35. As to our Embryo College it is a Noble design… good learning and a relish
      for true religion and piety being great strangers to this part of America.
      –Jonathan Belcher


Photo courtesy of the Office of Communications

Photo by Dino Palomares

Princeton University (then the College of New Jersey) received its first charter from temporary New Jersey Governor John Hamilton, but those who opposed the creation of this potentially religiously-subversive institution challenged Hamilton’s authority to issue this document.  However, the new provincial governor Jonathan Belcher (Harvard ’1699) lamented the lack of opportunities for higher education between Yale in Connecticut and the College of William and Mary in Virginia, so he issued a new, unchallengeable charter in 1748. Belcher also donated his astonishingly-large personal library of 474 books to the infant College and suggested the village of Princeton as a permanent site for the school.  When the first College building was completed in 1756, the grateful trustees proposed naming the structure Belcher Hall to honor its patron.  Contented by his honorary degree in 1748 (the College’s first), Belcher suggested the name Nassau Hall, to venerate Britain’s King William III of the House of Nassau.

  • To learn more about Jonathan Belcher, see Café Vivian picture #19, 33, and 86.

  • To learn more about recipients of Princeton honorary degrees, see quotation #2, 3, 8, 12, and 25, and Café Vivian picture #14, 21, 65, and 86.

  • For more quotations about Princeton, see quotation #19, 20, 25, 33, and 38.

  • To learn more about Princeton’s founding, see Café Vivian picture #19, 27, and 33.

  • To learn more about the University library system, see quotation #11, and Café Vivian picture #20, 47, 121, and 123.