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   Council for Research in the Humanities Records, 1926-1968 [Bulk dates: 1926-1936; 1966-1968]

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Name of Collection, Box and Folder Number; University Archives, Columbia University Library.

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

Summary Information


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

At a Glance

Call No.:UA#124
Bib ID:6269676 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Council for Research in the Humanities.
Title:Council for Research in the Humanities Records, 1926-1968 [Bulk dates: 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
Access: This collection is located on-site. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »



The files are arranged in three series. Folders are arranged alphabetically by title within each series. If titles are the same, the files are arranged in chronological order.

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Scope and Content

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.

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Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the University Archivist.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Name of Collection, Box and Folder Number; University Archives, Columbia University Library.

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)

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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

Papers processed 2004 Marilyn H. Pettit

Papers re-processed June 2006 Jocelyn Wilk

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

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion October 29, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2009-10-29 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.


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

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History / Biographical Note


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.

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