Archives, Papers, Rare Books
Special Collections at Princeton Theological Seminary houses more than 75,000
printed works and over 4,500 linear feet of archival and manuscript
material. Major collections include the Seminary archives, rare books and
pamphlets, personal papers, records of organizations, special research
collections, and non-textual materials related to the history of the
Presbyterian and Reformed traditions and ecumenical Christianity. Included
on this page: The Archives of Princeton Theological Seminary, Rare Book and
Pamphlet Collections, Personal Papers
and Manuscripts, Records of
Collections, and Non-Textual
The Archives of Princeton Theological Seminary
Special Collections is the repository for the historical records of the Seminary.
These records document the history of the school and provide source material
for researchers who seek to understand the Seminary's impact on
intellectual, social, and cultural developments in the United States and
abroad. The archives includes institutional records, photographs, and other
materials produced by administrative offices, academic departments,
individual faculty and students, and official and unofficial campus
organizations. Material in the Seminary archives is augmented by the
personal papers of numerous faculty and alumni/ae also housed in Special
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Rare Book and Pamphlet Collections
Among the materials housed in Special Collections are many rare texts, Bibles and
early imprints. Many of the important books and pamphlets in the collection
have come from the unique collections developed by William B. Sprague,
Samuel Agnew, Alexander B. Grosart, James R. Tanis, and Louis F. Benson.
Rare texts and Bibles
Textual materials include cuneiform tablets, Oxyrynchus papyri, Hebrew scrolls,
and Syriac manuscripts. Bibles include a Byzantine Gospel lectionary, Latin
Bibles printed before 1500 (1479-1497), the Complutensian Polyglot
(1514-1517), Erasmus' Greek New Testament (1516), Theodore Beza's Greek New
Testament (1565), the Geneva Bible (1569), the Huguenot Bible (ca. 1580),
the King James Bible (1611), and the Kralitz Bible (1580).
The rare book collection is extremely rich in early imprints, and a few of its
treasures include Peter Lombard, Sentences (ca. 1468), Ludolph of
Saxony, Life of Christ, folio (1474); John Calvin, Institutes
of the Christian Religion, first Latin edition (1536) and last
French edition published within Calvin's lifetime (1559); Cambridge
Platform (1649); and William Law, Serious Call to a Devout
and Holy Life, first edition (1729). Early American printed
sermons include Increase Mather, Returning Unto God: A Sermon
(1680) and The Order of the Gospel Professed and Practiced by the
Churches of Christ in New England (1700); Samuel Willard,
The Duty of a People that have Renewed Their Covenant with God:
A Sermon (1680); Jonathan Edwards, A Treatise Concerning
the Religious Affections (1746).
This collection includes more than 20,000 theological pamphlets and tracts
published in the United States in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Collected by alumnus William B. Sprague (class of 1819), this collection
served as the basis for Sprague's nine-volume publication, The Annals of
the American Pulpit, which was an exhaustive account of
American Protestantism to the middle of the 19th century. Sprague grouped
the pamphlets by subject, bound them, and gave the collection to the
Seminary between 1839 and 1877.
Samuel Agnew, for a time secretary of the Presbyterian Historical Society, was a
collector of primary source material on a number of theological
controversies and subjects. In 1881 his collection on the controversy over
the proper form of baptism, containing over 2,000 volumes and 3,000
pamphlets, was donated to the Seminary.
Alexander B. Grosart (1827-1899) was an English Presbyterian minister, avid
collector, editor, and reprinter. In 1885, using funds donated by friends of
the Seminary, the institution purchased Grosart's 2,500 Puritan and
Nonconformist works (primarily 17th century imprints). Added to regularly,
this collection now contains over 5,000 volumes.
This collection consists of more than 10,000 hymn books and secondary literature
on hymnology. Donated by alumnus Louis F. Benson (class of 1887) in 1931 as
part of his estate, a bequest also provides for continuing acquisitions.
This collection is a superior resource for the study of all fields of
James R. Tanis
Also known as The James R. Tanis "Religion in
This collection includes more than 250 titles of rare 18th-century imprints.
