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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
This collection consists of the correspondence, facutly meeting minutes and administrative records of the Department of Classics.
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.
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.
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); Department of Classics records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.
For additional administrative records of the Department of Classics, please consult Central Files (UA#0001), Historical subject files (UA#0002), Faculty Meeting Minutes, 1864-2011 (UA#0005), Charles Anthon manuscripts, 1830-1875, Alan Cameron papers, 1959-2020, Moses Hadas papers, 1930-1966, Gilbert Highet papers, 1929-1978, Nelson Glenn McCrea papers, 1893-1944, and the Harry Thurston Peck papers, 1878-1933.
Additions are expected.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The records and correspondence of the Department of Greek and Lating for the year 1910 to 1951 were transferred by Professor Gilbert Highet to Columbiana in July 1965. The records were then transferred from the RBML to the University Archives in 1997.
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 by Joanna Rios (August-November 2021) and the finding aid was written by Joanna Rios (November 2021).
2021-11-08 Content list published (JR)
History / Biographical Note
As Professor Edward Perry once noted, "in the accounts of the early years of King's College among the few subjects at first taught there were Greek and Latin." President Samuel Johnson was the first instructor, assisted by his son and later by Leonard Cutting. Daniel Treadwell was appointed in 1757 as Professor of Mathematics and Natural History but was also the instructor of the youngest class in the Greek and Latin languages.
After the Revolutionary War, William Cochran (or Cochrane) was appointed Professor of Greek and Latin in 1784. He was succeed in 1789 by Peter Wilson, who occupied the post until 1820 (Elijah Dunham, 1792-1797). Nathaniel Fish Moore, Class of 1802, took up the professorship until 1835. Charles Anthon, Class of 1815, was made Adjunct Professor and ten years later was appointed to a new full professorship of Greek and Latin named the Jay Professorship in honor of John Jay, Class of 1764.
When the College moved to 49th Street in 1857, the professorship was divided into the Jay Professorship of Greek (Anthon) and the Jay Professorship of Latin, which was originally awarded to Henry Drisler, Class of 1839. After Anthon's death, Drisler became the Professor of Greek and Charles Short became the Professor of Latin.
In 1868, Augustus Chapman Merriam, Class of 1866, was apppointed Tutor in Greek and Latin. He extended his studies beyond the classical languages into the field of art and inscriptions. In 1880, he was made Adjunct Professor of Greek but by 1889, he became Columbia's first Professor of Greek Archaeology and Epigraphy.
With the formation of the Faculty of Philosophy in 1890 and the development of instruction for graduate students, the department continued to grow to meet the new demands. Drisler also served as Acting President (1867 and 1888) and later Dean of the School of the Arts (1890-1894). Edward Perry, Class of 1875, and James R. Wheeler joined the department in 1895. When Columbia moved to Morningside Heights in 1897, Greek was no longer an undergraduate entrance requirement.
The Anthon Professorship of the Latin Language and Literature was subsequently held by Harry Thurston Peck, Nelson Glenn McCrea and Gilbert Highet. After Drisler, the Greek professorship was awarded to Edward Perry, LaRue van Hook, and Kurt von Fritz.
In 1910, the work in Greek and Latin were combined and the department was renamed as the Department of Classical Philology. But the change was short-lived and, in 1919, a name was adopted: Deparment of Greek and Latin. In 1917 the Latin was no longer an undergraduate requirement.
Edward Delavant Perry, "Greek and Latin at Columbia," Columbia Alumni News, January 29, 1926, 355-357. Moses Hadas, "Department of Greek and Latin," in the History of the Faculty of Philosophy (1954), 178-182.