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 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 Revolution and is best known as the location of Princeton University, located in the community since 1756. 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 (e.g. Interstate 95 and US Route 1), and receives major television and radio broadcasts from each. It is also close to Trenton, New Jersey's capital city, and Edison.
The governor of New Jersey's official residence has been in Princeton since 1945, when Morven in the 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.
Although residents of Princeton (Princetonians) traditionally have a strong community-wide identity, the community had been 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. The 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.
The Lenni Lenape Native Americans were the earliest identifiable inhabitants of the Princeton area. Europeans founded their settlement in the latter part of the 17th century. The first European to find his home in the boundaries of the future town was Henry Greenland. He built his house in 1683 along with a tavern. In this drinking hole representatives of West Jersey and East Jersey met to set boundaries for the location of the township.
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 construction of the first house in the area by James Leonard, who first referred to the town as Princetown when describing the location of his large estate in his diary. The town bore a variety of names subsequently, including: Princetown, Prince's Town and finally Princeton. Although there is no official documentary backing, the town is considered 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 similar names: Kingston, Queenstown (in the vicinity of the intersection of Nassau and Harrison Streets) and Princessville (Lawrence Township).
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 the town comprised 3,209 persons (not including students). 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.
Aside from housing the university of the same name, the settlement suffered the revolutionary Battle of Princeton on its soil. After the victory in 1777, the town hosted the first Legislature under the State Constitution of New Jersey 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 discuss opening a "Historical Society of Princeton." Later the Bainbridge House 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 actually property of 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. All together, 70% of the house has been unaltered. Aside from safety features like wheelchair access and electrical work, the house was merely restored to its original look.
During 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 present borough line 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 parish bodies, chartered within existing townships. 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 Act of 1894, which required that each township form a single school district; rather than do so, Princeton Borough petitioned to be separated. (The two Princetons now form the Princeton Public Schools.) 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.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Princeton has a total area of 18.363 square miles (68.041 km2), including 17.932 square miles (46.444 km2) of land (97.65%) and 0.431 square miles (1.115 km2) of water (2.35%).
Cedar Grove, Port Mercer, North Princeton, Princeton Basin, and Jugtown are unincorporated communities that have been absorbed into Greater Princeton over the years, but still maintain their own community identity.
The borough borders 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.
|Population sources: 2010|
Government and politics
Princeton is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, 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 Borough 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 Borough form of government used by Princeton, the most common system used in the state, 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 the borough's chief executive officer and nominates appointees to various boards and commissions subject to approval of the Borough Council. The Mayor presides at the Borough Council meetings and votes in the case of a tie or a few other specific cases. The Borough 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 of the Borough. The Council approves appointments made by the Mayor. Council Members serve on various boards and committees and act as liaison's to certain Departments, Committees or Boards.
As of 2016, the Mayor of Princeton is Democrat Liz Lempert, whose term of office ends December 31, 2020. Members of the Princeton Borough Council are Council President Bernard P. "Bernie" Miller (D, 2017), Jo Butler (D, 2017), Jenny Crumiller (D, 2016), Heather H. Howard (D, 2018), Arden "Lance" Liverman (D, 2018) and Patrick Simon (D, 2016).
Merger of borough and township
On November 8, 2011, the residents of both the Borough of Princeton and the Township of Princeton voted to merge the two municipalities into one. In Princeton Borough 1,385 voted for, 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 will save $3.2 million as a result of some scaled down services including layoffs of 15 government workers including 9 police officers (however the measure itself does not mandate such layoffs). 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 consolidation took effect on January 1, 2013.
Federal, state and county representation
Princeton 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.
New Jersey's Twelfth Congressional District is represented by Bonnie Watson Coleman (D, Ewing Township). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, 2019).
For the 2016–2017 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 16th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Christopher Bateman (R, Branchburg) and in the General Assembly by Jack Ciattarelli (R, Hillsborough Township) and Andrew Zwicker (D, South Brunswick).  The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).
