Columbia University Archives

School of Mines and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences records, 1863-2007

Summary Information


The records in this collection document the founding, growth, and evolution of the School of Mines, later known as the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0098
Bib ID 5801754 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Columbia University. School of Mines; Columbia University. School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Title School of Mines and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences records, 1863-2007
Physical Description 20.26 linear feet (15 document boxes, 13 record cartons, 4 scrapbook boxes, and one volume)
Language(s) English .
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.

All administrative records of the University are restricted for 25 years from the date of creation.

The following boxes are located offsite: Boxes 4-5 and 15-33. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least two business in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.



This collection is arranged in 8 series.



The School of Mines Records describe the founding, growth, and evolution of the School. The materials contained in this collection show the expansion of the School's faculty, student and alumni bodies, and physical plant plus its shift in academic focus from mines and metallurgy to engineering and applied sciences. Also covered are the development of the undergraduate and graduate programs of study and the celebrations and documentation of the School's progress and history.

  • Series I: Academics, 1864-1963

    Material related to academic issues and administrative governance of the School of Mines is gathered in this series. This includes curriculum, course and examination schedules, registration information, admission requirements, guide for students, and annual school catalogues. Faculty and trustee reports cover finance, education, instruction, administration, and development of the School. Limited correspondence of the faculty and general inquiry, statistics of enrollment and teaching, and research and patent policies and procedures are also found in this series. Publications issued by the School regarding its departments and engineering at Columbia University in general make up the bulk of this series. Of note are the academic issues of the faulty response to changing its name to encompass the broader, evolving scope of the School's subjects as well as the process of changing the School's course degree program.

  • Series II: Administrative Records, 1895-1936

    This series contains the Office of the Dean's correspondence files. These files include information on faculty and student matters, department budgets and annual reports, enrollments, Camp Columbia, alumni gifts, trustee decisions, etc. The first alphabetical run is supposed to be from 1900 to 1910 but includes later materials. School of Engineering Deans during this period: Frederick R. Hutton, 1899-1905; George F. Sever (Acting), 1905-1907; Frederick A. Goetze, 1907-1917; George B. Pegram, 1917-1930 and Joseph Warren Barker, 1930-1946. This series also includes materials related to the School's self-study and/or reviews undertaken as part of the re-accreditation proces, which were submitted to the Education and Accreditation Commission of the Engineers' Council for Professional Development, later known as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

  • Series III: Anniversaries, 1913-1965

    Contained in this series are correspondence, programs, announcements, and guest lists of the three School of Mines anniversary celebrations: the 50th anniversary in 1914, the 75th anniversary in 1938, and the 100th anniversary in 1964. The majority of this series resides in the 50th and 75th anniversary materials. The 50th anniversary celebrations included a banquet, convocation, an alumni luncheon, campus night, and commencement. Banquet materials consist of correspondence, menus, programs, guest lists, and announcements. Programs, admission tickets, invitations, and announcements represent the other 50th anniversary celebration events. The remaining 50th anniversary material consists of celebration badges; general correspondence; meeting minutes of the anniversary celebration committee; news clippings; financial papers including bills, reservations, and correspondence; poems and songs written for or performed at the celebrations; commemorative issues of campus publications; and copies of speeches given at the celebrations. The 75th anniversary celebrations included a dinner, convocation, an open house, "old home week" at Camp Columbia, and the unveiling of an Old School of Mines plaque commemorating the original site of the School at 50th Street and Park Avenue. Correspondence, including letters to and from President Nicholas Murray Butler; guest lists; programs; committee meeting minutes; announcements; schedules; news clippings; and commemorative issues of campus publications all compose the 75th anniversary celebration items. Three black and white photographs of the Old School of Mines unveiling ceremony are also included. The 100th anniversary celebration materials consist of a celebration badge, the centennial dinner seating list and program, convocation program and announcement, an alumni centennial questionnaire, and a speech draft for the celebration.

  • Series IV: Building and Grounds, 1881-1961

    Fundraising materials and design publications; invitations to and programs for announcement and preview dinners; press releases; news articles and clippings; maps; copies of photographs and artist's building conceptions; reports; and newsletters all concerning the new Engineering Center comprise the bulk of the series. Original photographs, which include President Dwight D. Eisenhower, then-president of Columbia University, and Dean James Kip Finch, are located in the Subject Photo files. Also included in this series are 49th Street building analysis correspondence; announcements and fundraising correspondence related to the move to Morningside Heights; and two photograph-and-blueprint books of proposed new laboratories building for the School of Engineering at 134th Street and Riverside Drive.

