Special Collections Overview
On this page: General
Description, Popular Research Tools, Archives of Princeton
Theological Seminary, Rare Book and Pamphlet
Collections, Research Collections, Personal Papers and
Manuscripts, Records of Organizations, and Non-Textual
Special Collections at the Princeton Theological Seminary Library comprise more
than 75,000 printed works and over 5,175 linear feet of archival and manuscript
material. Major collections include the Seminary archives, rare
books and pamphlets, personal papers, records of organizations, research collections, and
non-textual materials related to the history of the Presbyterian and
Reformed traditions and ecumenical Christianity.
Particular strengths of Special Collections are its documentation of the
Seminary’s history, including works by and about Seminary faculty; American
Presbyterianism; English and American Puritanism; Presbyterian missions;
hymnology; works by and about Reformed theologians Karl Barth and Abraham
Kuyper; and the history of Presbyterians in Korea.
The Archives of Princeton Theological Seminary
Special Collections is the repository for the historical records (archives) of
the Seminary. These records provide source material for
understanding the Seminary's impact on intellectual,
social, and cultural developments in the United States and abroad.
The archives collection 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.
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, Louis F.
Benson, and James R. Tanis.
Rare Textual Materials
- Byzantine Gospel lectionary
- Latin Bibles printed before 1500 (1479-1497)
- Complutensian Polyglot (1514-1517)
- Erasmus' Greek New Testament (1516)
- Theodore Beza's Greek New Testament (1565)
- Geneva Bible (1569)
- Huguenot Bible (ca. 1580)
- King James Bible (1611)
- Biblia germanica, Lübeck (1494)
- Peter Lombard, Sentences (ca. 1468)
- Ludolph of Saxony, Life of Christ, folio
- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian
Religion, first Latin edition (1536) and last French
edition published within Calvin's lifetime (1559)
- Cambridge Platform (1649)
- William Law, Serious Call to a Devout and Holy
Life, first edition (1729)
Early American Printed Sermons
- 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 and collected by alumnus William B. Sprague
(Class of 1819). Sprague grouped the pamphlets by subject, bound them, and
gave the collection to the Seminary between 1839 and 1877.
The pamphlets and tracts served as the basis for Sprague's nine-volume
publication, The Annals of the American Pulpit, an exhaustive account of
American Protestantism to the middle of the 19th century.
Sprague Collection RSS feed of Summon
Search results (XML)
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. 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 in 1881.
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. It is a superior
resource for the study of all fields of hymnology.
Donated by alumnus Louis F. Benson (Class of 1887) in 1931 as part of his estate,
a bequest also provides for continuing acquisitions.
Benson Collection RSS feed of Summon
Search results (XML)
James R. Tanis Collection
Also known as The James R.
Tanis "Religion in America" Collection
This collection includes more than 250 titles of rare 18th-century
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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.
Comprising thousands of volumes, each of these collections is also supported
by primary source materials housed by Special Collections. Together, these
primary and secondary materials provide a rich context in which to study
aspects of the American Presbyterian, Swiss Reformed, Dutch Reformed, and
Korean Presbyterian traditions.
I. The Princeton Theological Seminary and the American Presbyterian
This collection brings together reference works, monographs,
dissertations, selected journals, articles, and other materials that
document the history of the Seminary and of American
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.
II. 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, supplement 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 Barth
III. The Abraham Kuyper Collection of Dutch Reformed
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
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.
IV. 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 religion, especially the
history of Christianity in Korea.
The collection contains materials in both Korean and English.
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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
Some of the collections remain unprocessed and access may be limited. Researchers
should call or write with requests
Consult a select list of
collections or browse all finding
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Records of Organizations
Special Collections contains records of ecumenical organizations, societies, and
special committees, including records from:
- The Committee of Fifteen (related to the Confession of 1967)
- The Consultation on Church Union (1962-1987)
- The Society of Christian Ethics (1953-2007)
Special Collections also holds selected records of local churches.
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The Audio Collection
This collection includes recordings of lectures, sermons, addresses, worship
services, and other Seminary events. The Princeton Theological Seminary Media Archive is a growing
collection with in the Theological
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, and other individuals connected with Princeton Theological
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