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 Council of the Humanities. 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 Council of the Humanities (Behrman, Cone, Haarlow, and Perkins); Fund for Reunion/Queer Princeton Alumni (LGBT Studies); President and Dean of the Faculty at Princeton University (Race and Ethnicity Studies; Link Fellowships; LGBT 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); 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 and 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 Emeritus 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 and Professor of English
Molly Greene, Acting Director (2013-2014), Professor of History and Hellenic Studies
Michael D. Gordin, Director (2017 - 2023), Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History
Yelena Baraz, Director (2023 - present; Acting Director 2019-20), Kennedy Foundation Professor of Latin Language and Literature and Professor of Classics