Columbia University Archives

Council for Research in the Humanities Records, 1926-1968, bulk 1926-1936; 1966-1968

Summary Information


This collection contains the minutes, correspondence, and reports of the Council for Research in the Humanities.

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0124
Bib ID 6269676 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Columbia University. Council for Research in the Humanities
Title Council for Research in the Humanities Records, 1926-1968, bulk 1926-1936; 1966-1968
Physical Description 2.73 linear feet (6 document boxes and 1 half-sized document box.)
Language(s) In English, French, German, Italian.

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.



The files are arranged in three series.



The records are comprised primarily of correspondence concerning the proposals, reports, awards and financial allotments for specific projects. The correspondence files also include rejected projects arranged alphabetically by applicant. There is also some internal correspondence between the Council and the Secretary of the University, the Council and department chairs, meeting minutes and agendas, and annual reports of the Council.

  • Series I: Meetings, 1929-1937

    Includes minutes, agendas and correspondence. Correspondence most often concerns meetings and the creation of minutes. A list of the original council membership is also found in this series. Three copies of the minutes from 1928-1937 have been kept as each version has unique handwritten notes in margins.

  • Series II: Projects, 1927-1968

    Includes award and rejection letters, budgets, and lists of projects for particular years. Project correspondence from the 1929-1933 includes some project proposals in addition to award letters and budgetary information. Correspondence concerning projects #1-108, spanning the years 1958-1964, were taken out of individual project files and placed together in three files. For these documents, when necessary, the project number from the folder was written in brackets at the top of the document. Multiple documents from one project file, even if they span more than one year, have been kept together. Correspondence is primarily with the Secretary of the University and/or the Chair of the Council.

  • Series III: Reports, 1928-1967

    Includes annual reports of the Council to the University Council, drafts of some of these reports (so one can examine the evolution of the document), reports sent to the General Board for Humanities Studies, and financial statements for the organization. Also includes a report from a conference held in 1926 that ultimately led to the creation of the Council. There is a gap in annual reports between 1957 and 1961 and no report for 1967.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.

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); Council for Research in the Humanities Records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Selected Related Material at Columbia

Council for Research in the Social Sciences records, 1922-1970 [Bulk dates: 1925-1968] (UA#0127)

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession 1997.003: Source of acquisition--University Archives. Date of acquisition--1997.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Marilyn H. Pettit 2004.

Papers re-processed Jocelyn Wilk June 2006.

This finding aid was adapted from a legacy finding aid. Additions were processed by Alyssa Nicole Meyers, GSAS 2009, in June 2007.

Revision Description

2009-10-29 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.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Annual reports Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Awards Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Financial records Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Proposals Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Reports Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
minutes (administrative records) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Benedict, Ruth, 1887-1948 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Boas, Franz, 1858-1942 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Coykendall, Frederick, 1872-1954 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Education, Higher Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fackenthal, Frank Diehl, 1883-1968 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fife, Robert Herndon, 1871-1958 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
General Education Board (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Humanities -- Research Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Leland, Waldo Gifford, 1879-1966 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
McBain, Howard Lee, 1880-1936 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rockefeller Foundation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rusk, Ralph L (Ralph Leslie), 1888- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Scarborough, Dorothy, 1878-1935 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Schapiro, Meyer, 1904-1996 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Thorndike, Lynn, 1882-1965 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

The Council for Research in the Humanities was officially established by the University Council at its meeting on February 21, 1928. The Research Council's founding was inspired by findings at a Conference on the Status of Humanistic Studies in the U.S. (Washington, D.C., December 10 and 11, 1926) under the auspices of the General Education Board. In short, the conference found that researchers in the area of the humanities were in need of better funding to aid their research and eventual publication. Despite the fact that humanistic research was considered important and significant, it was not as high profile as that done in the social or physical sciences and, therefore, not as well funded. By establishing the Research Council, Columbia University was able to provide much needed financial aid to selected researchers in the humanities.

Allotments were to cover expenses incurred in the research process - everything from clerical assistance, to travel funds and photographic reproductions - and sometimes were extended to publishing costs. Initially this venture was funded by the General Education Board, through a three-year grant of $112,500. When this grant ran out, funding was obtained from the Rockefeller Foundation. Later on, monies would also come from within the University itself. Many individuals received grants over the years, but among the more prominent researchers who received grants were Lynn Thorndike, Ruth Benedict, and Franz Boas. Grants continued to be distributed by the Research Council into the 1980s and very early 1990s.

The first Research Council consisted of nine members: Professors W.B. Dinsmoor, R.H. Fife, J.L. Gerig, L.R. Gray, G.P. Krapp, N.G. McCrea, S.B. Murray, H.W. Schneider, and Austin P. Evans. Professor Fife was elected Chairman and Professor McCrea was elected Secretary.