Columbia University Archives
 

Columbia College records, 1875-2015, bulk 1969-1987

Summary Information

Abstract

This collection is composed of the general files of Columbia College's Dean's Office, the minutes of Columbia College committees and the correspondence of Columbia College administrative officers during the years 1892 through 2019. A review of this collection allows researchers to gain insights into the interaction of Columbia College faculty and administrators with students, fellow faculty members, parents of students, and administrators of other colleges.

At a Glance

Bib ID 5804412 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Columbia College (Columbia University)
Title Columbia College records, 1875-2015, bulk 1969-1987
Physical Description 122.46 Linear Feet (99 record cartons; 11 document boxes; 3 card file boxes); 2.46 GB (1 external hard drive and 819 PDFs)
Language(s) English
Access

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 two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Arrangement

Description

Scope and Contents

This collection is composed of the general files of Columbia College's Dean's Office, the minutes of Columbia College committees and the correspondence of Columbia College administrative officers during the years 1892 through 2019. A review of this collection allows researchers to gain insights into the interaction of Columbia College faculty and administrators with students, fellow faculty members, parents of students, and administrators of other colleges.

The collection is arranged in five series: Series I. Dean of the Faculty, 1892-2019; Series II. Columbia College Council, 1950-1978; Series III. Faculty, 1908-2019, Series IV. Subject Files, 1910-2015; and Series V. Archived Website, 2010-present.

Series I. Office of the Dean, 1892-2016 Subseries I.1 Columbia College – General Files, 1875-1923Subseries I.1 consists primarily of the general correspondence of the Office of the Dean and materials related to Columbia College students during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and covers the period encompassing 1910 through 1923. Three deanships are represented in this subseries. John Henry Van Amringe (1835-1915) (CC, 1860; 1st Dean, 1894-1910), Frederick P. Keppel (1875-1943) (CC, 1899; 2nd Dean, 1910-1917); and Herbert E. Hawkes (1872-1943) (Yale; Acting Dean, 1917, 3rd Dean, 1918-1942).

The correspondence is arranged chronologically as well as alphabetically, in the order in which they were originally filed. This correspondence is varied, ranging from requests for recommendation to letters sent informing faculty of a student's intent to take a leave of absence or scholarship money. Also included in this subseries is information about student activities. Filed in folders whose titles include the term "Miscellaneous," are lists of students who were placed on probation, students who withdrew from Columbia College, and brochures originating from different sources, ostensibly to provide guidance to Columbia College administrators. Folders entitled "Columbia College Committees" and "Fraternity Life" provides information about these aspects of Columbia College. Additional manuscripts include the Minutes of Faculty (1892-1968).

The Columbia College Faculty Minutes, in turn, comprise the minutes of the Faculty of Columbia College during the years 1875 through 1960 and October 29, 1968. The faculty minutes further contain statistical information about Columbia College students during the aforementioned years, lists of graduating students, the text of biographical information read during faculty meetings about recently deceased faculty members, graduation programs, information on withdrawn students, resolutions concerning graduation requirements, information on the courses offered during these years, faculty announcements and information about the academic standing of various students. The records created during 1894 through 1900 are handwritten and feature strong descriptions of financial matters.

Subseries I.2 Dean of the Faculty – Correspondence Files, 1926-2015Subseries I.2 encompasses the chronologically arranged correspondence of the Dean of Faculty from 1926 through 2015. This subseries consists of a variety of materials. To illustrate, included in this subseries are some papers of Frank D. Fackenthal (1883-1968), who served as secretary (1910-1937), provost (1937-1948) and acting president of the University (1945-1948). A review of Fackenthal's incoming and outgoing correspondence provides insights into his role in Columbia College's administration. A statement created by Columbia College on the occasion of Fackenthal's death is also contained this subseries. The subseries comprises, in turn, the speeches, articles and related correspondence on about the topic of male college students written by Nicholas M. McKnight (1899-1982), who served as associate dean (1931-1943) and dean (1943-1957). Along with the correspondence in subseries I.1, the letters of Herbert E. Hawkes (1872-1943) (Acting Dean, 1917, 3rd Dean, 1918-1942) cover the period (1928-1943) and consist primarily of incoming and outgoing messages between Hawkes and other faculty members on the topics of student organizations, student life and student requests. Additional papers in this subseries cover Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's tenure as President of the University (1948-1953). The Eisenhower correspondence reveals the fact that the general's interaction with Columbia College administrators and students were limited because of his outside commitments. Included also in this subseries is a copy of a speech Eisenhower delivered to incoming freshmen in December 1950.

