University Archives Collections


Only about 10-20% of University Archives (UA) collections can currently be found by searching in CLIO or the Archival Collections Portal. The most efficient way to find relevant materials is to consult with one of the UA staff members by contacting the reference desk by e-mail or phone (212-854-3786) prior to your visit. In addition to the few finding aids available electronically, the UA maintains paper printouts of finding aids for use in the reading room.

Our extensive photographic and negative collection is accessible at the folder level via an MSAccess database. The database is local to our repository and can only be searched at a terminal adjacent to our reading room in the RBML. In addition to listing folder titles and subject headings for a large variety of images, our database also contains a section noting the more than 1800 images that have been scanned on demand for other patrons. These listings have thumbnail images attached to them for reference purposes.

There is very little moving image film and audio tape available through the University Archives collections. Although it is not likely we will have what you are looking for, please consult a UA staff member for further assistance with such queries.

Our artifact collection is arranged in an electronic spreadsheet and stored on campus. If you are interested in seeing or borrowing a specific University-related artifact, please contact a member of the UA staff for assistance.

In addition to manuscript and photographic materials, The University Archives also maintains a large book collection consisting of university related publications. The Columbiana call number scheme, with all call numbers beginning with the letter "C" is unique to this collection. Many of these titles can be found in CLIO. In addition to CLIO, there is a card catalog in the UA reading room that can be used to find these publications. The card catalog is also useful for finding specific articles from two major university publications from the first half of the 20th century which were indexed in this catalog: Columbia Alumni News and Columbia University Quarterly.

The Archives does not collect faculty papers, but does have administrative papers created by faculty members whose personal papers may also be held by General Manuscripts. For further information on various topics related specifically to the history of Columbia University, and any genealogical requests, you will want to contact the University Archives.