|Columbia University Archives|
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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 one series.
This collection consists of the few surviving records of the Seth Low Junior College. It includes the minutes of the Administrative Board (1928-1936), student activity photographs (possibly for inclusion in a yearbook), equipment inventories (in preparation to leave the facilities in the Brooklyn Law School and the Plymouth Institution to move to Morningside), and correspondence from administrators and alumni. There are records related to the receipt and use of tax free alcohol in the school's laboratories. There is also information about the students, in particular those applying to medical schools: test scores, class rankings, recommendations, application forms, etc. The materials also include information about closing of the school and the registration information for the remaining students.
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 offsite. 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.
Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information
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); Seth Low Junior College records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.
There are additional materials in the Historical Subject Files (UA#0002), Historical Photograph Collection (UA#0003) and in Central Files (UA#0001) – see correspondence with John J. Coss (about the closing of the school), James C. Egbert (head of University Extension and member of the SLJC Administrative Board) and Edward J. Allen (SLJC Acting Director in 1928 and Director in 1931). The University Archives holds 2 Seth Low Junior College yearbooks (1935 and 1936, call number CT2 P1), issues of the literary magazine Talisman (1932-1935, call number CT2 T14) and issues of the weekly student newspaper The Scop (1928 to 1938, call number CT2 Se7). A history of the school, written by Edward J. Allen, was published in the Columbia University Quarterly, Vol. XXIV, March 1932, 42-51 (call number CJ B871).
Accrual of Records
No additions are expected.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
This collection was processed by Kelly Powers CC 2018. Finding aid written by Joanna Rios in October 2018.
2018-10-04 File created.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2022-02-11 Access note changed. Collection now stored offsite.
2023-03-08 Added two folders with materials found in the Home Study records (UA#280)
History / Biographical Note
Seth Low Junior College was an extension of Columbia University, which was meant to more adequately serve the educational needs of Brooklyn. Columbia had been offering pre-med courses in Brooklyn since 1916 as part of the University Extension. The courses, using the facilities of the Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, were offered during the day and were open to both men and women. In 1925 the University Extension started offering pre-law liberal arts courses in the rooms of the Brooklyn Law School to prepare students to join those professional schools. The Seth Low Junior College was established to meet "a growing demand for collegiate courses which would prepare students for entrance to professional schools." (Spectator, 3 April 1928) The two-year community college was named after Columbia's 11th president and former Mayor of Brooklyn, Seth Low.
The school had the same requirements for entry, the same Columbia faculty, and even charged the same price of tuition as Columbia College. While they had their own library, zoology and psychology laboratories, lecture halls and classrooms, Seth Low Junior College students still had to travel to the Morningside campus for chemistry and physics courses. By 1930-1931, students could even take Contemporary Civilization A on the Brooklyn campus. Students who completed the non-degree, two-year program could go on to enroll in the professional schools (such as Architecture, Business, Engineering, Journalism, Medicine, Law, Library Service, Optometry, etc.). Others could remain for three years and pursue the liberal arts at the Morningside campus as "University Undergraduates" (not Columbia College students). Graduates would receive Bachelors of Science degrees in General Studies (instead of Bachelors of Arts degrees). The demographic makeup of the Seth Low Junior College student body was predominantly Jewish and Italian. With the opening of Brooklyn College in 1930 (free tuition), enrollment at Seth Low dropped off. The Junior College operated from 1928 to 1936.