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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
Organized chronologically by class year.
The Alumni Class Records contains materials pertaining to the alumni from the Classes of 1842 to 1963, from Columbia College and the School of Mines, later the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Content includes programs, menus, invitations, clippings, correspondence, and printed matter related to activities from college days to the many reunion events in the subsequent years.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on 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 off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
There are no restrictions on this collection.
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.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Alumni Class Records; Box and Folder number; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.
For information about classes, please consult the Columbia Yearbooks, Facebooks and Class Books (UA#0027) and, for earlier classes, the Class Photograph Albums Collection (UA#0131). Additional information about alumni, class materials and photographs can be found in the Historical biographical files (UA#0004), Historical subject files (UA#0002), and Historical photograph collection (UA#0003).
No additions are expected.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Collection-level record describing unprocessed material made public in summer 2018 as part of the Hidden Collections initiative. This collection was processed and finding aid was written by Joanna Rios (November 2022).
2022-11-28 Finding aid published (JR)
2022-11-29 Added boxes 39-40 (JR)
History / Biographical Note
The Alumni Class records were initially collected for the Columbiana Collection. Many of these items (mostly class memorabilia) were then displayed during "Alumni Day." Starting in 1908, an Alumni Day or the mid-winter reunion was held every year on Lincoln's birthday (February 12) because it was the only business holiday in the year when alumni can visit their Alma Mater. Alumni would come back to campus, could join classes and enjoy the displays at the Columbiana Library (originally, room 307 Library).
The Columbiana Collection was built up by alumnus (CC 1877, Law 1879), clerk of the Board and University historian John B. Pine. After his death in 1922, a fulltime Columbiana curator was appointed "in order that the work of collecting memorabilia for the Columbiana Collection ... should suffer no relapse but should be carried on and extended." Robert Arrowsmith CC 1882 was the first Columbiana curator (1923-1929), followed by Milton Halsey Thomas (1929-1959). According to the Columbia Alumni News, June 1, 1923, (460) "[i]t is hoped eventually to have a complete individual record of each class in the shape of class albums, scrap books, class programmes, publications and other memorabilia, so arranged that information regarding any class activitity or material for a class reunion shall be at once procurable."