Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton is a municipality with a borough form of government in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States, that was established in its current form on January 1, 2013, through the consolidation of the now-defunct Borough of Princeton and Princeton Township. As of the 2010 United States Census, the municipality's population was 28,572, reflecting the former township's population of 16,265, along with the 12,307 in the former borough.
Princeton was founded before the American Revolutionary War. It is the home of Princeton University, which bears its name and moved to the community in 1756 from its previous location in Newark. Although its association with the university is primarily what makes Princeton a college town, other important institutions in the area include the Institute for Advanced Study, Westminster Choir College, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton Theological Seminary, Opinion Research Corporation, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Siemens Corporate Research, SRI International, FMC Corporation, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Amrep, Church and Dwight, Berlitz International, and Dow Jones & Company.
Princeton is roughly equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia. It is close to many major highways that serve both cities, and receives major television and radio broadcasts from each. It is also close to Trenton, New Jersey's capital city, New Brunswick and Edison.
The New Jersey governor's official residence has been in Princeton since 1945, when Morven in what was then Princeton Borough became the first Governor's mansion. It was later replaced by the larger Drumthwacket, a colonial mansion located in the former Township. Morven became a museum property of the New Jersey Historical Society.
Princeton was ranked 15th of the top 100 towns in the United States to Live and Work In by Money magazine in 2005.
Throughout much of its history, the community was composed of two separate municipalities: a township and a borough. The central borough was completely surrounded by the township. The borough seceded from the township in 1894 in a dispute over school taxes; the two municipalities later formed the Princeton Public Schools, and some other public services were conducted together before they were reunited into a single Princeton in January 2013. Princeton Borough contained Nassau Street, the main commercial street, most of the University campus, and incorporated most of the urban area until the postwar suburbanization. The borough and township had roughly equal populations.
Early historyThe Lenni Lenape Native Americans were the earliest identifiable inhabitants of the Princeton area. Europeans settled the area in the late part of the 17th century. The first European to find his home in the boundaries of the future municipality was Henry Greenland. He built his house in 1683 along with a tavern, where representatives of West Jersey and East Jersey met to set the boundaries between the two provinces.
Originally, Princeton was known only as part of nearby Stony Brook. Nathaniel Fitz Randolph, a native of the town, attested in his private journal on December 28, 1758, that Princeton was named in 1724 upon the making/construction of the first house in the area by James Leonard, who first referred to the community as Princetown when describing the location of his large estate in his diary. The community was later known by a variety of names, including: Princetown, Prince's Town and finally Princeton. The name Princeton was first used in 1724 and became common within the subsequent decade. Although there is no official documentary backing, the municipality is said to be named after King William III, Prince William of Orange of the House of Nassau. Another theory suggests that the name came from a large land-owner named Henry Prince, but no evidence backs this contention. A royal prince seems a more likely eponym for the settlement, as three nearby towns had names for royalty: Kingston, Queenstown and Princessville.
, which briefly served as the capitol of the United States of America in 1783
When Richard Stockton, one of the founders of the township, died in 1709 he left his estate to his sons, who helped to expand property and the population. Based on the 1880 United States Census, the population of Princeton comprised 3,209 persons. Local population has expanded from the nineteenth century. According to the 2010 Census, Princeton Borough had 12,307 inhabitants, while Princeton Township had 16,265. The numbers have become stagnant; since the establishment of Princeton University in 1756, the town's population spikes every year during the fall and winter and drops significantly over the course of the summer.
RevolutionIn the pivotal Battle of Princeton in January 1777, George Washington forced the British to evacuate southern New Jersey. After the victory, Princeton hosted the first Legislature under the State Constitution to decide the State's seal, Governor and organization of its government. In addition, two of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence—Richard Stockton and John Witherspoon lived in Princeton. Princetonians honored their citizens' legacy by naming two streets in the downtown area after them.
