There are a number of collections at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library which document Princeton’s connection to the Olympic movement of the late 19th century, as well as several related resources in the Manuscript Division at Firestone. What follows is a list of our major holdings which relate in some way to the topic, with links to finding aids and catalog records wherever possible. It is by no means exhaustive; however it should prove a useful starting point for research.
One of the strengths of the Public Policy Papers at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library is 20th century economic thought and development. The Economics collections discussed here are now part of a guide to all of Mudd’s economics collections, found here.
The collections document economic activity on every settled continent and include the papers of important government officials and advisors, influential scholars, bankers and businessmen, and the records of for-profit and non-profit development and advocacy organizations. As a whole, they comprise a valuable resource for scholars to study American economic policy and the ideas of some of the leading economic minds of the 20th century and their impact on the emerging world economy, especially in developing nations. The collections are particularly strong in documenting the subject areas of public and international finance, economic development, United States foreign economic policies, and economic policies in Latin America.
A significant collection of John Maclean, Jr. Papers has been acquired by the University Archives, thanks to the generosity of 11 Princetoniana Committee members. Maclean, President of the College of New Jersey from 1854-1868, saw the College through trying times such as the Nassau Hall fire of 1855 and the Civil War years. At the heart of the new collection are scores of letters written to Maclean during his tenure as President. The content of the letters ranges from official business of the President to personal matters of individual students. The collection also includes materials pertaining to Maclean’s parents and extended family, such as an 1814 inventory of the possessions of Maclean’s late father, the College’s first chemistry professor [See image of John Maclean Sr.'s inventory of possessions, top].
The papers complement Maclean material already held in the University Archives in the Office of President Records. “These papers represent a significant addition to our holdings on John Maclean, both in quantity and quality,” said University Archivist Dan Linke. “Maclean was an important figure in Princeton’s history, serving on its faculty and as an administrator for over 50 years. I am pleased that members of the Princetoniana Committee recognize this acquisition’s significance and that they continue their generosity in support of the Archives.”
Those who supported the acquisition are Steven Brown ’77, Dave Cleaves ’78, Scott Clemons ’90, Donald Farren ’58, Jan Kubik ’70, Gregg Lange ’70, Sev Onyshkevych ’83, Cynthia Penney ’83, Robert Rodgers ’56, Jonathan Sapan ’04, Paul Sittenfeld ’69 and Frank Sloat ’55.
A preliminary finding aid for the papers is available online. Mudd staff will process the collection this spring and a full description of the collection will be available by the summer.
In 1968 “A Different Kick” marked a Triangle milestone. It featured the first female undergraduate to be cast in a Club show, Sue Jean Lee ’70, above, with Fred Davis ’70 (left) and George Cowen ’69 (right).
“Times They Are A-Changin,’ ” the new exhibition at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, draws upon the library’s holdings to look back on a transformative era in the University’s history — the years between 1958 and 1983. The exhibition opens Friday, Feb. 22, and runs through Tuesday, July 15.
Using a montage of photographs, the exhibition describes in visual terms the changing order of life on campus: coeducation, the rise of computing technology, the formation of new academic departments, the restructuring of residential life, political activism by Princeton students during the 1960s and 1970s, and the vast changes that occurred to the campus physically, during President Robert Goheen’s tenure particularly.
Name: Daniel J. Linke (“Dan”)
Title and Duties: University Archivist and Curator of Public Policy Papers. Oversee the operations of the Mudd Library which includes reference, technical services, exhibitions, and collection development, as well as representing and promoting Mudd Library within the University and to the public at large.
Worked at Mudd since: December 27, 1993. Promoted to current position July 2002.
Ongoing projects: Directing the James A. Baker III Oral History Project; planning the celebration of the University Archives 50th Anniversary in 2009; and advocating for an electronics record management program, in conjunction with a full-time records manager to be hired.
Why I like my job/archives: Mudd’s holdings are broad and deep, in both the Public Policy Papers and the University Archives, and something interesting is always happening at Princeton. As a manager, I am also grateful for my smart and self-motivated staff.
