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   Records of the Office of the President, President Andrew W. Cordier, 1923-1974

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Records of the Office of the President, President Andrew W. Cordier, 1923-1974; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information


This collection consists of correspondence, both personal and professional, of Andrew Cordier from the late 1920s through 1974, as well as administrative records related to Cordier's tenure at Columbia University.

At a Glance

Bib ID:6228599 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Columbia University. Office of the President (Andrew W. Cordier).
Title:Records of the Office of the President, President Andrew W. Cordier, 1923-1974
Physical description:11 cubic feet (11 record cartons)
Language(s):In English
Access: This collection has no restrictions. 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.  More information »



Arranged in nine series: I. Correspondence; II. Administration; III. Crisis 1963-1970; IV. Speeches and Writings; V. Reports and Press Releases, 1967; VI. Budget; VII. Publications; VIII. Subject Files; IX. Assorted Materials

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Scope and Content

The collection consists of correspondence, both personal and professional, of Andrew Cordier from the late 1920s through 1974. The collection also includes Cordier’s administrative records, such as committee information, Trustees files, University Senate files, budget information, President’s Report drafts, and other reports and press releases related to his time at Columbia. Folders within each series are arranged in alphabetical order unless otherwise noted in the series description. The material within all folders is arranged in chronological order or, in the case of Correspondence, Post as Acting President, Correspondence, Post as President and Correspondence, Columbia University General, Alphabetical where the material is arranged alphabetically by sender’s last name. All original photographs were moved to the photograph collection except headshots of refugees, which are attached to correspondence within Series I. Correspondence, Subseries I.1. Personal. Photographs are housed under “Academics-Schools and Departments, Psychology, Department of,” “Cordier, Andrew,” “Buildings and Grounds-Morningside Campus, Engineering Building, exterior,” and “Buildings and Grounds-Morningside Campus, International Affairs Building Construction, 1969.” Photocopies of the images were placed in the original location of the photographs (Correspondence, Columbia University, General, March-April 1969, Correspondence, Columbia University, General, October-December, 1969, Correspondence, Columbia University, Alphabetical “W-Z,” 1968-1970, and Assorted Material, Construction of School of International Affairs Building) and marked with the new location of the original.

Series I: Correspondence 1923-1974

Consisting of the personal and professional correspondence of Andrew Cordier before and during his time at Columbia University, this series is arranged into three subseries: Subseries I.1. Personal, Subseries I.2. Columbia University General, and Subseries I.3. Columbia University Topical.

Subseries 1: Personal 1923-1945

This subseries consists of letters to and from Andrew Cordier before he began working at Columbia University. They include information on his other professional interests such as his work at Manchester College in the 1920s through the 1940s, his work with the American Friends Service Committee and Brethren Service Committee during World War II, assisting refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. Some of the correspondence relates to particular refugees and includes their curriculum vitae and photographs; these photographs have remained in their original location. Correspondence from the early 1930s includes information about Cordier’s involvement in various Indiana state elections. The folder “Personal, 1932” contains some of Cordier’s speeches in addition to those found in Series IV. Speeches and Writings. Note that the personal correspondence is incomplete, with some years missing entirely.

Subseries 2: Columbia University General 1968-1974

This subseries contains correspondence which is arranged chronologically and consists of Cordier’s correspondence while at Columbia University from 1968 through 1974. Some of this correspondence discusses events surrounding the riots and protests of 1968, the Gymnasium issue, the Joint Committee on Disciplinary Affairs, and the disciplinary tribunals. This subseries also contains Cordier’s alphabetical correspondence files, which have retained their original order and titles. Original photographs in “General, March-April 1969” and “Alphabetical “W-Z” 1968-1970” have been housed with the biographical photograph collection under “Cordier, Andrew.” The photograph from “General, October-December, 1969” has been housed with the photograph collection under “Buildings and Grounds-Morningside Campus, Engineering Building, exterior.” Photocopies remain in the folder.

