Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Department of Economics records, 1915-1992

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0283
Bib ID 6947927 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Columbia University. Department of Economics
Title Department of Economics records, 1915-1992
Physical Description 3.34 linear feet (8 document boxes)
Language(s) English .

All administrative records of the University are restricted for 25 years from the date of creation. Certain records related to students and University personnel are restricted for 75 years from the date of creation.

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.



This collection is arranged in three series.



This collection consists of the records relating to the faculty and curriculum of the Department of Economics, primarily during the 1940s and 1950s, when prominent faculty members included James Angell, Arthur Burns, Carter Goodrich, Carl Shoup, Horace Taylor and William Vickerey. The collection also includes Carl Shoup's records from when the School of Business was administratively under the Department of Economics. There are also materials from Donald Dewey's courses: outlines, reading lists, exams, etc.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

All administrative records of the University are restricted for 25 years from the date of creation. Certain records related to students and University personnel are restricted for 75 years from the date of creation.

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

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); Department of Economics records; Box and Folder (if known); University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material at Columbia University

Faculty of Political Science records, 1890s-1960s; Graduate School of Business records, 1910s-2010s

Accrual of Records

No additions are expected.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Joanna Rios. Finding aid written by Joanna Rios in February 2019.

Revision Description

2019-02-10 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:"
Angell, James Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Barnard College Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Burns, Arthur F (Arthur Frank), 1904-1987 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University -- Faculty Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Faculty of Political Science Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Graduate School of Business Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. School of General Studies Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Economics -- Study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
European Institute Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Goodrich, Carter Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Shoup, Carl S (Carl Sumner), 1902-2000 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Taylor, Horace Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Vickrey, William S (William Spencer), 1914- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Columbia was among the first American colleges to offer instruction in economics. Reverend John McVickar CC 1804 began teaching political economy as early as 1821 and, by 1825, he published the first American textbook on the subject. McVickar taught the class for almost forty years. In 1876, John W. Burgess joined the faculty and he brought along his former student Richmond Mayo-Smith as the Professor of History and Political Science. Mayo-Smith's appointment was the first in the College's history which was made primarily on the candidate's qualifications in political economy.

The department can be said to have started when, in addition to Professor Mayo-Smith, Columbia appointed Edwin R. A. Seligman CC 1879, LLB 1884 and PhD 1885 as a lecturer in Political Economy. By 1890, the two-man department doubled in size with the addition of the sociologist Franklin H. Giddings and the economic theorist John Bates Clark. Originally named the Department of Political Economy and Social Science, Seligman changed the name to the Department of Economics and Social Science in 1892. They offered general courses for undergraduates as well as an integrated curriculum leading to graduate work. They also attracted students from the School of Law, Teachers College and the theological seminaries.

While working on Business Cycles, Wesley C. Mitchell decided to resign from the University for California and to move to New York, the center of the financial world. At Columbia he took a nominal salary so that he could confine his teaching to only one course on his current research interests, which became one of the most famous courses in the department's history. Students would transcribe Prof. Mitchell's lectures and sell mimeograph copies to fellow students, students at other institutions, and even professionals. The department played an important role in the development of the Contemporary Civilization course, a merging of history and social sciences for the first two years of college work. Edward VanDyke Robinson was brought in 1915 to teach primarily undergraduates in the College, but it was William E. Weld, who became the first full Professor of Economics attached to Columbia College in 1928.

The establishment of the School of Business in 1916 was a welcome event for the Department and both would remain close administratively. In fact, from 1931 to 1940 Roswell C. McCrea served concurrently as executive officer of the Department and dean of the School. Similarly, when the School of International Affairs (now known as the School of International and Public Affairs) opened in 1946, the Department grew to meet the needs of SIA students, who were required to take general courses in international economics, trade and finance.

After the founding fathers of the department retired or passed away in the 1930s, they left the department in the hands of a new generation of pioneers in the field including Arthur Frank Burns, Carter Goodrich, Robert M. Haig, Harold Hotelling, Carl Sumner Shoup, and William Vickrey.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only CU affiliates may view materials on-site. YOU MUST REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT BEFORE PLACING REQUESTS. Email rbml@library.columbia.edu to request an appointment. You may submit a request for materials once your appointment is confirmed. Affiliates will login with their uni and password, and need to register the first time they make a request.

Series I. Department records, 1915-1966

Graduate education

Box 1 Folder 1 Registration figures, 1939-1950

(Course enrollment numbers by class, admission and registration statistics, graduate student progress and completion numbers.)

Box 1 Folder 2-3 Faculty of Political Science Committee on Instruction materials,, 1915-1958

Box 1 Folder 4 Subcommittee on Business of the Joint Committee on Graduate Instruction memoranda and correspondence,, 1952-1958

Box 1 Folder 5 General notices to the members of the Department of Economics,, 1931-1966

(Restricted until 2042)

Box 1 Folder 6 Qualifying Examination Committee, 1945-1961

(Restricted until 2037)

Box 1 Folder 7 Summer Session, 1950-1954

(Restricted until 2030)


Box 2 Folder 1-2 Faculty appointments, 1935-1956

(Includes Nomination for Appointment forms, correspondence with the Office of the Provost, and travel allotments to go to conferences.)

Hiring Committees

Box 2 Folder 3 Committee on an Agricultural Economist, 1947-1949

Box 2 Folder 4 Committee on an Economics Historian, 1941-1952

Box 2 Folder 5 Prof. Carl S. Shoup correspondence, 1953-1955

(Correspondence with Grace Keller at the department office while Prof. Shoup was in Europe.)

