Princeton's History

Princeton Cherub

Chartered in 1746 as the College of New Jersey — the name by which it was known for 150 years — Princeton University was British North America's fourth college. Located in Elizabeth for one year and then in Newark for nine, the College of New Jersey moved to Princeton in 1756. It was housed in Nassau Hall, which was newly built on land donated by Nathaniel FitzRandolph. Nassau Hall contained the entire College for nearly half a century.

In 1896, when expanded program offerings brought the College university status, the College of New Jersey was officially renamed Princeton University in honor of its host community of Princeton. Four years later, in 1900, the Graduate School was established.

Historical Publications & Tools

The Presidents of Princeton University
A Princeton Companion

Mudd Manuscript Library Resources

University Archives
Historical FAQs
Historical Statistics

Nassau Hall at Dusk

Nassau Hall was the scene of meetings of the Continental Congress in the summer and fall of 1783.

Above left: This Princeton cherub is calling out the Princeton skyrocket cheer on a 1909 postcard created by an unknown artist. For more details, see Princeton Iconography at Frist Campus Center.