A collection of John Maclean’s papers are now available online. Maclean, the 10th president of Princeton University, served from 1854-1868 when the institution was known as the College of New Jersey. The letters, acquired last year, were scanned and loaded as PDFs and linked to the collection’s finding aid via its folder list. These letters to and from John Maclean document the history of the College of New Jersey as well as family matters. Maclean was the son of Princeton’s first chemistry professor, and the papers include the 1814 inventory of the estate of his father, John Maclean, Sr. One of the more interesting documents provides evidence of New Jersey’s connections to slavery. See the last two entries of p. 3 of this inventory, found in Box 4, Folder 11.
The recent issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly has an article by Mark F. Bernstein ’83 on Princeton and the 1918 flu epidemic entitled “Why Princeton was spared.” Within the article, Bernstein cites the University of Michigan’s Center for the History of Medicine 2005 study on the pandemic for which Mudd Library provided documents. The Center’s website has scanned these and other documents from the National Archives, as well as clippings from the Princeton Packet. These materials explain how Princeton responded to an epidemic that claimed millions of lives worldwide, yet the University escaped with no loss of life. (The fact that Princeton could have just been lucky is not ruled out.) The episode is more than a historical curiosity; it has also been examined by those interested in modern threats like bioterrorism and possible new pandemics like avian flu and demonstrates one of the values of archival records.
Digitizing The Subway Sun and The Elevated Express
“No More Standing In Line”, “New Tunnel to Brooklyn”, “The Shrunken Nickel”…These are a few of the headlines in The Subway Sun and The Elevated Express which passengers read while riding on subway cars or elevated trains of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, New York City’s first subway system, in the early twentieth century. A collection of 385 subway posters from the Interborough Rapid Transit Company has been digitized and is available on the Princeton University Library Digital Collections website: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/ns064606d The original prints are a part of the Ivy Lee Papers housed and maintained at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. The posters document developments in New York City transit and make a part of early advertising history available online.
The Interborough Rapid Transit Company, also known as IRT, opened in 1904 in New York City. In 1916, IRT hired Ivy Ledbetter Lee, a leading public relations specialist and member of the Princeton Class of 1898, to promote the company over its new competitor, the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Company (BMT). Central to the advertising campaign were two series of posters called The Subway Sun and The Elevated Express, which appeared concurrently. The posters implemented Ivy Lee’s innovative advertising philosophy to educate and inform by communicating directly with passengers, and to present facts and statistics instead of rhetoric. Several of the early posters are messages from IRT President Theodore P. Shonts. The message titled “Coal for Your Service” (1919) provided exact figures showing an 84 per cent increase in the cost of coal from 1916 to 1919. Other posters addressed pressing issues such as the rise in operating costs, congestion, and the need for a fare increase. In “All other prices have been going up” from 1925, a graphic by illustrator C.E. Millard depicted the rising price of food, rent, materials and wages in opposition to the static five-cent subway fare.
Marketed as “The World’s Safest Railroad”, IRT often publicized safety and the development of time and labor saving devices. “No More Standing In Line” (1921) featured the new “Feather-Weight Pressure” Gate, which reduced the time spent waiting in line at the gates and the need for extra booth operators. Another issue, “Fire Proof” (1921), informed passengers that every part of the subway was fireproof from the subway cars to the stairs.
The series began in 1918 and lasted until the company’s decline in 1932, spanning major U.S. events such as World War I and the Great Depression. The third issue of The Subway Sun, titled “The Call to War” (1918), included a public service announcement notifying every man between the ages of 18 and 45 that he must register for the Draft. The posters also served as a way of announcing service changes or travel tips and of promoting New York City’s local attractions. The series called “Time Savers” (1925) provided maps with routes that helped passengers avoid delays of street traffic. “Ride on the “L” and See New York” (1929) encouraged riders to enjoy the fresh air and sunlight on the elevated trains while viewing the sites of the City.