Subseries 3: Columbia University Topical 1968-1971

This subseries contains folders of correspondence relating to a particular topic as originally separated out by Cordier. The folders “Post as Acting President” and “Post as President” contain the bulk of the congratulatory letters and Cordier’s replies upon his acceptance of the posts of Acting President in 1968 and President in 1969. Additional letters of congratulations are interspersed in the general correspondence files. Folders of congratulatory letters are arranged alphabetically by the sender’s last name. The folder “University Dormitories” consists of letters from students regarding the crisis in the dormitories including an increase in prices, and poor maintenance. One letter contains a piece of a dorm room ceiling that has been retained and sealed in mylar. The Columbia Envoy was a publication of the School of International Affairs publication. The folder “NDEA and NDFL Support” contains correspondence regarding the National Defense Education Act and the National Defense Foreign Language Fellowship. In general, correspondence from the 1960s and 1970s has Cordier’s outgoing replies preceding incoming letters.

Series II: Columbia University Administration 1968-1974

This series contains minutes, reports, correspondence, and background information on various University committees, councils, the University Senate, and the Board of Trustees. The series is divided into four subseries: Subseries II.1. Committees, Subseries II.2. Councils, Subseries II.3. University Senate, and Subseries II.4. Board of Trustees.

Subseries 1: Committees 1968-1971

This subseries contains reports, correspondence, minutes, and other information regarding various committees at the University including the Committee on Buildings and Grounds and the Committee on Education. Minutes of various committees are incomplete.

Subseries 2: Councils 1968-1969

This subseries contains minutes of the Columbia College Council and University Council.

Subseries 3: University Senate 1968-1974

This subseries consists of minutes, correspondence, reports, resolutions, and background on the University Senate and its committees including the Executive Committee. Also includes Cordier’s statement to the University Senate regarding the McClellan Committee. The McClellan Committee was chaired by U.S. Senator John L. McClellan and investigated the riots and campus upset of the 1960s. The Committee sought to question various University Presidents, of whom Cordier was one. The folder of Correspondence contains some resolutions in addition to those resolutions in the Resolutions folder. Meeting minutes folders contain not only minutes, but also agendas, supporting documentation, and correspondence either preceding the meeting or following.

Subseries 4: Board of Trustees 1968-1973

This subseries consists of minutes, correspondence, and reports of the Board of Trustees including reports of the Special Committee of the Board of Trustees regarding reorganization of the Board.

Series III: Crisis 1963-1970

This series contains material collected by Cordier and his staff during the riots and protests of the spring of 1968 (commonly referred to as the Crisis of 1968) and the disciplinary acts that followed. Most of the material in this series consists of flyers, information sheets, and published material, including some newspaper clippings, regarding the Crisis of 1968 at Columbia University and other Universities around the country. “Student Flyers and Information Sheets” folders represent a good collection of flyers from Students’ Afro-American Society (SAS), Students for a Restructured University (SRU), Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and others.

Series IV: Speeches and Writings 1932-1970

Consisting of Cordier’s speeches, writings, reports, radio addresses, and press releases, as well as annual reports of individual departments at Columbia, this series is divided into two subseries: Subseries IV.1. Statements and Subseries IV.2. President’s Report.

Subseries 1: Statements 1932-1970

This subseries includes press releases, speeches, papers, and radio addresses by Cordier from the 1930s through the 1970s. See also Correspondence, Personal, 1932 for additional speeches.

Subseries 2: President's Report 1969-1970

This subseries contains draft reports and the information Cordier used to write his annual report of 1969-70. The President’s Report (or Annual Report) ceased publication in 1948 and did not resume publication until Cordier reinstated it in 1968-69. Also included in this subseries are the annual reports from various departments and schools that provided Cordier with information for his report. Individual departmental and school annual reports are arranged alphabetically by department or school name.

Series V: Reports and Press Releases 1967-1973

This series contains press releases and reports not authored by Cordier. Most of the reports relate to Columbia University or topics of interest to the University in the 1960s and 1970s. “Columbia University: The University Senate” is a report by David D. Dill from the University of Michigan.

Series VI: Budget 1966-1974

Contains financial gifts reports, the proposed budget for 1969-70, various financial reports, and the report of the Budget Committee. Also includes correspondence and reports on the $200,000 Columbia Campaign of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Series VII: Publications 1928-1971

This series contains newspaper clippings, brochures, and magazines relating to Columbia or issues of interest to Columbia.

