Lewis French Stearns Correspondence
Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Lewis French Stearns graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1867. He obtained his A.M. degree from the Princeton Theological Seminary in 1870 and his D.D. in 1881. He was Professor of Symantic Theology at Bangor Seminary, 1879-1892.
Lewis's brother Seargent Prentiss Stearns graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1864, and obtained an A.M. degree from there in 1867. He was U.S. Consul for British North America between the years 1882 and 1885.
Their father, Rev. Jonathan French Stearns, was a minister at the First Presbyterian Church (Newark, N.J.), the first church in Newark, N.J.
The collection consists of selected 1860s correspondence of Stearns (Princeton Class of 1867). The nineteen letters shed light on the effects of the Civil War on Princeton, while providing a cross-sectional look at Princeton student life at the time. The early letters, written in 1862 and 1863, are from Lewis's friend Peter Jacobus (Princeton Class of 1868) and Lewis's brother Seargent Prentiss Stearns (Princeton Class of 1864); at that time Lewis was a student at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. The boys write about student life, the competition for the junior oration, their classes and professors, baseball, mutual friends, and the students who left the college to join the army. In a letter dated November 5, 1862, Jacobus includes a poem about Lewis's love life; others include ink drawings and humor. In a letter dated November 19, 1862, Sergeant describes two murders that were discovered in town, including that of a Princeton jeweler. In his first letter home to his mother and father, Rev. Jonathan French Stearns, in Newark, N.J., from the College of New Jersey, dated June 19, 1863, Lewis writes about students building a fire on campus around the cannon and burning an effigy of Clement Vallandigham, the most prominent of the "Copperheads" or the "Peaceful Democrats," to celebrate his return to Ohio. He also writes to his brother Seargent and to his sister, Annie, describing his classes, the faculty, examinations, and the burning down of a barn and of a poor man's house in Jugtown, N.J.
Also included are typed transcriptions of all the letters.
The letters are arranged in chronological order.
The material was purchased on October 20, 1990.
Folder inventory added by Nicholas Williams '2015 in 2012.
No appraisal information is available.
- College of New Jersey (Princeton, N.J.)
- College of New Jersey (Princeton, N.J.). Class of 1864.
- College of New Jersey (Princeton, N.J.). Class of 1867.
- College of New Jersey (Princeton, N.J.). Class of 1868.
- Princeton University
- Manuscripts Division
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
Collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.