On January 10, 1938, Henry Ewing Hale called for a group of citizens to establish a "Historical Society of Princeton." Later the Bainbridge House, constructed in 1766 by Job Stockton, would be dedicated for this purpose. Previously the house was used once for a meeting of Continental Congress in 1783, a general office, and as the Princeton Public Library. The House is owned by Princeton University and is leased to the Princeton Historical Society for one dollar per year. The house has kept its original staircase, flooring and paneled walls. Around 70% of the house has been unaltered. Aside from safety features such as wheelchair access and electrical work, the house was has been restored to its original look.
Government historyDuring the most stirring events in its history, Princeton was a wide spot in the road; the boundary between Somerset County and Middlesex County ran right through Princeton, along the high road between New York and Philadelphia, now Nassau Street. When Mercer County was formed in 1838, part of West Windsor Township was added to the portion of Montgomery Township which was included in the new county, and made into Princeton Township; the area between the southern boundary of the former Borough and the Delaware and Raritan Canal was added to Princeton Township in 1853. Princeton Borough became a separate municipality in 1894.
In the early nineteenth century, New Jersey boroughs had been quasi-independent subdivisions chartered within existing townships that did not have full autonomy. Princeton Borough received such a charter in 1813, as part of Montgomery and West Windsor Townships; it continued to be part of Princeton Township until the Borough Act of 1894, which required that each township to form a single school district; rather than do so, Princeton Borough petitioned to be separated. Two minor boundary changes united the then site of the Princeton Hospital and of the Princeton Regional High School inside the Borough, in 1928 and 1951 respectively.
GeographyAccording to the United States Census Bureau, Princeton has a total area of 18.363 square miles, including 17.932 square miles of land and 0.431 square miles of water.
Cedar Grove, Port Mercer, Princeton Basin, and Jugtown are unincorporated communities that have been absorbed into Greater Princeton over the years, but still maintain their own community identity.
Princeton borders the municipalities of Hopewell Township, Lawrence and West Windsor Townships in Mercer County; Plainsboro Township and South Brunswick Township in Middlesex County; and Franklin Township and Montgomery Township in Somerset County.
United States Postal ZIP codes for Princeton include 08540, 08541, 08542, 08543 and 08544.
ClimateAccording to the Köppen climate classification system, Princeton, New Jersey has a hot-summer, wet all year, humid continental climate. Dfa climates are characterized by at least one month having an average mean temperature ≤ 32.0 °F, at least four months with an average mean temperature ≥ 50.0 °F, at least one month with an average mean temperature ≥ 71.6 °F, and no significant precipitation difference between seasons. During the summer months, episodes of extreme heat and humidity can occur with heat index values ≥ 100 °F. On average, the wettest month of the year is July which corresponds with the annual peak in thunderstorm activity. During the winter months, episodes of extreme cold and wind can occur with wind chill values < 0 °F. The plant hardiness zone at the Princeton Municipal Court is 6b with an average annual extreme minimum air temperature of -0.9 °F. The average seasonal snowfall total is and the average snowiest month is February which corresponds with the annual peak in nor'easter activity.
EcologyAccording to the A. W. Kuchler U.S. potential natural vegetation types, Princeton, New Jersey would have an Appalachian Oak vegetation type with an Eastern Hardwood Forest vegetation form.
DemographicsAs of the 2010 United States Census, the borough and township had a combined population of 28,572.
According to the website Data USA, Princeton has a population of 30,168 people, of which 85% are US citizens. The ethnic composition of the population is 20,393 White residents, 4,636 Asian residents, 2,533 Hispanic residents, 1,819 Black residents, and 618 Two+ residents. The most common foreign languages are Chinese, Spanish and French, but compared to other places, Princeton has a relative high number of Scandinavian, Italian and Chinese.
Government and politics
Local governmentPrinceton is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government, which is used in 218 municipalities statewide, making it the most common form of government in New Jersey. The governing body is comprised of a Mayor and a Council, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Council is comprised of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Princeton is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
The Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office, serves as Princeton's chief executive officer and nominates appointees to various boards and commissions subject to approval of the Council. The Mayor presides at Council meetings and votes in the case of a tie or a few other specific cases. The Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Council has administrative powers and is the policy-making body for Princeton. The Council approves appointments made by the Mayor. Council Members serve on various boards and committees and act as liaisons to certain Departments, Committees or Boards.
