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


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 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:

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