Columbia University Archives

Council for Research in the Social Sciences records, 1922-1970, bulk 1925-1968

Summary Information


This collection contains the correspondence, minutes and meetings, projects and reports of the Council for Research in the Social Sciences.

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0127
Bib ID 6273205 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Columbia University. Council for Research in the Social Sciences
Title Council for Research in the Social Sciences records, 1922-1970, bulk 1925-1968
Physical Description 8 linear feet (19 archival document boxes)
Language(s) English , French .

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.



The files are arranged in four series. If titles are the same, the files are arranged in chronological order.



The records are comprised primarily of correspondence between Council Chairs, members, and researchers, meeting minutes and agendas, project proposals and correspondence, and reports to and from the Council for Research in the Social Sciences.

  • Series I: Correspondence, 1922-1960

    Includes internal correspondence dealing with issues related to the Council as a whole, rather than individual projects. Correspondence provides a general sense of the Council's activities, which include requests for project proposals or reports, council appointments, meeting reminders, and general concerns about the organization of the Council. Correspondence is primarily with the Secretary and/or the Chair of the Council and is arranged in chronological order.

  • Series II: Minutes and Meetings, 1923-1970

    Includes minutes and agendas. The minutes are the administrative files of the Council and consist of transcript carbon copies of minutes, reports, correspondence, project applications and reviews, and financial information. Council meetings reviewed and selected research proposals. Summaries of proposals are in the minutes themselves and copies of research proposals and project progress reports follow the minutes of the meeting in which the proposal or project is discussed. Many documents found in the minutes concerning a particular project are also to be found in the individual project file folder in this collection. Matters relating to project selection and administration were also addressed at the meetings and recorded or summarized in the Minutes, such as Council funding, formation of various standing, ad hoc and sub-committees, procedural matters of all kinds, publication of, and royalties from, project research, and numerous reports, such as progress reports, expense reports, annual reports, financial reports, standing committee reports, and reports to the University Council. (Milite)

  • Series III: Projects, 1925-1968

    Includes individual research projects, rejected project proposals, and the bibliography of publications resulting from Council support. The individual research projects are foldered with each file folder labeled with the project number assigned by the Council office, the name of the research project, and the researcher's name. Each project folder contains a copy of correspondence informing the researcher of the award and the project number. Some files are more extensive and include the project proposal or outline with budget, one or more anonymous evaluations of the proposal, the applicant's scholarship credentials, requests for further funding, progress reports and/or general correspondence dealing with all aspects of the project or final publication. All of the project folders are in chronological order and most of the documents in the collection are copies rather than originals. Moreover, there is a fair amount of duplication in the files. Note also that projects very often included a number of sub-projects and researcher. (Milite)

  • Series IV: Reports, 1925-1968

    Includes annual reports and financial statements, reports on Council guidelines and procedures, budget reports, Council Report to the University Council, reports from outside Councils, and sub- committee reports. The Council Report, or the Report on the Work of the Columbia University Council for Research in the Social Sciences, examines the mission and procedures of the Council, the sources and uses of its funding, successes and shortcomings of its program, and suggestions about its future direction. (Pettit)

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 Social Sciences records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Related Materials

Council for Research in the Humanities, 1926-1968; Central Files: Bureau of Applied Social Research; Institute of Social Research; National Institute of Social Sciences; Social Science Research Council

Council for Research in the Humanities Records, 1926-1968 [Bulk dates: 1926-1936; 1966-1968] (UA#0124)

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


University Archives 1997, 2000, 2002 and 2004. Unsolicited gift circa 1993 of William S. Vickrey, McVickar Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Secretary of the Council, 1947-1957.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Deborah D. Milite March 1993.

Additions processed Marilyn H. Pettit 2000-2004.

Collection re-processed by Shelley Hayreh August 2007.

This finding aid was adapted from a legacy finding aid.

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:"
Anthropology -- Research Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Benedict, Ruth, 1887-1948 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Boas, Franz, 1858-1942 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bonbright, James C (James Cummings), 1891-1985 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- Research Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
De Bary, Wm. Theodore, 1919-2017 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Economics -- Research Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gay, Peter, 1923-2015 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Handler, Milton, 1903-1998 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hayes, Carlton J. H (Carlton Joseph Huntley), 1882-1964 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
History -- Research Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
McBain, Howard Lee, 1880-1936 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mills, C. Wright (Charles Wright), 1916-1962 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Nevins, Allan, 1890-1971 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rockefeller Foundation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Social sciences -- Research -- United States -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Vickrey, William S (William Spencer), 1914- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wagley, Charles, 1913- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Woodbridge, Frederick James Eugene, 1867-1940 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

The Council for Research in the Social Sciences was created on February 17, 1925, by a resolution of the University Council. Up to that time the University had no bureau or committee for the encouragement and financial support of social science research. To be sure, the Dean of the Graduate Faculties had at his command a modest annual 'Dean's Fund' from which he gave financial assistance to individuals in the social science departments in furtherance of a few research projects. A more elaborate organization was required for the administration of the far larger fund that was urgently needed.

The immediate occasion for the Council of this nature was a promise from the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial of an annual ten-year grant for social science research. Accordingly, the University Council by resolution created the Council for Research with a membership of fourteen, and authorized it to act as an agent of the University in furthering cooperative research in the social sciences, in assisting the researches of individuals and groups and, which the approval of the President, in making allotments for research from such funds as might be appropriated to or secured by it" (Report on the Work of the Columbia University Council for Research in the Social Sciences, p. 1).

Scholars represented in this collection include Professor of Anthopology Franz Boas, Charles Wagley, and Ruth Benedict, Professor of Economics James Angell, Professor of History Allan Nevins, Richard Hofstadter, Henry S. Commager, Henry Graff, Jacques Barzun and Frank Tannenbaum, Professors of Law Milton Handler, Karl Llewellyn, Carl Swisher and Jack Greenberg, Professors of Sociology C. Wright Mills, Seymour Martin Lipset and Paul Lazarsfeld, Professor of Political Science Peter Gay, Professor of Asian Humanities William T. De Bary, Professor of Government Richard Neustadt.

The first Research Council consisted of nine members: Professors Franz Boas, James Bonbright, John Coss, Carlton Hayes, Howard Lee McBain, C. Wright Mills, William Ogburn, A.T. Poffenberger, Robert Haig, Jervey, and Deans Mitchell, Fredrick Woodbridge, William Darrach, James Earl Russell. Between the councils active years between 1925 to 1968, council Chairmen have included Fredrick Woodbridge, Howard Lee McBain, G.B. Pegram, Carl Shoup, and William Vickrey. Notable projects sponsored by the Council have included Franz Boas' "Heredity and Environment" Ruth Benedict's "Acculturation" Allan Nevins' "Collected Letters of Grover Cleveland" and Peter Gay's "Voltaires Philosophical Dictionary.".