An interesting work anecdote: For the Baker Oral History Project, I arranged to have Vice President Richard Cheney interviewed on videotape by former Newsweek White House correspondent Tom DeFrank in the Vice President’s formal office in the Old Executive Building, which is adjacent to the White House. The interview was to start at 10:30 but at 10:20, the Vice President walked into the room unannounced and asked, “Who’s in charge here?” I refrained from making any Al Haig jokes, but strode forward and said “I am, sir” and introduced myself. Fortunately everyone was ready to go so we started. Though I had asked for an hour of his time, Cheney talked for almost 90 minutes. (He restricted this interview though, so it is not yet available.)
Favorite item/collection: There are many. At the moment, when I give tours, I like to show Jacqueline Kennedy’s letter to Adlai Stevenson dated Dec. 4, 1963, Earl Gideon’s letter to the ACLU, and the Princeton flag that Pete Conrad ’53 took to the moon with him on Apollo 12.
Other information: I am one of three “Dans” working at Mudd, and though born the earliest, I do not like being called “Old Dan.”
Name: Jennie Cole
Title and Duties:
Title and Duties:Public Policy Papers Project Archivist (although this title is somewhat obsolete!)
I coordinate Mudd’s accessioning process, maintain the general Mudd reference email account, and create the monthly reference calendar. I am also the project manager for the Council on Foreign Relations digital audio project, as well as Ivy Lee and James A. Baker III Papers microfilm projects. I supervise the New Jersey Historical Commission’s grant-funded Special Collections Assistant, as well as the Special Collections Assistant for accessioning.
Recent projects: I completed Woodrow Wilson: A Guide to Selected Resources in the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library earlier this year.
An interesting work anecdote: I’ve managed to have patron overlap from my last full time archival job at a historical society in Kentucky (2001-2004), with collections focusing on the nineteenth century history of the upper South, with my current reference work at Mudd. Small world!
Worked at Mudd since: September 2005
Why I like my job/archives: I always enjoyed reading and studying history (B.A. in Middle Eastern History, M.A. in American History) but never had the desire to be an educator, lawyer, or any of the other professions a history major is supposed to be interested in. I preferred research and museum work, and after internships at a historic house museum and historical society, ended up working as an archivist full time and enjoying it so much I went back to school to learn more about the theory of archives. I can’t imagine being as satisfied in another career.
This question came from two different inquirers, one being the Library of Congress. On National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition (Saturday, January 26, 2008), Scott Simon read something he called “A Timeless Political Speech.” You can listen to it at the Weekend Edition Saturday page of NPR’s web site. Simon said it was written by Andrew Parker Nevin, Princeton Class of 1895, and that it was printed in the Oct. 28, 1905 issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly.
However, the citation given with the story was wrong. In A. Parker Nevin’s alumni file I was able to find a copy of “An Address for All Occasions” which was published in the PAW of 14 August 1936 on page 9. The editorial comment on the top of the page describes this printing as “resurrecting” the speech, so I assume it was printed in some earlier PAW or Princeton-based publication, but I was unable to find any other evidence of the first publication. Another note in Nevin’s alumni file said that it was published some time after his death in 1926. An online search suggests to me that it may have also been published in Harper’s in December 1951 as well. (Read the full text by clicking on the image here to open the image in a new window.) I listened to part of the NPR story while reading along with the speech in the 1936 PAW. It is not exactly word-for-word, but is definitely the same speech.
Jennifer M. Cole
Question: Did Aaron Burr, Jr. take part in a Whig or Clio debate in which he argued against dueling? What information on Aaron Burr, Jr. exists within university records?
There is nothing in the records of either organization, in early University records, or in Burr’s memoirs that would confirm that such a debate took place. The records of Clio debate topics begin in 1792, Whig in 1802; unfortunately any records of earlier debate topics would have been destroyed in the 1802 Nassau Hall fire. The records of the University actually contain very little original material pertaining to Aaron Burr Jr. ’1772, at least partially as a result of the aforementioned Nassau Hall fire. Most significantly, he is listed several times in the minutes of the Trustees among the graduates of the Class of 1772. From other sources such as the Pennsylvania Chronicle, we know that he delivered several orations at commencements while he was a student. Other Aaron Burr primary sources held by the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections are gathered in two collections held by the Manuscripts Division:
Aaron Burr (1756-1836) Collection
Fuller Collection of Aaron Burr (1756-1836)
The University Archives also holds a sizable alumni file for Burr which contains clippings and some early reference correspondence between researchers and various University secretaries about his life, focusing mainly on his affairs after leaving the College of New Jersey. The file also contains reproductions of several paintings, engravings, and sketches of Burr. James Madison’s alumni file contains a similar folder of portraits.
