Columbia University Archives

President's House guest books, 1912-1947

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0091
Bib ID 5849274 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Columbia University. Office of the President
Title President's House guest books, 1912-1947
Physical Description 0.42 linear feet (1 document box)
Language(s) English .

This collection has no restrictions.

This collection is located onsite.



This collection is arranged in one series: Series I: Guest books, 1912-1947.



This collection consists of 6 guest books kept at the President's House, 60 Morningside Drive. The guest books include the signatures of numerous guests attending a wide range of events held at the House during President Nicholas Murray Butler's tenure. Events include dinners with dignitatiries, dinners in honor of convocation honorees, commencement dinners, etc.

  • Series I: Guest books, 1912-1947

    The guest books are organized chronologically. The name and date of each event held at President's House are written vertically close to the spine of the book; pencil-drawn, horizontal lines are available for guests to sign in.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection has no restrictions.

This collection is located onsite.

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); President's House guest books; volume and page number; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.

Related Materials

Additional information about the construction of the President's House can be found in Central Files (UA#0001). Correspondence, newspaper clippings and articles can be found in the Buildings and grounds collection (UA#0125). See also "House on the Hill" by Richmond B. Williams, Columbia College Today, Fall 1970, 36-39.


No additions are expected.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2002.054. According to an index card in volume 4, the guest books were received at Columbiana on December 23, 1947.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Collection-level record describing unprocessed material made public in summer 2018 as part of the Hidden Collections initiative. Collection was processed by Joanna Rios in March 2021.

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:"
Visitors' books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Butler, Nicholas Murray, 1862-1947 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- Buildings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- Administration Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

The President's House stands on the northeast corner of Morningside Drive and 116th Street, facing Morningside Park. It was first occupied by President Nicholas Murray Butler after it was constructed in 1912. This official residence on University property was intended to keep the President in close touch with campus life. The four-story, 21-room house was designed by McKim, Mead and White, the same firm that designed the original buildings on campus. The house was modelled on embassies and designed to host events with large numbers of guests. As constructed, the first floor contains a library, a dining room and a coat room. The second floor has a drawing room, a music room and a large central hall, which forms one large reception room. The third floor contains the family rooms and the fourth floor is for guests and servants. The kitchen was originally located in the basement.

The first event hosted at the House was a Trustees' dinner held in October 1912. President Butler, the first inhabitant, was allowed to remain in the house after his official retirement in October 1945. When he died in December 1947, his body rested in state in the gallery on the first floor. After an extensive renovation, the Eisenhowers moved in in May 1948. Presidents Grayson Kirk, William McGill and George Rupp also lived at 60 Morningside Drive. The house is currently occupied by Lee C. Bollinger, the nineteenth President of Columbia University.