reproduction and 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:
Stephen Alexander Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Firestone LibraryOne Washington RoadPrinceton, NJ 08544, USA(609) 258-3184
- Subject Terms:
- Astronomers--United States--19th--century--Correspondence.
Astronomy--Research--New Jersey--Princeton--19th century.
Astronomy--Study and teaching--New Jersey--Princeton--19th century.
- Genre Terms:
Logbooks--United States--19th century.
Manuscripts, American--19th century.
- American association for the advancement of science
Nassau Hall (Princeton, N.J.)
Nassau-Hall Bible Society
National Academy of Sciences U.S.