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The Prime Family Manuscript Collection

Identifier: SCM 220

Scope and Content

The Prime Family Manuscript Collection contains materials associated with a number of family members dating from as early as the 1720s to as late as the 1890s. The bulk of the content, however, relates to Ebenezer, Nathaniel Scudder, and Samuel Irenaeus Prime. The collection holds hundreds of sermons written by these individuals as well as letters, ministerial records, legal documents, notebooks, manuscripts, and family histories.


  • 1723 - 1890

Language of Materials

English, Latin


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 Prime Family Manuscript Collection. Special Collections, Princeton Theological Seminary Library.

Biographical Information

Ebenezer Prime was born on July 21, 1700 in Milford, Connecticut. After graduating from Yale in 1718, he began a long career as a minister at the Presbyterian Church in Huntington, Long Island in 1719, and was fully ordained on June 5, 1723. He would remain in Huntington until his death on September 25, 1779. He outlived three wives and several children. Of the surviving children, Benjamin Young (1733-1791) is particularly important for this collection, as it contains his diary from 1754-1759. Over the course of Ebenezer's 60 year ministry, he is estimated to have written over 3,000 sermons. This collection has 52 of those sermons, a number of his diaries and various other documents.

Nathaniel Scudder Prime was the grandson of Ebenezer and son of Benjamin Young. He was born in Huntington on April 21, 1785. Like his father and grandfather, he became a Presbyterian minister and resided in several towns in New York throughout his life. He died in Mamaroneck, New York on March 27, 1856. This collection contains many of his sermons, letters, and ministerial records. Nathaniel also wrote and copied essays on various philosophical, scientific, linguistic subjects which are contained here as well.

Samuel Irenaeus Prime was the son of Nathaniel Scudder and was born on November 4, 1812 in Ballston, New York. He graduated from Williams College in 1829, from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1833, and was ordained on June 4, 1835 in the Presbytery of Albany. He subsequently began a career as a pastor and then editor. From 1835-1840, he was a pastor first in his hometown of Ballston and then at Matteawan, New York (now Beacon, New York). He became the editor of the New York Observer in 1840 and held that position until 1848. From 1848 to 1849 he was the editor of the American Bible Society, and from 1849 to 1850 he was the editor of The Presbyterian. Samuel returned as editor of the Observer in 1850 and held that position until 1885. He died on July 18 of that year in Manchester, Vermont. This collection contains many of his sermons, letters, and other writings.


7.6 Linear Feet (16 Boxes; 1 oversized folder)


General Family History, Box 1, Folders 1-15

Sermons by Ebenezer Prime, Box 1, Folder 16 - box 2, Folder 28

Benjamin Young Prime's Diary, Box 2, Folder 29-51

General Family History, Box 3, Folder 1 - Box 4, Folder 3

Sermons by Nathaniel S. Prime, Box 4, Folder 4 - Box 6, Folder 16

General Writings of Nathaniel S. Prime, Box 6, Folder 17 - Box 7, Folder 20

General Writings of Samuel I. Prime, Box 7, folder 21 - Box 8, Folder 27

Sermons by Samuel I. Prime, Box 8, Folder 28 - Box 11, Folder 28

General Family Writings, box 11, Folder 19 - Box 14, Folder 4

Family Correspondence (and other items), Box 14, Folder 5 - Box 16 and Oversized Folder

Processing Information:

This collection was processed, and the original finding aid was written, by Daved Anthony Schmidt in October of 2009 under the direction of Sarah Seraphin, Manuscript Librarian.

The Prime Family Manuscript Collection
Daved Anthony Schmidt
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

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

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