|Columbia University Archives|
At a Glance
Scope and Contents
This finding aid represents the Columbia Alumni News holdings at the University Archives and those available online. This finding aid was created to facilitate access. If you cannot find a volume or issue you are interested in, please contact the University Archives at email@example.com.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Conditions Governing 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 onsite and online.
This collection has no restrictions.
The Columbia University Quarterly was published from 1898 to 1941. Publication was suspended from 1920 to 1929 but resumed from 1930 to 1941. The Quarterly's predecessor, the Columbia University Bulletin (1890-1898) is also available online.
Thanks to a gift from the board of the Columbia University Club Foundation, Columbia College Today and the Columbia University Libraries have digitized back issues of this Columbia College alumni magazine fom its inception in 1954 through and including Summer 2016. The Columbia College Today (CCT) issues have been indexed so you can easily search for articles, features and alumni news or just browse through the individual issues.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
2023-10-30 Finding aid published (JR)
History / Biographical Note
In 1895 the Alumni Council was formed as an executive committee to bring together the various alumni associations of all the schools of the University. The Council was originally composed of representatives of the alumni associations of Columbia College, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the School of Applied Science. Each association had been firmly established and was completely independent of the others. A few years later, representatives of the alumni associations of the Law School and the Doctors of Philosophy were added to the Council.
The Alumni Council established and distributed the Columbia University Quarterly from 1898, which was the only means of informing the alumni of life on campus and the activities of the alumni. The Quarterly included the latest legislation from the Trustees and the University Council (predecessor of the University Senate), new courses and departmental plans. The committee of editors included members from the seven faculties, the University Press and the Library.
The Council organized the Commencement Day Luncheon and the Alumni Day, a mid-winter reunion event. In 1908, by resolution of the Trustees, six of the twenty-four trustees were to be nominated by the alumni (Alumni Trustees) and the following year (1909) the Council started the Columbia Alumni News to keep the alumni public informed on a weekly basis (as opposed to the Quarterly which came out only four times a year).
The Alumni News was originally intended as a weekly supplement to the student newspaper the Spectator. It was published in the plant of the Spectator but it had an independent editorial board made up of volunteers. 3,500 copies were published on Monday mornings, with more than 3,000 of which were distributed for free among the dues-paying members of the various alumni associations; the remaining 500 were put on sale at five cents a copy. The work proved to be too much for the original volunteer editorial board and eventually the last few issues of the first year were edited by officers of the Alumni Council. Nevertheless, a March 1910 Alumni Council resolution stated that publication "is generally desired by the Alumni and is of great advantage to the University as a means of keeping the Alumni in touch with the University." Publication for the second year was undertaken, but with the alumni now having to purchase individual, yearly subscriptions. New editorial and advisory committees were appointed to produce the next year's issues.
In 1913, the Alumni Council was replaced by the Alumni Federation. This new general organization of the alumni of the University include the alumni associations of all the schools and the alumni clubs. It was meant to serve as one central office to distribute information, to handle major alumni events, and to coordinate the election of Alumni Trustees.
The News continued to cover campus events, offering a running commentary on the news, expressing opinions and timely editorials. As a former editor described it, the News focused on what Columbia men were "thinking, wondering and hoping about the University and its progress." However, the Quarterly's focus shifted. Starting in 1916, the Quarterly published articles about a "wide variety of literary, philosophic and scientific activities at the University" and the sections on University news, undergraduate activities, statistics, and staff bibliographies were abandoned. The Quarterly no longer covered the history and policy of the University. The shift was short lived. With the mounting price of paper and press work immediately after the War, the journal was suspended after the October 1919 issue.
By 1930, the News had over 5,000 weekly subscribers. The publication shared information about the activities of the different alumni associations and the 52 alumni clubs all over the world. It also reported on campus events for the larger community. In 1930, the Columbia University Quarterly came back as part of the University's 175th Anniversary Celebration. According to the new editors, instead of the daily deeds covered by the News, the Quarterly "inquires as to the meaning and the purposes of the University." The editors recognized that there are different needs and moods "just as the same man wears a cap at golf and a top hat at a wedding." The Quarterly ceased publication in 1941.
The Columbia Alumni News was a weekly publication until February 24, 1933. From March 1933 to June 1942, the magazine was published twice a month, and then moved to a monthly publication from October 1942 to the end of its run in June 1957.
In November 1954, the Columbia College Alumni Association started its own news and events newspaper (and later a magazine), Columbia College Today, which remains in print to this day (2023). The alumni of Law School published its won Columbia Law Alumni Bulletin (started in April 1956) and the alumni of the College of Physicians and Surgeons had their own The P&S (started in June 1955).
The Columbia Forum was a quarterly journal for alumni started in 1957. As a replacement for the Columbia Alumni News, it was originally created to provide a forum for the thoughts and opinions of people who were in some way connected to Columbia, covering the entire range of the arts and sciences. It also included the Columbia Chronicle, a short section of news about the University. The publication was sent free-of-charge to alumni; non-alumni could subscribe or buy single copies with the proceeds going to the Columbia General Scholarship Fund. The Forum ceased publication in 1975.
In April 1975, the University launched a new quarterly for all the alumni under the name Columbia Today, and since the Spring 1978 issue, as Columbia, the magazine of Columbia University, which remains in print to this day (2023).