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Collection Overview

Guyot, A. (Arnold), 1807-1884
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Arnold Guyot Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
2 boxes and 1.93 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-2
English French


Consists of selected correspondence, documents, and related material by and about Arnold Guyot, the Swiss-born American geologist, geographer, and educator whose extensive meteorological observations led to the founding of the U.S. Weather Bureau.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of selected correspondence and documents by and about Arnold Guyot, and a typescript titled "Arnold Guyot et Princeton" by Leonard Chester Jones. The correspondence includes three letters by Guyot to E. H. Champion, one letter to "Monsieur Rodrigués," and one letter to William Webster. In addition, there are letters between Varnum Lansing Collins, Arnold Guyot Dana, Leonard Chester Jones, Arthur Piaget, and others regarding Guyot, dated between 1927 and 1928. The documents include diplomas and scholarly awards relevant to the academic career of Guyot. They include his PhD diploma from Berlin, his MA from Harvard, certificates of membership to La Société de Geographie, La Société Entomologique de France, La Société des Sciences Naturel, the Royal Academy of Turin, La Société Géologique de France, the American Geographical and Statistical Society, the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the Albany Institute, the American Oriental Society, and a certificate of merit awarded by the Vienna Exposition of 1873. Jones's typescript (113 pp.) about the life and accomplishments of Arnold Guyot while he was at Princeton University is written in French, with holographic corrections and annotations. It was published in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, in 1929.

Collection Creator Biography:

Guyot, A. (Arnold), 1807-1884

Arnold Guyot was a Swiss-born American geologist, geographer, and educator. Born in Boudevilliers, near Neuchâtel, Switzerland, he obtained his doctoral degree at Berlin. Between 1839 and 1848 he taught physical geography and history at the Academy of Neuchâtel. In 1948 Guyot came to the United States, and in 1854 he was appointed Professor of Geology and Physical Geography at the College of New Jersey (Princeton). The following year he began what is now the Department of Geological and Geophysical Sciences and started the institution's first systematic instruction in geology. In 1856 he founded what is now the Princeton Museum of Natural History. Guyot's main activities focused on hypsometric measurements of the eastern mountains from New England to North Carolina, on meteorology, and on the reform of geographic teaching in colleges and secondary schools. Guyot was involved in the formative years of weather forecasting in the United States, and his extensive meteorological observations led to the founding of the U.S. Weather Bureau. Guyot also developed topographical maps of the Appalachian and Catskill mountains. His published works include The Earth and Man (English translation, 1849), Tables, Meteorological and Physical (1859), and Creation, or The Biblical Cosmogony in the Light of Modern Science (1884). Guyot's many texts, geographic atlases, and wall charts continued to be published long after his death. The guyot, a flat-topped volcanic peak rising from the ocean floor, is named after him.

Collection History


Certificates and diplomas were a gift of Ernest Sandoz on Dec. 4, 1903 .

Certificate of merit was a gift of Mrs. Arnold Guyot on July 16, 1913 .

Letter to E. H. Chapman dated Jan. 29, 1877 was a gift of Mrs. William B. Nisbet, Jr. on Jan. 19, 1966 .

Letter to "Monsieur Rodrigués" was a gift of Mrs. Letitia T. Howe on Dec. 27, 1982 .

Two letters to E. H. Champion dated 1857 and 1875 were purchased.

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

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on April 28, 2006. Finding aid written by Dina Britain on May 2, 2006.

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.

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:

Arnold Guyot 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 1-2