One of the higher institutions of learning established in the English-American
colonies, under the name of the College of New Jersey.
It was founded under the auspices of the Presbyterian Synod
of New York, which then included New Jersey
in its jurisdiction.
A charter was obtained in 1746, and it was opened for students in May, 1747, at Elizabethtown, N. J.
The same year it was removed to Newark
, and in 1757 it was transferred to Princeton
, where a new college edifice, named Nassau Hall, had just been completed.
That name was given in honor of William III., “of the illustrious house of Nassau
The college itself was often called “Nassau Hall.”
It suffered much during the Revolution, being occupied as barracks and hospital by both armies.
The president, Dr. Witherspoon
, and two of the alumni, Benjamin Rush and Richard Stockton
, were signers of the Declaration of Independence
; and several of the leading patriots during the war, and statesmen afterwards, were graduates of the College of New Jersey. General Washington
and the Continental Congress were present at the “commencement” in 1783.
Other buildings were
Seal of Princeton University.|
erected, and it had steady prosperity until the breaking out of the Civil War
Nassau Hall was burned in 1855, and speedily rebuilt.
The Civil War reduced the number of its students, but it regained them, and more, when peace came.
In 1868 Rev. James McCosh
, from Belfast, Ireland
, was called to the presidency of the college—a man of great energy and activity.
During his administration many fine buildings were added to the institution, and more than $1,000.000 was given to the college.
John C. Green
gave $750,000 to endow a scientific school,
erect a library, and a building for lectures and recitations.
A theological seminary connected with the university was founded in 1812.
The sesquicentennial of the institution was observed in October, 1896, during which it was formally
Nassau Hall, Princeton University.|
decared a university, and in honor of the event friends of the institution made special gifts of about $1,500,000. At the end of 1899 the university had 88 professors and instructors, 1,302 students, 146,000 volumes in the library, and over 4,600 living graduates.
The theological seminary had 11 professors and instructors, 170 students, 64,500 volumes in the library, and 2,882 living graduates.
Rev. Francis L. Patton, D. D., Ll.D.
, was president of the university, and the Rev. William M. Paxton, D. D., Ll.D.
, president of the theological seminary.