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Collection Overview

Moffat, James C. (James Clement), 1811-1890, former owner
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
James Clement Moffat Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1


Consists of selected manuscripts and corresondence of the nineteenth-century Scottish-born church historian and educator James Clement Moffat.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of selected manuscripts and correspondence of Moffat, the bulk of which are letters to his father, his mother, his brother John, and his sister Margaret. In letters to his brother he describes his life and classes at Princeton University, and later talks about the political situation and the legislature in the cities where he is living. In the letters to his father he talks about life at Princeton, his different appointments, the teaching offer made by Pres. John MacLean at the College of New Jersey, and his work at Lafayette College. Included are two letters from J. K. Douglas in Camden, S.C.: one (1832) is to Capt. Norman Peck of the ship Frances regarding David Moffat and his family migrating to America, and the second (1833) is to David Moffat letting him know that his son James sent him a letter indicating that he intends to embark on a ship headed for Charleston, S.C., and that Peck instructed his friends to take care of him. Other correspondents include William Henry Green, Alexander T. McGill, G. Wilson McPhail, who are recalling him to the chair of church history in the Princeton Theological Seminary after he resigned. Also included is a memorandum or journal of dates and events in Moffat's life (1833-1888), notes on the "Cannon" (1880s), "My Christmas Card," a manuscript poem to Henry C. Matthews (1880), and an undated poem titled "Lines on the Death of Miss Caroline Haile." There are typed transcription of many of the letters.


Folders are arranged in alphabetical order by correspondent and then chronologically.

Collection Creator Biography:

Moffat, James C. (James Clement), 1811-1890, former owner

Church historian James Clement Moffat, son of David Douglas Moffat and Margaret Clement, was born in Glencree, Scotland, on May 30, 1811. He studied Latin, Greek, French, German, and Hebrew while he worked at a printing shop. He came to the United States in 1832 with the intention of following his trade as a printer, but a chance meeting with Professor (afterward President) John Maclean of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) led to his entering the junior class of that college, where he graduated in 1835. He studied and tutored at Yale and also at Princeton, and in 1839 he went to Lafayette College as professor of Latin and Greek. The Presbytery of Oxford, Ohio, licensed him to preach in 1851, and later ordained him, without his having taken a theological course. In 1852 he returned to the College of New Jersey as professor of Latin, history, and then of Greek. He became professor of church history in Princeton Theological Seminary in 1861, a position he held for seventeen years. Moffat published a long poem Alwyn: A Romance of Study (1875), which is known to be autobiographical.

Collection History


Letters to Moffat's brother John, and one to his father, dated 1835, were a gift of Mrs. William W. Knight in May 1959 .

"Lines on the Death of Miss Caroline Haile" was a gift of C. W. Haile, through Princeton Prof. Libbey, on Jan. 10, 1901 .

All other letters and manuscripts were a gift of Rev. Chas L. Cooder in July 1929 .

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 August 9, 2006. Finding aid written by Dina Britain on August 14, 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:

James Clement Moffat 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:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1