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   Council for Research in the Social Sciences records, 1922-1970 [Bulk dates: 1925-1968]

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

At a Glance

Call No.:UA#127
Bib ID:6273205 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Council for Research in the Social Sciences.
Title:Council for Research in the Social Sciences records, 1922-1970 [Bulk dates: 1925-1968]
Physical description:8 linear feet (19 document boxes)
Language(s):In English, and French.
Access: This collection is located on-site. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »



The files are arranged in four 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 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)

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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 Humanities Records, 1926-1968 [Bulk dates: 1926-1936; 1966-1968] (UA#0124)

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 March 1993 Deborah D. Milite

Additions processed 2000-2004 Marilyn H. Pettit

Collection re-processed by Shelley Hayreh August 2007

This finding aid was adapted from a legacy finding aid

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
Bonbright, James C. (James Cummings), 1891-1985.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Research.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
De Bary, William Theodore, 1919-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gay, Peter, 1923-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Handler, Milton, 1903-1998.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hayes, Carlton J. H. (Carlton Joseph Huntley), 1882-1964.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
McBain, Howard Lee, 1880-1936.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Mills, C. Wright (Charles Wright), 1916-1962.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Nevins, Allan, 1890-1971.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Rockefeller Foundation.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Social sciences--Research--United States--History.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Vickrey, William S. (William Spencer), 1914-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Wagley, Charles, 1913-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Woodbridge, Frederick James Eugene, 1867-1940.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note


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.”

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