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The Archibald Alexander Manuscript Collection

Identifier: SCM 219

Scope and Content

This collection consists of personal papers and documents from the life of Archibald Alexander. In addition to many texts of lectures and sermons, the collection also contains notes on lectures and sermons taken both by Alexander and by his students. Lectures on polemics, and on the theologies of different religions and sects are particularly varied and comprehensive. There is little correspondence, but there are some early journals, manuscripts for longer writings, and some publications and fragments of others' writings.


  • 1791-1880


Language of Materials



There are no special restrictions to access of this collection. It may be examined by library patrons under the normal rules and conditions of Special Collections.

Preferred Citation

The following is the acceptable citation for publication: The Archibald Alexander Manuscript Collection. Special Collections, Princeton Theological Seminary Library.


1772 April 17
Born, near Lexington, Virginia
Student, Timber Ridge Academy, Virginia
1794 June 7
Ordained, Presbytery of Hanover
Pastor, Briery and Cub Creek, Virginia
Pastor, Briery, Virginia
President, Hampden-Sydney College
Pastor, Pine Street Church, Philadelphia
Moderator, General Assembly
Awarded Doctor of Divinity, College of New Jersey (now Princeton University)
Professor, Didactic and Polemic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
Professor, Pastoral and Polemic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
Professor, Pastoral and Polemic Theology and Church Government, Princeton Theological Seminary
1851 October 22
Died, Princeton, New Jersey

Biographical Information

Archibald Alexander (1772-1851) was a prominent American theologian and the first professor and principal at Princeton Theological Seminary. He was born in Virginia and grew up in a pious and intellectual household. He was greatly influenced by a local religious awakening in 1789, shortly after which he became a missionary in Virginia and North Carolina. He returned in 1794 to become a minister in Charlotte County, Virginia. He was appointed principal at Hampden Sydney College in 1797 and remained until 1806. He was called to the pulpit at the Pine Street (Third) Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia in 1807, and was elected Moderator of the General Assembly the same year.

At his departing sermon at the next year's General Assembly, Alexander argued for the creation of a seminary, in agreement with growing sentiment in the Presbyterian Church. Princeton Theological Seminary was founded in 1812 and the General Assembly almost unanimously voted Alexander its first teacher. He accepted and was inaugurated on August 12, 1812. He and Samuel Miller, who began teaching in 1813, served as the cornerstones of education for the Presbyterian ministry until Miller's death in 1849 and Alexander's in 1851. Alexander's son, James Waddel Alexander, also served as professor at Princeton Theological Seminary.

For more biographical information about Archibald Alexander, please request his faculty file from Special Collections.


15.45 Linear Feet (33 boxes)


Box 1: Journal kept by Archibald Alexander

Boxes: 1-6 Student Lecture Notes

Boxes: 7-11 General Lecture Notes and Sermons written by Archibald Alexander

Boxes 11-13: Lectures on Pastoral Theology written by Archibald Alexander

Boxes 13-15: Lectures on Polemic Theology written by Archibald Alexander

Boxes 15-20: Lectures on Preaching, and Sermons written by Archibald Alexander

Boxes 21-23: Notes and Course Materials on Jewish Antiquities, Biblical Criticism and Others

Boxes 23-24: Correspondence

Boxes 24-27: Student Lecture Notes (Boxes 24 and 25 also contain eight notebooks with writings by Archibald Alexander)

Box 28-33: Other Correspondence, Lectures, Sermons, and Biographical Material (Box 31 contains sermons attributed to Charles Hodge)

Related Material

See also the following materials in Special Collections:

The Henry Carrington Alexander Manuscript Collection

The James Waddel Alexander Manuscript Collection

The Joseph Addison Alexander Manuscript Collection

The Thomas Ward Cattell Manuscript Collection

The Charles Hodge Manuscript Collection

The Samuel Miller Manuscript Collection

See also:

The Alexander Autograph Collection. Princeton University Library, Manuscripts Division.

The Alexander Family Collection, 1857-1910. Princeton University Library, Manuscripts Division.

The Charles Hodge Papers, 1773-1930 (bulk 1811-1886). Princeton University Library, Manuscripts Division.

The Samuel Miller Papers. Princeton University Libraries, Manuscripts Division.

Processing Information:

This collection was processed, and a list of its contents was compiled in the spring of 1992, by Douglas F. Denné under the direction of William O. Harris, Archivist. The original finding aid was written by Matthew Reeder in March of 2007. In the summer of 2009, identification of handwritten items, and a general review of the collection was performed by Daved Anthony Schmidt. The finding aid was edited and updated by Sarah Seraphin in October of 2009.

The Archibald Alexander Manuscript Collection
Matthew Reeder. Updated by: Daved Anthony Schmidt
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Repository Details

Part of the Princeton Theological Seminary. Library. Special Collections Repository

Princeton Theological Seminary
Wright Library
25 Library Place
Princeton NJ 08540 USA