Mercer County is governed by a County Executive who oversees the day-to-day operations of the county and by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders that acts in a legislative capacity, setting policy. All officials are chosen at-large in partisan elections, with the executive serving a four-year term of office while the freeholders serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats up for election each year. As of 2014, the County Executive is Brian M. Hughes (D, term ends December 31, 2015; ). Mercer County's Freeholders are Freeholder Chair Andrew Koontz (D, 2016; Princeton), Freeholder Vice Chair Samuel T. Frisby, Sr. (2015; Trenton), Ann M. Cannon (2015; East Windsor Township), Anthony P. Carabelli (2016; Trenton), John A. Cimino (2014, Hamilton Township), Pasquale "Pat" Colavita, Jr. (2015; Lawrence Township) and Lucylle R. S. Walter (2014; Ewing Township) Mercer County's constitutional officers are County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello (D, 2015), Sheriff John A. Kemler (D, 2014) and Surrogate Diane Gerofsky (D, 2016).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 18,049 registered voters in Princeton (a sum of the former borough and township's voters), of which 9,184 (50.9%) were registered as Democrats, 2,140 (11.9%) were registered as Republicans and 6,703 (37.1%) 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 (9,461 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 23.0% (2,882 votes), and other candidates with 1.6% (205 votes), among the 14,752 ballots cast by the municipality's 20,328 registered voters (2,204 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 72.6%.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 58.8% of the vote (4,172 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 39.2% (2,780 votes), and other candidates with 2.0% (145 votes), among the 7,279 ballots cast by the municipality's 18,374 registered voters (182 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 39.6%.
Like most of the Northeastern United States, Princeton has a humid continental climate, and generally sees cold winters and hot, humid summers. According to Weather.com, the lowest recorded temperature in Princeton was −16 °F (−27 °C) on January 28, 1935, and the highest record temperature was 105 °F (41 °C) on July 9, 1936.
|Climate data for Princeton, NJ|
|Record high °F (°C)||73|
|Average high °F (°C)||38.6|
|Average low °F (°C)||21.5|
|Record low °F (°C)||−16|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.79|
|Source #1: Homefacts.com|
|Source #2: Weather Channel (records)|
Colleges and universities
Princeton University is a dominant feature of the community. Its main campus has its historic center on Nassau Street in the borough and stretches south into the township. Its James Forrestal satellite campus is located in Plainsboro Township, and some playing fields lie within adjacent West Windsor Township.
Westminster Choir College, the renowned school of music presently owned by Rider University, established in Princeton in 1932. Before establishing in 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 (USA), has its main academic campus in Princeton, and residential housing is located just outside the Township in West Windsor Township.
The Institute for Advanced Study is in the borough and maintains extensive land holdings (the "Institute Woods") there.
Mercer County Community College in West Windsor is the nearest public college to serve Princeton residents.
Primary and secondary schools
The Princeton Public Schools serve students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's six schools had an enrollment of 3,347 students and 296.9 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.27:1.
Schools in the district (with 2011-12 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are four elementary schools — Community Park Elementary School (grades K-5; 305 students), Johnson Park Elementary School (PreK-5; 351), Littlebrook Elementary School (PreK-5; 342) and Riverside Elementary School (PreK-5; 255) — John Witherspoon Middle School with 719 students in grades 6-8 and Princeton High School with 1,375 students in grades 9-12. The high school is located within the former borough; the other schools are within the former township boundaries. The high school also serves students from Cranbury Township as part of a sending/receiving relationship.
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 (JP) and the more racially and economically diverse population at Community Park (CP). 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 (grades K-8) 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.
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.
Private schools located in Princeton include The Lewis School of Princeton, Princeton Day School, Princeton Friends School, Hun School of Princeton, YingHua International School, and Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (PRISMS).
St. Paul Catholic School (pre-school to 8th grade) founded in 1878, is the oldest and only coeducational Catholic school, joining Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart (K-8, all male) and Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart (coed for Pre-K, and all-female K-12), which operate under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton.
