Columbia University Archives

Lecture notes collection, 1817-1969, bulk 1877-1913

Summary Information


Lecture notes taken by Columbia University students. Collection includes notes of lectures given by prominent Columbia professors such as Charles F. Chandler, John W. Burgess, Herbert L. Osgood, Paul Oskar Kristeller, and George E. Woodberry.

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0034
Bib ID 6256279 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Columbia University. Archives
Title Lecture notes collection, 1817-1969, bulk 1877-1913
Physical Description 8.92 linear feet (7 document boxes 5 record cartons)
Language(s) English .

This collection has no restrictions.

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.



This collection is arranged in 14 series.



The collection consists of lecture notes taken by various students in the School of Law, School of Arts, and School of Mines from 1817 to 1915, and includes memorabilia. There is one set of notes from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, take in 1960-61. The notes cover a wide range of subjects, from constitutional law to English literature, and provide a unique insight into the teaching methods of several of Columbia's most prestigious professors. This is an artificial collection that has been assembled by the University Archives staff out of smaller manuscript collections.

  • Series I. Benjamin Franklin Miller, 1817-1847

    The papers consist of the Miller's undated lecture notes in bound notebook format, copies of poems and translations, a travel notebook, miscellaneous notes, and a few letters. The lecture notes represent the lectures of a number of early nineteenth century professors, including Nathaniel Fish and Chancellor Kent (law), but not all professors were identified. The 1817 and 1847 materials may be those of family members.

  • Series II. Walter Trimble, 1878-1933

    Series II contains lecture notes from the School of law. The notes were taken by Trimble while a student at Harvard Law School and Columbia's School of Law.

  • Series III: Jonathan M. Wainwright, 1880-1886

    Series III consists of both lecture notes and memorabilia. Found here are nine volumes of notes and several folders of memorabilia from Wainwright's years at Columbia. A scrapbook given to Wainwright by his brother Dick for Christmas in 1880 is included, as well as copies of examinations from Columbia College. The memorabilia includes tickets, commencement programs, pamphlets, and tuition receipts.

  • Series IV. Edwin R.A. Seligman/John W. Burgess, 1882-1883

    Series IV contains notes taken from John W. Burgess lectures by Edwin R. A. Seligman, C.C. 1879, from 1882 to 1883. John W. Burgess (1844-1931) was professor at Columbia from 1876 to 1902 and the founder of the University's School of Political Science. The collection found here includes eight notebooks from Burgess lecture's dating from 1882 to 1883.

  • Series V. Jacob S. Langthorn, 1888-1892

    Series V is comprised of Jacob S. Langthorn's course notes from Charles F. Chandler lectures and other lectures from various School of Mines professors from 1888 to 1892. Included in this collection are notes from lectures given by Charles F. Chandler (1836-1925), an industrial chemist and one of the founders and long-time dean of Columbia's School of Mines. He also taught at the College of Physicians and Surgeons and was the president of the College of Pharmacy before it was merged into by Columbia.

  • Series VI. Lewis S. Bigelow, 1899-1903

    Series VI consists of notes taken while Lewis S. Bigelow was enrolled in the Department of Comparative Literature from 1899 to 1903

    The notes found here come from lectures given by several of the professors of the Department of Comparative Literature, including George E. Woodberry, J. E. Spingarn, and Frank Chandler. George E. Woodberry (1855-1930) studied at Harvard University and was appointed professor of literature at Columbia in 1891, moving in 1900 to the Department of Comparative Literature. He was known as both a poet and critic.

    Found with this collection were a series of notes from lectures in the Department of Comparative Literature, the author of which is unknown. The notebooks have been kept and can be found with this series.

  • Series VII. Lynn Thorndike, 1902-1905

    Series VII consists of notes written by Lynn Thorndike during Herbert L. Osgood's lectures between 1902 and 1905. Herbert L. Osgood (1855-1918) was a distinguished colonial historian and an important critic of traditional interpretations of the American Revolution. Osgood also edited the Minutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, published 1905, and played a role in reforming state and city record-keeping practices.

  • Series VIII. Carl Trischka, 1884-1915

    Series VIII contains lecture notes, a diary and Carl Trischka's master's thesis. Found here are notes taken by Trischka from courses in surveying, railroading, geology, and metallurgy, as well as a diary, the 1913 School of Mines Annual.

  • Series IX: James S. Ackerman, 1954-1947

    This series includes notes taken by Ackerman during a P.O. Kristeller seminar.

  • Series X: Douglas Fraser, circa, 1950s

    This series contains notes taken by Professor Douglas Fraser when he was a student at Columbia. They include notes primarily on art history lectures, but with some anthropology and other courses included as well.

  • Series XI: James Banner, 1960-1962

    Series XI contains lecture notes taken by James M. Banner, Jr. (GSAS, M.A.1961) when he was a graduate student in history.

  • Series XII: Harold Wechsler, 1963-1969

    Series XII contains lecture notes taken by Harold Wechsler (Columbia College, A.B. 1964; GSAS, M.A.1969, Ph.D. 1974) when he was an undergraduate and graduate student in history. Classes were taken with such notable professors as James Shenton, Walter Metzger, Richard Morris, Robert K. Merton, Frank Tannenbaum, and Jacques Barzun. Multiple classes are often found in one notebook and sometimes class notes are continued in a subsequent notebook. If multiple class notes are found in a notebook, flags have been placed within the notebook to delineate where notes for a particular class begin.