To learn more about the IRT Subway Posters, listen to the Online Gallery Talk -
“The World’s Safest Railroad” How Ivy Lee Promoted New York’s Subway System, 1916-1932 available on the New York Transit Museum website:
The earliest document held by the Princeton University Archives, the 1748 Charter of the College of New Jersey, along with the first two volumes of the University’s Board of Trustees Minutes, have been digitized and are now available online through the Princeton University Library’s Digital Collections website: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/7w62f826z
Images of the documents are also linked from the online finding aid for the Board of Trustees Records: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/w66343618
The original charter, which has been lost, was issued in 1746 by John Hamilton, president of the Council of the Province of New Jersey, who was acting as governor at the time. Because Hamilton’s authority was questioned, the legal status of the College came under attack, and a second charter was therefore issued in 1748 by Jonathan Belcher, newly appointed governor of the province. It corresponded, for the most part, to the charter of 1746, but it increased the maximum number of trustees from twelve to twenty-three, made the governor of New Jersey a trustee ex-officio, and stipulated that twelve trustees were to be inhabitants of the State of New Jersey. The charter granted the trustees and their successors full power and authority to acquire real and personal property, to erect buildings, to elect a president, tutors, professors, and other officers, to grant degrees, and to establish ordinances and laws.
Volumes 1 and 2 of the Trustees minutes, which date from 1746 to 1823, contain a wealth of information about the personalities and activities of the young College of New Jersey. As these minutes date from the very beginning of the College, they address the multitude of issues and problems the trustees initially addressed.
The minutes contain the names of officials, trustees, teachers, and students. They also provide a record of the major decisions of the College (such as the election of new presidents) as well as smaller ones (such as which foods the steward could sell to students and where the account books would be kept). Researchers will find information related to the standards for admission and graduation; legacies received; names of members of the graduating classes; names of recipients of honorary degrees; the list of books donated by Governor Jonathan Belcher; the hiring and firing of tutors; the selection and election of presidents; the purchase and sale of land; the establishment of accounting methods; the maintenance of the College facilities; fundraising efforts; the running of the Grammar School; the rate of board for students; and the continual hiring and firing of stewards. Perhaps the most frequent topic of discussion in the early records is the state of the College’s finances.
We hope to continue to digitize Trustee minutes as well other important records of the University in the coming years.
The Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library’s Historical Postcard Collection has been digitized is now available online through the Princeton University Library’s Digital Collections website: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/d217qp492
The Historical Postcard Collection consists of over 500 postcards documenting the buildings and environs of the Princeton University campus. Featuring both monochrome and color postcards, the bulk of the collection ranges in date from 1900 through the 1960s. Both unmarked and canceled postcards exist in the collection.
Off-the-record remarks by heads of state and prominent diplomats can be heard in sound recordings of meetings held by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) that are now available to researchers online through the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. The digital audio from the meetings can be accessed via an electronic finding aid on the library’s website.
The records of the influential American foreign policy organization include more than 300 reel-to-reel tapes featuring speakers at their meeting programs. These recordings capture speeches given by international figures such as former U.S. President Harry Truman; former U.S. secretaries of state John Foster Dulles and Henry Kissinger; former heads of state Konrad Adenauer of West Germany, Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and Yitzhak Rabin of Israel; and former U.S. national security adviser Brent Scowcroft.
The meetings span 1953 to 1989 and open records are available immediately. (Records of CFR are closed for 25 years from the date of creation and audio files that currently are restricted will be opened on a yearly basis).
The Central Intelligence Agency has released to Princeton University some 7,800 documents covering the career of Allen W. Dulles, the agency’s longest-serving director, which now can be viewed online at http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/st74cq497.
Dulles (1893-1969), a Princeton alumnus who headed the CIA from 1953 to 1961, was renowned for his role in shaping U.S. intelligence operations during the Cold War. Last March, the CIA released to Princeton a collection of letters, memoranda, reports and other papers — some still redacted — that the agency had removed from Dulles’ papers after his death and before their transfer to the University in 1974.
“These materials, long estranged from the Allen Dulles Papers, help round out the documentary legacy of Dulles and his pivotal role in American intelligence history. The material related to his espionage work during World War II is especially illuminating,” said Daniel Linke, curator of Public Policy Papers at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, which houses the Dulles Papers. The CIA retains many documents related to Dulles’ time as head of that agency, but Linke noted that those released “provide insight into not only Dulles, but the classification process and, in my opinion, its shortcomings. Scholars reviewing some of this material will scratch their heads and wonder why the agency thought it necessary to restrict some of these documents for decades.”
The Allen W. Dulles Digital Files released to Princeton contain scanned images of professional correspondence, reports, lectures and administrative papers covering Dulles’ tenure with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) — a U.S. intelligence agency created during World War II and forerunner of the CIA — as well as his career with the CIA and his retirement. The CIA culled these documents from Dulles’ home office, and the agency maintains the originals.