Princeton, New Jersey is located in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. Princeton University has been sited in the town since 1756. Although Princeton is a "college town", there are other important institutions in the area, including the Institute for Advanced Study, Educational Testing Service (ETS), Opinion Research Corporation, Siemens Corporate Research, Sarnoff Corporation, FMC Corporation, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Church and Dwight, Berlitz International, and Dow Jones & Company.
The town is roughly equidistant between New York and Philadelphia. Princeton has been home to New York commuters (via Princeton Junction) since the end of World War II. The town is close to many major highways that can take residents to both cities. While the Amtrak ride time is similar to each city, the commuter train ride to New York — via New Jersey Transit's Northeast Corridor Line — is generally much shorter than the equivalent train ride to Philadelphia, which involves a transfer to SEPTA trains in Trenton. Princeton receives some TV and radio broadcasts from both cities.
New Jersey's capital is the city of Trenton, but the governor'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 township. Morven became a museum property of the New Jersey Historical Society.
Although residents of Princeton (Princetonians) traditionally have a strong community-wide identity, legally there is not one municipality, but two: a township and a borough. The central borough is 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 Regional Schools, and some other public services are conducted together. There have been three referenda proposing to reunite the two Princetons, but they have all been narrowly defeated. The Borough contains Nassau Street, the main commercial street, most of the University campus, and incorporated most of the urban area until the postwar suburbanization. Borough and Township now have roughly equal populations, together approaching 30,000.
United States Postal Zip Codes for Princeton include 08542 (largely the Borough), 08544 (the University), and 08540. The latter covers areas outside Princeton proper, including portions of Lawrence, Hopewell, and West Windsor Townships in Mercer County, Montgomery and Franklin Townships in Somerset County, and Plainsboro and South Brunswick Townships in Middlesex County. The resulting ambiguity is exploited by local real estate agents who will often advertise a property in these neighboring communities as having a "prestigious Princeton address". Further adding to confusion is the spread of "Princeton" as part of business, church and residential development even further beyond the boundaries of the Township and Borough. Princeton lies at latitude 40°21' North, longitude 74°40' West.
Princeton University is a dominant feature of the town. 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 (and half of the University's Lake Carnegie) lie within adjacent West Windsor Township.
Princeton Theological Seminary's academic campus is located in the Borough, and a residential campus is located just outside the Township in West Windsor Township.
The Institute for Advanced Study is in the Township and maintains extensive land holdings (the "Institute Woods") in the Township.
Mercer County Community College in West Windsor is the nearest public college to serve Princeton residents.
The six public schools of the Princeton Regional Schools district serve both the borough and the township: four elementary schools (Community Park, Johnson Park, Littlebrook and Riverside), John Witherspoon Middle School, and Princeton High School. 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, the wealthy Hodge Road/Library Place neighborhood was redistricted to CP, and portions of the racially diverse John Witherspoon Neighborhood were set to be bused to JP. The high school is located in the borough; the other schools are in the township. The high school also serves students from Cranbury Township as part of a sending/receiving relationship.
The Princeton Charter School (grades K-8) is located in the township. The 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.
Several private schools are located in the Township: American Boychoir School, Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart, Princeton Day School, Princeton Friends School, and Hun School of Princeton.
St. Paul School (K-8) and The Lewis School and Diagnostic Clinic are located in the Borough.
Schools that are outside the Township and Borough but have Princeton mailing addresses include Chapin School and Princeton Junior School in Lawrence Township, the Waldorf School of Princeton and Princeton Montessori School in Montgomery Township, and Eden Institute in West Windsor Township.
The Princeton Public Library, located in the borough, serves the borough and the township. The current facility was opened in April 2004 as part of the on-going downtown redevelopment project and replaced a building dating from 1966. The library itself was founded in 1909.
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.
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.
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.
Scenes from the beginning of "Across the Universe" (2007) were filmed on the Princeton University campus.
Parts of Transformers 2 were filmed in Princeton.
Scenes from the 2008 movie The Happening where filmed in the town.
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 is located in Princeton, at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, and establishing shots for the hospital display the Frist Campus Center of Princeton University. However, the Princeton Plainsboro Hospital has been in the works for years now and is being built across the street from Princeton in West Windsor.
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 town a hub of contemporary literature.
Many of Richard Ford's novels are set in Haddam, New Jersey, a fictionalized Princeton.
Capital of the United States of America
PRINCETON, a borough of Mercer county, New Jersey, on Stony Brook, and the Delaware && Raritan canal, 49 m. S.W. of New York City. Pop. (1905, state census), 6029. Princeton is served by the Pennsylvania railroad, and by two electric lines to Trenton (io In.), passing through Lawrenceville (in Lawrence township; until 1816 called Maidenhead; pop., 2043 in 1905), the seat of the Lawrenceville school (1882), for boys, which was endowed by the residuary legatees of John Cleve Green (1800187J), and is probably the first endowed secondary school for boys in the Middle States.
