Guide to the Collection

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Representative digitized documents from this collection:

Restrictions on Access

Use of the originals is restricted. This collection is available as color digital facsimiles (see links below).

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the papers of Boston clergyman and historian Thomas Prince (1687-1758).

Biographical Sketch

Thomas Prince was a Boston clergyman and historian. He served as minister at Boston's Old South (Third) Church from 1718 until his death in 1758. His published works included the multi-volume A Chronological History of New-England, in the Form of Annals.

Prince married Deborah Denny (1699-1766) in 1719, and the couple had five children: Thomas Prince, Jr. (1722-1748); Deborah Prince (1723-1744); Mercy Prince (1725-1752); Sarah Prince (later Gill) (1728-1771); and Grace Prince (1743-1743).

Collection Description

This collection consists of papers of Thomas Prince, including an astronomical diary containing brief, intermittent entries on phases of the moon, positioning of the planets, etc., 1 January 1701-29 December 1702; the sermon he delivered at his ordination as pastor of the Old South (Third) Church of Boston, 1 October 1718; notes on sermons by Joseph Sewall and others of Boston, 18 November 1722-3 April 1726; manuscript pages comprising a section of Volume I of his A Chronological History of New-England on the history of Plymouth Bay Colony, ca. 1736; and a sermon on the death of his son Thomas Prince, Jr., 9 October 1748.

Arrangement Note

This collection is arranged chronologically.

Acquisition Information

Thomas Prince's ordination sermon was given to the MHS by Luther S. Cushing in August 1834. The astronomical diary was purchased in December 1913. The funeral sermon of Thomas Prince, Jr. was given by Samuel H. Wheeler of Fairfield, Connecticut, in May 1918.

Restrictions on Access

Use of the originals is restricted. This collection is available as color digital facsimiles (see links below).

Other Formats

This collection is available as color digital facsimiles.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Box 1Envelope 1digitized
digitizedAstronomical diary, 1 January 1701-29 December 1702
Box 1Envelope 2digitized
digitizedOrdination sermon, 1 October 1718
Box 1Envelope 3digitized
digitizedSermon notes, 18 November 1722-3 April 1726

Notes written on the right-hand pages start from the front of the volume and notes written on the left-hand pages start from the back of the notebook. Use the rotation tool in the viewer to adjust images.

Box 1Envelope 4digitized
digitizedManuscript pages of A Chronological History of New-England, Volume I, ca. 1736
Box 1Envelope 5digitized
digitizedSermon on the death of Thomas Prince, Jr., 9 October 1748

Preferred Citation

Thomas Prince papers II, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.


Prince, Thomas, 1722-1748.
Sewall, Joseph, 1688-1769.


Third Church (Boston, Mass.).


Congregational churches--Clergy.
Funeral sermons--1748.
Massachusetts--History--New Plymouth, 1620-1691.
Ordination sermons--1718.