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Princetoniana Collection: Occasions and Events

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 Occasions and Events category contains books and other printed materials which in some way relate to specific events that have taken place at Princeton University. These events can either be annual occurances such as commencement ceremonies, or special occasions such as the Sesquicentennial Celebration. While many of the items are commemorative in nature and were produced specifically for the event, some such as the Daily Princetonian or the Princeton Alumni Weekly merely discuss events as part of their standard coverage of the University.

Collection Items

Commencement Programs
1748, 1948-2008

The Commencement Programs are documents distributed each year to participants and guests at the annual commencement of Princeton University. They serve to outline the commencement program and include lists of degree recipients (undergraduate, graduate, and honorary) as well as a list of speakers, lyrics to songs sung at the ceremony, and prizes awarded. The commencement programs lack the text of any speech given at commencement, however in later years they include the full citations which accompany the awarding of honorary degrees. Duplicate copies of the Commencement Programs and supporting materials can be found in the Commencement Records.

Chapel and Religious Life
P36.114 to P36.738

This varied set of works includes early memorial services (dating to the days of the Marquand Chapel), books documenting various decorative and tributary aspects of the chapel, a set of hymnals, and the copy of the bible which was apparently used in the old chapel under the administration of McCosh. By far the bulk of the books here are the bound Chapel services, dating from 1965-2006. Another set of chapel services predates this set can be found in the oversized section. The chapel services contain the musical selections, programs, and speakers for major services throughout the year, such as opening exercises and Easter. Some memorial services are also included.

Call Nos. P44.116 to P44.971
Also P603.737 to P607.958

This group consists entirely of transcripts and programs for a number of notable lecture series held by Princeton. Included are the Cyrus Fogg Brackett lectures, the Sesquicentennial Lectures, the Alumni Lectures, the Princeton University Conference, the Princeton University Symposium, the Vanuxem Lectures, the Stafford Little Lectures, the Special Program in American Civilization, and several other more sporadic lecture series. While it does not seem that every single lecture within any particular series is represented, most of the major names are present (ie. G. Cleveland and T. Roosevelt within the Stafford Little series) and in some cases (Stafford Little, Vanuxem, and Sesquicentennial) the lectures are bound as a series by Scribner’s or P.U. Press.

Student Life and Customs
P68.502 to P71.66

This is a set of books, pamphlets, and other ephemera which is produced by or aimed towards the students of Princeton, primarily in the early years of the 20th century. Roughly half of the works (P68.502 to P68.896) pertain to the Graduate School and related topics. Included are notices of the opening of the Graduate College, pamphlets on the Quad system, and other bulletins released by the Committee on the Graduate School. The other materials here are more focused on undergraduate life, and include works such as B.H. Hall’s 1851 College Words and Customs (P70.427), possibly the first written etymology of the term “campus.” Also in this section is The Dink, a 1930s freshman newspaper, and its mid 19th century predecessor Memorabilia Sophomorum. Other items of interest include A Gem from Nassau’s Casket, an 1840s student literary publication, and The Log, newsletter of the NROTC program.

The Daily Princetonian
Post-1885 issues of the Daily Princetonian on microfilm.

These are the early bound issues of the Daily Princetonian, generally encompassing the period when the paper was only issued once every two weeks. Bound and in fragile condition, the paper is digest sized and bound, as opposed to the larger newsprint edition with which modern students are familiar. Notably, these early issues also include the contributions of Woodrow Wilson 1879, who was one of the paper’s first editors. Topics covered in the early Princetonian are analogous to those which continue to dominate the pages: sports, campus events, and student life. Absent however from this early publication are the associated press dispatches and world news articles which the Princetonian began to feature in 1910.

Princeton Alumni Weekly

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/Class Histories
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.

Princeton Weekly Bulletin
P29.737.12, Oversize P11.73.2f

The Princeton Weekly Bulletin is a weekly events listing for the Princeton campus. Included are details on upcoming lectures and speaking engagements, weekly chapel services, and other happenings. Modern issues of the PWB adopt a more expanded format which features color photographs and which is somewhat more narrowly directed towards University staff.