|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
This collection includes letters from members of the academic community at Columbia and elsewhere, former students, Columbia College alumni, members of the Van Amringe family, and friends. These letters deal with the official, alumni, and personal matters. There are two letter books for 1894 when he was Dean of Columbia's School of Arts (later known as Columbia College, the undergraduate school). The manuscripts include holograph and typescript copies of speeches made by Van Amringe at various Columbia functions, at alumni affairs, and at meetings of civic, charitable, and academic organizations; course notebooks while he attended Columbia College; diaries of daily appointments, 1909-1914; intimate prose and poetry written by Van Amringe and members of his family; a pencil sketchbook and notebook containing three plays by his daughter Emily Bulow Van Amringe. The collection includes numerous clippings, brochures, invitations, and other Columbia and personal memorabilia.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
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); J. Howard Van Amringe papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Additional materials related to Van Amringe's tenure as Dean of the Columbia College can be found in the Columbia College records (UA#0047), Columbia College papers (UA#0224) and Central Files (UA#0001).
No additions are expected.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 09/--/89.
2020-03-16 PDF replaced with full finding aid (JR)
History / Biographical Note
"Van Am," as he was known, attended Yale University for two years and taught private pupils for two years. He entered as a junior at Columbia College in 1858 and never left. He was a member of the Class of 1860 and received an MA in 1863. An honor student, Van Am actually served as a Latin tutor for the juniors during his last semester, before receiving his AB degree. He served as Professor of Mathematics and Dean of Columbia College in over 50 years of service to Columbia.
In 1873 when Columbia sent the first crew team to an intercollegiate race, the shell they used was named the "Van Am." The Van Am shell not only won the Saratoga race in 1874 but, in 1878, was the only American boat to win the English Henley. Twice the shell was lent to outside crews to race on the Harlem River, and even then it was victorious (Spectator April 8, 1902). After the first Van Am was retired, there were at least two more Van Am shells in the water for Columbia through 1911.
As a member of the Class of 1860, Van Am was a student at the 49th Street and Madison Avenue campus. He revitalized the Alumni Association in order to help alums from the midtown campus feel at home at the new Morningside campus. He supported the creation of alumni clubs such as the Society of Older Graduates (pre-1880 graduates), the Early Eighties, the Upper Eighties and even the 49ers (from 1890 on, the last classes to study at the old campus).
Van Am is the only former Dean honored with a purpose-built structure on campus. After Dean Van Am passed away in October 1915, the alumni wanted a permanent tribute on campus to show their affection for him. By May 1916, they had asked the Trustees to rename the quadrangle in front of Hamilton Hall, the first dedicated building and home of Columbia College, as the Van Am Quad. A special committee of the Alumni Federation was then appointed to raise the funds necessary to build a memorial to honor Van Am. The completed memorial was presented during Commencement 1918 and the final version of the bronze bust was installed by Commencement 1922.
Professor of mathematics, 1863-1910, Head of the Mathematics Dept., 1892-1910, and Dean of Columbia College, 1896-1910.