|Columbia University Archives|
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Series I: Division of Government Aided Research
Series III: Committee for War Relief
Series IV: Civilian Defense
This series contains correspondence, memos, lists, minutes, newsletters, newspaper clippings, and ephemera (actual ID cards and armbands) concerning the activities of the civilian defense program at Columbia University. Issues include civilian defense courses, air raid drills, and building control activities. The original order of this series was lost prior to processing so a new order was imposed based on the subject matter of the materials.
Correspondence in this series is primarily from Nicholas McKnight, Director of the Civilian Defense Program, but a significant amount of communication also comes from Fon W. Boardman, Jr. who was Assistant to the Director of the Civilian Defense Program. Boardman was in charge of ID card and armband distribution, a well documented aspect of the program in these files. In addition to correspondence and materials concerning the activities of the various committees and the Student Auxiliary Corps within the university community, McKnight's dealings with suburban defense organizations (particularly in New Jersey), the NYC Police Department, and the local New York civilian defense councils is also documented.
Three incidents are of particular note. These include December, 1941 correspondence between McKnight and representatives of Harvard, McGill University, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford and Yale regarding the civilian defense activities at those institutions; December, 1941 and early January, 1942 correspondence from students and staff concerning how they could help the war effort on campus in the wake of Pearl Harbor; and correspondence within the Barnard file concerning civilian defense activities on that campus and how it would work within the larger program forming at Columbia.