, the Mayor of Princeton is Democrat Liz Lempert, whose term of office ends December 31, 2020. Members of the Princeton Council are Council President David F. Cohen, Leticia Fraga, Eve Niedergang, Dwaine Williamson, Michelle Pirone Lambros,and Mia Sacks.
In 2018, Princeton had an average property tax bill of $19,388, the highest in the county, compared to an average bill of $8,767 statewide.
Merger of borough and townshipAfter four previous efforts at consolidation had failed, the residents of both the Borough of Princeton and the Township of Princeton voted on November 8, 2011, to merge the two municipalities into one. In Princeton Borough 1,385 voted for and 902 voted against, while in Princeton Township 3,542 voted for and 604 voted against. Proponents of the merger asserted that when the merger is completed the new municipality of Princeton would save $3.2 million as a result of some scaled down services including layoffs of 15 government workers including 9 police officers. Opponents of the measure challenged the findings of a report citing a cost savings as unsubstantiated, and noted that voter representation would be reduced in a smaller government structure. The merger was the first in the state since 1997, when Pahaquarry Township voted to consolidate with Hardwick Township The consolidation took effect on January 1, 2013.
Federal, state and county representationPrinceton is located in the 12th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 16th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 Census, the former Princeton Borough and Princeton Township had both been in the 15th state legislative district.
PoliticsAs of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 18,049 registered voters in Princeton, of which 9,184 were registered as Democrats, 2,140 were registered as Republicans and 6,703 were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 22 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 75.4% of the vote, ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 23.0%, and other candidates with 1.6%, among the 14,752 ballots cast by the municipality's 20,328 registered voters, for a turnout of 72.6%.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 58.8% of the vote, ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 39.2%, and other candidates with 2.0%, among the 7,279 ballots cast by the municipality's 18,374 registered voters, for a turnout of 39.6%.
Colleges and universities, one of the world's most prominent research universities, is a dominant feature of the community. Its main campus has its historic center on Nassau Street and stretches south from there. Its James Forrestal satellite campus is located in Plainsboro Township, and some playing fields lie within adjacent West Windsor Township. Princeton University is often featured at or near the top of various national and global university rankings, topping the 2019 list of U.S. News & World Report.
Westminster Choir College, a school of music presently owned by Rider University, was established in Princeton in 1932. Before relocating to Princeton, the school resided in Dayton, Ohio and then briefly in Ithaca, New York.
Princeton Theological Seminary, the first and oldest seminary in America of the Presbyterian Church, has its main academic campus in Princeton, with residential housing located just outside of Princeton in West Windsor Township.
The Institute for Advanced Study is in the borough and maintains extensive land holdings there covering.
Mercer County Community College in West Windsor is a two-year public college serving Princeton residents and all those from Mercer County.
Primary and secondary schools
Public schoolsThe Princeton Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2017–18 school year, the district, comprising six schools, had an enrollment of 3,796 students and 337.6 classroom teachers, for a student–teacher ratio of 11.2:1.
Schools in the district are
Community Park Elementary School,
Johnson Park Elementary School,
Littlebrook Elementary School,
Riverside Elementary School,
John Witherspoon Middle School with 719 students in grades 6-8 and
Princeton High School with 1,610 students in grades 9-12.
New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Princeton High School as the 59th-best high school in New Jersey in its 2012 rankings of the "Top Public High Schools" in New Jersey, after being ranked 44th in 2010. The school was also ranked as the 10th best school in New Jersey by U.S. News & World Report.
In the early 1990s, redistricting occurred between the Community Park and Johnson Park School districts, as the population within both districts had increased due to residential development. Concerns were also raised about the largely white, wealthy student population attending Johnson Park and the more racially and economically diverse population at Community Park. As a result of the redistricting, portions of the affluent Western Section neighborhood were redistricted to CP, and portions of the racially and economically diverse John Witherspoon neighborhood were redistricted to JP.