Additional represented deanships include: Peter R. Pouncey (Associate Dean, 1971; Dean, 1972-1976; Robert L. Belknap (Acting Dean, 1976-1977); Arnold Collery (1927-1989) (Dean, 1977-1982); Robert E. Pollack (Dean, 1982-1989).

Series II. Columbia College Council, 1950-1978This series is arranged overall in chronological order. The folders within each box are arranged in alphabetical order by title. In March 1951, the organization of the Columbia College Council was established upon the recommendations of the Committee on Organization. (Organization of Columbia College Council as adopted from recommendations of Committee on Organization(March 15, 1951): i.) In December 1954, through their Committee on Education, the Columbia College Council was created for the purpose of advising on policy in matters affecting the welfare and development of Columbia College. The council membership was capped at thirty, of which six would be ex-officio members: (1) the Dean of Columbia College, (2) the Dean of Students of Columbia College, (3) the President of the Association of the Alumni of Columbia College, (4) The Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Association of the alumni of Columbia College, (5) the General Chairman of the Columbia College Fund and (6) the Director of Development of Columbia College. (Organization of Columbia College Council as adopted from recommendations of Committee on Organization(March 15, 1951): 2.) Under Article VII, the Columbia College Council established nine Standing Committees: (1) Executive Committee, (2) Committee on Budget, (3) Committee on Citizenship Center, (4) Committee on College Buildings and Grounds, (5) Committee on College Development, (6) Committee on Education, (7) Committee on Nominations, (8) Committee on Public Relations and (9) Committee on Student Opinion. Under Article VIII, the Chairman of the Council shall be empowered to appoint special committees as the chair considers appropriate and necessary. (Organization of Columbia College Council as adopted from recommendations of Committee on Organization(March 15, 1951): 1-6.)

The Columbia College Council Minutes, in turn, provide an account of the interactions of the Columbia College Council during the years of (1950-1971). The minutes provide insight into the role of the Association of the Alumni of Columbia College, fundraising efforts, Columbia's Community Relations attempts and Welfare of Community Council in the College during these years. Also provided in the minutes is information on student issues and records of funding drives.

Series III. Faculty, 1894-2019. This series is divided into (2) subseries: Subseries III.1 Committee on Instruction (COI), 1908-2019 and Subseries III.2 Faculty Committee Files, 1836-1979.

Subseries III.1 Committee on Instruction (COI), 1908-2019, bulk dates: 1930-1979is arranged overall in alphabetical order in (3) broad subject groupings: (1) Budgets (1960-1988), (2) Curriculum Review (1975-1989) and (3) Meeting Minutes (1908-1931, 1974-1976; 1979-1988). Under these three comprehensive categories, the folders within the series are organized overall in chronological order. Please note that additional Committee on Instruction (COI) materials are located in Series I and Series IV.

Subseries III.2 Committee Files, 1936-1979 is arranged in alphabetical order by committee title. The folders within the series are also organized in alphabetical order.

As historical background, in February 1890, Seth Low (1850-1916) (President, 1890-1901) convened the entire Columbia faculty in order to obtain their views about the reorganization of the university. After the arbitrary growth of the faculty during the 1880s, many within the university community were cognizant of the need for faculty reorganization. Although Low's reorganization plan presented to the trustees the fall 1891 was one with that only a minority of faculty identified, in choosing it, Low made clear the distinction in his mind between full consultation and executive decision making. (McCaughey, Robert A.,Stand, Columbia: A History of Columbia University in the City of New York, 1754-2004(Columbia University Press, 2003): 147-148.) The new organization that began to take shape in late 1891 divided the university's instructional staff into four coequal faculties (with some joint membership): the newly constituted Faculty of Philosophy, which included faculty teaching primarily in "the College proper"; the Faculty of Political Science; the Faculty of Law; and the Faculty of Mines. Thus, Low gave the Columbia faculties the basic nomenclature and shape they would retain, with a few additions, into the 1970s. (Id.at 148)