  • Series XIII: Mildred Daum, 1940-1941

    Series XIII contains lecture notes taken by Mildred Daum (M.A. 1941)when he was a graduate student in Medieval History. These are her notes from Columbia classes taken between Fall 1940 and Spring 1941. They are eminently legible, and seem more or less to reproduce the lectures given in the various courses that she took, including Prof. Lynn Thorndike's History 231-2.

  • Series XIV: Elizabeth Fisher, 1948-1951

    Series XIV contains typed lecture notes for General Studies classes taken by Elizabeth Fisher (M.A. 1944) while she was employed as social secretary to Margaret B. Pickel, Dean of University Women, between 1946 and 1951.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection has no restrictions.

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.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Lecture Notes Collection; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Material-- At Columbia

Charles F. Chandler Papers Rare Book & Manucsript Library

Paul Oskar Kristeller Papers Rare Book & Manucsript Library

Edwin R.A. Seligman Papers Rare Book & Manucsript Library

George Woodberry Papers Rare Book & Manucsript Library

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Katherine Caiazza 2004.

Papers processed Marilyn Pettit 2004.

Addition processed Jocelyn Wilk 2016.

Finding Aid written Marilyn Pettit 2004.

Finding Aid updated Jocelyn Wilk 2016.

Revision Description

2009-11-18 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz

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.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Lecture notes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Burgess, John William, 1844-1931 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chandler, Charles Frederick, 1836-1925 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lectures and lecturing -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Osgood, Herbert L (Herbert Levi), 1855-1918 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Seligman, Edwin R. A (Edwin Robert Anderson), 1861-1939 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Woodberry, George Edward, 1855-1930 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Benjamin Franklin Miller: Benjamin Franklin Miller received an A.B. degree from Columbia College in 1830.

Walter Trimble: Walter Trimble (1857-1926) graduated from the School of Law in 1881. He was a partner at the Wyatt and Trimble law firm and later president of the Bank for Savings.

Jonathan M. Wainwright: Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright (1864-1945) was the grandson of J. M. Wainwright, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and cousin of the decorated WWI veteran of the same name. Wainwright graduated from Columbia College in 1881 and the School of Law in 1886. He joined the military after graduation and ultimately reached the rank of lieutenant colonel. He became a member of the New York State Assembly from 1902 to 1907, was New York State Senator from 1908 to 1912, and was a member of Congress from 1923 to 1931. Wainwright was an active member of the Military Affairs Committee at both the state and national level throughout his political career, and from 1921 to 1923 served as the Assistant Secretary of War.

Edwin R.A. Seligman: Seligman was a graduate student in both the School of Political Science and the School of Law. He received his LL.B in 1884 and a Ph.D. in 1885, and taught at Columbia until his retirement in 1931. He was a member of both the city and state committees on taxation and finance and an expert to the League of Nations Committee on Economics and Finance, 1922 -1923. He was a founding member of the American Economic Association in 1885 and served as president from 1902 to 1904. Seligman was also a book collector and a social activist.

Jaco. Langthorn: Langthorn (1867-1955), Class of 1891, Engineering, began his career as development engineer for the New York City Board of Water Supply, later becoming commissioner of the Board. For several years he was president of the engineering contractors firm Langthorn and Smith. He was the author of several books on engineering, former director of the American Society of Civil Engineering, and governor of the Columbia University Club. Langthorn retired in 1937 as consulting engineer to the president of the Borough of Manhattan.

Lewis S. Bigelow: Lewis Sherrill Bigelow (1863-1933) graduated from Philips Exeter Academy in 1882 and Yale University in 1887. He did post-graduate work at Columbia University and received a law degree from the University of Michigan. After working for several years at his father's law firm, Bigelow, Flandreau, and Squires, in St. Paul, Bigelow came to New York and joined the staff of the "Sun." He devoted the later years of his life to literary work.

Lynn Thorndike: Lynn Thorndike (1882-1965), a medievalist, graduated from Columbia College in 1905 and received his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1911. He was a professor at the University for twenty-six years and actively published throughout his career. Thorndike was the president of the American Historical Association in 1955 and was one of the first thirty fellows named to the Mediaeval Academy of America.

Carl Trischka: Carl Trischka graduated from the School of Mines in 1913.

James Ackerman was a student of Paul Oskar Kristeller.

Douglas Fraser was a professor of art history and archeology at Columbia University. He specialized in the African art and architecture and the art of Oceania. He published extensively on "primitive art." He received his art historical training at Columbia before becoming a member of the faculty.

James G. Banner, Jr.: James Banner was a graduate student in history in the early 1960s.

Harold Wechsler: Harold Wechsler (1946 - 2017) majored in History, receiving his A.B. in 1967 from Columbia College, M.A. in 1969 and Ph.D. in 1974 from Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He co-directed NYU's Ph.D. program in Education and Jewish Studies. He published widely on access, governance, business education, and the formation of curriculum and disciplines in American higher education.

Mildred Daum: Mildred Daum Raymond (1920-2014), earned an M.A. in Medieval History at Columbia in 1941. She was a graduate of the University of Iowa and the recipient of a Lydia Roberts Fellowship to study at Columbia. She went on to become an attorney, and was the first woman in the country to edit a law review.

Elizabeth Fisher: Elizabeth Fisher Scharffenberger (1920-2016), earned her M.A. from Columbia in 1944. Following employment elsewhere, she returned to the University in 1946 to work as social secretary to Margaret B. Pickel, Dean of University Women. She kept this job until her marriage in 1951.