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Collection Overview

Coale, Ansley J. (1917-2002)
Ansley J. Coale Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
1935-1998 (mostly 1954-1994)
18 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-18


Professor Ansley J. Coale (1917-2002) was a demographer whose work focused on nuptiality, fertility, and mortality in several countries. Coale joined the Princeton University faculty in 1947 and spent his entire career as a member of the university's Office of Population Research (OPR). The papers contain correspondence, Coale's research papers and projects, and samples of data collected. The material spans the several decades (1950s to 1990s) Coale spent as a member of the Princeton faculty, as well as the work he did during his retirement.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Ansley J. Coale Papers document Coale's professional activities as a faculty member of Princeton's Office of Population Research (OPR), including his work on the nuptiality, fertility, and mortality of populations around the world. The papers contain correspondence, Coale's research papers and projects, and samples of data collected. The material spans the several decades (1950s to 1990s) Coale spent as a member of the faculty, as well as work he did during his retirement. A portion of the collection includes material related to Frank Notestein, Coale's colleague and mentor, and the correspondence of three other OPR staff members.

Please see the series descriptions in the contents list for additional information about individual series.

Collection Creator Biography:


Professor Ansley J. Coale (1917-2002) was a demographer whose work focused on nuptiality, fertility, and mortality in several countries. His first influential publication, with Edgar M. Hoover, was Population Growth and Economic Development in Low-Income Countries(1958). Coale spent his entire career as a member of the Office of Population Research (OPR) at Princeton University.

Ansley Johnson Coale was born on November 14, 1917 in Baltimore, Maryland to Nellie Ansley (Johnson) and James J. Coale, Jr. He received his Bachelors (1939), Masters (1941), and Doctoral (1947) degrees in Economics from Princeton University. He married Sarah Hamilton Campbell in 1941. The couple had two sons, Ansley J. Coale, Jr. and Robert Campbell Coale.

Coale joined the Princeton University faculty in 1947 as an Economics professor. In 1954 he began a five year tenure as Associate Director of the OPR, and served as Director from 1959 to 1975. He was also president of the Population Association of America in 1967-68 and president of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population from 1977 to 1981. He retired as Professor Emeritus in 1986.

His first major influential work was Population Growth and Economic Development in Low-Income Countries (1958), co-written with Edgar Hoover. The results, which showed that slowing population growth could enhance economic development, had a major impact on public policy and set the research agenda in this field. Other notable works include New Estimates of Fertility and Population in the United States (1963), co-written with Melvin Zelnik, and Human Fertility in Russia Since the Nineteenth Century (1979) with Barbara A. Anderson and Erna Harm.

Much of Coale's work focused on nupiality, fertility, and mortality. He was the intellectual architect of the European Fertility Project, which examined the remarkable decline in marital fertility in Europe. Initiated in 1963, the project eventually resulted in the publication of nine major books summarizing the change in childbearing over a century in the 700 provinces in Europe.

One of Coale's major projects in the 1950s was studying population change and economic development in low income countries. Two of his case studies were India and Mexico. In the 1960s he engaged in a study of European fertility. Over the course of his career Coale studied stable populations, detected and corrected bad demographic data for both the United States and less developed countries, and created demographic models. The Office of Population Research honored Coale in June 2002 by naming its demographic research library "The Ansley J. Coale Population Research Collection." Coale passed away in November 2002.

Collection History


This collection was received from the Office of Population Research in March 2003 .


Duplicate material, material not related to Ansley Coale or Princeton University, and student recommendations were separated from this collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jennifer Sharp in June 2006. Materials were re-housed in archival folders and boxes at this time. Finding aid written by Jennifer Sharp in June 2006. Digital materials in Series 6 were processed by Elena Colon-Marrero in July 2015

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

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.

The papers include one 5 1/4" double-density floppy disk containing Coale's autobiograpy in an unknown format, eight reel-to-reel tapes and an audio-cassette tape. All are located in Box 17. This collection contains disks formatted for MS-DOS 1200k. Researchers are responsible for meeting the technical requirements needed to access these materials, including any and all hardware and software.

Credit this material:

Ansley J. Coale Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-18

Find More

Related Materials

Other collections at the Mudd Manuscript Library of particular relevance to the Ansley J. Coale Papers include the papers of Frank Notestein, Coale's mentor and colleague in the Office of Population Research. Notestein's papers contain a significant amount of correspondence to and from Coale in Subseries 1A: Alphabetical Correspondence. Additional collections are the papers of Alfred J. Lotka, a pioneer in the study of population dynamics, and the Hugh Moore Fund Records, which include a significant section on population control.


Coale, Ansley, J. Ansley J. Coale: An Autobiography. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 2000. News @ Princeton. Emeritus professor Ansley Coale dies. 2002. Princeton University. As retrieved on May 24, 2006.

Subject Terms:
Fertility, human.
Population research.
Princeton University -- Faculty.
Princeton University. Office of Population Research.
Genre Terms:
Born digital.
Office files.
Hoover, Edgar Malone, 1907-
Notestein, Frank W. (Frank Wallace), 1902-
Ryder, Norman B., 1923-...