  • Series V: Events, 1874-1962

    This series contains materials related to events held by and/or at the School of Mines. The items include invitations, a guest list, programs, schedules, press releases, correspondence, news articles, dance cards, a registration application, and records of proceedings of lectures, dinners, reception, conferences, a symposium, and graduation exercises.

  • Series VI: History, 1863-1952

    Materials related to the history of the School of Mines populate this series. Three distinct subject areas within this series are the planning of the School, the summer surveying school (commonly called Camp Columbia), and a complete history of the School, the last of which forms the bulk of this series. Items related to the planning of the School include a copy of the trustee meeting minutes in which the creation of the School is discussed, the resolutions of the trustees on the founding of the School, a blank subscription form for the School, and copies of Thomas J. Egleston's original 1863 plan for the School reprinted in booklet form in 1914. "A History of the Summer School of Surveying of Columbia University" by James Kip Finch is a bound draft with handwritten annotations. Included in the back of this book is a letter from Finch to the then-University Librarian regarding Finch's donation of this material to the Columbiana collection. The vast majority of this series is devoted to the creation of a complete history of the School of Mines. Correspondence and draft chapters of a 75-year history completed and exchanged by Professor Thomas T. Read and Roger Howson as well as both a complete manuscript and partial manuscript (chapters six through nine), both with handwritten corrections and annotations, of Read's "Columbia School of Mines-Engineering 1864-1939: Seventyfive [sic] Years of Progress in Engineering Education" are included along with James Kip Finch's correspondence, handwritten notes, research, and drafts of his "A History of the School of Engineering at Columbia University 1864-1939."

  • Series VII: Press, 1865-1985

    This series consists of newspaper and other print press clippings about the School of Mines, its events, students, alumni, and faculty as well as press releases issued by the School or Columbia University related to the School and engineering.

  • Series VIII: School of Mines Quarterly, 1895-1918

    This series contains bank and treasurer books and other financial papers for The School of Mines Quarterly. The bulk of this series consists of correspondence related to the Quarterly, mostly dealing with subscriptions, advertising, and article reprints. Half of the correspondence is organized chronologically, with the remainder in original alphabetical order. A copy of the journal, Volume XXXVI, No. 4 from July 1915, is also included in this series.

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.

All administrative records of the University are restricted for 25 years from the date of creation.

The following boxes are located offsite: Boxes 4-5 and 15-33. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least two business in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

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); School of Mines and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences records; Box and Folder number; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.

Selected Related Material--At Columbia

Buildings and Grounds Collection, 1755-2007 [Bulk Dates: 1880-2000], Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

Central Files Records, 1890-1971, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

Charles Frederick Chandler Papers 1847-1937, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

Thomas Egleston Papers 1857-1929, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

Henry Smith Munroe Correspondence 1855-1899, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

Historical Photograph Collection, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

Lewis Morris Rutherfurd Photographs 1864-1865, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

William Campbell Papers [ca. 1900]-1925, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University


Periodic additions are expected.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source of acquisition--Columbia University. School of Mines. Method of acquisition--Gift.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

This collection was processed Brandi Tambasco, Queens College, April 2010. Series II: Administrative records were processed by Joanna Rios, August-September 2021.

Revision Description

2010-04-29 XML Document Instance created by Brandi Tambasco.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

2021-08-18 Moved alumni association records (formerly Series II) to the School of Engineering alumni association records (UA#0093) (JR)

2021-08 Merged materials from the School of Engineering records (UA#0094) (JR)

2021-09-02 Added boxes 15-23, Dean's correspondence (JR)

2021-09-08 Added boxes 24-26 (JR)

2021-09-21 Added boxes 27-28. (JR)

2021-11-10 Added box 29. (JR)

2022-11-11 Added boxes 30-33. (JR)

2022-11-29 Added 3 ledgers to Box 28. (JR)

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:"
Chemical engineering -- Study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Civil engineering Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. School of Mines Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Electrical engineering -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Engineering -- Study and teaching -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Engineering schools Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Engineering students Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Industrial engineering Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mechanical engineering -- Study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Metallurgy -- Study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mining engineering -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mining schools and education Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Based on the plan submitted by Thomas Egleston, Jr., to the Trustees of Columbia College in 1863, the School of Mines was founded in 1864 at the 49th Street location of the College. With only three professors in the School, supplemented by adjunct professors from the College, the School of Mines opened November 15, 1864, offering a three-year plan of study to its 24 entering students. The "Big Three" founding professors of the School were Egleston, as professor of Mineralogy and Metallurgy; Francis Laurens Vinton, professor of Mining; and Charles Frederick Chandler, profess of Analytical Chemistry and the first Dean of the School. The School found an early and lasting supporter in Columbia College President Frederick A. P. Barnard, as well as support and sponsorship from the Committee on the School of Mines, a "sub-board" of the College Trustees, responsible for overseeing the development of the new School.

