Princeton University Sesquicentennial Commemorative Medal

Princeton University Sesquicentennial Commemorative Medal

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Description (Brief)
This commemorative medal was made by the Scovill Manufacturing Company of Waterbury, Connecticut in 1896. The Scovill Company was established in 1802 as a button manufacturer and is still in business today. Scovill was an early industrial American innovator, adapting armory manufacturing processes to mass-produce a variety of consumer goods including buttons, daguerreotype mats, and medals.
Obverse: Image of Princeton’s Nassau Hall. The legend reads: AVLA NASSOVICA MDCCCXCVI
Currently not on view
Object Name
Scovill Manufacturing Company
overall: 7.6 cm; 3 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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Work and Industry: Production and Manufacturing
Industry & Manufacturing
Scovill Manufacturing Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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The Princeton University Sesquicentennial Commemorative Medal was designed by Thomas Shields Clarke. From the Princeton College Bulletin, December 1896: THE SESQUICENTENNIAL MEMORIAL MEDAL. At a meeting of the Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee held in February 1895, it was decided to issue a memorial medal. Accordingly, the work was put in the hands of Mr. Thomas Shields Clarke, of the class of 1882, to make a series of studies of Nassau Hall, which it was decided was to form the subject for the face of the medal. It was resolved that a Latin inscription should be placed on the back of the medal. Mr. Clarke completed his clay model, of nearly eleven inches in diameter, and from it made a plaster cast, which was then sent to the United States Mint in Philadelphia and reduced on a pair of dies three inches in diameter, under the superintendence of Mr. Charles E. Barber, of the engraving department of the Mint. Two proof medals were then struck in bronze and proved entirely satisfactory. The medals were then struck off, one copy in pure gold, thirty copies in silver and five hundred copies in bronze. The Mint also arranged for making cases for the medals. Each case was nearly five . inches square and was lined on the inside with black velvet with a touch of orange velvet edging. The Latin inscription on the back together with the words on the face is so arranged as to bring in the College of New Jersey, Nassau Hall, Princeton University, the date 1896 and the statement of the change of title. The lettering is done in capitals of the Augustan period. Translated into English it reads: "What was once the College of New Jersey, now fulfills one hundred and fifty years, and as Princeton University beholds a new age." Above the inscription is placed, in a Roman bracket, the earliest motto of Princeton: "Dei sub numine viget."

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