Founded in 1842, the Nassau Literary Review was the first student publication established at Princeton University. Thanks to a collaborative project between the Mudd Library and Princeton University Library Digital Initiatives, all issues of this publication through 2015 (nearly 50,000 pages) are now digitized and available to view online via the Papers of Princeton website.
For nearly two centuries, the Nassau Lit, as it is commonly shortened, has featured students’ essays, short stories, poems, reviews, and artwork. The wide variety of topics covered by Nassau Lit authors include history, politics, philosophy, literature, and many other subjects. Though its publication schedule has varied, the Nassau Lit has been published continuously since its inception, even in turbulent times. Issues of the Nassau Lit published during World War II, for instance, contained articles about the philosopher Thomas Carlyle’s influence on Nazism and the Allies’ impending peace treaty with Germany.
“This is a tremendous addition to the Papers of Princeton as the Lit is the oldest and longest continually published journal on the site,” said University Archivist Dan Linke. “It will be a great source of information for antebellum Princeton, as well as enlightening us on students’ sentiments and viewpoints over 170 years.”
The Nassau Lit was where many of Princeton’s distinguished alumni first saw their names in print. F. Scott Fitzgerald was a frequent contributor of both poetry and prose, and would go on to incorporate many of his Nassau Lit pieces into his debut novel, This Side of Paradise. Other notable contributors include poet Galway Kinnell ‘48, writer John McPhee ‘53, artist Frank Stella ‘58, and novelist Jonathan Safran Foer ‘99.
Users can browse issues of the Nassau Lit by publication date and/or conduct keyword searches through the Papers of Princeton website. Since the Nassau Lit was sometimes published seasonally, without a specific publication month, users should note that library staff assigned the month of December to all winter issues, March to spring issues, June to summer issues, and September to fall issues. Users should also take note of variations in the title of the publication. The Nassau Lit was initially published as the Nassau Monthly and was titled the Nassau Literary Magazine for much of the mid-nineteenth century through mid-twentieth century.
The Princeton University Library Digital Imaging Studio scanned the 50,000+ pages of the publication, and the metadata was created with funding from the System Librarian’s Office.