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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
The collection is arranged in two series. Correspondence, press, and other materials in Series I have been grouped together for ease of use.
The Strickman Cigarette Filter Collection documents the position of Columbia University on their ownership of the patent for the Strickman Cigarette Filter. The collection includes materials related to the formation and publicizing of the agreement with Strickman to support the patent in 1967. Materials from late 1967 through 1970 cover emerging concerns about the filter's efficacy and Columbia's effort to distance itself from it. The collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other administrative records. The majority of the correspondence is from President Grayson Kirk and his assistant Helen King, in addition to letters from Columbia's lawyers, trustees, and alumni. Important documents to note include the agreement to take ownership of the patent, box 1 folder 6; and materials related to the reassignment of the patent away from Columbia, box 1 folder 11. The collection also includes materials from the United States Senate hearings related to the filter, and other memos, statements, and press releases.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection has no restrictions.
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.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Strickman Cigarette Filter Collection; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Additions are not expected.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
This collection was processed by Rachel Klepper. Finding aid written by Rachel Klepper in August 2018.
The Strickman Cigarette Filter Collection was retained in the physical order in which it arrived. The papers were refoldered and given folder titles.
2018-08-22 xml document instance created by Celeste Brewer.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2021-02-22 EAD edited to include Series II by JKW.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
In 1967, chemist Robert Strickman approached Columbia University about a cigarette filter he invented. Strickman claimed that the filter would greatly reduce the amount of tar and nicotine inhaled by cigarette users, up to two-thirds of the tar and nicotine that drifted past conventional filters. Strickman transferred the ownership of the invention to the University. The agreement between Columbia and Strickman, with Columbia endorsing claims of the filter's effectiveness, was publicly announced by President Grayson Kirk and Dr. H. Houston Merritt, Dean of Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons in July, 1967. In testing, the filter was found to be not much more effective than those in use at the time and Columbia withdrew its support. In front of the Senate Commerce Committee, President Kirk admitted that the original announcement had been "regrettably premature." In 1968, Columbia reassigned ownership of the invention to a private organization.