Columbia University Archives

Graduate School of Journalism records, 1912-2011, bulk 1950-1989

Summary Information


The Graduate School of Journalism Records document the progression of the school from its founding in 1912 through the 1990s. The records consist of audio/visual material, clippings, copies of various publications, administrative correspondence, notes, photographs, and transcriptions of articles and speeches.

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0065
Bib ID 5710251 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Columbia University. Graduate School of Journalism
Title Graduate School of Journalism records, 1912-2011, bulk 1950-1989
Physical Description 71.26 linear feet (70 record cartons 3 document boxes)
Language(s) English .

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least 2 business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

All administrative records of the University are restricted for 25 years from the date of creation. Additional restrictions may apply.



This collection is arranged in 7 series. The physical organization reflects the original order, the finding aid reflect its intellectual arrangement by topic.



Consisting of correspondence, reports, memorandum, meeting minutes, speeches, lectures, notes, newspaper clippings, publications, photographs and audio/visual materials, these records were generated by the administrative offices of the Graduate School of Journalism and document the operations of the school, the evolution of journalism education, and the work of administrators and students. The records are particularly strong with regard to the evolution of the School's curriculum and development.

  • Series I: Administration, 1912-1999

    Series I: Administration, 1912-1999 is comprised of twelve subseries that chronicle the day-to-day administration of the Graduate School of Journalism. This included budgeting, fundraising, correspondence, and memoranda; curricula and curriculum development, admissions, and affirmative action documentation; meeting minutes of faculty committees; documentation of committees specific to the School and to the larger profession; and material specific to the development of Journalism Hall.

  • Series II. Alumni, 1940-2011

    Series II: Alumni, 1940-2011, contains files that discuss enrollment figures, alumni fundraising, announcements sent to classes, and anonymous evaluations.

  • Series III: Awards and Prizes, 1934-1988

    Series III: Awards and Prizes, 1934-1988, consists of four subseries. Subseries III.1: General contains material that reflects the wide variety of scholarships and fellowships in the School and their sources of funding; subsequent series detail the origins and administration of the Maria Moors Cabot Prize (III.2), the Alfred I. du Pont Columbia University Award (III.3), and the Pulitzer Prizes (III.4).

  • Series IV: Events, 1941-1980

    Series IV: Events, 1941-1980 casts light on lectures, memorials, colloquia, luncheons, and dinners hosted by the School. Other events such as commencement, field trips, and the School's tradition of the Circle Line Boat Ride are also included.

  • Series V: Deans and Directors, 1880-1996

    Series V: Deans and Directors, 1880-1996 is divided into nine subseries and chronicles the activities of deans and directors in the School. The records of Richard T. Baker, who served as associate dean of the School from 1961-1968 and acting dean of the Chungking school, and Joan Konner, are nominally represented as their records were not transferred to the University Archives; both series contain minimal correspondence. In addition, subseries V.4: Roscoe Ellard, 1950-1971, who created the journalism field trips program and served as associate dean from 1946-1947, is represented by correspondence and some subject files, but the full breadth of his tenure is not represented in the records. The series contains a small amount of correspondence for Talcott Wiliiams, the School's first director.

  • Series VI: Students and Student Records, 1943-1993

    Series VI: Students and Student Records, 1943-1993. Student evaluations predominate this series and, as such, any files that contain confidential information covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act are individually restricted. Material that does not contain protected information is open.

  • Series VII: Publications

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least 2 business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

All administrative records of the University are restricted for 25 years from the date of creation. Additional restrictions may apply.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

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.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Graduate School of Journalism Records; Box and Folder; Columbia University; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Material at Columbia

Central Files, 1890-1984 [Bulk Dates: 1890-1983]

Graduate School of Journalism Photograph Collection, 1912-1999

School of Journalism Founding Documents, 1892-1912 [Bulk Dates: 1903-1904]


Additional materialsexpected periodically

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Records processed 11/2011-5/2012 by Joyce LeeAnn Joseph, Pratt Institute 2011-2012

Additional records processed Jocelyn Wilk and Molly Boord (GS 2021) 8/2017.