Series VIII: Subject Files 1965-1971

Consists of Cordier’s working subject files while at Columbia University. Original folder titles and organization have been retained. The bulk of the files are about space policy issues at Columbia during the 1960s. These files contain information on particular topics of interest to Cordier, mostly during his presidency and include reports, correspondence, clippings, and publications. Of particular interest are folders “Black Admissions and Financial Aid” and “Black Studies,” which look at increasing the diversity of the student body and establishing a Black Studies department. Original photographs of the psychology laboratory in Schermerhorn Hall from folder “Space Policy, Schermerhorn, 1969-1971” have been housed with the photograph collection under “Academics-Schools and Departments, Psychology, Department of.” Photocopies of the images remain in the folder.

Series IX: Assorted Material 1931-1974

This series is a collection of items maintained by Cordier’s office for reference purposes. It contains material on the retirement of Grayson Kirk, memoranda from William McGill and information on various conferences Cordier attended. Also includes minutes and other material related to the Brethren Service Committee, of which Cordier was greatly involved in during the 1930s and 1940s. Correspondence with the Committee can be found throughout Series I. Correspondence, Subseries I.1. Personal. Original photographs from folder “Construction of International Affairs Building” have been placed in the photograph collection under “Buildings and Grounds-Morningside Campus, International Affairs Building Construction, 1969.” Photocopies of the photographs remain in the folder. Folder of Lists contains miscellaneous lists of acceptances to dinners, seating lists, membership lists, and appointment lists. Folder “Reason and Romance in the Sociology of the University Curriculum” is a paper written by a graduate student, Joseph A. Diorio in 1971.

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Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

This collection has no restrictions.

 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.

Restrictions on 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.

Accrual Information

No additions are expected.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Records of the Office of the President, President Andrew W. Cordier, 1923-1974; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Selected Related Material at Columbia

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

University Protest and Activism Collection, 1958-1999 [Bulk Dates: 1968-1972] (UA#0007)

Historical Subject Files, 1870s-2016. [Bulk Dates: 1968-1972] (UA#0002)

Historical Biographical Files [18--?] - 2012. (UA#0004)

Historical Photograph Collection, 1855-2012 [Bulk Dates: 1860-1980] (UA#0003)

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Archives; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Abby Lester in 2002. Finding aid written by Abby Lester in September 2002. Finding aid was re-formatted by Evan Roth (SEAS 2010) and Jocelyn Wilk in October 2008.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion June 13, 2017 Finding aid written in English.
    2017-06-13 File created.

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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.

Additional Creators

HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Cordier, Andrew W. (Andrew Wellington), 1901-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Press releases.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
American Friends Service Committee.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Blacks--Education (Higher)--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Brethren Service Committee.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
College presidents.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Administration.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Office of the President.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Presidents.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--School of International Affairs.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Strike, 1968.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Students.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Manchester College (North Manchester, Ind.).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Student movements--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Student-administrator relationships.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Students--Political activity.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Andrew Wellington Cordier was born in 1901 in Ohio to Wellington J. Cordier and Ida Mae Anstine. He graduated from Hartville high school as the valedictorian and varsity quarterback. He then attended Manchester College in Indiana where he received his B.A. in 1922. He subsequently received his M.A. (1923) and Ph.D. (1926) in history from the University of Chicago. His academic career began with teaching history at Manchester College from 1923 to 1927. During that time he married Dorothy Elizabeth Butterbough in 1926 and had two children. From 1927 to 1944 Cordier was chair of the department of history and political science at Manchester College. Although he had some contact with the government, he began his major government service in 1944 when he became adviser on international security for the United States State Department. In 1946, Cordier became executive assistant to United Nations (U.N.) Secretary General Trygve Lie. From 1946 to 1962, among other appointments, he advised sixteen General Assembly leaders, served as a special representative to Korea, acted as Dag Hammarskjold’s envoy in the Mount Scopus affair, and was the U.N.’s representative in the Congo.

In 1962, Cordier left the U.N. to become dean of the School of International Affairs at Columbia University. On August 23, 1968, after the first protests and student riots of 1968 on Columbia’s campus forced President Grayson Kirk to resign, the Trustees appointed Cordier as Acting President. After a successful year, Cordier was appointed the fifteenth President of Columbia University in 1969. He only served as president for one year and in September 1970 returned to the School of International Affairs as Dean. He remained in that position until he retired in 1972 and became Director of Development for the School of International Affairs and Regents Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, until 1974. Cordier died of a liver ailment on July 11, 1975 in Long Island.

(The above information was taken from Contemporary Authors Online. The Gale Group, 2000; and Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 9:1971-1975. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1994. For more biographical information on Andrew Cordier, see Historical Biographical Files.)

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