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The William Miller Paxton Manuscript Collection

Identifier: SCM 090

Scope and Content

This collection consists of sermons, addresses, notes taken as a student, biographical materials, lecture notes, class records, faculty memoranda, and other material from the life of William Miller Paxton.


  • 1845-1902

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 William Miller Paxton Manuscript Collection. Special Collections, Princeton Theological Seminary Library.


1824 June 7
Born, Adams County, Pennsylvania
Graduated, Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg (now Gettysburg College)
Student, Princeton Theological Seminary
1848 October 4
Ordained, Presbytery of Carlisle
Pastor, Greencastle, Pennsylvania
Pastor, First Church, Pittsburgh
Professor, Sacred Rhetoric, Western Theological Seminary, Allegheny
Awarded honorary Doctor of Divinity, Jefferson College
Pastor, First Church, New York City
Lecturer, Sacred Rhetoric, Union Theological Seminary
Moderator, General Assembly
Professor, Ecclesiastical, Homiletic, and Pastoral Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
Awarded honorary Doctor of Law, Washington and Jefferson College
Professor emeritus, Princeton Theological Semianry
1904 November 28
Died, Princeton

Biographical Information

William Miller Paxton was born in Adams County, Pennsylvania, on June 7, 1824. He graduated from Pennsylvania College in 1843 and Princeton Theological Seminary in 1848. He was ordained by the Carlisle Presbytery, and served as pastor of Greencastle Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania (from 1848 to 1850), First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (from 1850 to 1865), and First Presbyterian Church in New York City (from 1866 to 1883).

Dr. Paxton was also Professor of Sacred Rhetoric at Western Theological Seminary from 1860 to 1867, and Lecturer in Sacred Rhetoric at Union Theological Seminary in New York, from 1872 to 1875. He was awarded the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Jefferson College in 1860, and from Washington and Jefferson College in 1883. He was Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. in 1880. In 1883, Dr. Paxton returned to Princeton Theological Seminary, where he was Professor of Ecclesiastical, Homiletical, and Pastoral Theology until his retirement in 1902. He died in Princeton, November 28, 1904.


4.3 Linear Feet (11 Boxes)


Box 1:Special sermons and addresses

Box 2: Notes from Paxton's student days

Box 3: Mementos and biographical materials

Boxes 4-7: Sermons

Box 8: Incomplete sermons and addresses

Boxes 9-10: Lecture notes, class records, and faculty memoranda

Box 11: Miscellaneous materials

Processing Information:

It is not known when this collection was acquired by the Seminary Libraries. These papers originally existed in two separate parts. The first set of papers, now organized as boxes 1-3 of the collection, were preserved in the library's "File D." Another set of papers, now comprising boxes 4-11 of the collection, were maintained in the library's "Alumni Alcove" collection.

In July of 1994 the first set of papers were semi-organized and placed in document boxes. In June of 1996 the second set of papers were incorporated into the collection, which was largely reorganized at that time. Some items, mostly biographical materials (file 3:3) and correspondence (contained in box 1), were added to the collection from archival office files. The finding aid was written by Raymond D. Cannata under the direction of William O. Harris, Archivist.

The William Miller Paxton Manuscript Collection
Raymond D. Cannata
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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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