In its first 35 years of existence, the School flourished as a pioneering, largely undergraduate program. During this period, the program and faculty grew. In 1868, the program of study was extended to four years. In its first decade, the School granted its first degrees of Engineer of Mines (1867), civil engineering and Ph. B. (Bachelor's of Philosophy) in chemistry (1871). The Faculty for the School of Mines, separate from the College's faculty, was created in 1865 by statute and two years later the Trustees of the College adopted a definite set of bylaws for the new Faculty. Known as Camp Columbia, a summer school for practical courses, such as surveying, began in the late 1870s and continued at various sites within easy commuting distance from New York City over the years until it finally settled at its permanent site in Litchfield, CT in 1903.

In 1871 the Alumni Association for the School of Mines was organized, responsible for alumni gatherings, reunions, and anniversaries of the School. Beyond its social functions, the Association also performed intellectual functions, including recommendations on the School's administration and instruction, most notably with its Committee of Ten in the early 1880s. The Alumni Association's chief organ, the School of Mines Quarterly, began by the undergraduate members of the School's student engineering and chemical societies in 1879 and taken over by the Association by the journal's sixth issue, was published for thirty-five years, providing both news on the School and scholarly articles by the School's students, alumni, and faculty. In 1875, the School of Mines sponsored Columbia's first Ph.D. degree.

By 1871, the School's rapid growth became the main reason in the Trustees' decision to search for a new site for the College. The School's growing pains continued through the 1880s, during which time the School's physical plant was rebuilt in 1882-1883 to accommodate its expansion. Also during this decade, the School faced the problem of adjusting its program of study to the changing needs of an ever-developing profession. So in 1881 the admission requirements of the School of Mines were again raised and, in an effort to control its increasing enrollment within the constraints of its available physical and intellectual resources, the School no longer accepted non-degree candidates. In 1891, the trend in higher education to establish departments of faculty came to the School of Mines with the creation of the Department of Mining in the same year. By the end of its first 35 years, the School of Mines offered seven course degrees, authorized in different years: Mining (E.M., 1864), Chemistry (Ph.B. to 1896, then B.S.; 1868), Civil Engineering (C.E., 1869), Architecture (Ph.B., 1881), Metallurgy (Met.E., 1886), Electrical Engineering (E.E., 1889), and Geology and Paleontology (Ph.B., 1897).

In 1896 the School of Mines was renamed the School of Mines, Engineering, and Chemistry, a recognition long coming of the branches of engineering and science beyond the original mines concept. The Faculty of the School of Mines at the same time became the Faculty of Applied Science. These developments, though opposed by most of the faculty devoted to the primacy of the School's original mining emphasis and its traditions, addressed the rising importance of engineering in society. The same year the School recognized its broadening scope of study with an official name change, so too did Columbia College recognize the importance of graduate research and study to its mission, becoming Columbia University in the City of New York. These important changes to the School and College were followed a year later by another significant step in both institution's evolution: the University's move to Morningside Heights.

With the move of the University to the new Morningside campus, the School of Mines, Engineering, and Chemistry was able to expand and adjust to meet the growing demands of its faculty, students, and the engineering profession in general as well as realign the duties and modify the curricula of different departments at the turn of the century. In the period leading up to the first World War, from 1897 to 1914, the engineers constituted the largest undergraduate group at Morningside. In 1904, the same year the cornerstone of the new Engineering Building was laid, the Committee on the Programs of Study in Engineering recommended a new structure for the School's program, a combination six-year plan of study. In 1912 the plan was finally approved by the Trustees of Columbia University, the Faculty of Applied Science, and the School's Alumni Association, with new curricula developed from 1912 to 1913 with increased levels and standards of instruction. In 1914 the former, narrowly-technical program was replaced by the implementation of the new course and program structure, which made a general, liberal arts education a prerequisite for admission to the School. The new 6-year plan coincided with the School's first anniversary celebrations, commemorating its 50 years with special events for alumni, faculty, and students. In 1916, the School awarded its first Master's of Science (M.S.) degree, beginning a trend, realized throughout the country, toward graduate engineering study. Exploration of this new trend and the general operation of the School of Mines, Engineering, and Chemistry was interrupted by the United States' involvement in World War I.

