Cap and Gown Club

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The Cap & Gown Club (1908)

Cap and Gown Club, founded in 1890, is an eating club at Princeton University, in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. Colloquially known as "Cap", the club is one of the "Big Four" eating clubs at Princeton (the others are The Ivy Club, University Cottage Club, and Tiger Inn).[1] Members are selected through a selective process called bicker. Sometimes known as "the Illustrious Cap & Gown Club", it was the first of the currently selective eating clubs to accept women. Though personalities of eating clubs certainly change throughout the years, Cap and Gown is described in F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise as "anti-alcoholic, faintly religious and politically powerful." Today, the club's membership represents a diverse group of students, with a large percentage of the membership participating in varsity or club sports. In 2011, Cap was the most bickered eating club, with 204 students bickering, 47 percent of whom were offered membership.[2]


Cap is located at 61 Prospect Avenue between Cloister Inn and the University Cottage Club. It is the only Princeton eating club to stay in the same geographic location for its entire existence.[3] Three Cap clubhouses have occupied this location. The first was completed in 1892. In 1895 when the club outgrew this clubhouse, the structure was moved across the street, and William Ralph Emerson was commissioned to design the second clubhouse (completed in 1896). Ten years later, Cap was ready to expand again. The Emerson building was moved away, and Raleigh Gildersleeve designed the clubhouse that Cap still occupies today. A major renovation and expansion of the clubhouse to increase the size of the clubhouse in step with its growing membership was completed in February 2011.[4]

Notable Cap & Gown Alumni include Dean Cain '88, Brooke Shields '87 and Donald Rumsfeld '54. The distinguished diplomat George F. Kennan resigned from Cap after briefly joining and working as the Assistant Manager.


  1. ^ Donaldson, Scott (2001). Fool for Love: F. Scott Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-595-18170-4. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Princeton University: An Interactive Campus History, 1746–1996
  4. ^ [2]

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