The Princeton Charter School operates under a charter granted by the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education. The school is a public school that operates independently of the Princeton Regional Schools, and is funded on a per student basis by locally raised tax revenues.
Eighth grade students from all of Mercer County are eligible to apply to attend the high school programs offered by the Mercer County Technical Schools, a county-wide vocational school district that offers full-time career and technical education at its Health Sciences Academy, STEM Academy and Academy of Culinary Arts, with no tuition charged to students for attendance.
Private schoolsPrivate schools located in Princeton include The Lewis School of Princeton, Princeton Day School, Princeton Friends School, Hun School of Princeton, and Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science.
St. Paul's Catholic School founded in 1878, is the oldest and only coeducational Catholic school, joining Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart and Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, which operate under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton.
Schools that are outside of Princeton but have Princeton addresses include the Wilberforce School, the Laurel School of Princeton, the French-American School of Princeton, YingHua International School, the now defunct American Boychoir School in Plainsboro Township, Chapin School, Princeton Junior School in Lawrence Township, the Waldorf School of Princeton, Princeton Montessori School in Montgomery Township, Eden Institute in West Windsor Township, and Princeton Latin Academy in Hopewell.
Public librariesThe Princeton Public Library's current facility on Witherspoon Street was opened in April 2004 as part of the ongoing downtown redevelopment project, and replaced a building dating from 1966. The library itself was founded in 1909.
Miscellaneous educationThe Princeton Community Japanese Language School teaches weekend Japanese classes for Japanese citizen children abroad to the standard of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and it also has classes for people with Japanese as a second language. The main office of the school is in Princeton although the office used on Sundays is in Memorial Hall at Rider University in Lawrence Township in Mercer County. Courses are taught at Memorial Hall at Rider University.
The Princeton Learning Cooperative provides support for student-directed learning as "a hybrid of homeschooling and school" for teens.
Roads and highways, the borough had a total of of roadways, of which were maintained by the municipality, by Mercer County, and by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
U.S. Route 206 and New Jersey Route 27 pass through Princeton, along with County Routes 583, 571 and 533.
Other major roads that are accessible outside the municipality include U.S. Route 1, Interstate 295, and the New Jersey Turnpike/Interstate 95. The closest Turnpike exits are Exit 8A in Monroe Township, Exit 8 in East Windsor, and Exit 7A in Robbinsville.
A number of proposed highways around Princeton have been canceled. The Somerset Freeway was to pass just outside the municipality before ending in Hopewell and Franklin. This project was canceled in 1980. Route 92 was supposed to remedy the lack of limited-access highways to the greater Princeton area. The road would have started at Route 1 near Ridge Road in South Brunswick and ended at Exit 8A of the Turnpike. However, that project was cancelled in 2006.
Public transportationPrinceton is roughly equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia. Since the 19th century, it has been connected by rail to both of these cities by the Princeton Branch rail line to the nearby Princeton Junction Station on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. The Princeton train station was moved from under Blair Hall to a more southerly location on University Place in 1918, and was moved further southeast in 2013. Commuting to New York from Princeton became commonplace after the Second World War. While the Amtrak ride time is similar to New York and to Philadelphia, the commuter-train ride to New York — via NJ Transit's Northeast Corridor Line — is generally much faster than the equivalent train ride to Philadelphia, which involves a transfer to SEPTA trains in Trenton. NJ Transit provides shuttle service between the Princeton and Princeton Junction stations; the train is locally called the "Dinky", and has also been known as the "PJ&B". Two train cars, or sometimes just one, are used.
NJ Transit provides bus service to Trenton on the 606 route and local service on route 605.
Coach USA Suburban Transit operates frequent daily service to midtown NYC on the 100 route, and weekday rush-hour service to downtown NYC on the 600 route.