By 1917 retirements and war duties decimated the School's Faculty. War efforts brought military training to Columbia University and the School of Mines, Engineering, and Chemistry undertook technical instruction for armed forces officers during the war. The post-war era saw a reorganization of the School and, as a direct result of lessons learned from the war, the development of the trend towards research which began in 1916. From 1917 to 1939 this new emphasis led to the transformation of the School from a pioneering, largely undergraduate school to one of the largest graduate engineering schools in the country. In 1923 the School's plan of study was again revised, now to offer two undergraduate programs along with a professional graduate degree and the M.S. degree. By the 1920a the School had seven departments total, a division which lasted well into the 1970s: Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mining-Metallurgical Engineering, and Drafting (Mechanical Drawing). The six engineering departments sponsored professional courses with drafting as a service department to the others; further specialization within these six engineering branches was confined to graduate study. As indicated by the departmental titles, engineering had become the focus of the School, reflecting the progressing needs in society, and so, in 1926, the School underwent its second name change to become simply the School of Engineering, with its Faculty of Engineering.

While in the early 1920s the School saw a slow recovery after the war in registration, faculty, and curricula, the remaining time between the two World Wars saw an increase in research and graduate education and enrollment at the School of Engineering. From this developed pressing needs for expanded research laboratories, equipment, space, and facilities, impeded by depression conditions. Throughout the School's history, however, its Faculty found innovative ways to utilize their facilities and equipment to the greatest degree, expanding into spaces unused by other College, and later University, departments, and making use of all resources available. In 1935 a special committee on the School's 75th Anniversary was appointed, chaired by the Columbia University Trustee Chairman Coykendall, an alumnus of the School. In 1939 the School celebrated 75 years of history with an events program spread out through its anniversary year. Of note are its Camp Columbia alumni reunion, called "Old Home Week" and its Fireside Talks, for which School alumni John R. Dunning, a future Dean of the School, and Edwin H. Armstrong, inventor of FM radio and School professor, spoke. Also as part of the celebrations, the first Egleston Awards were bestowed on twelve recipients "for distinguished engineering achievement." Both the Camp Columbia reunions and the Egleston Awards became annual events. Along with an open house of the School and a large, formal dinner, the 75th Anniversary celebrations included the unveiling of a commemorative plaque on the original site of the School of Mines at the corner of 50th Street and Park Avenue.

At this time, Professor Thomas T. Read of the School of Engineering strove to complete a 75-year history of the School. With the help of Mr. Roger Howson of the University's History Department, Professor Read completed an unpublished manuscript of his history. Though never realized as a published book itself, Read's manuscript was used by Professor James Kip Finch, former Dean of the School, to complete his A History of the School of Engineering for Columbia's bicentennial celebrations in 1954.

After the year-long anniversary festivities of 1939, the School once again participated in engineering education for the war effort in 1940, this time for World War II. Not only did the faculty again apply their services to research and duty at the School and elsewhere in the country and world as needed, by they also instructed armed forces men and civilian women who would relieve or replace the service men in industry. During World War II, while some faculty left to participate in the war effort, such as work on the atom bomb, at the School of Engineering the program of study accelerated to meet the growing demand for engineers. Graduate enrollment dwindled at this time, while undergraduate enrollment more than tripled, turning the School of Engineering into a relatively large undergraduate institution throughout the war.

After the war, the School returned to its pre-war undergraduate program and revived its graduate instruction and research. In 1942 the School of Engineering changed its rules to allow women admission, the last of Columbia's professional schools to do so. Interest engineering flared after World War II, reflected in increased enrollment in the School, and so the School looked into expanding its facilities. In 1948 plans were announced for a new School of Engineering facility at 125th Street and Broadway to address the School's perpetual space issues. The fundraising campaign for the new Engineering Center for laboratory instruction and research began in 1950 during Dwight D. Eisenhower's Columbia University presidency and received notable support from this future President of the United States. With a strong campaign throughout the 1950s, the new center was finally realized in 1961 as the Seeley Wintersmith Mudd Building of the Columbia Engineering Center.

In 1964 the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), as it was now called by this time, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the School of Mines. At this time, the School of Mines, the title of which was retained by Columbia University, honoris causa, was renamed the Henry Krumchool of Mines after this alumnus and his wife Lavon Duddleson Krumb.

The School continued on its course of constant growth and evolution with the addition of three departments over the years: Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, founded in 1978; Computer Science, established in 1979; and Biomedical Engineering, founded in 2000. Though not new, two of the School's departments evolved from their 1920s incarnations. Operations research courses were added to the industrial engineering program in 1952, forming the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department. In 1998 the Henry Krumchool of Mines became the Earth and Environmental Engineering department. The School again underwent another name change in 1997, becoming the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Though the original School of Mines evolved well beyond the original plan of its founder Thomas Egleston, Jr., the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science continues its ancestor's tradition of producing pioneering, successful, and well-respected professionals, educators, and researchers in science and engineering.