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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
Collection is arranged in eight series: Series I: Topical Office Files, 1958-1984; Series II: Retirement Correspondence, 1968; Series III: Books from Kirk's Library; Series IV: Speeches, remarks and memoranda, 1949-1968; Series V: Drafts, 1959-1968; Series VI: Jacob R. Schiff Charitable Trust, 1938-1975; Series VII: New York World's Fair 1964-1965, 1961-1964; Series VIII: Calendars, 1950-1965.
Scope and Content
The collection contains correspondence, memoranda, drafts, committee meeting reports, speeches, calendars, etc. of Grayson L. Kirk, former Columbia University President. Also included are books from his library. There are also materials deemed by the Office of the President staff as "personal," meaning not directly related to Columbia University. These included the records of the Jacob R. Schiff Charitable Trust and the New York World's Fair 1964-1965.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Grayson Kirk papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.
For the official records from Kirk's tenure as University President, please consult Central Files (UA#0001). Additional materials can be found in Historical Biographical Files (UA#0004) and Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs records (UA#0083).
No additions are expected.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Processed 10/27/88 HH
Addition (series II) integrated into collection 06/03/2011 by Carrie Hintz
Boxes 8-15 were added to the collection in February 2020. These materials were formerly part of the Records of the Office of the President Grayson L. Kirk, 1946-1968 (UA#0066).
2009-06-26 File created.
2011-06-03 Integrated an addition to the collection (Series II)
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2020-02-25 Added the collection formerly known as the Records of the Office of the President Grayson L. Kirk, (UA#0066)
History / Biographical Note
A Columbia University professor and provost, Grayson Kirk was appointed University President following Dwight D. Eisenhower's departure for the White House and officially installed on June 2, 1953.
Kirk's presidency was marked by City and State approval for the building of a gym in Morningside Park (1960), the active recruitment of black applicants at both Columbia College and Barnard College (1964), the founding of the School of Arts (1965) and the emergence of several student groups including the Students' Afro-American Society chapter (1964), Students for a Democratic Society (1965), and the Student Homophile League (1966).
Despite these accomplishments, Kirk's tenure as president was rife with conflict. Opposition to the war in Vietnam and dissatisfaction with Columbia's relationship to the Harlem community reached a head in April 1968. Students occupied five campus buildings in protest to the alleged racism inherent in the plans for the Morningside Gymnasium, Columbia's involvement with the Institute for Defense Analysis, military recruitment on campus, and bans on indoor demonstrations. Kirk was accused of mishandling the situation on campus (especially by calling in the NYC police to "bust" the occupied buildings) leading to calls for his resignation to which he finally complied in August 1968.
After leaving Columbia Kirk held positions on the Council of Foreign Relations and the Association of American Universities.