Princeton and Princeton University provide the FreeB and Tiger Transit local bus services.
Airis a public airport lying 3 miles north of Downtown Princeton in Montgomery Township. The private Forrestal Airport was located on Princeton University property, 2 miles east of the main campus, from the early 1950s through the early 1990s.
The closest commercial airport is Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing Township, about from the center of Princeton, which is served by Frontier Airlines nonstop to and from 17 cities. Other nearby major airports are Newark Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport, located and away, respectively.
Note: this list does not include people whose only time in Princeton was as a student. Only selected faculty are shown, whose notability extends beyond their field into popular culture. See Faculty and Alumni lists above.
- Matthew Abelson, hammered dulcimer player
- Robert Adrain, Irish-born mathematician known for his formulation of the method of least squares.
- George Akerlof, economist who shared the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
- Archibald Alexander, Presbyterian theologian and first professor at the Princeton Theological Seminary
- James Waddel Alexander, Presbyterian minister and theologian
- Joseph Addison Alexander, biblical scholar
- William Cowper Alexander, lawyer, politician and insurance executive, who served as President of the New Jersey Senate and as President of the Equitable Life Assurance Society.
- Svetlana Alliluyeva, daughter of Joseph Stalin, defected to United States and lived in Princeton
- Lylah M. Alphonse, journalist
- Saul Amarel, professor of computer science at Rutgers University, best known for his pioneering work in artificial intelligence
- Trey Anastasio, of the band Phish, lived in Princeton with his family and attended Princeton Day School
- William H. Angoff, research scientist who worked for the Educational Testing Service, where he helped improve the SAT.
- James Isbell Armstrong, academic who was President of Middlebury College from 1963 to 1975.
- Milton Babbitt, composer and Princeton University professor
- William Bainbridge, Commodore in the United States Navy.
- Molly Bang, children's book illustrator.
- George Barna, founder of The Barna Group, a market research firm specializing in studying the religious beliefs and behavior of Americans.
- Chris Barron born 1968), lead singer of the Spin Doctors
- Charles Clinton Beatty, Presbyterian minister, seminary founder and academic philanthropist.
- Saul Bellow, author and Princeton University professor
- Paul Benacerraf, philosopher and Princeton University professor
- Peter Benchley, author and screenwriter, Jaws, The Island, lived and died in Princeton
- Wendy Benchley, marine and environmental conservation advocate and former Princeton Borough councilwoman who was the wife of author Peter Benchley.
- Ed Berger, librarian, discographer, author, editor, historian, photographer, educator, jazz producer and record label owner.
- Stanley S. Bergen Jr. physician, university president, and professor, who was President of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey from 1971 to 1998.
- Laurie Berkner, musician best known for her work as a children's musical artist.
- Geoffrey Berman, lawyer currently serving as the Interim United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
- Garrett Birkhoff, mathematician best known for his work in lattice theory
- Michael Bradley, soccer player
- Avery Brooks, actor, singer and educator
- George Harold Brown, research engineer at RCA, lived in Princeton
- Aaron Burr, third Vice President of the United States ; killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, grew up in Princeton and is buried there
- Aaron Burr Sr., co-founder of Princeton University and its second president
- Lesley Bush, diver who represented the United States at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where she received a gold medal in the 10 meter platform.
- Sim Cain, drummer for Rollins Band, grew up in Princeton
- Melisa Can, professional basketball player at the power forward position who plays for Adana ASKİ.
- Mary Chapin Carpenter, country/folk singer, born and grew up in Princeton
- William Ashburner Cattell, civil engineer and railroad company president; born in Princeton
- Damien Chazelle, film director, producer, and writer. Youngest winner of the Academy Award for Best Director.
- Blair Clark, journalist and political activist who was general manager / vice president of CBS News and Senator Eugene McCarthy's national campaign manager for the 1968 presidential nomination.
