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 (scamss): 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

Scope and Contents

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 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:

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 (scamss): Box 1