Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Columbia University in World War I Collection, 1914-1970

Summary Information

Abstract

This collection contains records documenting Columbia University's activities slightly prior to, during and immediately following World War I. The collection consists of mostly correspondence, but also includes newspaper clippings, pamphlets, various publications, reports, photographs, service record cards, and numerous lists of Columbia men and women who served during the war.

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0014
Bib ID 4223520 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Columbia University
Title Columbia University in World War I Collection, 1914-1970
Physical Description 8.92 linear feet (8.92 linear feet 19 document boxes; 1 index card box)
Language(s) English
Access

This collection has no restrictions.

This collection is located onsite.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in eight series. Series I: Alumni Activities, 1917-1944; Series II: Columbia Service Bureau, 1917-1934; Series III: Columbia War Hospital, 1914-1922; Series IV: Committee on Women's War Work, 1917-1919; Series V: Instruction and Training, 1916-1923 Subseries V.1: General, 1917-1923; Subseries V.2: Student Army Training Corps, 1918; Subseries V.3: Training Corps for Officers, 1916-1917; Series VI.: War Records Committee, 1915-1930 Subseries VI.1: Departments and Schools, 1915-1920; subseries VI.2: Fraternities, 1917-1920; Subseries VI.3: Alumni Classes, 1917-1920; Subseries VI.4: General Correspondence, 1916-1921; Subseries VI.5: War Casualties, 1917-1930; Subseries VI.6: Topics, 1917-1923; Series VII: Wartime Work, 1914-1928; Series VIII: Publications and Clippings, 1914-1970

Description

Summary

This collection contains records documenting Columbia University's activities slightly prior to, during and immediately following World War I. The collection consists of mostly correspondence, but also includes newspaper clippings, pamphlets, various publications, reports, photographs, service record cards, and numerous lists of Columbia men and women who served during the war. Correspondence is mostly with the Office of the Secretary, the War Records Committee and the Alumni Federation Office regarding Columbia faculty, staff, students, and alumni participation in the war effort.

Among the major topics represented in this collection are various alumni activities, including the publication of the Alumni News's military supplements, war records, and war memorials; the work of the Columbia Service Bureau established in France to create a place for service men and women to meet fellow Columbians; the Committee on Women's War Work; various instruction and training facilities and programs including the Student Army Training Corps and the Training Corps for Officers; the War Records Committee; and the Columbia War Hospital.

  • Series I: Alumni Activities

    This series consists of correspondence, articles, and lists regarding the various activities of the Alumni Federation and other alumni groups. During the war, the Alumni News published articles in every issue on Columbia's war work. These issues included military supplements and the war commencement issue of 1917. This series also includes the letters from Horatio Krans of the Columbia Service Bureau in France providing updates on the war effort in Europe. There is brief information on the Alumni Committee on International Affairs and the Alumni Committee on Mobilization. The folder "Alumni War Association of Paris" contains mostly correspondence from Levering Tyson to others regarding the Association and its formation. In addition, the Alumni Federation was instrumental in creating lists for the war memorial and war records as shown in this series. The folder of "War Service Medals, Ribbons and Memorials" contains samples of ribbons the University considered using in developing war service medals and ribbons.

  • Series II: Columbia Service Bureau

    These records are mostly administrative correspondence regarding the day-to-day maintenance of the Columbia Service Bureau (CSB) as well as correspondence with individuals regarding membership and donations to the Bureau. Most of the correspondence is between Frank Diehl Fackenthal, Secretary of the University, and Horatio Krans, director of the CSB. There is considerable correspondence with Roger Pierce, Secretary of Harvard University, regarding the establishment of the various college bureaus in Paris. This series also includes information on the American University Union in Europe, of which the CSB was a part. About thirty American colleges founded the Union to "aid all American college men in any form of service abroad." (Quotation taken from circular on the Union in the Bureau's Nettleton correspondence)

  • Series III: Columbia War Hospital

    These records include correspondence, some minutes and reports, and general information regarding the establishment of the hospital, supplies, and administrative issues. Most of the correspondence is with Dr. Francis Carter Wood (Professor of Cancer Research and member of the administrative board of the School of Dentistry) and Samuel Lambert (Dean of the College of Physicians and Surgeons). The College of Physicians and Surgeons was instrumental in the creation of the hospital. See also the oversize folder "Collections Oversize-World War I Collection-Newspaper Clippings" for an illustrated article in The New York Times' Mid-week Pictorial, 1917.

  • Series IV: Committee on Women's War Work

    Series IV includes correspondence, lists, meeting minutes, and bulletins related to the University's attempts to organize women for the war effort. The University created the Committee for Women's War Work on April 10, 1917, with Virginia Newcomb as an instrumental member. By the end of the 1916-1917 academic year, the Committee "furnished 790 women for volunteer work and 25 for salaried positions." (1917 Annual Report, p.5) The Committee sent out enrollment cards to gather names of women interested in participating in the war. With this information, the Committee looked to place women in both volunteer and salaried positions. The University also created specific courses to train women in areas necessary to the war effort. Also included in this series is a separate card file box (Box 7) with membership cards the Committee asked women to fill out. At the front of the box is a sample instruction card. The card file is incomplete and only contains cards for surnames from A to Col.

  • Series V: Instruction and Training

    Series V consists of correspondence, enrollment cards, and general information on the various efforts by the University to train and instruct students for entry into the war. Included are folders on the Columbia Battalion as well as war-related courses and the war topography course syllabi . The folder "Columbia Battalion" contains mostly correspondence regarding preparation for the presentation of both the American flag and the Battalion flag to the Battalion on May 29, 1917. The folder also contains correspondence on the formation of the Battalion.