- Patrick Clark, chef
- Frances Folsom Cleveland, First Lady, died in and is buried in Princeton
- Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States, retired to, died in, and buried in Princeton
- Ruth Cleveland, daughter of Grover and Frances Cleveland born between Cleveland's two terms in office, died at age 12 and is buried at Princeton Cemetery
- Chris Conley, lead singer of Saves the Day, born and grew up in Princeton
- John Crowley, biotechnology executive and entrepreneur and the chairman and CEO of Amicus Therapeutics.
- Whitney Darrow Jr., New Yorker cartoonist, born in Princeton
- Jon Drezner, architect and designer.
- Howard Duffield, Presbyterian minister.
- Freeman Dyson, theoretical physicist and fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study
- Jonathan Edwards, Congregationalist Church theologian, Princeton University's third president.
- Albert Einstein, physicist, fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study
- T. S. Eliot, author
- Elmer William Engstrom, President and CEO of RCA
- Bret Ernst, comedian and actor.
- Katherine Ettl, sculptor best known for her monumental bronzes.
- Charles Evered, playwright, screenwriter and director, resident of Princeton
- Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and president of Ricks College, born in Princeton
- Robert Fagles, professor, poet, and academic, best known for his many translations of ancient Greek and Roman classics, especially his translations of the epic poems of Homer
- Mervin Field, public opinion pollster whose career in polling began with a poll of Princeton High School students in a class election.
- Abner S. Flagg, businessman and politicians, served in the Wisconsin State Assembly and as Mayor of Edgerton, Wisconsin
- Richard Ford, writer, taught at Princeton University, wrote several books set in a fictionalized Haddam, New Jersey, based in part on Princeton
- Colette Fu, photographer, book artist and paper engineer.
- N. Howell Furman, professor of analytical chemistry who helped develop the electrochemical uranium separation process as part of the Manhattan Project.
- George Gallup, statistician and creator of the Gallup poll, lived and is buried in Princeton
- George Gallup Jr., pollster and author
- Kurt Gödel, Austrian-American logician, mathematician and philosopher, fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study
- Caroline Gordon, novelist, lived in Princeton from 1956 to 1975
- Michael Graves, architect, lived and worked in Princeton
- Fred Greenstein, political scientist.
- Ariela Gross, historian who is the John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law and History at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.
- Chris Harford, self-taught singer, songwriter, guitarist and painter.
- Ethan Hawke, actor
- Sarah Hay, actress and ballet dancer with the Semperoper in Dresden
- Joseph Hewes, signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, born in Princeton
- Charles Hodge, theologian and Principal of Princeton Theological Seminary
- Herbert Huffman, musician and choir director, founder of the American Boychoir School
- Harold L. Humes, novelist who was the originator of The Paris Review literary magazine.
- Guy Hutchinson, author, broadcaster, theme park historian and comedian.
- Robert Wood Johnson II, Chairman of Johnson & Johnson, and his wife Margaret, lived in Morven
- George F. Kennan, diplomat, historian, fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study
- Gina Kolata, reporter for The New York Times
- Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winner, economist, professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University
- Matt Lalli, professional lacrosse player for the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse
- Chang-Rae Lee, writer, Princeton University professor
- Arthur Lithgow, actor, director, educator, and managing director of Princeton's McCarter Theatre
- John Lithgow, actor, lived in Princeton in his late teens
- Emily Mann, artistic director of Princeton's McCarter Theatre
- Thomas Mann, author
- Henry Martin, cartoonist at The New Yorker, lived and worked in Princeton
- John McPhee, writer, lives in Princeton
- Rachel Lambert Mellon, horticulturalist, gardener, philanthropist and art collector
- Steve "Buddy" Miller, Nashville session musician, grew up in Princeton and attended Princeton High School
- E. Spencer Miller, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
- Jeannette Mirsky, author who was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1947 for her biographical writings on the history of exploration
- Toni Morrison, author, Nobel Laureate, Princeton University professor
- Paul Muldoon, Irish poet
- Jeanette Mundt, painter, best known for her works in the 2019 Whitney Biennial.
