The Expansion of the Seminary in the Nineteenth Century

A Historical Tour of Princeton Theological Seminary
By Michael J. Paulus, Jr.

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Contents
1. Princeton, the College of New Jersey, and the Revolution
2. The Establishment of the Seminary at Princeton
3. The Expansion of the Seminary in the Nineteenth Century
4. The Evolution of the Seminary in the Twentieth Century and Beyond



3. The Expansion of the Seminary in the Nineteenth Century


As the Seminary continued to grow, its activities quickly expanded beyond the spaces that had been provided for them in Alexander Hall. The first needs for additional space were directly related to the twin goals of the Seminary: piety and learning. By 1830, more space was needed for worship and for books and study. The Seminary began seeking funds first for a chapel, and in 1834 Miller Chapel, situated between Alexander House and Alexander Hall, was completed. (The Chapel was moved to its current position in 1933, at which time a chancel and basement were added.)

Lenox Library
Lenox Library


In 1843 James Lenox, a philanthropist and bibliophile from New York City, built for the Seminary one of the first free-standing academic library buildings in America, Lenox Library. Alexander described it as “a beautiful Gothic building, 80 feet by 50, of brown stone … The floors are of marble. The roof is slated. The whole, except the vestibule, is in one room, with a gallery. There are alcoves on two sides of the room.”

Administration Building
Administration Building


Another building was added to the Seminary campus in 1847. Located behind Alexander Hall, this building contained a kitchen, dining room, quarters for the cook, and a hospital room. The building was used later as a dormitory, then as a gymnasium, and in 1945 it was converted into office space and became the Administration Building.

By 1860, the Seminary had run out of boarding options for its students. Isabella Brown, a wealthy widow from Baltimore, had agreed to build a second dormitory. But when the Civil War broke out, Mrs. Brown, whose sympathies were with the South, declined to go forward with the plan. However, when Professor McGill, whom she knew, wrote to her and assured her that "Southern and Northern students were alike privileged and fostered here" and that some of the Southern students "had actually fought in the ranks of the Confederate soldiery" yet were able to walk "unmolested, and without reproach" in the streets and halls of Princeton, her disinclination was reversed, and Brown Hall became the only major building constructed in Princeton during the Civil War. It was completed in 1865.

Stuart Hall
Stuart Hall


Although development of many larger theological seminaries was disrupted by the Civil War, Princeton Seminary continued to grow. More room was needed for classes, and in 1878 Stuart Hall opened to function as the Seminary’s primary lecture hall. The building bears the name of the brothers Robert and Alexander Stuart, wealthy sugar refiners from New York City, who donated funds for the building.

New Lenox Library
New Lenox Library


By this time more room was needed for books, and in 1879 the New Lenox Library, also built by James Lenox, opened behind the Lenox Library. This high Victorian brick building provided more space for study; the older library was used for rare and less frequently used books.

In time, additional housing facilities were needed. In 1893, with funds from a bequest of the widow of Robert Stuart, Hodge Hall was built as a third dormitory for the Seminary. The building was designed so that each room would receive sunlight at some point during the day.


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