History

In 1958, at the request of the Graduate InterClub Council, the Graduate Board of Tower Club, of which James Newman ’26 was Chairman, made a study of ways to “strengthen the community of interests between the Prospect Avenue eating clubs and Princeton University”, and issued a report containing the Tower proposals. The goals emanating from the study were “(1) to help the University achieve its education and financial objectives, and (2) to help Prospect Avenue solve its own increasingly critical social and economic problems, which, if unsolved, will tend inevitably to become the University’s problems, perhaps within the near future”.

The report emphasized the point that “economic considerations for Prospect Avenue as a whole cannot be separated from the social and educational aspects of the Princeton college community. Consequently, a key proposal is to add to Prospect Avenue activities a new and wholesome function–the carrying out of certain educational programs–while continuing to strengthen existing social, eating, and rooming functions.”

With the persistence of Newman and the assistance of others, several of the basic recommendations were implemented which led to the creation of The Princeton Tower Foundation whose board of directors included members of Tower Club as well as other clubs. The Foundation was able to assist Tower Club in creating study and seminar facilities, expanding its educational library, providing scholarships to some of its members, and annually appointing a number of faculty fellows who were encouraged to dine at the club from time to time.

By 1966, the benefits that were accruing to Tower Club had been observed by the officers of the other clubs, a few of whom were belatedly wondering whether they should affiliate with this successful enterprise. To encourage such affiliation, the name officially was changed to Princeton Prospect Foundation. It was over a decade later, however, before other clubs joined Tower Club and shared in the benefits of this Foundation.

By the early 1980s, eight clubs officially were associated with the Foundation: Campus Club, Cap and Gown Club, Cloister Inn, Colonial Club, Elm Club (now part of Cannon Dial Elm Club), Quadrangle Club, Terrace Club , and Tower Club. Since then, Charter Club, Cottage Club, and Ivy Club joined, bringing to eleven the number of Princeton’s eating clubs associated with the Foundation. In the spring of 2000, Tiger Inn joined the Foundation, allowing Princeton Prospect Foundation to be of use to all of Princeton’s Eating Clubs. However, Cottage Club subsequently withdrew from the Foundation for reasons related to its individual listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Also, when Campus Club closed its doors in 2005, it too was no longer part of the Foundation.

In more recent years, the mission of Princeton Prospect Foundation has evolved to emphasize the preservation and improvement of the historically significant clubhouses in addition to encouraging the educational and charitable pursuits of eating club members.