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John Maclean Jr. and Princeton’s Commitment to Sectional Harmony
John Maclean Jr., Princeton’s tenth president (1854-1868), was a non-slaveholder and held moderate antislavery views. His commitment to attracting southern students to the college and reducing sectional tension on campus, however, contributed to Princeton’s conservatism in the years leading up to the Civil War.
James Carnahan, the College of New Jersey’s longest-serving president (1823-1854), was a slave-owner and a director of the American Colonization Society of New Jersey. Records show that Carnahan owned slaves in 1820, just before assuming the presidency, and that free African Americans resided in his household into the 1850s.
Aaron Burr Sr.
Aaron Burr Sr. (1716-1757), an influential scholar and religious leader of the colonial period, served as Princeton’s second president from 1748 to 1757. He oversaw the college’s move to its permanent campus in Princeton, and owned slaves while living in the President’s House.
Escape from Princeton
In 1819, Princeton Mayor Erkuries Beatty engaged a recent College of New Jersey graduate to recapture his runaway slave, Joe. The incident underscores the terror and uncertainty of enslavement in central Jersey.
Joseph Clark in Virginia (1802-1803)
After a fire destroyed Nassau Hall in 1802, Princeton alumnus Joseph Clark canvassed Virginia on a nine-month fundraising mission. Throughout the trip, Clark relied on the hospitality and financial contributions of fellow Princeton alumni and their connections among Virginia’s slave-owning elite.
Charles Grandison Finney
Portrait of Charles Finney (1792-1875), an influential "New School" Presbyterian minister.
Half Length Portrait of William Dunbar
William Dunbar (1749-1810).
Witherspoon-Quarry Street School
The former Quarry Street School, also called the Witherspoon School for Colored Children, on the corner of Witherspoon and Maclean Streets.
An engraving of Cyrus McCormick by George Smillie.
A painting of Princeton's fifth president, Samuel Finley.
Slavery at Princeton: University Delves into Its Charged Racial History
Deutsche Welle (DW), 11/16/17
In a historical investigation, Princeton University unveils darker, unknown aspects of its past: the institution's involvement in slavery. Deutsche Welle (DW) interviews Professor Martha Sandweiss, who started the project.