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   Columbiana Manuscripts, 1572-1986 [Bulk Dates: 1850-1920].

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Columbiana General Manuscripts; Box and Folder (if known); University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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

Summary Information


An artificial collection comprised of correspondence, diaries, lecture notes, essays, administrative documents, minutes, and other documents related to Columbia University. Materials were created by or for students, alumni, faculty, administrators, staff, trustees, and honorary degree recipients.

At a Glance

Call No.:UA#0166
Bib ID:6304207 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Columbia University. University Archives.
Title:Columbiana Manuscripts, 1572-1986 [Bulk Dates: 1850-1920].
Physical description:38.92 linear ft. (25.5 linear ft. of bound volumes, 18 manuscript boxes, 1 half-sized document box 1 over-sized box 1 card box 2 over-sized folders)
Language(s): Primarily in English, with some documents in French, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin.
Access: This collection has no restrictions.  More information »



This collection is arranged in 3 series:

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Scope and Content

The Columbiana Manuscript Collection is an artificial collection of correspondence, diaries, lecture notes, class work, essays, administrative documents, minutes, and other documents related to various aspects of Columbia University and people associated with Columbia over the years. The majority of this collection is comprised of primary documents written by or for students, alumni, faculty, administrators, staff, trustees, and honorary degree recipients.

The items within the Columbiana Manuscript Collection were gradually brought together from a variety of sources over the years. Many documents were donated to the University Archives (formerly known as the Columbiana Collection) and The Rare Book and Manuscript Library by alumni and their families, student associations and clubs, and Columbia administrative offices. The provenance for many specific items is noted on individual folders and items.

The Kings College Manuscripts series is comprised of a collection of documents formerly part of a permanent exhibition called The King's College Room which displayed furniture, paintings, books, documents, and artifacts that evoked the colonial era in which King’s College was founded Housed in 210 Low Memorial Library, the former home of the Columbiana Library and University Archives, many of the historical documents and artifacts on display were removed into storage for safekeeping when the University Archives moved to Butler Library in 2007. To provide better access to these documents, it was decided to add them to this artificial collection.

Series I: Manuscript Volumes

This series consists of bound volumes of diaries, lecture notes, class work, student papers, theses, correspondence, addresses, and other materials produced by Columbia University students, faculty, organizations, and administration. This series also contains seminar proceedings transcribed by the Columbia Oral History Research Office from tape recordings, St. Paul's Chapel Parish Registers, and a variety of papers, minutes and constitutions from student organizations. The unique identifying numbers assigned to these manuscript volumes when originally cataloged have been retained and are noted as "item numbers" in the container list. The descriptions of these manuscript volumes in the container list have been adapted from the item level catalog cards created by previous staff members.

Series II: General Manuscripts

This series is comprised primarily of correspondence received or written by faculty, students, alumni, administrators, and other individuals pertaining to Columbia University. In addition to correspondence, this series also contains theses, essays, speeches, legal documents, and a small selection of bound volumes. The folders are arranged alphabetically by the last or corporate name of the correspondent, with individual documents generally housed in separate folders. Information in the container list was adapted from the detailed information found on the individual folders. There are two oversized items (noted as Box 2, folder 37 and Box 10, folder 84) in this series which are actually housed separately from the other items in this collection.

Series III: Kings College Manuscripts

This series is comprised of correspondence, religious texts, publications, registers, and other documents related to King's College and the early history of Columbia. In boxes 13 and 14, folders are arranged alphabetically by the last or corporate name of the correspondent. If available, the former call numbers of publications are noted as part of the description of the item. Most of the materials in this series were previously housed in The King's College Room - a museum room maintained by the Columbiana Library and the University Archives until 2007.

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Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

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); Columbiana General Manuscripts; Box and Folder (if known); University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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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 11/01/2010 Brenna Lee (Pratt SLS Intern)

Finding aid written 11/01/2010 Brenna Lee (Pratt SLS Intern)