Box 2 Folder 6 Prof. Arthur R. Burns correspondence, 1954

(Correspondence with Grace Keller at the department office during Summer 1954.)

Box 2 Folder 7 Presentation of portrait of Prof. Henry R. Seager, 1931

(Transcript of remarks at the presentation on May 28, 1931. Speakers were Prof. Seligman, Schuyler Seager, and President Butler.)

Box 2 Folder 8 Visiting professors, 1944-1959

Related Institutions

Box 3 Folder 1 School of Business curriculum, 1943-1954

Box 3 Folder 2 School of Business faculty, 1942-1951

Box 3 Folder 3 Barnard College, 1938

Box 3 Folder 4 Columbia College, 1929-1946

Box 3 Folder 5 Columbia College, 1941-1956

Box 3 Folder 6 Columbia College budget and faculty items, 1946-1958

Box 3 Folder 7 European Institute Program, 1949-1954

Box 3 Folder 8 General Studies, 1949-1951

Subject Files

Box 4 Folder 1 Photographs, 1930s

(Includes department photograph with members identified, from the early 1930s and portraits of Edwin R. A. Seligman)

Box 4 Folder 2 Bicentennial celebration, 1951-1954

Box 4 Folder 3 Cahn dissertation, 1941-1949

(Restricted until 2025)

(Bernard D. Cahn, former student)

Box 4 Folder 4 Economics alumni fellowships, 1954-1957

Box 4 Folder 5 Kazanjian fellowships, 1950-1952

(Includes photographs of two fellowship recipients)

Box 4 Folder 6 Reconstruction of Fayerweather Hall, 1945-1950

Box 4 Folder 7 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc., 1947-1954

Box 4 Folder 8 University Seminar: The Institutionalization of the Economic Process,, 1953-1955

Box 5 Folder 1 Faculty of Political Science committee materials and correspondence,, 1952-1960

(Includes materials related to the Committee on Publications and Committee on Instruction, as well as obituaries. Materials belonged to the Secretary of the Faculty, Prof. David S. Landes and Prof. Henry F. Graff.)

Box 5 Folder 2-3 Information concerning members of the Department of Economics (Faculty of Political Science, Barnard, Columbia College and Extension),, 1940s

(Card catalogue with faculty members' names, addresses, and degrees. The cards include information about sabbaticals. Many have a copy of the faculty member's cv attached with a paper clip.)

Series II. Carl Shoup papers, 1931-1971

Business School

Box 6 Folder 1 General, 1942-1959

Box 6 Folder 2 Calkins, Robert D., 1942-1944

Box 6 Folder 3 Chamberlain, Neil W., 1966

(Restricted until 2045)

Box 6 Folder 4 Committee on Instruction, 1940-1944

Box 6 Folder 5 Edde, Richard, 1955-1956

(Restricted until 2032)

Box 6 Folder 6 McCrea, Roswell C., 1935-1941

Box 6 Folder 7 Staff Meetings, 1939-1944

Columbia University

Box 6 Folder 8 General, 1932-1971

(Correspondence, but mostly press releases, announcements, statements, flyers from 1968-1970 events on campus.)

Box 7 Folder 1 Committee on Non-Columbia Activities, 1958

Box 7 Folder 2 Concept of Income Study, 1933-1942

Box 7 Folder 3 Council for Research in the Social Sciences, 1940-1963

Box 7 Folder 4 Defense Bonds Committee, 1942

Box 7 Folder 5 Economics, Memoranda, 1960-1968

(Restricted until 2044)

(Department policies, by-laws, figures, and materials related courses offerings, including Contemporary Civilization, 1960s)

Box 7 Folder 6 Geography, 1956-1959

Box 7 Folder 7 Kenen, Peter B., 1969-1971

Box 7 Folder 8 "K" correspondence, 1944-1969

(Restricted until 2045)

Box 7 Folder 9 Library Committee (allocation of private studies), 1959-1961

Box 7 Folder 10 McVickar Professorship of Political Economy, 1931-1941

Box 7 Folder 11 Mathematical Statistics, Department of, 1951

Box 7 Folder 12 McCLosky, Herbert, 1971

(Restricted until 2047)

Box 7 Folder 13 Mills, Frederick C., 1943-1944

Box 7 Folder 14 Puchala, Donald, 1970-1971

(Restricted until 2047)

Box 7 Folder 15 Research Committee, 1945-1965

Box 7 Folder 16 Trapp, William O., 1950

(Restricted until 2026)

Series III. Donald Dewey papers, 1959-1992

Box 8 Folder 1 Reading list for Economics 149 at Duke University, 1959

Industrial Organization Policy course

Box 8 Folder 2 Final exams, 1964-1992

Box 8 Folder 3 Case lists, 1965-1990

Box 8 Folder 4-5 Outlines and reading lists, 1964-1992

Box 8 Folder 6 Undergraduate seminar on industrial organization syllabi and possible paper topics,, 1981-1991

History of Economic Thought

Box 8 Folder 7 Outlines, 1973-1990

Box 8 Folder 8 Final Exams, 1979-1991

Box 8 Folder 9 Economic theory outlines, 1963-1981

(Includes 101-102, Microeconomics, and Intermediate Economic Analysis)