The Historical Photo Collection contains images of persons, events, and
activities associated with Columbia College (1754-1896) and Columbia University
At a Glance
|Bib ID:||4080179 View CLIO record|
|Creator(s):||Columbia University. Columbia University
|Physical description:||179.47 linear feet (210 document boxes; 50 OS flat
boxes; 9 XL flat boxes; 6 XXL flat boxes; 11 clamshell boxes).
This collection is located on site.
More information »|
Arranged in fifteen series.
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Scope and Content
Black and white gelatin silver negatives and prints, color negatives and prints,
albumen prints, cyanotypes, lithographs, and postcards from various sources with or
without provenance, ranging from the latter part of the 19th to the present 21st
century at Columbia University. The bulk of the collection consists of black and
white prints, including portraits of individuals (ca. 34,000 items). Series VII.
Buildings and Grounds contain the greatest volume (ca. 12,000 items / 35 cubic feet)
of subject images. Many prints from 1946 through 1973 are attributed to University
Photographer Manny Warman, including Series IV. Athletics (ca. 5600 items). Other
known photographers include Joe Pierno and Walter Lawrence Bogert.
Series I: Academics
Arranged in four sub-series, these images depict the various academic areas
of the University, including schools, departments, institutes, centers and
affiliated institutions of Columbia University. This series also contains
images related to some of the fellowships and scholarships offered by
Subseries I.1: Affiliated Institutions
Images of institutions affiliated with Columbia University such as
Teachers College, Columbia University Press and Seth Low Junior
Subseries I.2: Fellowships and Scholarships
Images related to various fellowships and scholarships offered by
Subseries I.3: Institutes and Centers
Photographs depicting the myriad of different Columbia institutes and
centers, such as the Computer Center, American Press Institute, and the
Subseries I.4: Schools and Departments
This is the largest of the four sub-series and contains images of
numerous schools and departments found at Columbia University. The
School of Mines (predecessor to the School of Engineering) is
particularly well represented in this sub-series.
Series II: Administration
Arranged in 4 sub-series, these images depict subjects and departments that
reports to the Office of the Executive Vice President, the Office of the
President and the Office of the Provost.
Subseries II.1: General
Images related to administrative topics that do not fit into any specific
sub-category, such as Admissions.
Subseries II.2: Executive Vice President (EVP), Office
Photographs of certain activities that administratively fall under the
Office of the Executive Vice President.
Subseries II.3: President, Office of
Images of activities and offices that have traditionally fallen under the
auspices of the Office of the President.
Subseries II.4: Provost
Images of activities and offices which are associated with the Office of
the Provost. This includes several files of images related to the
Series III: Artifacts
Studio photographs depicting works of art and items for the purpose of
two-dimensional duplication are filed under this series. The items are often
isolated and no other contextual information may be recorded (location,
date, etc.). The subjects include medals and artifacts under the custody of
the University Archives, including many objects once located in the Kings
Series IV: Athletics
This large series contains images of numerous Columbia athletic competitions
and teams. Basketball, baseball, crew, and football are particularly well
represented in this series.
Series V: Atomic Energy
A small series of images related to atomic research conducted by Columbia.
Included are images of the Nevis and Pupin Laboratories and a 1948 exhibit
about atomic energy.
Series VI: Bicentennial
This series contains images of events and activities that either took place
during or are associated with Columbia University’s bicentennial
celebrations in 1954.
Series VII: Buildings and Grounds
Among the largest series in this collection, images include interior and
exterior images of buildings and campus features for Columbia’s various
homes over the years (Park Place, 49th Street, Morningside, Health Sciences)
as well as places associated with Columbia but not located at one of the
main campus sites (e.g., Baker Field).
Subseries VII.1: General
Images of buildings, sites and campuses associated with Columbia over the
years but not at one of the major campus sites. This sub-series includes
images of places such as Baker Field, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory,
Nevis Labs and general photos of New York City.
Subseries VII.2: 49th Street Campus
From 1856 to 1897 Columbia occupied buildings at the midtown location of
49th Street and Madison Avenue. The images in this sub-series are of
buildings and campus features from Columbia’s second campus home. The
School of Mines is well represented in this sub-series.
Subseries VII.3: Health Sciences Campus
Images of the medical school campus and associated buildings located at
168th Street and its previous home at 59th Street.
Subseries VII.4: Morningside Campus
Photographs of the buildings and campus features found on Columbia’s
Morningside campus, the school’s third home since its founding in 1754.
