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Frequently Asked Questions
Does the University Archives house any photographs? How does one locate them and request reproductions of them?


The University Archives maintains two major sources of photographs: 1). Historical Photographic Collection; and 2). Princeton Alumni Weekly Photograph Collection. The content of these collections is reviewed below. Specific instructions on how to locate, view, and request reproduce of items of interest is also outlined below. If you have any questions, please contact the Mudd Manuscript Library.


Historical Photographic Collection

The Historical Photograph Collection is a comprehensive grouping of approximately 20,000 paper prints, cased images, and negatives from the 1840s to the present. This collection is divided into major series: Campus Life (c. 1850-1996); Class Photographs (1859-1947); Glass Plate Negatives (1880-1920); Grounds and Buildings (c. 1850-1980); Lake Carnegie Construction Photographs (c. 1905-c. 1907); Student Photograph Albums (1851-1938); and Student Photographers (1888-c. 1891).

An online database will allow you to conduct a keyword search of many of these categories to retrieve a listing of photographs that meet your criteria. Information returned will include a general description of the photograph along with pertinent details such as dates, photographer, and image type, as well as the collection, box, and image number. At present, only some of the cased images are available online.


Princeton Alumni Weekly Photograph Collection

This photograph collection contains images used or considered for use by the publication the Princeton Alumni Weekly. The collection contains images from c. 1968 to c. 1991. The photographs are generally black and white glossy 8x10 prints; however, 5x7 prints are also found within the collection, as well as contact sheets. The photographs are arranged under general topics and then alphabetically within each subject. A finding aid is available for this collection.


How to view photographs. How to request reproductions of photographs.

To view photographs that meet you criteria, patrons are encouraged to visit the Mudd Library to request a photocopy of the image(s) of interest. If a visit is not possible, the library can provide photocopies, photographic prints, or scans of many of the images in these collection. [Note: Some restrictions may apply due to preservation concerns.]

Information on how to order images, pricing, and guidelines is available online. Please contact the Mudd Library is you need assistance with photograph requests.


Related Collections

The Historical Postcard Collection contains monochrome and color postcards of the Princeton University campus and buildings. The collection dates from 1900 to the 1960s. Approximately 50% of the postcards in this collection have been digitized and are available on the Library's digital initiatives site.

An additional source of frequently requested photographs is the Portfolio web site maintained by the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. This site allows ready access to a selection of frequently requested images, including those of Woodrow Wilson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and others.

The Office of Development Communications Records, 1980-2000, contain photographs assembled by the office for use in publications and fundraising activities. Most of the photographs are from development-related events such as the 1995 kickoff celebration of the Anniversary Campaign. Some are reproductions of photographs found in other collections held by the Princeton University Library's Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

The John W. H. Simpson Photograph Collection, 1975-1993 consists of negatives, contact sheets, and slides of Simpson's photographs of Princeton.

Additional photographs related to Princeton University can be found in the many archival collections housed in the University Archives. These images are not part of the Historical Photograph Collection database. However, they can be accessed by searching across University Archives finding aids. Begin by using the search page for finding aids and limiting the search to Princeton University Archives, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. [Hint: For collections solely of photographs search for the word photographs within the "title" field. For collections containing some photographs as well as other material search for the word photographs within the "Subject/Names/Forms of Material" field.] Additional hints on searching and navigating finding aids is available on the help page.


Rosemary Switzer


Last modified: Tuesday, 24-Apr-2012 14:11:26 EDT