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Personal Papers and Manuscripts
Special Collections houses the papers of Princeton Theological Seminary
presidents, administrators, faculty, and alumni/ae who have made important
contributions to the Presbyterian Church and ecumenical Christianity as
pastors, scholars, missionaries, denominational leaders, and in other
capacities. Some of the collections remain unprocessed and access may be
limited. Researchers should call or write with requests for access. Consult
a select list of collections or
browse all finding aids.
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Records of Organizations
Special Collections contains records of ecumenical organizations, societies, and
special committees. These include records from the Committee of Fifteen
(related to the Confession of 1967); the Consultation on Church Union
(1962-1987); and the Society of Christian Ethics (1953-2007). Special
Collections also holds selected records of local churches within the bounds
of the former Synod of New Jersey.
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Special Collections maintains four research
collections that document significant theological traditions of
the Presbyterian and Reformed churches in the United States, Switzerland,
the Netherlands, and Korea. These collections are The Princeton Theological
Seminary and American Presbyterian Collection, The Karl Barth Collection,
The Abraham Kuyper Collection of Dutch Reformed Protestantism, and The
Moffett Korea Collection. Comprising thousands of volumes, each of these
collections is also supported by primary source materials housed by Special
Collections. Together, these materials provide a rich context in which to
study aspects of the American Presbyterian, Swiss Reformed, Dutch Reformed,
and Korean Presbyterian traditions.
The Princeton Theological Seminary and the American Presbyterian Collection
This collection brings
together reference works, monographs, dissertations, selected journals,
articles, and other materials that document the history of the Seminary and
of American Presbyterians. One strength of this collection is the presence
of works by and about Princeton Theological Seminary and its faculty,
including various editions of works by and about Archibald Alexander,
Charles Hodge, B. B. Warfield, John A. Mackay, and many others.
The Karl Barth Collection
The Karl Barth Collection acquires all published writings by and about Karl
Barth. It also has extensive manuscript holdings, including Markus Barth's
papers, and photographs on deposit from the Karl Barth Archiv in Basel,
Switzerland. Digital resources, such as an online
bibliography of scholarship by and about Karl Barth supplements
this collection. The collection also features a selection of videotaped
interviews with preeminent Barth scholars from around the word. The Karl
Barth collection contains materials primarily in German and English, but
also acquires works in Dutch, French, Korean, and many other languages. For
programs and activities related to this collection, see the Center for
The Abraham Kuyper Collection of Dutch Reformed Protestantism
The Abraham Kuyper Collection is the most complete assemblage of the published
writings of Abraham Kuyper in North America. A 15,000-volume library of
19th- and 20th- century Dutch Protestantism provides the essential resources
for the study of Abraham Kuyper, as well as near contemporaries such as
Isaac da Costa, William Groen van Prinsterer, Herman Bavinck and Klaas
Schilder. The Abraham Kuyper Collection also contains selected materials
related to the Dutch tradition in South Africa and the United States.
Materials are collected primarily in Dutch, although many major works are
also present in English translation. See our Digital Library of Abraham
Kuyper for access to primary sources. For secondary sources
about Abraham Kuyper, see our Abraham Kuyper Bibliography.
For programs and activities related to this collection, see the Abraham Kuyper
Center for Public Theology.
The Moffett Korea Collection
includes the papers of Samuel A. Moffett and Samuel H. and Eileen Moffett,
manuscript and photographic materials related to missions in Korea, and a
1,000-volume research library of works on Korean history, culture, and
Presbyterian churches. The collection contains materials in both Korean and
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The Art Collection
This collection includes all artwork across Princeton Theological Seminary.
The Museum Collection
This collection includes artifacts from various mission fields around the world,
as well as artifacts connected with the Seminary's history.
The Photograph Collection
This collection includes images of the Seminary campus and buildings, faculty,
students, board members, and other individuals connected with the
The Audio Collection
This collection includes recordings of lectures, worship services, and other
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