Special Collections Services

Special Collections Services

Research Services

Special Collections provides standard reference services for scholars, researchers, and family historians who contact the office via telephone, email, or postal service, or who visit in person. Users are encouraged to contact Special Collections prior to research visits. Special Collections complies with the access guidelines of the Society of American Archivists and users are required to follow standard access procedures and complete standard access forms during research visits. For more information, please see Procedures and Forms.

Reference service is available during hours of operation. Scholars who require consultation related to research in one of our collections are invited to submit their inquiries to the appropriate staff subject specialist prior to their visit:

  • For general information, rare books, personal papers and manuscripts, Princeton Theological Seminary archives, Korean Presbyterian Collection, the Abraham Kuyper Collection, dissertations, and photographs, contact Special Collections.
  • For the Karl Barth Collection, contact the Center for Barth Studies, (609) 524-1981.

Request Materials

We are pleased to assist walk-in patrons as we are able. However, it is sometimes not possible for us to page certain materials, especially personal papers and manuscripts, during busy periods. We thus encourage researchers to submit requests for materials in advance—the more specific the request the better. If you have the call number of a book or the box number/folder number from a manuscript collection, please submit this information using the contact form linked below. Thank you very much in advance.

Submit a Request to our Reference Archivist.

Educational Services

Special Collections promotes research and scholarship by encouraging the use of its collections. A variety of educational services are offered for students and scholars who are studying at Princeton Theological Seminary.


Exhibits of primary sources, contextual materials, and other items in Special Collections may be arranged for Seminary courses, seminars, workshops, or groups. Past exhibits include rare Bibles, publications related to the Reformation in Geneva, and items that document worship in the Reformed tradition. Exhibitions are usually scheduled 2-3 months in advance of the event and are a collaborative effort between the class professor or group leader and Special Collections staff.


Many items in Special Collections are available for class presentations and one-day loans may be arranged for Seminary classes or other Seminary events.

Bibliographic Instruction

Princeton University Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections has prepared an online Research Tutorial that orients students to the discovery and use of primary sources. While some of the tools and policies discussed in this tutorial are specific to Princeton University’s Library, this tutorial provides a helpful introduction to the types of materials available in Special Collections and the methods of using them. Research tutorial sessions also may be arranged for classes or groups of Seminary students in order to provide an orientation to basic concepts in research or subject-specific overviews of resources in Special Collection.


Tours of Princeton Theological Seminary and Special Collections: Special Collections conducts historic tours of the Princeton Theological Seminary campus and tours of the Special Collections facilities in the Library. Tours are arranged by appointment.

Princeton Seminary ca 1940