The Cotsen postdoctoral fellowships were established in 1999 through the generosity of the late Charter Trustee Lloyd E. Cotsen, an alumnus and devoted supporter of Princeton, and under the leadership of the Humanities Council. The Society enjoys the continued support of and collaboration with the Council, with which it also shares the Joseph Henry House, a historic building at the center of campus named after its designer, the eminent scientist and Princeton professor, Joseph Henry (1797-1878).

The Society gratefully acknowledges the generous sponsorship of fellowships, current and past, by Charter Trustee Lloyd E. Cotsen, and additional fellowships by the Humanities Council (Behrman, Cone, Haarlow, and Perkins); Fund for Reunion/Princeton BTGALA (LGBT Studies); President and Dean of the Faculty at Princeton University (Race and Ethnicity Studies); Programs in East Asian Studies, Hellenic Studies, Judaic Studies, and Latin American Studies; Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity; School of Public and International Affairs (International Development); Woodrow Wilson Foundation (Link Fellowships); Mellon Foundation through grants to Professors Anthony Grafton (History of the Book), Peter Schäfer (Judaic Studies) and Benjamin Elman (East Asian Studies); and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences (Russell, Lyman Spitzer Fellowships).

The Society’s intellectual community and its role at Princeton University have been shaped significantly by the leadership of its past and current directors:
Alexander Nehamas, Founding Director (1999-2002), Edmund N. Carpenter II Class of 1943 Professor Emeritus in
the Humanities, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Comparative Literature
Mary Harper, Executive Director (1999-2017)
Leonard Barkan, Director (2002-2009), Class of 1943 University Professor of Comparative Literature
Michael Wood, Acting Director (2005-2006), Charles Barnwell Straut Class of 1923 Professor Emeritus of English
and Comparative Literature
Scott Burnham, Acting Director (2009-2010), Scheide Professor Emeritus of Music History
Susan Stewart, Director (2010-2017), Avalon Foundation University Professor in the Humanities,
Professor of English
Molly Greene, Acting Director (2013-2014), Professor of History and Hellenic Studies
Yelena Baraz, Acting Director (2019-20), Kennedy Foundation Professor of Classics
Michael D. Gordin, Director (2017 - present), Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History