- John Forbes Nash Jr., mathematician, Nobel Prize winner, subject of A Beautiful Mind, Princeton University professor
- John von Neumann, Hungarian-American mathematician at Princeton University and Institute for Advanced Study
- Bebe Neuwirth, actress, grew up in Princeton
- Joyce Carol Oates, writer, Princeton University professor
- John O'Hara, author, lived in and is buried in Princeton
- Charles Smith Olden, Governor of New Jersey during the American Civil War
- A. Dayton Oliphant, Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1945 to 1946, and from 1948 to 1957
- Gregory Olsen, entrepreneur, engineer and scientist who, in October 2005, became the third private citizen to make a self-funded trip to the International Space Station
- J. Robert Oppenheimer, theoretical physicist, director of the Institute for Advanced Study
- Alicia Ostriker, poet and scholar who writes Jewish feminist poetry.
- Jeremiah P. Ostriker, astronomer.
- Barbara Piasecka Johnson, Polish-born American humanitarian, philanthropist, art connoisseur and collector
- John Popper, lead singer of the band Blues Traveler
- Andy Potts, triathlete who represented the United States in triathlon at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
- Pete Raymond, former rower who competed in the 1968 Summer Olympics and in the 1972 Summer Olympics.
- Christopher Reeve, actor, grew up in Princeton, attended Princeton Day School
- Paul Robeson, singer, actor, athlete, civil rights activist, born and raised in Princeton
- Arnold Roth, cartoonist, longtime Princeton resident
- William E. Schluter, politician who served in the New Jersey General Assembly and the New Jersey Senate.
- Ralph Schoenstein, writer, lived in Princeton up to his death
- John Schneider, professional baseball coach for the Toronto Blue Jays.
- Bill Schroeder, Major League Baseball player for the Milwaukee Brewers and California Angels, Brewers commentator for Fox Sports Wisconsin
- Roger Sessions, composer, Princeton University professor.
- Tsutomu Shimomura, Japanese-American scientist and computer security expert.
- Andrew Shue, actor and professional soccer player, grew up in northern New Jersey with sister, actress Elisabeth Shue, lives in Princeton
- Michael Showalter, comedian, actor, writer, and director, born in Princeton, attended Princeton High School
- Barbara Boggs Sigmund, mayor of Princeton
- Peter Singer, moral philosopher, bioethicist and Princeton University professor
- Shelley Smith, actress
- Tom Snow, musician
- Gennady Spirin, artist
- Betsey Stockton, educator and missionary, manumitted from slavery and later retired to and died in Princeton
- John P. Stockton, U.S. Senator from New Jersey, lived in Princeton
- Richard Stockton, signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, lived in and is buried in Princeton
- Richard Stockton, U.S. Senator from New Jersey, lived in Princeton
- Robert F. Stockton, United States Navy commodore, U.S. Military Governor of California, lived in Princeton
- Robert Stone, director and documentary filmmaker.
- Jon Tenney, actor, born and raised in Princeton
- Paul Tulane, benefactor and namesake of Tulane University
- Immanuel Velikovsky, controversial theorist and acquaintance of Albert Einstein
- Andrew Wiles, mathematician who proved Fermat's Last Theorem, Princeton University professor
- Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, 13th president of Princeton University, Governor of New Jersey
- John Witherspoon, signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, president of Princeton University
- Edward Witten, mathematician and physicist, fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study
- Richard L. Wright, political leader who held a number of positions at both the state and national level
- Sarah Zelenka, rower at the 2012 Summer Olympics
- Vladimir K. Zworykin, Russian-American engineer, inventor and television pioneer
- All of the members of Blues Traveler, as well as Chris Barron are from Princeton and were high school friends.
- All sitting New Jersey governors since 1945 have had their official residence in Princeton, first at Morven and since 1982 at Drumthwacket, but not all have actually lived in these houses.
Princeton in popular culture
FilmPrinceton was the setting of the Academy Award-winning A Beautiful Mind about the schizophrenic mathematician John Nash. It was largely filmed in central New Jersey, including some Princeton locations. However, many scenes of "Princeton" were actually filmed at Fordham University's Rose Hill campus in the Bronx.