By the mid-20th century, for example, Eaton Professor of Public Administration Arthur W. Macmahon (1890-1980), Executive Director of the President's Committee on the Educational Future of the University (January, 1958), released the text of the Committee's recommendations. (Columbia Spectator(9 January 1958): 1.) Although the report outlined several methods of maintaining the quality of the faculty, the academic administration and student body, the Committee's proposals were not adopted by the University administration. (Columbia Spectator(9 January 1958): 4.) and (Columbia Spectator(5 March 1964): 3.)

In December 1979, the Presidential Commission on Academic Priorities in the Arts and Sciences led by Professor of English Steven Marcus (1928-2018) released its report, which recommended Columbia devote an increasingly larger portion of its resources to the natural sciences and pursue a policy of selective excellence on a departmental basis. (Columbia Spectator(22 January 1980): 1.) Although by 1989, the University administration had made much progress in many spheres within the arts and sciences division, it asserted that more work needed to be done in such areas as the state of Columbia's buildings, fellowships and faculty salaries in order to achieve the recommendations of the Marcus report. (Columbia Spectator(20 April 1989): 1, 9.)

Subseries III.2 Committee on Instruction (COI), 1908-1989This subseries (1894-1997, bulk dates: 1930-1979) is arranged overall in alphabetical order in (3) broad subject groupings: (1) Budgets (1960-1988), (2) Curriculum Review (1975-1989) and (3) Meeting Minutes (1908-1931, 1974-1976; 1979-1988). Under these three comprehensive categories, the folders within the series are organized overall in chronological order.

In March of 1900, the Committee on Instruction (COI) was organized by Seth Low (1850-1916) (President, 1890-1901) and consisted of Barnard and Columbia administrative and faculty members. In the beginning, in addition to overseeing the departments and their courses, the faculty discussed primarily students with entrance conditions and deficiencies. Later COI meetings addressed a variety of other educational issues. (Committee on Instruction, 1900-2017; Barnard College Archives and Special Collections, Barnard Library, Barnard College: 3)

The COI is chaired by the Associate Provost. In addition to the chair, the committee consists of two faculty members from each of the four faculty voting groups: the Dean of the College, the Dean of Students, and the Registrar. The Dean of Library and Information Services and a representative from Development also attend. A maximum of four students sit on the COI at any one time: the Academic Affairs Representative, who is elected by the members of the SGA for a one year term, and three appointed students, who serve two-year terms. (Id.at 4)

The Committee on Instruction Minutes, in turn, provide an account of the interactions, goals and purpose of Columbia College's Committee on Instruction. This collection enables access to a variety of information on students enrolled in Columbia College (1908-1988). The minutes of the Committee of Instruction gives access to resolutions passed by the committee, and information on the monitoring of student activity, such as students who had not registered and students who were placed on academic probation. Included in the minutes are copies of letters sent to students regarding their academic probation and reports from professors on course information.

Series IV. Subject Files, 1946-2015This series (1946-2015, bulk dates: 1969-1987) is arranged overall alphabetically in broad subject groupings. These groupings include such subjects as: Academic Departments, Admissions, Alumni, Departmental Budgets, Development, Faculty Minutes and Relations, Residence Halls, and Student Activities. Under these categories, the folders within the series are organized overall in chronological order

Series V. Archived Web Site, 2010-present. This series contains the archived web site captures of the official web site of Columbia College.

  • Series I. Office of the Dean, 1892-2016

    This series consists of (2) subseries: Subseries I.1 Dean's Records, 1892-1923 and Subseries I.2 Dean's Records, 1926-2016.