Schools that are outside the town proper but have Princeton mailing addresses include the American Boychoir School in Plainsboro Township, Chapin School, Princeton Junior School in Lawrence Township, the Waldorf School of Princeton (New Jersey's only Waldorf school), Princeton Montessori School in Montgomery Township, Eden Institute in West Windsor Township, and Princeton Latin Academy in Hopewell.
The 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.
The 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 (MEXT), 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.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 126.95 miles (204.31 km) of roadways, of which 118.36 miles (190.48 km) were maintained by the municipality, 3.93 miles (6.32 km) by Mercer County, and 8.66 miles (13.94 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Other major roads that are accessible outside the municipality include U.S. Route 1 (in Lawrence, West Windsor & South Brunswick), Interstate 95 (the section north of Trenton) and Interstate 295 (both in Lawrence), and the New Jersey Turnpike (also designated as Interstate 95, in South Brunswick). 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 (Interstate 95) was to pass just outside the municipality before ending in Hopewell (to the south) and Franklin (to the north). 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 killed in 2006.
The latest project to idle and that has caused severe traffic issues in the area is the unfinished replacement of the bridge over the D&R canal. The project was supposed to end in August 2016, but is now at a standstill.
Princeton 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" (for "Princeton Junction and Back"). Two train cars, or sometimes just one, are used.
NJ Transit provides bus service to Trenton on the 606 route and local service on routes 605 and 655. 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.
Princeton Airport is a public airport lying 3 miles (5 km) north of Downtown Princeton in Montgomery Township. The private Forrestal Airport was located on Princeton University property, 2 miles (3 km) 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 15 miles (24 km) from the center of Princeton, which is served by Frontier Airlines nonstop to and from 17 points nationwide. Other nearby major airports are Newark Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport, located 39 miles (63 km) and 52 miles (84 km) away, respectively.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Princeton include: 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
- George Akerlof (born 1940), economist who shared the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
- Archibald Alexander (1772–1851), Presbyterian theologian and first professor at the Princeton Theological Seminary
- James Waddel Alexander (1804–1859), Presbyterian minister and theologian
- Joseph Addison Alexander (1809–1860), biblical scholar
- Svetlana Alliluyeva (1926–2011), daughter of Joseph Stalin, defected to United States and lived in Princeton
- Lylah M. Alphonse (born 1972), journalist
- Saul Amarel (1928–2002), professor of computer science at Rutgers University, best known for his pioneering work in artificial intelligence
- Trey Anastasio (born 1964), of the band Phish, lived in Princeton with his family and attended Princeton Day School
- Milton Babbitt (1916–2011), composer and Princeton University professor
- Molly Bang (born 1943), children's book illustrator, born in Princeton
- Chris Barron, lead singer of the Spin Doctors
- Saul Bellow (1915–2005), author and Princeton University professor
- Paul Benacerraf (born 1931), philosopher and Princeton University professor
- Peter Benchley (1940–2006), author and screenwriter, Jaws, The Island, lived and died in Princeton
- Ben Bernanke (born 1953), former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve, Princeton University professor
- Garrett Birkhoff (1911–1996), mathematician best known for his work in lattice theory
- Michael Bradley (born 1987), soccer player
- Avery Brooks (born 1948), actor, singer and educator
- George Harold Brown (1908–1987), research engineer at RCA, lived in Princeton
- Aaron Burr (1756–1836), third Vice President of the United States (under Thomas Jefferson); killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, grew up in Princeton and is buried there
- Aaron Burr Sr. (1715–1757), co-founder of Princeton University and its second president
- Lesley Bush (born 1947), 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 (born 1963), drummer for Rollins Band, grew up in Princeton
- Melisa Can (born 1984 as Michelle Marie Campbell), professiona; basketball player at the power forward position who plays for Adana ASKİ.
