Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Shippen Family Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1750-1810 (mostly 1750-1783)
1 box and 0.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists of correspondence, manuscripts, and documents of several members of the prominent Shippen family of Philadelphia during the colonial, revolutionary, and early federal periods. Portions of the material are related to the College of New Jersey and its move from Newark, N.J. to Princeton, N.J.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of selected correspondence, manuscripts, and documents of members of the Shippen family of Philadelphia, some of which relates to the history of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and its move from Newark to Princeton, N.J. Members of the Shippen family represented are Edward Shippen; his sons, Edward and Joseph Shippen; his father, William Shippen; his brother, William Shippen, Jr.; and Thomas Lee Shippen. Correspondents include Aaron Burr, John Lawrence, Gov. John Penn, and Jonathan Sergeant. Included are copies ("Coll[ege] of New Jersey, Edward Shippen letters, extracts: 1750-1761, furnished by Edward Armstrong, Esq., Ap[ril] 27, 1850") of correspondence between Edward Shippen, Sr., his sons, and others regarding the move of the College. Additional Princeton-related letters include a letter from William Shippen to Jonathan Sergeant, dated 2 April 1759, about the purchase of "leather buckets" for the College; a letter from Joseph Shippen to his father, dated 20 April 1751, about the meeting of the Trustees of the College to decide on a new location; a letter from Joseph Shippen to his father regarding the "College Lottery" account, dated Newark, 20 May 1751; and a letter from Edward Shippen, Sr., to the Rev. Aaron Burr, dated 26 February 1757, about the evils of smoking and alcohol on the education of young people.

Additional material includes a letterbook, titled "Compendium Romana Historia" ((1749-1751, 44 leaves), that contains copies of letters of Joseph Shippen to his father, brother, and others, and a manuscript of an oration, titled "Oratio salutatoria habita in comitus Academicis novarcae in Nova-Caesaria, sexto calendas octobris, 1753" (24 pp., bound in floral wallpaper-covered wrappers), which was delivered by Joseph Shippen to the governing body of the College of New Jersey and its president, the Rev. Aaron Burr.

Also included are the Last Will and Testament of William Shippen, dated 1 September 1783; a biographical sketch of William Shippen written by his daughter; a deed for land in Western New Jersey owned by William Shippen, signed by Samuel Shoemaker and dated 20 May 1767; and a portrait of William Shippen, Jr., drawn by a daughter of Samuel Blair.


Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Collection History


Letters of Edward Shippen to Jonathan Sergeant were a gift, as part of the Pyne Henry Collection.

Letter of Edward Shippen to Aaron Burr was a gift of Edward Shippen Morris on November 3, 1950 . 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 August 17, 2007. Finding aid written by Traci Ballou-Broadnax on August 20, 2007. Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) 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:

Shippen Family 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