  • Series VI: War Records Committee

    The War Records Committee is comprised largely of correspondence and lists regarding the service of Columbia faculty, staff, students, and alumni in the war effort.

  • Series VII: Wartime Work

    This series contains material on various topics, groups, and organizations related to the war effort. Folder "Division of Intelligence and Publicity" contains a small amount of correspondence and some items such as press releases informing the Columbia community about various military programs. The folder of "General Assemblies" contains material on the General Assemblies held for the faculty and/or the university community to discuss current wartime issues. The folder also contains President Nicholas Murray Butler's, as well as other professor's, addresses to the General Assembly of the Faculty on May 7, 1918. The Ninth Coast Artillery Corps correspondence is mostly in relation to the formation of a New York Guard Columbia Unit, which was the result of efforts by the Columbia University Club. Information on the Citizen's Preparedness Parade and the May 10, 1916 meeting with speaker Major-General Leonard Wood is within the folder "Preparedness." See also the oversized folder "Collections Oversize-World War I Collection-Newspaper Clippings" for the Louvain Library Supplement of the Columbia Spectator from April 5, 1922.

  • Series VIII: Publications and Clippings

    Series VIII contains publications and newspaper clippings regarding the University's participation in the war effort. Also includes articles on related issues such as academic freedom (including the controversy over Professors Beard, Cattell and Dana), student protests to the war, the ban on speaker Count Ilya Tolstoy in February 1917, protests by pacifists, and articles on "draft evaders" (in particular Charles F. Phillips). See also full issues of the Columbia Spectator from March, 1917 in the oversize folder "Collections Oversize-World War I Collection-Newspaper Clippings." Columbia's War Work publication is housed in the oversize folder Collections Oversize-World War I Collection--General along with an anti-war poster and two military maps.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection has no restrictions.

This collection is located onsite.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Columbia University in World War I Collection; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Selected Related Materal at Columbia

Central Files, Columbia University, University Archives.

Historial Subject Files, Columbia University, University Archives.

Flat Files, Oversize Collection, Columbia University, University Archives.

Presidential Annual Reports, 1917-1918, Columbia University, University Archives.

Accrual

No additions are expected

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Collection processed Abby Lester 2003.

Finding aid reformatted Jennifer Comins 2008.

Revision Description

2009-10-29 File created.

2010-05-25 xml document instance created by Lea Osborne.

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.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Applications Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clippings (Information Artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ephemera Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lists Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Maps Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Questionnaires Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Academic freedom Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
American University Union in Europe Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fackenthal, Frank Diehl, 1883-1968 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Krans, Horatio Sheafe, 1872-1952 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States. Army. Coast Artillery Corps, 9th (1917-1922) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States. Army. General Hospital No. 1 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States. Department of the Treasury Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Université catholique de Louvain (1835-1969). Bibliothèque Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1914-1918 -- Education and the war Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1914-1918 -- Medical care Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1914-1918 -- Participation, American Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1914-1918 -- Study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1914-1918 -- War work -- Schools Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1914-1918 -- Women Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

The Columbia University community and administration mobilized to the fullest extent in answer to the entry of the United States into World War I. Summed up by President Nicholas Murray Butler in the 1918 Annual Report, the effects of the war on the University were far-reaching: "Students by the hundred and prospective students by the thousand entered the military, naval, or civil service of the United States; teachers and administrative officers to the number of nearly four hundred sought and obtained leaves of absence or resigned their posts in order to enter the service of the Government; courses of instruction were modified or abandoned; habitual modes of procedure were altered; the whole University went upon a war footing." Soon after the nation mobilized in 1917, the war effort consumed Columbia in every way, from installation of new courses and military training on South Field to creating a War Records Committee to record every Columbia community member's participation in the war effort. Columbia's mobilization was so intense that the U.S. government used many of Columbia's programs and efforts as an example for the country's other institutions of higher education.

The first direct military activity on campus was on March 8, 1917 when the Columbia Reserve Officers Training Corps (also known as: Columbia Battalion or Columbia Corps) was formed. Within four months of formation, 1400 had enrolled in the Battalion. In April 1918, the Battalion was disbanded when it was announced, that the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) would be established to replace it. The ROTC, however, was never realized because the U.S. Army created the Student Army Training Corps to fill its place in the summer of 1918.

In April 1917 the Trustees of the University approved the creation of the Columbia War Hospital, a medical training camp, to be located on a piece of land in the Bronx called the Columbia Oval. Due to fear of naval bombardment, the hospital was also meant to handle victims of these bombardments if they occurred or to handle ill soldiers or war disasters. The War Department took over the Hospital on October 3, 1917 and renamed it the U.S. Army General Hospital Number One. In other war efforts, alumni raised enough money in September 1917 to set up the Ambulance Service Division. In addition, the University established the Columbia Service Bureau, part of the American University Union. Horatio S. Krans (CC 1894) headed the Bureau as "a friendly and helpful port of call for hundreds of Columbia soldiers on leave to Paris." (Fon W. Boardman, Jr., Columbia: An American University in Peace and War, p.47).

The University participated in and created many other programs and facilities to further the war effort, including the emergency training corps; establishment of the Military and Naval Bureau in East Hall; Mobilization Committee for Women's Work which organized women for volunteer and salaried positions; the establishment of the United States Navy Gas Engine School; the inclusion of war-related courses being taught through the Department of Extension Teaching; and the creation of the Farm Bureau.