  • Series II. Columbia College Council, 1950-1978

    This series is arranged overall in chronological order. The folders within each box are arranged in alphabetical order by title. In March 1951, the organization of the Columbia College Council was established upon the recommendations of the Committee on Organization. (Organization of Columbia College Council as adopted from recommendations of Committee on Organization(March 15, 1951: i.)) In December 1954, through their Committee on Education, the Columbia College Council was created for the purpose of advising on policy in matters affecting the welfare and development of Columbia College. The council membership was capped at thirty, of which six would be ex-officio members: (1) the Dean of Columbia College, (2) the Dean of Students of Columbia College, (3) the President of the Association of the Alumni of Columbia College, (4) The Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Association of the alumni of Columbia College, (5) the General Chairman of the Columbia College Fund and (6) the Director of Development of Columbia College. (Organization of Columbia College Council as adopted from recommendations of Committee on Organization(March 15, 1951: 2.))

    Under Article VII, the Columbia College Council established nine Standing Committees: (1) Executive Committee, (2) Committee on Budget, (3) Committee on Citizenship Center, (4) Committee on College Buildings and Grounds, (5) Committee on College Development, (6) Committee on Education, (7) Committee on Nominations, (8) Committee on Public Relations and (9) Committee on Student Opinion. Under Article VIII, the Chairman of the Council shall be empowered to appoint special committees as the chair considers appropriate and necessary. (Organization of Columbia College Council as adopted from recommendations of Committee on Organization(March 15, 1951: 1-6.))

    The Columbia College Council Minutes, in turn, provide an account of the interactions of the Columbia College Council during the years of (1950-1971). The minutes provide insight into the role of the Association of the Alumni of Columbia College, fundraising efforts, Columbia's Community Relations attempts and Welfare of Community Council in the College during these years. Also provided in the minutes is information about student issues and records of funding drives.

  • Series III. Faculty, 1894-2019

    This series is divided into (2) subseries: Subseries III.1 Committee on Instruction (COI), 1908-2019 and Subseries III.2 Faculty Committee Files, 1936-1979.

  • Series IV. Subject Files,1910-2015

    Series IV. Subject Files, 1910-2015, bulk dates: 1969-1987 is arranged alphabetically in broad subject groupings. These groupings include such topics as: Academic Departments, Admissions, Alumni, Departmental Budgets, Development, Faculty Minutes and Relations, Residence Halls, and Student Activities. Under these categories, the folders within the series are organized overall in chronological order

  • Series V. Archived Web Site

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Conditions Governing Access

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 two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

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); Columbia College Records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Materials--Columbia University Archives

Barnard-Columbia Affiliation Negotiation records, 1970-1982 [UA#0152]

Central Files, 1890-1984 [Bulk Dates: 1890-1983] [UA#0001]

Columbia College Alumni Association records, 1815-1959 [UA#0046]

Columbia College papers, 1703-1964 [Bulk Dates: 1754-1920] [UA#0224]

The Columbia Daily Spectator records, 1886-1982. [UA#0209]

Columbia University Alumni Federation records, 1894-1969 [UA#0160]

Columbia University Media Collection, 1930s-2010s [UA#0147]

Columbia University Senate Records, 1968-2008 [UA#0054]

Core Curriculum records, 1937-2007 [Bulk Dates: 1937-1995] [UA#0132]

Historical Subject Files, 1870s-2017 [Bulk Dates: 1968-1972] [UA#002]

Joint Committee on Disciplinary Affairs Records, 1967-1973 [UA#0006]

Office of University Residence Halls records, 1960s-1990s [UA#0271]

Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs records, 1939-2006 [Bulk dates: 1956-2003] [UA#0083]

Residence Hall records, 1905-1934 [UA#0053]

Robert Pollack papers, 1953-2015 [UA#0228]

Roger Lehecka papers, 1979-2001 [UA#0092]

University Council records, 1890-1968 [UA#0150]

University Protest and Activism Collection, 1958-1999 [Bulk Dates: 1968-1972] [UA#007]

Accruals

Additions are expected.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jamie Whitfield (fall, 2002) and Christopher M. Laico (April-October 2018).

Finding aid written by Jocelyn K. Wilk (fall, 2002) and Christopher M. Laico (December 2018).

Revision Description

2018-12-03 File created.