Princeton is situated 210 ft. above sea-level, and the county to the east, north and west is rocky and hilly. The borough is the seat of Princeton University, and of "The Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America," commonly known as Princeton Theological Seminary, which was opened in 1812, and was chartered in 1824. The seminary was for one year under the sole care of Archibald Alexander, and among its teachers and representative theologians have been Samuel Miller (1769-1850), who was professor of ecclesiastical history and church government here (1813-1849), Charles Hodge, Joseph Addison Alexander and James Waddel Alexander, William Henry Green, Archibald Alexander Hodge, Francis L. Patton ,who became president in 1902 and Benjamin B. Warfield (b. 1851), professor of didactic and polemic theology from 1887. Under such leaders Princeton theology has been distinctly conservative, supporting the old standards of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. The seminary is well endowed, so that there is no charge for tuition or room rent; among its principal benefactors were James Lenox (1800-1880), Robert Leighton Stuart (1806-1882), his widow and his brother Alexander (1810-1879), John Cleve Green, mentioned above, and Mrs Mary J. Winthrop (d. 1902). It has a fine campus south-west of the business centre of the borough; in the Lenox Library and the Lenox Reference Library, built in 1843 and 1879 respectively, and gifts of James Lenox, there were 82,200 bound volumes and 31,500 pamphlets in 1909; Stuart Hall (1876) contains lecture-rooms; Miller Chapel is the place of worship; and the three dormitories are Alexander Hall (the "Old Seminary"), first used for this purpose in 1817, Brown Hall, built in 1864-1865, and Hodge Hall (1893). In 9 081909 the faculty numbered 16 and the students 153, of whom 8 were fellows and 17 graduate students.
Princeton became in 1897 the home of Grover Cleveland, who died there; and from 1898 until his death it was the residence of Laurence Hutton (1843-1904), a well-known writer on the history of the stage. Besides its fine residences and buildings of the seminary and of the university, the only notable buildings are the handsome Princeton Inn, about midway between the campus of the university and that of the seminary, and "Morven," the homestead of the Stocktons, built in the first decade of the 18th century. In the Princeton Cemetery are buried presidents and professors of the university.
The first settlers were the companions of Richard Stockton, the grandfather of Richard Stockton, signer of the Declaration of Independence. The removal hither in 1756 from Newark of the College of New Jersey, later Princeton University, gave the place its first educational prominence. At the time of the War of Independence town and gown were both strongly patriotic. The first state legislature of New Jersey met here on the 27th of August 1776; and in Nassau Hall, the first of the college buildings, erected in 1754-1756, which was then the largest edifice in the colonies, the Continental Congress sat from the 30th of June to the 4th of November 1873, and on the 31st of October Congress received the news of the signature of the definitive treaty of peace with Great Britain. After the battle of Trenton Cornwallis's troops were hurried to that place, three regiments and three companies of light-horse being left at Princeton when the main body, on the 2nd of January 1777, passed through. Washington, unable to retreat or to meet the British attack, turned Cornwallis's left flank and advanced on the weak British garrison in Princeton. A detachment under General Hugh Mercer (c. 1720-1777), ordered to destroy the Stony Brook bridge, and so cut off escape to Trenton, met two of the three regiments,led by Lieut.-Colonel Charles Mawhood,near the bridge, and, though doing great execution with its rifles at a distance, was unable, being unequipped with bayonets, to hold its ground in hand-to-hand fighting, and fled through an orchard, leaving Mercer there mortally wounded; he died on the 12th in a farmhouse (still standing) on the battlefield. Washington's main army now came to the assistance of the retreating Americans, and forced the retreat of the other British regiments (the 55th and 40th) to Princeton, where they either surrendered or fled towards New Brunswick. The British losses were heavy and the Americans lost many officers. The bridge was destroyed by the American troops just before the approach of General Alexander Leslie (c. 1740-1794) with reinforcements from Cornwallis. Washington's flank movement at Trenton and his engagement with the British at Princeton made necessary the withdrawal of the British from West Jersey. In the autumn of 1783 Washington, summoned to Princeton by Congress, then in session there, made his headquarters at Rocky Hill, about 4 m. north of Princeton in Montgomery township, Somerset county, whence on the 2nd of November he issued his farewell address to the army; his headquarters is preserved as a museum. A battle monument in Princeton, designed by MacMonnies and paid for by the Federal Congress, the state of New Jersey and the borough of Princeton, has been projected.
See J. R. Williams, Handbook of Princeton (New York, 1905); J. F. Hageman, History of Princeton and its Institutions (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1879); W. S. Stryker, The Battles of Trenton and Princeton (Boston, 1898); and V. L. Collins, The Continental Congress at Princeton (Princeton, 1908).