Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Selden, William K. (Class of 1934)
William K. Selden Collection on Eating Clubs
Princeton University Archives
Permanent URL:
2 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-2


The William K. Selden Collection on Eating Clubs contains research materials collected by Selden for the publication, Club Life at Princeton; An Historical Account of the Upper-Class Eating Clubs at Princeton University. Selden donated the material to the Archives in 1994.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

As Princeton's student population expanded in the middle part of the 19th century, eating clubs were established to provide sufficient dining services. Eating clubs filled a social vacuum created when Greek-letter fraternities were banned in 1855 and became the dominant social influence among undergraduates. Throughout their history, the restricted clubs were criticized for their exclusivity and for creating artificial barriers among the student population. Membership declined in the years following the Second World War, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s when students sought more egalitarian social institutions. In 1969 the admittance of women into the University caused a stir among the clubs, but many embraced the change and opened membership to women. In 1979 Sally Frank, a third-year student, filed a lawsuit with the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights when she was denied membership in three of the exclusive clubs. The final verdict, announced in 1992, forced all clubs to admit women to their ranks. There are presently 14 active clubs on campus, the oldest of which is the Ivy Club, established in 1879.

The collection contains primarily clippings, arranged chronologically, from The Daily Princetonian as well as clippings from Princeton Alumni Weekly and Princeton Weekly Bulletin documenting the activities of Princeton University's Eating Clubs. Topics found within this collection include the University's Bicker policy and women's rights in the Eating Club system. Relevant reports, such as the Report on Undergraduate Residential Life, and personal correspondence are also found.

Collection Creator Biography:


William Kirkpatrick Selden (1911-2009) was an American educator.

Collection History

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Theresa Marchitto in January 1995. Finding aid written by Theresa Marchitto in January 1995.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. For instances beyond Fair Use, if copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of materials from the Princeton University Archives.

For instances beyond Fair Use where the copyright is not held by the University, while permission from the Library is not required, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

William K. Selden Collection on Eating Clubs; Princeton University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-2