Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
American Lottery Tickets Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1


Consists of forty-five 18th and 19th-century American lottery tickets from nine different states. Before 1790, America had only three incorporated banks; therefore, lotteries were standard sources for public and private financing.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists of forty-five American lottery tickets from nine different states, sold to finance various projects during the 18th and 19th centuries. Included are three tickets from Connecticut, one dated 1780 for building a bridge over the East River and two dated 1794 for a Chelsea lottery; one ticket for the Delaware Light-House Lottery (1761); six Maryland tickets for the Washington City Canal Lottery (1798); one Commonwealth of Massachusetts Land Lottery ticket (1786) and one Massachusetts Semi-Annual State Lottery(1790); seven tickets for the Patterson New Jersey Lottery (1791), one Perth-Amboy Lottery ticket (1761), and six unsold Perth-Amboy Church lottery tickets; two Union College Lottery tickets (1811-1812), one printed in green and the other in orange, and two orange tickets for the State of New York Medical Science Lottery (1813, 1815); one ticket for the Protestant Episcopal Church, one for the Lutheran Church Lottery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and one for the Lancaster School Lottery (1761); four tickets for the United States Lottery in Philadelphia (1776), one of which is signed by James Searle, one of the managers of the United States lottery (1776-1778); one ticket for building a stone bridge over the Schuylkill River in Reading, Pennsylvania; one ticket for the Providence Meeting House Lottery (1770s), one for the Providence Great Bridge Lottery (1790), and one, printed in red, for the Washington Canal & Rhode-Island State Lottery (1826); one ticket from the St. Thomas's Church Lottery in Alexandria, Virginia (1773); and one ticket, printed in red and green, for the Thomas Jefferson lottery (1826). Some of the tickets bear signatures, acknowledgment of payment, inscriptions, or stamps of the place they were sold on the verso. Included with the Pennsylvania lottery ticket signed by James Searle is a stipple engraved portrait of Searle.


Arranged in alphabetical order by state.

Collection History


All material except for the ticket signed by James Searle was a gift of Philip G. Nordell in June 1952 .

Ticket signed by James Searle was a gift of Mrs. Alfred Kay in August 1975 . 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

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on May 26, 2006. Finding aid written by Dina Britain on June 1, 2006. Folder inventory added by James Clark '14 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:

American Lottery Tickets 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 (mss): Box 1