Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Cotsen, Lloyd E.
Stapleton, Lyssa C.
Lloyd E. Cotsen Papers
Cotsen Children's Library
Permanent URL:
71 boxes and 109.85 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxc): Box 1-71


The Lloyd E. Cotsen Papers consist of papers and personal items of Lloyd Cotsen's related to his time as an executive at Neutrogena Corporation, his art and book collection practices, his philanthropic contributions, his archaeological interests, and photographs shot by Cotsen. Items related to the production of Cotsen Occasional Press publications are also included. Material dates from 1949 to 2021.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Lloyd Cotsen papers primarily consist of personal effects once belonging to Lloyd Cotsen related to his varied interests. Lloyd Cotsen (1929-2017), class of 1950 at Princeton University, was the president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board of Neutrogena Corporation until he sold the company to Johnson and Johnson in 1994. After selling the company, Cotsen devoted much of his time to philanthropic endeavors related to his collection interests including: archaeology, children's books, Japanese bamboo baskets, and textiles.

The first series includes material related to Cotsen's time at Neutrogena including personal and business effects, photo albums, awards, video cassettes related to the business, and Cotsen's contributions to Neutrogena's art collections and exhibitions (1949-2009).

The second series includes material documenting Cotsen's collection practices, exhibitions of his collection material, and the subsequent donation of his collections and philanthropic contributions to various organizations (1995-2021).

The third series comprises material which documents the production of Cotsen Occasional Press publications (1996-2018) including: Japanese Bamboo Baskets (1999), Early Chinese Textiles from the Lloyd Cotsen Collection (2015), The Box Project (2016), Education in the Earliest Schools (2008), and Lloyd Cotsen Study Collection of Chinese Bronze Mirrors (2012).

The fourth series comprises correspondence, personal notebooks, photographs, articles, and unpublished festschrifts in honor of Cotsen which are related to Cotsen's archaeological interests including excavations he participated in and financially contributed to, especially excavations at Urkesh in Syria (1952-2017).

The fifth series includes undated photographs taken by Cotsen on various subjects and at various geographic locations.

The sixth series includes various awards, memorabilia, gifts, prints, and artwork that Cotsen received across his lifetime (1965-2017).

The seventh series includes undated card files created by or for Cotsen detailing business contacts, art and antiquity dealers, restaurants, hotels, and places of interest in various US states and cities; business contacts, art and antiquity dealers, restaurants, hotels, and places of interest in various countries; an incomplete card catalog of Cotsen Children's Library purchases; a file containing material related to Cotsen's retirement; and a file containing miscellaneous recipes. All cards are arranged in alphabetical order.


The Lloyd Cotsen Papers were arranged by Lyssa C. Stapleton, Curator of the Cotsen Collection (1997-2021), in 2021. With the exception of seperated material, and the reassignment of box numbers as a result, Stapleton's arrangment has been maintained. Material is generally arranged by box, so that thematically similar items are stored together. In other words, each box usually contains material related to one general subject and contains all the material related to that subject. Stapleton's list of box contents is available from Cotsen staff upon request (stored on a word document "Lloyd Cotsen Papers by box" in the Cotsen shared drive).

Collection History


Gift of the Cotsen Foundation in April 2021

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Ian Dooley in March 2022. Finding aid written by Ian Dooley in April and July 2022.

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

Audio-Visual material, particularly video cassettes including Betamax, VCR, and other formats are included in the first series "Lloyd Cotsen papers related to Neutrogena". All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Patrons may request digital copies of original analog media. Turn-around time for such requests will depend on the size and scope of the project. Requests should be directed to Public Services staff.

Credit this material:

Lloyd E. Cotsen Papers; Cotsen Children's Library, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-1148
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxc): Box 1-71

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Separated Materials

Framed artwork and prints were unframed and the frames were discarded. Files related to art material "not-bought" were discared since they lack research value. Proofs and transparenies related to Cotsen Occasional Press publications were discarded since they lack research value. Museum exhibition ephemera was discarded since they lack research value. Most published books were discarded since they are not related to Cotsen Children's Library collection interests.

Published books related to soap and soap making were trasferred to the Cotsen Children's Library book collection durng 2022 processing in order to join similar material.

A handmade banner with "Lloyd Cotsen" mimicking the Neutrogena logo was trasferred to the Cotsen Curator's office by the curator in 2021.

Subject Terms:
Collectors and collecting -- United States -- 20th century.
Excavations (Archaeology) -- Syria -- Urkesh (Extinct city)
Executives -- United States -- 20th century
Exhibitions -- Catalog and Collections
Exhibitions -- Planning
Philanthropists -- United States -- 20th century
Genre Terms:
Neutrogena Corporation
Cotsen Occasional Press
Stapleton, Lyssa C.
Urkesh (Extinct city)