This sub-series includes images of buildings and features that have
since disappeared from campus, such as Ferris Booth Hall, Bloomingdale
Asylum structures and The Green. There are also several folders of
"General Views" images which broadly depict the campus in various time
Subseries VII.5: Park Place
Images of Columbia’s first home in downtown New York City. Although there
are some photographs of the original college building as it was being
torn down in 1856, most of the images in this sub-series are sketches,
lithographs and drawings of this campus site which was in use between
1754 and 1856.
Series VIII: Class Portraits
This series contains mostly large format (oversized), group photographs of
Columbia’s graduating classes from across the various schools, including the
College, School of Mines and Law. Classes represented are mostly from the
late 19th and early 20th centuries. Photos included also depict reunion
dinners for various classes.
Series IX: Events
Arranged in 15 sub-series, this series contains images of annual and one-time
only events held at Columbia University over the years.
Subseries: IX.1: General
Images of events associated with Columbia University alumni, such as
Dean’s Days, Reunion activities, Alumni Association events, and
Subseries: IX.2: Alumni
This small sub-series contains images of some of the anniversary
celebrations held by schools, such as Columbia College and the School of
Subseries: IX.3: Anniversaries
Images of awards ceremonies and related photos associated with numerous
awards granted by Columbia University. Awards covered in this sub-series
include the Bancroft Prizes, DuPont Awards, Alexander Hamilton Medal,
Pulitzer Prizes, and Vetlesen Prizes.
Subseries: IX.4: Awards
Chronological arrangement of images of university commencement ceremonies
held over the years. The holdings for the ceremonies are predominantly
from the 20th century. Also includes files of images depicting more
general subjects associated with commencement day at Columbia.
Subseries: IX.5: Commencement
Images of Columbia sponsored community related programs and events.
Subseries: IX.6: Community Affairs
Images of the First Institute Concerts held in 1928-1929.
Subseries: IX.7: Concerts
Images of some of the conferences held at Columbia University. Columbia
Scholastic Press Association conference is well represented in this
Subseries: IX.8: Conferences
Images of some of the numerous convocations held at Columbia University
in the 20th century.
Subseries: IX.9: Convocations
Small sub-series of images depicting some of the exhibitions that have
been presented at Columbia University over the years.
Subseries: IX.10: Exhibits
Images of some of the lecture events held at Columbia University over the
Subseries: IX.11: Lectures
Very small sub-series depicting Columbia University opening exercises
held in 1926 and 1940 to 1950.
Subseries: IX.12: Opening Exercises
Small sub-series of images depicting protest activities on campus.
Images are mostly from the 1960s but there are some events from the
1940s and 1950s represented in this sub-series. See Office of Public
Affairs Photograph Collection and the University Protest and Activism
Collection for more extensive collections of images from campus protests
in 1968 and surrounding years.
Subseries: IX.13: Protest and Activism
Small sub-series of images of just a few of the many University Seminars
held at Columbia University over the years.
Subseries: IX.14: University Seminars
Small sub-series of images of some of the visitors who have come to
Columbia University campus over the years.
Subseries: IX.15: Visitors
Series X: Portraits
Studio and informal photographs depicting various individuals associated with
Columbia University over the years. Individuals include students, faculty,
trustees, honorary degree recipients and lecturers.
It is strongly suggested that patrons search the other online finding aids
for information on portraits.
Series XI: Student Activities and Student Life
Arranged in 7 sub-series, this series contains images of Columbia student
clubs, fraternities, performing groups, publications and student traditions
over the years.
Subseries: XI.1: General
Images of student activities and student life that did not easily fit in
the other sub-series categories created.
Subseries: XI.2: Clubs
Images of a variety of student clubs that once existed or continue to
exist at Columbia.
Subseries: XI.3: Fraternities
Mostly group portraits of fraternities at Columbia from 1920s and
Subseries: XI.4: Honorary Societies
Images of honorary societies such as the Blue Key Society, Phi Beta
Kappa, and Varsity "C" Club.
Subseries: XI.5: Performing Groups
Photographs depicting student performances (theatre, musical groups,
etc.) at Columbia over the years. Images include performances by Theatre
Associates and the Soph Show. Images of the Varsity Show can be found within the Varsity Show Records, 1894-Present (UA#0003)
Subseries: XI.6: Publications
Images of student publication groups such as
Subseries: XI.7: Traditions
Images of some of the student traditions of Columbia College students,
many of which are no longer continued today. Traditions represented in
this sub-series include rushes, cane spree, Goodwood Cups, freshmen
beanies and the Yule Log.
Series XII: University Symbols
Images depicting major Columbia University symbols including the King’s
Crown, the lion mascot, the University seal and shield.