The 1994 film I.Q., featuring Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins, and Walter Matthau as Albert Einstein, was also set in Princeton, and was filmed in the area. It includes some geographic stretches, including Matthau looking through a telescope from the roof of "Princeton Hospital" to see Ryan and Robbins' characters kissing on the Princeton Battlefield.
Historical films which used Princeton as a setting but were not filmed there include Wilson, a 1944 biographical film about Woodrow Wilson.
In his 1989 independent feature film Stage Fright, independent filmmaker Brad Mays shot a drama class scene in the Princeton High School auditorium, using PHS students as extras. On October 18, 2013, Mays' feature documentary I Grew Up in Princeton had its premiere showing at Princeton High School. The film, described in one Princeton newspaper as a "deeply personal 'coming-of-age story' that yields perspective on the role of perception in a town that was split racially, economically and sociologically", is a portrayal of life in the venerable university town during the tumultuous period of the late sixties through the early seventies.
Scenes from the beginning of Across the Universe were filmed on the Princeton University campus.
Parts of were filmed in Princeton. Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf were filming on Princeton University campus for two days during the summer of 2008.
Scenes from the 2008 movie The Happening were filmed in Princeton.
TV and radioThe 1938 Orson Welles radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, is set partly in nearby Grover's Mill, and includes a fictional professor from Princeton University as a main character, but the action never moves directly into Princeton.
The TV show House was set in Princeton, at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, and establishing shots for the hospital display the Frist Campus Center of Princeton University. The actual University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro opened on May 22, 2012, exactly one day after the finale of House aired.
The 1980 television miniseries Oppenheimer is partly set in Princeton.
Literature's literary debut, This Side of Paradise, is a loosely autobiographical story of his years at Princeton University.
Princeton University's Creative Writing program includes several nationally and internationally prominent writers, making the community a hub of contemporary literature.
Many of Richard Ford's novels are set in Haddam, New Jersey, a fictionalized Princeton.
Joyce Carol Oates' 2004 novel Take Me, Take Me With You is set in Princeton.
New Jersey author Judy Blume set her novel Superfudge in Princeton.
Points of interest
- Nassau Christian Center
- Nassau Presbyterian Church
- Princeton United Methodist Church
- Princeton University Chapel
- St Paul's Roman Catholic Church
- Stone Hill Church of Princeton
- Stony Brook Meeting House and Cemetery
- Trinity Church, Princeton
- Institute for Advanced Study and Institute Woods
- Princeton Theological Seminary
- Princeton University
- Westminster Choir College
- Princeton University Art Museum
- Albert Einstein House, located at 112 Mercer Street, was the home of Albert Einstein from 1936 until his death in 1955.
- Drumthwacket, the official residence of the Governor of New Jersey, is one of only four official governor's residences in the country that is not located within its state capital.
- Jasna Polana
- Jugtown Historic District is a cluster of historic buildings around the intersection of Harrison and Nassau Street that dates to colonial times.
- King's Highway Historic District
- Kingston Mill Historic District
- Maybury Hill is the boyhood home of Joseph Hewes, who later moved to North Carolina and was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence for that state.
- Mountain Avenue Historic District
- Nassau Club
- Nassau Hall
- Nassau Inn
- Princeton Battlefield State Park
- Princeton Battle Monument
- Princeton Cemetery
- Princeton Historic District
- Princeton Ice Company
- Updike Farmstead
- The Washington Oak
- Westland Mansion
- Witherspoon Street School for Colored Children
- The D&R Canal State Park including Turning Basin Park
- Herrontown Woods Arboretum
- Lake Carnegie
- Marquand Park
- Mountain Lakes Preserve
- Palmer Square
- Princeton Battlefield State Park
- Hoagie Haven
- Peacock Inn
- Princeton Packet
- Princeton Town Topics
- Planet Princeton