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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 two series: Series I. Seth Low Summer Session correspondence, 1898; Series II. Summer Session administrative records, 1900-1940.
This collection consists of the correspondence relating to a proposed summer school in 1898 and the administrative records of the Summer Session.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection has no restrictions.
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
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); Summer Session records; Box and Folder number (if known); University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.
For materials related to the establishment of the Summer Session, please consult the Minutes of the Board of Trustees (UA#0019); in the Faculty Meeting Minutes (UA#005), look for the minutes of the University Council; and Angus Burrell's A History of Adult Education at Columbia University (CE1954 G286). For course descriptions, you can request the Summer Session Bulletins (1900 to 1934, CX7 I; 1935 to 2007, CI B). Additional materials can be found in the School of General Studies records (UA#0123) and the University Extension records (UA#0280).
No additions are expected.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
This collection was processed by Joanna Rios. Finding aid written by Joanna Rios in June 2019.
History / Biographical Note
In December 1898, President Seth Low sent a circular to the Columbia faculty. He proposed a working plan for a summer school: daily sessions would run during six consecutive weeks; each course would meet daily from Monday to Friday; instructors would receive two-thirds of the student fees and one-third would be retained for administrative expenses. In the letter, faculty were asked if they were inclined to offer any courses, and, if so, which courses and the length of each course in hours per week. Faculty had one week to submit their reply.
With the Trustees' conditional approval, Columbia offered its first summer session in 1900 with 29 courses and 417 registered students, under the guidance of Director of Summer Session Nicholas Murray Butler. The following year, 1901, Columbia offered 43 courses to 581 students. In 1904, the Summer Session was granted permanent status (no longer needing the yearly Trustee renewal) and it was formally incorporated into the University statutes.