|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
Letters concerning academic matters and student discipline at Columbia College. Most of the letters are addressed to the Rev. Dr. William Harris.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
This collection is located on-site.
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); William Harris correspondence; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Additional letters and manuscripts related to William Harris and his term as Columbia College President can be found in the Columbia College papers.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 06/--/89.
2023-05-26 Published inventory (JR)
History / Biographical Note
President of Columbia College, 1811-1829.
William Harris, a Harvard graduate and Episcopalian minister, was elected president in conjunction with the appointment of Columbia College's first provost, a newly created office to which John Mitchell Mason, a Presbyterian minister, was elected.
Administrative duties were shared between the two offices although most of the executive activity was vested with the Provost leaving Dr. Harris with ample time for his duties as Rector of St. Mark's in the Bouwerie. Following Mason's resignation in 1816, a new provost was not appointed and Harris, resigning from his rectorship, assumed the full duties of the office until his death in 1829.
The ever-present problem of money haunted Harris's administration and, as a result of repeated application to the Legislature for financial assistance, the Elgin Botanical Garden (now Rockefeller Center), conveyed to the State by David Hosack, its creator, was assigned to Columbia College (1814). Though the condition was made that the College move to this site, this was never carried out. Instead, wings were built in the original building to take care of the growing institution.