|Columbia University Archives|
At a Glance
This collection consists of materials related to a campaign for a campus war memorial. There are research files to help identify Columbians who died while serving their country. There are also committee files describing the proposals and plans considered over the years.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
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 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.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); War Memorial records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.
No additions are expected.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Undergraduate Remembrance Group working papers were transferred by Jim Lennon to the University archives in 2000.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Collection-level record describing unprocessed material made public in summer 2018 as part of the Hidden Collections initiative. Collection was processed by Joanna Rios in November 2021.
2021-11-12 Content list added. (JR)
History / Biographical Note
In 1995, James J. Lennon, Columbia College Class of 1943 and a WWII veteran, started a campaign to build a memorial on campus to honor Columbia undergraduates who died in the war. Over the years the scope of the memorial expanded to include all members of the Columbia community, not just undergraduates, and all the wars and conflicts since the founding of King's College. There was even a proposed monument that would be placed in a central part of campus (by the southwest corner of Low Library) with the hopes that it would offer a meditative space for remembrance. The design for the monument consisted of several short walls made of bronze bricks with names of the fallen alumni.
The final push for a memorial came from the members of the U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia (MilVets) who made their appeal to Provost Alan Brinkley in 2007. He convened the Working Group on War Remembrance. The preliminary list published in the Columbia College Today February 2000 issue included about 250 names of Columbians who had died in service. By the time the War Memorial Plaque at Butler Library was unveiled and the website was launched in December 2008, there were about 460 known alumni. Led by Executive Producer Vivian Ducat and Researcher Minda Novek, the accompanying online memorial, the Roll of Honor, was able to provide more context: about the wars, about Columbia at the time, and, for the fallen alumni, more than just a name. The researchers found images of many alumni, mostly in military dress but, for some, from their Columbia days. In addition to photographs, the site also invites family members, friends and others to submit "Tributes."