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Series IV: Davidson Taylor
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in eight series. Series I: Administrative Files, 1954-1996; Series II: Department of Fine Arts, 1895-1959; Series III.: Grafton Nunes, 1961-1996; Series IV: Davidson Taylor, 1952-1972; Subseries IV.1: Alphabetical Correspondence, 1952-1971; Subseries IV.2: Chronological Correspondence, 1960-1971; Subseries IV.3: Foundations, 1953-1972; Subseries IV.4: Urban Center, 1958-1972; Subseries IV.V: Journals, 1959-1968; Series V: Translation Center, 1972-1994; Subseries V.1: General, 1972-1994; Subseries V.2: Audio Visual Material, 1975; Series VI.: Photographs, 1968-1997; Subseries VI.1: School of the Arts, 1968-1997; Subseries VI.2: Translation Center, 1973-1984; Series VII: Additions, 1977-1989; Series VIII. MFA Student Theatre Production Materials, 1979-2011.
The School of the Arts Records consists of administrative files from several offices within the School. The files span from the creation of the Department of Fine Arts through the mid-1990s and document the day to day maintenance of the School as well as the large scale vision held by faculty and administration. General administrative files such as financial records, meeting minutes, proposals, reports, and correspondence comprise the bulk of the collection. Correspondence from Dean Davidson Taylor and Associate Dean Grafton Nunes is well represented. Records from the Translation Center tend to focus on individual issues, but there are also files concerning fundraising, publicity, and the many awards granted on a yearly basis.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
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.
Files concerning student records are restricted. Please see container list for exact box and folders.
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); School of the Arts records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.
No additions are expected
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed Lea Osborne 2010 September.
Papers cataloged Lea Osborne 2010 September.
2010-09-14 File created.
2010-09-20 xml document instance created by Lea Osborne
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2020-01-06 Removed expired restrictions.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Department of Music was established within the Faculty of Philosophy in 1896. Six years later the department was established as an independent School of Music under the Division of Fine Arts (which included the School of Architecture).
The Department of Fine Arts was established in 1921. The original goal was to allow the students to become familiar with aspects of architecture, painting, sculpture, and any related scholarly work in those fields. The first course that was offered was a general survey of western art from antiquity to the Renaissance period. The purpose, according to a history of the department, was "to acquaint those students whose programs would permit no more than a single course in Fine Arts with the outstanding names, monuments, and concepts in the arts, and to provide a framework for more intensive exploration in the several branches of the Fine Art.." Intermediate-level courses that allowed students to study in more depth were also established. An example of this would be Italian Renaissance Painting.
While the department steadily grew, its success rested on the economy. In other word, the economic outlook affected student interest in these fields and thus, the department size. Another factor affecting the department was a changing view of education and focus at Columbia College. As the liberal arts program evolved, the changes naturally affected specialized departments within the college. By the late 1930s, however, collaboration between Humanities and the Departments of Music and Fine Arts balanced out some of the inequalities. The focus of the department also solidified. In the 1950s, the department increased adding more faculty members in order to handle the growing amount of students.
The Arts Center Program, a forerunner to the School of the Arts, was never realized as such. Instead, Columbia created the Program in the Arts in 1958, which took over responsibility for the Schools of Dramatic Art and Painting and Sculpture. The Committee on the Arts administered the instruction of the Program in the Arts and advised on the Arts Center and the creation of the School of the Arts. The Trustees of Columbia University established the School of the Arts to take over the responsibilities of the Program of the Arts in December 1965. The School of the Arts was created with the intention of consolidating the many courses in the arts that had been offered at Columbia since the late nineteenth century.
Davidson Taylor was born in 1907 in Tennessee. He received a B.A. in 1927 from Mississippi College and a Th.M. in 1930 from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Before coming to Columbia University, Taylor worked at CBS beginning as an announcer for the Philharmonic and held various posts including the Director of the Music Division and ending as Vice President. After that, Taylor had been at NBC as Vice President in charge of news, public affairs, and sports and was also a consultant to the Lincoln Center Committee for the New York Public Library. In 1959, Columbia asked Taylor to be the Director of the Arts Center. Even though the Arts Center was never realized, Taylor spent many years fund-raising for the Center. In 1963, he became the Chairman of the Committee on the Arts, the administration committee of the Program of the Arts. In December 1965, when the School of the Arts took over the instructional responsibilities of the Program of the Arts, Taylor became director, and later dean in 1969, of the newly established School. He became Special Assistant to the President for Education in the Arts in September 1971. Taylor retired from Columbia University in 1975 and died in July 1979.
Grafton Nunes worked for Columbia University for twenty-two years. He received his B.A. in English and Religion from the College of the Holy Cross, his M.F.A. in Film History, Theory, and Criticism from Columbia, and his M.Phil in Theater History and Film Studies from Columbia. Nunes first began working at Columbia as the administrative assistant for the Film Division. In 1985, he was hired as a lecturer in the theatre division. He taught until 1988 when he was promoted to Assistant Dean. In 1990, Nunes was named Associate Dean of the School of the Arts. Besides his work in academia, Nunes was an active film writer and producer.
The Translation Center was founded in 1972 by Frank MacShane (a writing professor in the School of the Arts), Robert Payne, and William Jay Smith. Since its foundation it has been governed by a board of literary translators. The mission of the Center is to increase "the number of works available in English from foreign literature.." By doing so, the Center makes "the American public aware of the concerns that are common to peoples of the world." To accomplish this, the Center has three major outputs. It grants $10,000 each year in awards to literary translators, it publishes twice a year Translation a magazine filled with poetry, nonfiction, and contemporary fiction translated into English, and it operates a Publishing Advisory Service. Although the Translation Center is housed on campus, it is funded primarily through grants. The School of the Arts does, however, provide some financing of the Director's position.