- Mary Chapin Carpenter (born 1958), country/folk singer, born and grew up in Princeton
- William Ashburner Cattell (1863–1920), civil engineer and railroad company president; born in Princeton
- Patrick Clark (1955–1998), chef
- Frances Folsom Cleveland (1864–1947), First Lady, died in and is buried in Princeton
- Grover Cleveland (1837–1908), 22nd and 24th President of the United States, retired to, died in, and buried in Princeton
- Ruth Cleveland (1891–1904), 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 (born 1980), lead singer of Saves the Day, born and grew up in Princeton
- Whitney Darrow Jr. (1909–1999), New Yorker cartoonist, born in Princeton
- Freeman Dyson (born 1923), theoretical physicist and fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study
- Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758), Congregationalist Church theologian, Princeton University's third president
- Albert Einstein (1879–1955), physicist, fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study
- T. S. Eliot (1888–1965), author
- Elmer William Engstrom (1901–1984), President and CEO of RCA
- Charles Evered (born 1964), playwright, screenwriter and director, resident of Princeton
- Henry B. Eyring (born 1933), First 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 (1933–2008), 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 (1921-2015), public opinion pollster whose career in polling began with a poll of Princeton High School students in a class election.
- Abner S. Flagg (1851–1923), businessman and politicians, served in the Wisconsin State Assembly and as Mayor of Edgerton, Wisconsin
- Richard Ford (born 1944), writer, taught at Princeton University, wrote several books set in a fictionalized Haddam, New Jersey, based in part on Princeton
- George Gallup (1901–1984), statistician and creator of the Gallup poll, lived and is buried in Princeton
- George Gallup Jr. (1930–2011), pollster and author
- Kurt Gödel (1906–1978), Austrian-American logician, mathematician and philosopher, fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study
- Caroline Gordon (1895-1981), novelist, lived in Princeton from 1956 to 1975
- Michael Graves (1934–2015), architect, lived and worked in Princeton
- Ethan Hawke (born 1970), actor
- Sarah Hay (born 1986/87), actress and ballet dancer with the Semperoper in Dresden
- Joseph Hewes (1730–1779), signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, born in Princeton
- Charles Hodge (1797–1878), theologian and Principal of Princeton Theological Seminary
- Herbert Huffman (1905–1968), musician and choir director, founder of the American Boychoir School
- Robert Wood Johnson II (1893–1968), Chairman of Johnson & Johnson, and his wife Margaret, lived in Morven
- George F. Kennan (1904–2005), diplomat, historian, fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study
- Gina Kolata (born 1948), reporter for The New York Times
- Paul Krugman (born 1953), Nobel Prize winner, economist, professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University
- Matt Lalli (born 1986), professional lacrosse player for the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse
- Chang-Rae Lee (born 1965), writer, Princeton University professor
- Arthur Lithgow (1915–2004), actor, director, educator, and managing director of Princeton's McCarter Theatre
- John Lithgow (1945), actor, lived in Princeton in his late teens
- Emily Mann (born 1952), artistic director of Princeton's McCarter Theatre
- Thomas Mann (1875–1955), author
- Henry Martin, cartoonist at The New Yorker, lived and worked in Princeton
- John McPhee (born 1931), writer, lives in Princeton
- Rachel Lambert Mellon (1910–2014), horticulturalist, gardener, philanthropist and art collector
- Steve "Buddy" Miller (1952), Nashville session musician, grew up in Princeton and attended Princeton High School
- Jeannette Mirsky (1903-1987), author who was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1947 for her biographical writings on the history of exploration
- Toni Morrison (born 1931), author, Nobel Laureate, Princeton University professor
- Paul Muldoon (born 1951), Irish poet
- John Forbes Nash Jr. (1928–2015), mathematician, Nobel Prize winner, subject of A Beautiful Mind, Princeton University professor
- John von Neumann (1903−1957), Hungarian-American mathematician at Princeton University and Institute for Advanced Study
- Bebe Neuwirth (born 1958), actress, grew up in Princeton
- Joyce Carol Oates (born 1938), writer, Princeton University professor
- John O'Hara (1905–1970), author, lived in and is buried in Princeton
- Charles Smith Olden (1799–1876), Governor of New Jersey during the American Civil War
- A. Dayton Oliphant (1887-1963), Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1945 to 1946, and from 1948 to 1957
- Gregory Olsen (born 1945), 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 (1904–1967), theoretical physicist, director of the Institute for Advanced Study
- Barbara Piasecka Johnson (1937–2013), Polish-born American humanitarian, philanthropist, art connoisseur and collector
- John Popper (born 1967), lead singer of the band Blues Traveler
- Pete Raymond (born 1947), former rower who competed in the 1968 Summer Olympics and in the 1972 Summer Olympics.
