Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Belcher, Jonathan, 1682-1757
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Jonathan Belcher Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists of correspondence and documents of Jonathan Belcher, dating from his early years in Massachusetts to his days as colonial governor of New Jersey.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection contains correspondence and documents of Jonathan Belcher, dating from his early years in Massachusetts to his days as colonial governor of New Jersey. Correspondents include Rev. Mather Byles, Nathaniel Chauncey, Lewis Morris, Sir William Pepperrell, Richard Waldron, and John Walley. Two letters by his sons, Andrew and Jonathan Jr., to Robert Ogden confirm their father's death. The collection also includes an autograph marriage license, a deed of land sale, other official documents, a family tree compiled in 1950, and a photograph and a drawing of a dress worn by Belcher's first wife, Mary Partridge Belcher.


Organized by form--correspondence is first--and then arranged chronologically

Collection Creator Biography:

Belcher, Jonathan, 1682-1757

Jonathan Belcher, a merchant and colonial governor, was the son of a cloth maker from London, who came to Cambridge, Mass., in the mid 17th century. He graduated from Harvard in 1699, traveled extensively in Europe, came back to Boston where he established himself as a merchant and made a great fortune. His political career began when he was elected to the Massachusetts Council in 1718. In 1729 Belcher was in London on an official visit when he got news of the death of Gov. William Burnet of Massachussetts, and was able to secure the position for himself. His commission was dated 1729/30, appointing him governor of Masachussetts and New Hampshire, and he was re-elected for several terms. Certain factors led to his downfall, one of which was his conflicts with the British royal authorities, and on May 7, 1741, he was dismissed from both governorships. A few years later he went back to England, and in July 1746 he was appointed governor of New Jersey. He was very interested in establishing the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), and on his death bequeathed his library of 374 volumes to it. There was a proposal to name the present Nassau Hall "Belcher Hall," but he declined the honor and suggested the name now in use.

Collection History


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.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Finding aid written by James Flannery on January 11, 2006. Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

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:

Jonathan Belcher 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:
Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1