This is the second post in a two-part series examining student foodways at Princeton.
As mentioned in the conclusion of last week’s post in this series, the campus refectory was no longer an option after the Nassau Hall fire of 1855. This meant that eating clubs became entrenched in Princeton’s traditions. There were many transient clubs with fanciful names at first, most of which simply pooled resources to engage the services of local boarding houses. In spite of the theoretical market forces that might have acted upon these establishments to encourage higher quality, W. F. Magie (Class of 1879) described “generally miserable eating conditions,” “poor food,” and “coarse service.” This motivated the formation of Ivy Club as a more permanent fixture in 1879 that would employ its own staff. Several other eating clubs followed suit, eventually building clubhouses along Prospect Street.
“A Baker’s Dozen” was one of many eating clubs that have come and gone in Princeton’s past. It was made up of members of the Classes of 1891 and 1892. This illustration is taken from the 1890 Bric-a-Brac.
“I never found Princeton a terribly comfortable place in terms of my being a Jew…”
–Morton Denn ‘61
In 1993, the Center for Jewish Life (CJL) opened at 70 Washington Ave. The mission of the CJL was to provide a place for all Jews (orthodox, conservative, reform or secular) to eat, worship, and socialize. Although the Center primarily served Jewish needs, it also allowed Jewish students to dine with their non-Jewish friends. The struggle to gain campus recognition was a long endeavor that lasted more than a century. Before the CJL opened, Jewish students gathered at Murray-Dodge, in off-campus housing, or in their dorm rooms, keeping Judaism and Jewishness alive.