- Christopher Reeve (1952–2004), actor, grew up in Princeton, attended Princeton Day School
- Paul Robeson (1898–1976), singer, actor, athlete, civil rights activist, born and raised in Princeton
- Arnold Roth (born 1929), cartoonist, longtime Princeton resident
- Ralph Schoenstein (1933–2006), writer, lived in Princeton up to his death
- Bill Schroeder (born 1958), Major League Baseball player for the Milwaukee Brewers and California Angels, Brewers commentator for Fox Sports Wisconsin
- Roger Sessions (1896–1985), composer, Princeton University professor, died in Princeton
- Andrew Shue (born 1967), actor and professional soccer player, grew up in northern New Jersey with sister, actress Elisabeth Shue, lives in Princeton
- Michael Showalter (born 1970), comedian, actor, writer, and director, born in Princeton, attended Princeton High School
- Barbara Boggs Sigmund (1939–1990), mayor of Princeton
- Peter Singer (born 1946), moral philosopher, bioethicist and Princeton University professor
- Shelley Smith (born 1952), actress
- Tom Snow (born 1947), musician
- Gennady Spirin (born 1948), artist
- Betsey Stockton (c. 1798–1865), educator and missionary, manumitted from slavery and later retired to and died in Princeton
- John P. Stockton (1826–1900), U.S. Senator from New Jersey, lived in Princeton
- Richard Stockton (1730–1781), signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, lived in and is buried in Princeton
- Richard Stockton (1764–1828), U.S. Senator from New Jersey, lived in Princeton
- Robert F. Stockton (1795–1866), United States Navy commodore, U.S. Military Governor of California, lived in Princeton
- Jon Tenney (born 1961), actor, born and grew up in Princeton
- Paul Tulane (1801–1887), benefactor and namesake of Tulane University
- Immanuel Velikovsky (1895–1979), controversial theorist and acquaintance of Albert Einstein
- Andrew Wiles (born 1953), mathematician who proved Fermat's Last Theorem, Princeton University professor
- Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924), 28th President of the United States, 13th president of Princeton University, Governor of New Jersey
- John Witherspoon (1723–1794), signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, president of Princeton University
- Edward Witten (born 1951), mathematician and physicist, fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study
- Richard L. Wright (born 1943), political leader who held a number of positions at both the state and national level
- Sarah Zelenka (born 1987), rower at the 2012 Summer Olympics
- Vladimir K. Zworykin (1888–1982), Russian-American engineer, inventor and television pioneer
- All of the members of Blues Traveler, as well as Chris Barron (see above) 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
Princeton 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 (film) (2007) were filmed on the Princeton University campus.
Parts of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 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 radio
The 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.
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.
Points of interest
- Nassau Christian Center
- Nassau Presbyterian Church
- Princeton University Chapel
- Stone Hill Church of Princeton
- Stony Brook Meeting House and Cemetery
- Trinity Church, Princeton
Historic sites and museums
- 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.
- 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 Hall
- Princeton Battlefield State Park
- Princeton Cemetery
- Princeton Historic District
- Princeton Ice Company
- Princeton University Art Museum
- Updike Farmstead
- The Washington Oak
- 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