|Columbia University Archives|
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in two series.
This collection contains the minutes created by the Governors of the College of the Province of New York in the City of New York in America, the Corporation of King's College in the City of New York, the Regents of the University of the State of New York, and Trustees of Columbia College (and since 1896, University) in the City of New York. It also includes two subject indices.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
Minutes of the Board of Trustees are restricted for 50 years from the date of creation.
This collection is located onsite.
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; Minutes of the Board of Trustees; Volume number, page number; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.
Additons are expected.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
This collection was processed by Joanna Rios and Vianca Victor. Finding aid written by Joanna Rios in March 2019.
2019-03-20 File created.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2020-01-06 Removed expired restrictions.
History / Biographical Note
Overall governance of the University is in the hand of its 24-member Board of Trustees. The Trustees select the President, oversee all faculty and senior administrative appointments, monitor the budget, supervise the endowment, and protect University property.
The first meeting of the "Governors of the College of the Province of New York in the City of New York in America" was held on May 7, 1755. The Governors managed the monies raised in the public lottery for the foundation of King's College. They were also charged with hiring instructors, appointing a President, and eventually, building a home for the College and creating a medical school.
In 1783, after the end of the War of Independence, the surviving members of the Board of Governors petitioned the Legislature for a new charter. The "Regents of the University of the State of New York" took charge of what was once King's College. This body included the Governor, the Lieutenant-Governor, the President of the Senate, the Mayor of Albany, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State and 24 other members. This arrangement proved impractical and in 1787 Columbia College was granted its own Board of Trustees. To this day, Columbia University has remained under this form of governance.
The Trustees would meet once a month and set up committees to address individual issues. For example, the Visitation Committee, established in 1785, used to send Trustees to inspect the college: visit the rooms, see that they were well ventilated and warm, and inspect the records of the College. Other committees were appointed to establish new professorships or a Library Committee to oversee the library. Standing committees include Buildings & Grounds, Education, Finance and Honors. Since 1908 six seats are reserved for alumni representatives, voted on by the alumni of the different schools to serve for six-year terms. Currently twelve Trustees are elected by the Trustees acting alone, six by the Trustees working in consultation with the Executive Committee of the University Senate, and six elected after nomination by the University's alumni.