Events Calendar


Pride of Lions: Fifty Years of LGBT Activism at Columbia

April 25 to July 31, 2017

Chang Octagon Exhibition Room, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

For over 50 years Columbia University has been at the forefront of the fight for equality and justice for the LGBT community.  Our long tradition of attracting non-conformists of all sorts fostered the creation of the Beat Generation that planted the seeds for the 1960s sexual revolution and counterculture.

This spring marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of the first-ever gay student group - the Student Homophile League - here at Columbia in 1967. A few years later Columbia students defied administrators and created the first gay student lounge. During the Age of Disco, every month Earl Hall hosted the biggest gay dance party in New York City. Confronted with the AIDS crisis, a group of Columbia students, administrators and professors founded the groundbreaking Gay Health Advocacy Project. And today GendeRevolution continues Columbia’s tradition of being at the forefront of LGBT issues by raising awareness of the rights of trans* and gender non-conforming people.

This exhibition was created by Columbia and Barnard students as a final project for a LGBTQ history seminar taught by Sarah Witte and David Eisenbach. It is dedicated to the memory of our fellow Columbians who boldly fought discrimination, raised awareness and secured a welcoming environment that continues to have an impact on the national stage. Their efforts should make every member of the Columbia community PROUD TO BE A LION.  

The exhibition draws from the Columbia University Archives and the Lucien Carr Papers in the Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Barnard Archives and Special Collections.  Highlights include Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, the Student Homophile League General Declaration and Statement of Purposes, and memoranda, correspondence, photographs, dance posters, and flyers, documenting LGBT activism at Columbia.
--David Eisenbach CC 1994, GSAS 2006
Author Gay Power: An American Revolution

Harper Bicentennial poster

Harper & Brothers to HarperCollins Publishers: A Bicentennial Exhibition

January 24 to July 21, 2017

Kempner Gallery, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

The company that is now HarperCollins began as a small family business in 1817, publishing first as J. & J. Harper and as Harper & Brothers beginning in 1833. The company survived several fires and financial crises to become one of the biggest and most successful publishing companies in the United States by the middle of the nineteenth century. Today HarperCollins Publishers is considered one of the five most influential English-language publishers in the world.

This exhibition charts continuity and change in the publishing industry by dedicating cases to the publishing functions that have remained constant even as practices and technologies have changed: acquisitions, editorial, manufacturing, art, marketing, publicity, rights & permissions, and finance.  Harper was quick to adopt emerging printing technologies from its earliest days and the exhibition displays wood engravings, stereotype plates and case bindings from the nineteenth century. The exhibition puts on display the behind-the-scenes work that publishers do to bring together authors and readers, whether the publication in question is print or digital.

Drawing on the archives of Harper & Brothers and Harper & Row held by the Columbia Rare Book & Manuscript Library, this major RBML exhibition shows how the company grows with the nation, its publications not merely reflecting but actively shaping local and national politics. Highlights include the contract for Melville’s Moby Dick, Nast’s political cartoons for Harper’s Weekly Magazine, posters advertising various Harper’s periodicals, correspondence with luminaries including John F. Kennedy and Richard Wright, and profiles of pioneering female editors Virginia Kirkus and Ursula Nordstrom.

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