Cap and Gown Club

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Cap and Gown Club
Cap and Gown 1908.jpg
Cap and Gown Club is located in Mercer County, New Jersey
Cap and Gown Club
Cap and Gown Club is located in New Jersey
Cap and Gown Club
Cap and Gown Club is located in the US
Cap and Gown Club
Location 61 Prospect Ave, Princeton, New Jersey
Coordinates 40°20′53.9″N 74°39′03.6″W / 40.348306°N 74.651000°W / 40.348306; -74.651000Coordinates: 40°20′53.9″N 74°39′03.6″W / 40.348306°N 74.651000°W / 40.348306; -74.651000
Built 1908
Architect Raleigh C. Gildersleeve
Architectural style Norman Gothic revival
Part of Princeton Historic District (#75001143[1])
Added to NRHP 27 June 1975

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).[2] Members are selected through a selective process called bicker. Sometimes known as "the Illustrious Cap and 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."

Cap was the most bickered eating club in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015. It has been the most selective club on the street since 2013, with 227 students bickering in Spring 2015, forty-four percent of whom were offered membership.[3]


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.[4] 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.[5]

Notable Cap and 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. Neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield, who pioneered the concept of the brain homunculus, was also a member of Cap and Gown.[6]


  1. ^ "Princeton Historic District" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Donaldson, Scott (2001). Fool for Love: F. Scott Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-595-18170-4. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Princeton University: An Interactive Campus History, 1746–1996
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ Shenstone, Allen Goodrich (Autumn 1982). "Princeton University Library Chronicle" (PDF). Princeton 1910-1914. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 

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