Series: XIII: World War I
Photographs depicting campus activities during the World War I period
Sub-Series: XIII.1: General
Images of general activities associated with Columbia during World War I
that cannot fit in the other sub-series categories.
Subseries XIII.2: Commencement
One folder of commencement images from 1917.
Subseries XIII.3: Convocations
Contains one folder of images from convocation of Cardinal Mercier in
Subseries XIII.4: Instruction
Images of the military training programs held on campus and sponsored by
Columbia during World War I.
Subseries XIII.5: Reviews and Parades
Images depicting the military reviews and parades held on campus and
Series: XIV: World War II
Photographs depicting campus activities during the World War II period
Subseries XIV.1: General
Images of general activities associated with Columbia during World War
Subseries XIV.2: Convocations
Images of three different World War II related convocation ceremonies
held in 1945 and 1947 at Columbia University.
Series XV: Columbiana Negatives
Original and copy negatives depicting a variety of subjects and individuals
associated with Columbia University. Negatives are primarily 4x5 in size.
Other sizes include 8x10, 5x7, 35mm, 120mm, and slides. Many of the
negatives are on Safety Film (one will notice an "SF" in the corner of the
negative envelope to signify this). There are also silver gelatin and glossy
negatives within this collection. Most of the negatives are in black and
white, but there are some that are color negatives. Before the advent of
digital scanning, copy negatives were often created from original photos to
create duplicate prints. This series is comprised of many such negatives
created for past patrons.
Some negatives included in this series are negatives of articles, books,
drawings/sketches/etchings/paintings, etc. One will notice that there are
two titles concerning coffeepots—one is "Myers Coffeepot," the other is
"Johnson, Samuel—Coffeepot." It appears that the coffeepots depicted are
identical, however, these were the titles assigned them and processing did
not deviate from that.
Please note that box numbering for this series re-starts from Box 1.
Subseries XV.1: Subjects-Original Negatives
Arranged alphabetically, these are original negatives depicting a variety
of Columbia related subjects. Some of these original negatives are
attributed to Walter Lawrence (W.L.) Bogert. Otherwise, provenance is
Subseries XV.2: Subjects-Copy Negatives
Arranged mostly alphabetically, these are copy negatives created from
original photographs to create duplicate prints created for past
Subseries XV.3: People
Alphabetically arranged original and copy negatives of various
individuals associated with Columbia University over the years
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Using the Collection
This collection is located on site.
There are no restrictions on this collection.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Historical Photograph Collection;
Series Number; Box and Folder (if known); University Archives, Rare Book and
Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Historical Photograph Collection, ca. 1858- . Columbia University Archives, Columbia
University in the City of New York.
Related Material at Columbia
Photo Albums, 1856-1902
Columbia Spectator Photograph Collection, 1950-1999 (UA#0036)
Columbia University Faculty Photograph Collection, 1938 (UA#0115)
Graduate School of Journalism Photograph Collection, 1918-2002
Health Sciences Archives & Special Collections
"No More Shadows: Women Leaders of Color at Columbia University" Records, 1993
Office of Public Affairs Photograph Collection, 1947-2006 (UA#0109)
University Protest and Activism Collection, 1958-1999 [Bulk Dates: 1968-1972]
Varsity Show Collection, 1894- (UA#016)
Women’s Graduate Club of Columbia University Portrait Collection, c. 1920-1930s
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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Archives; machine readable
finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program
This collection was originally processed by Mae Pan through funding of the NHPRC
Processing was continued by Jennifer Ulrich between 2002 and 2007.
Additions have been added by Jocelyn Wilk and numerous work study students.
EAD finding aid created by Jocelyn Wilk Laura Thomas (School of Arts 2013), Gillian
Rhodes (CC 2012) and Maya Meredith (CC 2014) during the Summer of 2012, based upon
information formerly maintained in an MS Access Database and a legacy finding aid
draft created by Jennifer Ulrich..
Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT
conversion December 13, 2010
Finding aid written in English.
xml document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
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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.
|Nat'l / Int'l Archives:|
|Barnard, Frederick A. P. (Frederick Augustus Porter),
|Butler, Nicholas Murray, 1862-1947.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Columbia University--Alumni and alumnae.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David),
|Kirk, Grayson L. (Grayson Louis), 1903-1997.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Low, Seth, 1850-1916.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
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History / Biographical Note
The Historical Photo Collection consists chiefly of images
of persons, events, and activities related to Columbia College (1754-1896) and
Columbia University (1896-). The collection is made up of the Columbiana Photo
Collection (part of the Division of the Libraries until 1998), images removed from
the Columbiana vertical subject files, and post-1998 acquisitions.
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