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Princetoniana Collection: Alumni

A guide to the Princetoniana Collection; a set of books, periodicals, and other printed sources pertaining to Princeton University history at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.

Category Description

The Alumni category contains books and other printed materials related to the alumni of Princeton University. Typical items include alumni directories and class histories periodically published on the occasion of reunions. Also included in this category are items such as the Undergraduate Catalogue which, though not specifically tied to the Princeton alumni experience, are nonetheless of use to researchers in confirming basic alumni information.

Collection Items

Official Register
Call no. P11.73

The Official Register is a compiled volume which, in most years, contains the Catalogue, the Undergraduate Announcement, the Graduate Announcement, Annual Reports of the President and Treasurer, separate announcements for each department and school, a general descriptive booklet, and Freshman Entrance Examination papers. Several of these sections, such as the Catalogue and the Undergraduate Announcement and Graduate Announcement are available separately.

Catalogus Collegii Neo-Cæsariensis
Call no. P12.73

The Catalogus is a volume that was printed roughly every three to four years throughout the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The information found in Catalogus Collegii Neo-Cæsariensis duplicates the information found in the Catalogue, with the notable difference that it is printed entirely in Latin. This translation applies to titles and departments as well as to proper names, with the faculty roster including such aliases as "Jacobus McCosh" and "Henricus Nevius Van Dyke."

Telephone Directories, Guide Books, etc.
Call nos. P14.73.5 to P15.738

Several different titles/types of telephone directories and guidebooks exist. The Centrex Telephone Directory (P14.73.2) starts in August 1964 and continues to present, switching in title to the “Campus Telephone Directory” in 1982-83. Centrex is preceded by several other issuances which sometimes overlap, such as the Princeton University Directory (P14.75), the Bureau of Student Aid Student Telephone Directory (P14.76), and the List of the Members of Princeton University (P14.922)

This section also contains various Guide Books (P15.735.5 to P15.85) ranging in date from the 1900s to the 1940s. Some are more utilitarian in nature and serve a function similar to the directories, while others such as Princeton Handbook are formatted like mini Bric-A-Bracs/Catalogues and contain pictures. Copies of the Freshman Handbook can be found in boxes and are very small in size.

Princeton Engineering Association Newsletter
Call nos. P19.728

The Princeton Engineering Association newsletters contain articles detailing developments within the Engineering departments as well as new trends in the engineering fields. See also The Princeton Engineer (P19.738) which is a similar publication but dedicated to current students. Note that the Princeton Engineering Association is an alumni organization, while the Society of Princeton Engineers which publishes the Engineer is an undergraduate group.

Princeton University Bulletin
Call no. P19.737

The College/University Bulletin was a late 19th century magazine similar in content to PAW but with a heavier emphasis on academic matters, often focusing on recent developments and research coming out of the science departments. Princeton College Bulletin also includes on occasion some pictures and obituaries of notable alumni. Published six times a year by William Libbey.

University: A Princeton Magazine
Call no. P19.922

University was a quarterly magazine primarily focused on the state of education at Princeton. In contrast to its close relative, PAW, the intended audience of University was alumni of the Graduate School, parents of undergraduates, and other non-alumni friends. After 1977 the magazine switched formats and was comprised of reprints from earlier issues of PAW. Starting around the mid-70s until it dissolved the magazine was published biannually.

The Nassau Herald
Call no. P82.02
1869-1944, 1946-1946, 1948-Present

The Nassau Herald is the annually published yearbook of the senior class of Princeton University. The earliest Nassau Heralds take on a form similar to that of a magazine, and contain orations composed by members of the class (often humorous) which trace that class’s four years at Princeton. Also included in these early Heralds are lists of prizewinners. By 1890 the Herald has been expanded to include a statistical survey of the class covering such topics as place of origin, political party, and nickname. By 1915 the Nassau Herald has taken on the more modern style of a separate entry for each member of the class, accompanied by a portrait and a brief summary of that student's activities and accomplishments at Princeton. As graduating classes increase in size, the length of the entries diminishes and in the latter portion of the 20th century they alternate between simply a name and a photograph; and a name, photograph, and short list of activities with a quote or message provided by the graduate.

The Freshman Herald
Call no. P82.02,737

The Freshman Herald is a yearbook of the incoming freshman class published starting in 1926. Entries for students are brief and generally consist of a photograph, high school/prep school attended, hometown, and birthday. The Freshman Herald is a particularly valuable resource for locating information and especially photographs of students who only attended Princeton for a brief period of time and did not graduate.

Princeton Alumni Weekly
Call no. P90.731

Founded in 1900, the Princeton Alumni Weekly (often simply referred to as PAW) is a magazine published and printed by Princeton University Press. Issued weekly until 1977 and biweekly thereafter, PAW is targeted to alumni and other members of the Princeton University community, and contains articles about current campus events as well as feature articles of a more general nature (but always related to Princeton and its alumni). PAW also contains two long-running features: The "Class Notes" section, in which alumni are encouraged to submit brief updates on their lives; and the "Memorials" section, in which an obituary is printed for any Princeton alumni that have passed on. Both of these sections are valuable resources when compiling genealogical data on alumni.

The Princeton Alumni Weekly Memorial Index, 1894-2011 provides obituaries of alumni, faculty, and honorary class members from 1894, April to 2011, July. 

Digitized issues from 2006-present are available to view on the Princeton Alumni Weekly website. 

Reunion Books and Class Histories
Call nos. P82.835-P82.994
Class of 1835 (1888) to Present

Reunion Books and Class Histories are a Princeton phenomenon born of the longstanding tradition of Princeton class reunions. Beginning in the late 19th century, Princeton alumni classes began assembling and publishing yearbooks for the purpose of keeping members abreast of the activities of their classmates post-graduation. Most commonly issued at the 1 year, 5 year, 10 year, 25 year, and 50 year anniversaries of graduation, reunion books are a valuable source of biographical information on individual alums. Though the level of participation in the reunion book is dependant on the alum, photographs, biographical and professional information, and addresses can all be found in the reunion books.