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion March 25, 2011 Finding aid written in English.
    2011-03-25 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:
Lecture notesPortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Alumni Federation of Columbia University.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Anderson, Alexander, 1775-1870.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Arrowsmith, R. (Robert), 1860-1928.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Boas, Franz, 1858-1942.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Chambers, Whittaker.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Chandler, Charles Frederick, 1836-1925.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia College (Columbia University).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia College (New York, N.Y.).--College of Physicians and Surgeons.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia College (New York, N.Y.).--Philolexian Society.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Alumni and Alumnae.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Buildings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Faculty.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--History--18th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--History--19th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--History--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Songs and music.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Students.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Trustees.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University.--School of Engineering and Applied Science.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University.--School of Law.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University.--School of Mines.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbian Peithologian Society.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Cooper, Myles, 1737-1785.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
De Peyster, Frederic, 1796-1882.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Delta Upsilon Fraternity.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Drisler, Henry, 1818-1897.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Dwight, Theodore W. (Theodore William), 1822-1892.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Education, higher--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Egleston, Thomas, 1832-1900.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Erb, Frank C.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gottheil, Richard J. H. (Richard James Horatio), 1862-1936.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hamilton, Alexander, 1815-1907.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Howson, Roger, 1882-1962.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hu, Shi, 1891-1962.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Innes, J. H. (John H.).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Jackson, A. V. Williams (Abraham Valentine Williams), 1862-1937.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Jay, Peter.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Johnson, Samuel, 1696-1772.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Johnson, William Samuel, 1727-1819.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Kemp, James Furman, 1859-1926.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
King's College (New York, NY)--Buildings.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Krans, Horatio Sheafe, 1872-1952.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
McVickar, John, 1787-1868.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Mitchill, Samuel L. (Samuel Latham), 1764-1831.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Moore, Nathaniel Fish, 1782-1872.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Muzzey, David Saville, 1870-1965.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Nelson, John N.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
New York (N.Y.).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Osgood, Herbert L. (Herbert Levi), 1855-1918.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Parmly, Wheelock Hendee, 1816-1894.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Perry, Edward Delavan, 1854-1938.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Pumpelly, Josiah C. (Josiah Collins), 1839-1920.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Quackenbos, John D. (John Duncan), 1848-1926.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Reynolds, Stephen Sydney, 1881-1919.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Social sciences--Research--United States--HistoryPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Spingarn, Joel Elias, 1875-1939.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
St. Paul's Chapel (Columbia University, New York, N.Y.).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Strong, George Templeton, 1820-1875.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

Columbia University, the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States, was founded in 1754 as King's College by royal charter of King George II of England. Samuel Johnson, the College's first president, held the first classes in October 1754 in the vestry room of the Trinity Church schoolhouse on lower Broadway. There were eight students in this first class. This room housed classes until 1760 when the school moved to a building on Park Place in downtown Manhattan, near the present site of City Hall. Classes were suspended during the American Revolution in 1776 and the building was used as a barrack and hospital for both British and American troops. When instruction resumed in 1784, King's College changed its name to Columbia, in keeping with the contemporary political climate.

Classes continued in the Park Place campus building until 1857, when, to accommodate its continuing expansion, the college moved to 49th Street and Madison Avenue. It remained at this site for forty years, until 1897, when the university was moved by President Seth Low to the more spacious Morningside Heights campus, designed as an urban academic village by McKim, Mead, and White.

During the last half of the nineteenth century, Columbia rapidly assumed the shape of a modern university. The Columbia School of Law was founded in 1858. The country's first mining school, a precursor of today's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, was established in 1864 and awarded the first Columbia Ph.D. in 1875. Barnard College for women became affiliated with Columbia in 1889; the medical school came under the aegis of the University in 1891, followed by Teachers College in 1893. In the 1880s, Columbia developed graduate faculties in political science, philosophy, and pure science, establishing Columbia as one of the nation's earliest center for graduate education. In 1896, the Trustees authorized the use of yet another new name, Columbia University, and today the institution is officially known as Columbia University in the City of New York.

During the presidency of Nicholas Murray Butler (1902-1945), Columbia emerged as a preeminent national center for educational innovation and scholarly achievement. The study of the sciences flourished along with the liberal arts. Franz Boas founded the modern science of anthropology at Columbia in the early decades of the twentieth century; the School of Journalism was established by bequest of Joseph Pulitzer in 1912; a course of study of original masterworks for undergraduates was created which ultimately developed into what is now know as the Core Curriculum; and atomic research was conducted by Columbia faculty, bringing the Physics Department to international prominence. In 1946, the School of International Affairs (now the School of International and Public Affairs) was founded marking the beginning of intensive growth in international relations as a major scholarly focus of the University.

Columbia continued to expand in the ensuing decades -- improving both its physical plant and creating new programs and infrastructure for a growing campus and community. Today it is considered one of the pre-eminent institutions of higher learning in the country and in the world.

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