Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Carnahan, James, 1775-1859
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
James Carnahan Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists of correspondence, documents, and a fragment of a sermon by James Carnahan, ninth president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton).

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of correspondence, documents, and a fragment of a sermon by Carnahan. The bulk of the correspondence and documents deals with matters regarding the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and fund-raising for it. Included is a circular letter (1836) soliciting funds for the building of Whig Hall, a receipt (1837) for $1000 given by Mrs. Dolley Madison for the benefit of the college library, and a thank you note (1851) for a collection of Pacific Coast shells donated to the college.


Arranged by accession number.

Collection Creator Biography:

Carnahan, James, 1775-1859

James Carnahan was the ninth president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), from which he graduated in 1800. In 1823 he was elected to the presidency of the college while it was in the middle of a period of decline. There were many faculty resignations, and enrollment had dropped from 120 to 70 students. He was very discouraged by the state of affairs and thought of recommending closing it down. However, with the help of professor John Maclean, he was able to strengthen the faculty, which in turn, strengthened the college's reputation. When Carnahan retired in 1854, there were 250 students enrolled, new chairs were endowed, many scholarships were established, and East and West Colleges and Clio and Whig Halls were erected. After his retirement and until his death, Carnahan served as a trustee of the college and as president of the board of trustees of the Theological Seminary.

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 25, 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 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:

James Carnahan 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