Finding aid written Jocelyn Wilk and Susan Hamson 06/2012.

Revision Description

2012-09-08 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz

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.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Audiocassettes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clippings (Information Artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lectures Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Memorandums Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Press releases Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Reports Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Speeches Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
minutes (administrative records) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Ackerman, Carl W (Carl William), 1890-1970 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Graduate School of Journalism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ellard, Roscoe Brabazon, 1894- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Elliott, Osborn Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Journalism -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- United States -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pulitzer Prizes -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Universities and colleges -- Graduate work -- Administration Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Universities and colleges -- Graduate work -- Curricula Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Williams, Talcott, 1849-1928 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

The School of Journalism was established through monies left to Columbia University in the will of Joseph Pulitzer who died in 1911. As he wrote in his will, "There are now special schools for instruction for lawyers, physicians, clergymen, military and naval officers, engineers, architects and artists, but none for the instruction of journalists. That all other professions and not journalism should have the advantage of special training seems to me contrary to reason." [pp. 3-4, "Extracts from the Will of Joseph Pulitzer, died, October 29, 1911]. The original agreements regarding the establishment and organization of the school were made in 1903 and 1904, but the school did not actually open until 1912 – a year after Pulitzer died.

Seventy-nine undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in that first class, including a dozen women. Classes convened at several locations around campus, as the Journalism building was still under construction. The building opened the next year, and in 1917 the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded. The School of Journalism began as an undergraduate school offering a B.Litt. Degree to its graduates, but in 1935 the School became the first in the nation to adopt a program exclusively at the graduate level.

Dean Carl W. Ackerman, one of the first nine to graduate from the School in 1913, spearheaded the school's 1935 transition to become the first graduate school of journalism in the United States. Devoted to intensive, hands-on instruction, the school gave classes of sixty students the lives of journalists, racing around the city on subways to find stories during the day, and drafting articles in a single, large newsroom in the Journalism building well into the night.

The Journalism School's reach and reputation as a unique incubator of talent soared throughout the years, from the foundation of the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes in 1939 to promote inter-American understanding to the establishment of satellite schools in China and Venezuela during the next decade. The school also began to offer coursework in television news and documentary to supplement its traditional focus on newspapers and radio. Approaching its 50th year, the school instituted Journalism Day and the Columbia Journalism Award, and in 1961 established the Columbia Journalism Review, a groundbreaking publication covering trends and developments in the profession.

The Journalism School's sixth decade was an exciting one, as the building added newsrooms, began to dispense the National Magazine Awards, and created the Alfred I. DuPont – Columbia Awards for excellence in broadcast journalism. In 1966 the school brought in Fred Friendly, the legendary former president of CBS News, and opened a new broadcast news laboratory shortly thereafter. Friendly initiated a summer program for minority students, and Luther P. Jackson '51 became the school's first African-American professor.

Innovation with an eye towards tradition continued to guide the Journalism School through the years. The 1960s and 1970s established the blueprint of the school's basic curriculum and codified Reporting and Writing 1 (RW1) as the cornerstone of the Master of Science experience. The creation of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship to enrich business journalism in 1975 and the 1985 creation of the Delacorte Center for Magazine Journalism gave students invaluable opportunities to specialize. Recognizing that computers and a changing media landscape would revolutionize journalism in the twenty-first century, Dean Joan Konner moved decisively in the 1980s and 90s to ensure that the school offered cutting-edge technology and intensive broadcast experience second to none.

The addition of a Ph.D. Program in 2001, a Master of Arts degree in 2005, and the 2006 opening of the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism have underlined the Journalism School's continuing vitality as it approaches its centennial. Recently, the opening of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and the announcement of a new dual M.S. degree in Computer Science and Journalism have demonstrated the school's continued commitment to innovation and its endless capacity to evolve along with a field that is always on the move.