Finding Aids linked to within the text below
The Archives maintains an extensive collection of University-related images dating from the mid-19th century to the present. Formats include black and white gelatin silver negatives and prints; color negatives, prints, and slides; albumen prints; cyanotypes; lithographs; salt prints and postcards. The bulk of the collection consists of black and white gelatin negatives and prints and is strongest from the early 20th century through the 1970s.
The majority of our image collection is organized as The Historical Photograph Collection (HPC). This collection includes portraits of individuals (ca. 34,000 items), images of buildings and grounds (ca. 12,000 items), various university events, student activities and student life, athletics, academics, university symbols, university administration, and campus activity during WWI and WWII.
The Office of Public Affairs Photograph Collection is another very large image collection consisting of several smaller accessions. This collection contains prints, a very large number of photographic negatives covering the 20th century, color slides, images of the 1968 protests on campus, and very recent image files from the early 21st century in print, negative, and digital formats. The negatives in this collection are often the best source for finding images of more recent events.
In addition to the HPC and Public Affairs image collections, there are a number of smaller image collections which might be of interest, several of which also have online finding aids available for consultation. These include a collection of 19th century class photo albums for graduating classes of Columbia College and the School of Mines, The Columbia Spectator Photograph Collection (photographs once maintained and used by the Columbia Daily Spectator), Columbia University Faculty Photograph Collection, Graduate School of Journalism Photographs Collection, and the Women’s Graduate Club Portrait Collection.
If one is searching for portraits of individuals it is recommended to search the Historical Photograph Collection, Office of Public Affairs Photograph Collection, Columbia Spectator Photograph Collection, and the Columbia University Faculty Photograph Collection. As an aid to finding portraits of individuals you may also wish to consult the excel spreadsheet of "Portraits” linked to from this website. This document is not necessarily comprehensive, but it does note the locations of the majority of the portraits found across these various collections.
Images of the Varsity Show can be found within the Varsity Show Records.
Additional 1968 protest images can be found within the University Protest and Activism Collection.