In the winter of 1879-1880, eleven juniors from the class of 1881 walked down Mercer Street and entered the east front room of Ivy Hall. Sitting together around a long wooden table, they were served by Henry Campbell, Ivy’s first steward.
When they joined fifteen seniors from the class of 1880 who took their meals in the west front room of the building (originally built to house Princeton’s law school), the first permanent Princeton eating club was born. Since 1879, Ivy has occupied three sites – the 100th anniversary of the current clubhouse at 43 Prospect Avenue was celebrated in 1998.
Today, The Ivy Club has a membership of 144 Princeton juniors and seniors. Ivy continues to draw a vibrant mix of students from all over the world to its venerable Dining Room for three meals each day. The graduate membership exceeds 3000 Princetonians who return to the Club on their visits to campus, and whose loyalty and support keep Ivy’s spirit and fabric strong.
More About The Ivy Club
- Griffin Wing: A new part of the club, opened in 2009. With its high ceilings, massive windows and large spaces, the new wing (named for Jim Griffin ’55, who was the Club’s president for 33 years) is a wonderful place to study, play chess, or have tea before an afternoon class. Library: Perhaps the Club’s most famous and elegant room. The library houses thousands of books from past members and serves as a great place for study and tranquility. Tap Room: A glorious and robust expanse of a room. The Ivy tap room doubles as a dance floor and haven for fun and revelry.
- Ivy hosts lots of events in the academic year. In addition to being open Thursday and Saturday night, there are formal events, special musical guests and even patio parties. There is merriment galore at the Ivy Club, and you also get to eat every meal there too.
- The food varies day by day (vegetarians don’t despair, there is also a “veggie” option.) For the picky eaters among us, there is always grilled chicken, salad bar, bagels, cereal, and PB&Js. Beyond that, meals are decided by the meticulous palate and expertise of Chef Jean. Except for Burger Thursday, there is always Burger Thursday.
- The Ivy Club is Princeton’s oldest eating club. It was founded in 1879 with Arthur Scribner as its first head. The first clubhouse was Ivy Hall, a brownstone building on Mercer Street in Princeton that still stands. It had been constructed in 1847 as the home for the Princeton Law School, a short-lived venture that lasted from 1847 to 1852. From the time of its founding until its incorporation in 1883, the Club was generally known as the Ivy Hall Eating Club. In 1883 the Club purchased an empty lot on Prospect Avenue, which was a dirt road at the time. Ivy erected a shingle-style clubhouse in 1884 on what is today the site of Colonial Club. The clubhouse was remodeled and extended in 1887-88. Following Ivy’s move to new quarters across Prospect Avenue some ten years later, its second clubhouse was used by Colonial before being sold.
- Notable alumni include the only two Princetonians who have been named All-Americans in two sports: Hobey Baker ’14 (Football and Hockey), and Redmond Finney ’51 (Football and Lacrosse). In addition are
Booth Tarkington ’93, Twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Laurence Rockefeller ’32, Venture Capitalist
F. Tremaine Billings ’33, Football All-American; Princeton’s Scholar-Athlete of the 20th Century
John Marshall Harlan ’20, Justice of the Supreme Court
Richard King Mellon ’22, Banker, Philanthropist, Major General, US Army
James A. Baker III ’52, Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State
William C. Ford, Jr. ’79, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company
Michael Lewis ’82, Author
Richard B. Fisher ’57, Philanthropist, Chairman of Morgan Stanley
Jack O. Horton ’60, Rhodes Scholar, twice Lacrosse All-American
Dan Sachs ’60, Rhodes Scholar, Winner of Roper Trophy for all-around athletic excellence
Christopher Cavoli ’87, General, United States Army
Joey Cheek ’11, Olympic Gold Medalist
Lauren Bush Lauren ’06, Founder of FEED Projects
Joining the Club
At the beginning of each year’s Spring Term, The Ivy Club invites a group of about 74 Princeton sophomores to become members. Ivy Bicker consists of 10 conversations with members whom you do not already know. Conversations range from 20 to 45 minutes. Our Bicker process takes place over the course of four days, Sunday January 24th to Thursday January 28th. Each sophomore who signs up for Bicker will be assigned to 10 random members. The sophomore will then be able to schedule a Zoom meeting with each of these members at any time throughout the 4 days of Bicker.
Sign up for Ivy Bicker at icc.princeton.edu.
If you have any questions about Ivy Bicker or you’re unable to attend your session for any reason, please contact Bicker Chair Brooke Baxter at firstname.lastname@example.org or President Miles Wilson at email@example.com.