Columbia University Archives

Seth Low Junior College Records, 1928-1938

Summary Information


This collection consists of the records of the Seth Low Junior College. It includes minutes, alumni letters, bulletins, photographs, and student data.

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0227
Bib ID 13225104 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Columbia University. Seth Low Junior College
Title Seth Low Junior College Records, 1928-1938
Physical Description 0.83 linear feet (2 document boxes)
Language(s) English .

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.



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

This collection is located on-site.

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.

Preferred Citation

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.

Related Materials

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

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kelly Powers CC 2018. Finding aid written by Joanna Rios in October 2018.

Revision Description

2018-10-04 File created.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
minutes (administrative records) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
College students Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Seth Low Junior College Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Egbert, J. C. (James Chidester), 1859-1948 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Historical 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.