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"
Agendas (administrative records) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Budgets Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Curricula Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Minute books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Newsletters Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Newspapers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Press releases Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Proposals Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Reports Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
minutes (administrative records) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Alumni Federation of Columbia University Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Belknap, Robert L. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bell, Daniel Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
College student newspapers and periodicals Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
College students -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Collery, Arnold Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia College (Columbia University) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia Spectator Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Administration Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Administration Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Bicentennial Committee Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Buildings and Grounds Department Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Department of Buildings and Grounds Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Office of the Executive Vice President for Research Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Office of the University Registrar Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. University Council Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
De Bary, Wm. Theodore, 1919-2017 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gay college students Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gay college students -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gay liberation movement -- United States -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hawkes , Herbert E. (Herbert Edwin) , 1872-1943 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hovde, Carl Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
McKnight, N. M (Nicholas McDowell) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pollack, Robert, 1940- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pouncey , Peter R. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rosenthal , Michael , 1937- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Universities and colleges -- United States -- Administration -- Planning Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Yatrakis , Kathryn B. , 1945- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Historical

In 1754, King George II of England granted the royal charter that designated: The College of the Province of New York, in the City of New York known by the name of King's College. By the summer 1754, the campus was located in a vestry room in a school house at Trinity Church, in what is now part of Lower Manhattan. The first class comprised eight students and one faculty member colonial scholar and Anglican minister Samuel Johnson, who was also the first College's first president.

During the next six years, King's College hired its first regular faculty member, graduated its first class of five bachelor degree candidates in a commencement ceremony at St. George's Chapel and established a campus at Park Place on a three-acre site presented to the College by Trinity Church. This campus remained in use until the start of the American Revolution. By 1776, classes were suspended due to the Revolutionary War, when the campus was seized and put to use as a military hospital, first by the Continental army and then by the British during their occupation of Manhattan. In 1784, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton were instrumental in the reopening of the College. The New York State Legislature granted a new charter as Columbia College. Three years later, a new charter was issued that established Columbia College in the City of New York, returning the College to its previous status as a privately governed college serving New York City, with a board of trustees as its governing body. The charter was amended slightly in 1810 and remains in force.

By 1892, under the leadership of Seth Low (President, 1890-1901), the School of Mines (now Engineering), the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the School of Nursing, the School of Library Service (now closed), the School of Architecture, and the Law School the precursor to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences had been established. Affiliated institutions Barnard College and Teachers College also opened their doors during this time.

It was also at this same time that Columbia acquired land in Morningside Heights. In 1893, the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White begin designing the Morningside Heights campus. In 1896, Columbia College in the City of New York was renamed Columbia University in the City of New York, with the undergraduate school retaining the name Columbia College. In 1897, the Morningside campus opened its doors.

As Columbia entered the 20th century, changes at Columbia reflected changes in the world. The modern science of anthropology and the foundation of modern genetics were established at Columbia, and in 1919 the first course of what became the Core Curriculum was offered. This course, at the time titled "War and Peace Studies," was created as a direct response to WWI. By the late 1930s and early 1940s, students studied with legendary faculty members Jacques Barzun (CC, 1927), Mark Van Doren, Lionel Trilling (CC, 1925) and I.I. Rabi, just to name a few. Also in the 1940s, a number of leaders of what would become the Beat Generation passed through the gates, including Allen Ginsberg (CC, 1948) and Jack Kerouac (CC, 1944). Columbia established the Student Homophile League, the country's oldest gay rights advocacy group, in 1966 and the Black Student Organization in 1973. In 1983, Columbia College became the last Ivy League school to admit women.

Many of the preceding accomplishments were achieved under the deanships embodied in the collection. These represented deanships include: Nicholas M. McKnight, who served as associate dean (1931-1943) and dean (1943-1957), Herbert E. Hawkes (Acting Dean, 1917, 3rd Dean, 1918-1942), Peter R. Pouncey (Associate Dean, 1971; Dean, 1972-1976); Robert L. Belknap (Acting Dean, 1976-1977); Arnold Collery (1927-1989) (Dean, 1977-1982); and Robert E. Pollack (Dean, 1982-1989).