The establishment of The Nassau Club evolved from a meeting convened by sixteen men on April 21, 1889 at the University Hall of the College of New Jersey, as Princeton University was then known. The original group, equally divided between townsmen and members of the faculty of the College, was supplemented by others, all of whom agreed that a men's club in Princeton would provide desirable dining and social facilities for resident and non-resident members.
By November of that year plans were formalized and officers were elected at the first official meeting of the membership, held on November 23, 1889. Rooms were rented in University Hall which had been constructed originally to serve as a hotel and later acquired by the College to provide dormitory rooms and dining facilities for the students. Here, at the corner of Nassau Street and University Place, the Club remained until 1903 when it moved to its present site at Six Mercer Street.
This well built house, which the Club purchased, had been constructed in 1813-1814 by Samuel Miller, the second professor to be appointed to the recently established Princeton Theological Seminary. His wife, Sarah, was the daughter of Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, a member of the Continental Congress and the Provincial Congress of New Jersey, who had previously owned the property.
The new clubhouse provided both dining and social facilities, as well as bedrooms for a half dozen visiting members. These were adequate until the expanding membership required physical enlargement. In 1911 a larger dining room and kitchen were added on the first floor, a grill room on the ground floor and additional guest rooms on the second and third floors. Then in 1969 the current Garden Dining Room was added, later expanded, and followed by extensive renovations in 1992. Last year the building exterior was renovated and this year saw the completion of updating the overnight accommodations and a floor-to-ceiling remodeling of the our informal downstairs grill room, Club 6.
The Nassau Club, which has included both men and women members for more than fifteen years, has a total membership of more than fifteen hundred, including both resident and non-resident. Although not limited to college graduates, its membership includes representatives of several hundred collegiate institutions, in addition to a large number of graduates of Princeton University. Two of its most famous members have been presidents of the United States: Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson, whose portraits grace the walls of the comfortable and inviting lounge.
It is a well established institution in the community of Princeton, New Jersey.
William K. Selden, P'34