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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in 2 series: Series I: General Files, 1984-1993; Series II: Reading File (Correspondence), 1984-1995.
The records, which primarily cover the period in which Iselin served as the President of the Cooper Union, contain topical files and correspondence related to his professional activities.
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); John Jay Iselin Papers; Box and Folder (if known); Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
No additional material expected
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed Gillian Rhodes (Columbia College, 2012) 10/--/2011.
Finding aid written Carrie Hintz 10/13/2011.
2011-10-18 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
John Jay Iselin, descendent of the Supreme Court Justice John Jay, was born in Greenville, South Carolina in 1933. He left South Carolina to pursue his education at Harvard, where he received both his Bachelor's Degree. He received the prestigious Marshall Scholarship which funded his course of study at Cambridge, where he received his Master's Degree before returning to Harvard to pursue his PhD in government, which he received in 1964.
After graduation he worked as a journalist for publications including Newsweek before shifting his focus onto the production side of writing as an editor with Harper & Row in 1970. He only held his editorial position at Harper & Row for two years; in 1972 he took the helm of New York's public television station, WNET/Channel 13 and remained president of the station for 16 years. Under his leadership, WNET produced shows such as Great Performances, Nature and Newshour as well as a number of documentaries and miniseries.
Iselin left the station in 1988 when he was appointed the tenth president of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. His presidency there was marked with great growth in the Cooper Union endowment and in particular a huge capital campaign that helped build and update the institutions facilities and lab spaces. He also oversaw the creation of new endowed professorships. After twelve years at the Cooper Union, Iselin left the university to take on the presidency of the Marconi International Fellowship Foundation at Columbia University which promotes work and scholarship in the field of telecommunications, merging his own background in both the academy and in broadcasting.
John Jay Iselin died in 2008 at the age of 74.