74. Notable Eighteenth-Century Graduates


Artist Matthew Pratt’s portrait of James McCullough, the 16-year-old valedictorian of the Class of 1773, is the only known portrait of an eighteenth century American collegiate student wearing the formal academic dress of the era.  McCullough later became a merchant and, like so many of his classmates, a noted public official.  In fact, the era in which McCullough studied at Princeton produced a truly outstanding group of men who would go on to distinguish themselves in all aspects of founding and sustaining the new nation.  Between 1770 and 1775, the College of New Jersey graduated James Madison ’1771 (later U.S. president), Aaron Burr ’1772 (later U.S. vice-president), Henry Lee ’1773 (better known as the Revolutionary War cavalry officer “Light-Horse Harry”), William Bradford ’1772 (second attorney general of the U.S.), Philip Freneau ’1771 (later considered America’s first great poet), Hugh Henry Brackenridge ’1771 (later a judge and the nation’s earliest humorous novelist), and other remarkably renowned individuals.  Among all of the eighteenth century Princeton graduates, there were also 2 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 25 members of the Continental Congress, 50 members of the House of Representatives, 30 senators, 17 governors, more than a dozen cabinet officers including 5 attorney generals, 4 Supreme Court justices and a chief justice, and countless doctors, clergymen, educators, and state judges and officials, spaced throughout the entirety of the new nation.