Question: While at Princeton, did James Madison suffer a nervous collapse due to the intensity of his studies?
The story of Madison’s supposed nervous collapse in the days before commencement and its place in Princeton lore are primarily the result of a brief note in MacLean’s “History of the College of New Jersey” which states that at commencement in 1771, “Mr. James Madison was excused from taking part in the exercises.” Many other sources which discuss the young Madison as a student attribute the very same statement to a commencement program, however if such a document exists it is not in the holdings of the University Archives. The closest such resource is a handwritten reproduction of an article from the “Pennsylvania Chronicle” documenting the event in Commencement Records, which lists Madison among the graduates but makes no mention as to whether he was present or not.
Nonetheless, in Madison’s “Autobiography” (actually an untitled manuscript written/dictated at the age of 80) he writes that “His very infirm health, had been occasioned not a little by a doubled labor, in which he was joined by fellow student Jos. Ross, in accomplishing the studies of two years within one…” At some point later historians must have made the connection between this passage and MacLean’s note that he missed commencement. Note that in his correspondence as a student (compiled in the Papers of James Madison) the young statesman makes no mention whatsoever of these health troubles or of missing commencement, although later in life he did suffer from periodic bouts of an unknown malady which some historians suspect may have been epilepsy (as discussed in the Madison biographies of Ralph Ketcham and Irving Brant).
Question: Is there any evidence about Alexander Hamilton’s potential admission to Princeton?
When discussing the cannonball legend, it has sometimes been suggested that Hamilton took a certain delight in firing on Old Nassau since he had been admitted to the college and then later denied entrance. The oldest reference to Hamilton’s alleged admission to Princeton is in the narrative of his life as told by Hercules Mulligan, a companion from his time at King’s College, which was later put to paper and printed in John C. Hamilton’s 1834 biography “The Life of Alexander Hamilton.” According to the story recounted by Mulligan, Hamilton met with John Witherspoon in September of 1772 and was granted admission to the College. The decision was then revoked by the Trustees on account of Hamilton’s desire to pursue his studies at an accelerated pace and earn his degree in less than four years. Mulligan reports that Hamilton was notified of the decision through a letter from Witherspoon; however if it ever existed this letter has never been recovered.
In addition to the lack of any source beyond that of Mulligan (a source which has sometimes proven quite unreliable in regards to other details of Hamilton’s life) there are several prevailing issues which cast doubt on the story. The first is that there was already a precedent in place at the College of New Jersey that allowed students to pursue accelerated studies, as James Madison and Aaron Burr had both been permitted to do so in preceding years. Second, if the matter was formally brought before the Trustees, ostensibly there would be some record of it in the Trustees’ minutes- however there is none. Finally, Hamilton’s close association with Trustees Elias Boudinot and William Livingston makes it seem unlikely that his own patrons would refuse him entry to the college on a technicality, particularly since they had allegedly arranged the meeting with Witherspoon in the first place. A useful exploration of these issues is found in James Thomas Flexner’s “The Young Hamilton.” Conversely, in “Alexander Hamilton: a Life” Willard Sterne Randall (under the assumption that Mulligan’s story is true) proposes that Witherspoon, aware of Hamilton’s illegitimate origins, refused him admission on those grounds. Witherspoon is known to have been particularly critical of Colonial Governor William Franklin (Benjamin Franklin’s half-son) for the very same reason, so it fits in that sense. The story about the Trustees which Hamilton then allegedly received was little more than a cover-up from Witherspoon.
In short however, there is no evidence in the records of Princeton University which confirms or even hints that Hamilton was ever granted admission to the University. But given what is known about the young Hamilton’s political attitudes, what is known about the administration of the College at the time, and the original source, the veracity of the story is questionable.