On January 22, 1898 twenty-nine Princeton women, including Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, met at the home of Miss Ada L. Norris to consider forming a club. Less than two months later the first meeting of The Present Day Club was held, at which time a constitution and by-laws were adopted. The women further decided:
“the object of this club shall be to create an intellectual and social center of thought and action among the women of Princeton and to stimulate an interest in science, literature, art, and social and ethical culture.”
Over the years the Club met at several different locations in Princeton, and by 1928 there were 250 members with 60 women on the waiting list. It became clear the Club needed to purchase a building to serve as a permanent clubhouse.
A committee was formed and after a lengthy search, the members voted in March 1930 to approve the purchase of a house at 72 Stockton Street. The original part of the house was built by the noted designer/builder Charles Steadman in 1835, and stands on land that was part of a grant of 400 acres made in 1693 by William Penn to Richard Stockton.
The purchase was finalized in April 1930 and Rolf Bauhan, a prominent local architect, was asked to design an addition to include a ballroom and commercial kitchen.
His design was both practical and elegant, with satin finish poplar paneling in the ballroom, French doors opening to a terrace and the garden, and a stage at one end. This room continues to serve as the focal point of our Club.
The members of the Present Day Club are proud of our heritage, and we look forward to many more years of being a “center of thought and action” in the Princeton community.