Burr, Aaron, 1716-1757

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Clergyman and college president.

From the description of Deed for sale of land in Fairfield township, Conn., 1738. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79452376

Aaron Burr was born on January 4, 1716, to Daniel and Elizabeth Burr in Upper Meadows, Connecticut. He excelled in languages and sciences at Yale College, from which he graduated in 1735. He stayed at Yale for an additional year to study theology, supported by the Berkeley Foundation, during which he became involved in the colonial revival of religion led by Jonathan Edwards.

Burr converted to the Calvinistic belief in the absolute sovereignty of God and was ordained a minister in 1736 by the Presbyterian Church of Newark. He was well known for his reasonable and thoughtful sermons, which contrasted starkly to those of his contemporary revival leaders. Burr also began teaching local boys Latin, Greek, and other liberal arts and became a popular educator.

Burr and fellow “New Side” Presbyterians from the Middle Colonies who favored revivals (as opposed to the “Old Side” Presbyterians and Anglicans from New England) felt that they were in need of an educational institution to train ministers in their philosophies as well as to provide general education to gentleman scholars. Several “New Side” ministers began planning a college and raising funds, and were able to obtain a charter for the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1746. The institution was to be an institution for higher learning for all men, not only those interested in joining the Presbyterian clergy.

John Dickinson was appointed by the trustees of the college to be its first president, but he died only four months after assuming the position. Burr was chosen to be his successor and became a driving force behind the institution, establishing its location, educational standards, and reputation. He was involved in all aspects of the college, regularly teaching classes and tutoring students, as well as supervising construction and raising funds. Burr was president of the college from November 1748 until his death.

Burr continued to fulfill his ministerial duties in Newark during his time as president. He married Esther Edwards, daughter of preacher Jonathan Edward, in 1752. The couple had two children, Aaron and Sarah. Burr died on September 24, 1757.

From the guide to the Aaron Burr (1716-1757) Collection, 1750-1761, (Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Burr, Aaron, 1716-1757. Account book : College of New Jersey, 1753-1758. Princeton University Library
creatorOf Aaron Burr (1716-1757) Collection, 1750-1761 Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special CollectionsManuscripts Division
creatorOf Belcher, Jonathan, 1682-1757. Jonathan Belcher papers, 1738-[ca. 1900]. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Eustace, Nicole. The silken cord : marriage in eighteenth century colonial America based on the diary of Esther Edwards Burr, 1754-1757. Connecticut Historical Society
creatorOf Connecticut Historical Society. Diplomas, Universities and colleges. Connecticut Historical Society
referencedIn Office of the President Records : Jonathan Dickinson to Harold W. Dodds Subgroup, 1746-1999, 1830-1869 Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections.Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Princeton University Archives.
referencedIn Edwards, Pierpont, 1750-1826. Pierpont Edwards papers, 1764-1826 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Devereux family. Devereux family papers, 1800-1950. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Pierpont Edwards papers, 1764-1826 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Burr, Aaron, 1716-1757. Account book, 1753-1758. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Parsons, Moses, 1716-1783. Diaries of Moses Parsons : Byfield (Mass.), 1747-1762. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Burr family. Burr family papers, 1750-1890? (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984. Autograph collection, 1446-2001. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Burr family papers, 1750-1890 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Colvin, Andrew J. (Andrew James). Reminiscences of Aaron Burr : manuscript, 1887. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Ballantine, John, 1716-1776. Diary, 1737-1743; 1753-1774. American Antiquarian Society
creatorOf Bellamy, Joseph, 1719-1790. [Letters to Joseph Bellamy from Aaron Burr, David Brainerd, etc., and other papers concerning Mr. Bellamy, 1739-1787]. Presbyterian Historical Society, PHS
referencedIn Shippen, Edward, ca. 1703-1781. Shippen family collection, 1750-1810 (bulk1750-1783) Princeton University Library
referencedIn Halsey, Charles H., 1810-1855. Newark historical sketch, 1833. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf Burr, Aaron, 1716-1757. Deed for sale of land in Fairfield township, Conn., 1738. Library of Congress
creatorOf Connecticut Historical Society. Collection of Connecticut and Massachusetts sermons, 1681-1823. Connecticut Historical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Ballantine, John, 1716-1776. person
associatedWith Belcher, Jonathan, 1682-1757. person
associatedWith Burr family. family
associatedWith Burr family. family
associatedWith Colvin, Andrew J. (Andrew James) person
associatedWith Connecticut Historical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Devereux family. person
associatedWith Edwards, Pierpont, 1750-1826. person
associatedWith Eustace, Nicole. person
associatedWith Halsey, Charles H., 1810-1855. person
associatedWith Parsons, Moses, 1716-1783. person
associatedWith Princeton University corporateBody
associatedWith Princeton University. Office of the President. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Princeton (N.J.)
Princeton (N.J.)
Princeton (N.J.)
New Jersey--Princeton
New Jersey--Princeton
Books and reading--18th century
College presidents--New Jersey--Princeton--18th century
Princeton University--Presidents--18th century
American history/Colonial
Books--Prices--18th century
Princeton University
Land titles
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.--Clergy--18th century
College presidents


Birth 1714-01-04

Death 1757-09-24


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