Materials from the Columbia University World Trade Center Archive on Display September 10-20, 2002 at The Rare Book and Manuscript Library


COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, September 10, 2002 The Columbia University World Trade Center Archive was begun in late September 2001 in response to questions from students, faculty, staff, and outside organizations about where they could deposit items that they saved or created in the wake of the disaster.

A campus-wide announcement resulted in contributions of a variety of materials - from e-mails to pamphlets to hometown newspaper stories to electronic photo files. Selected materials from the WTC Archive will be on display in a gallery of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library September 10 through 20. Located on the fifth floor of Butler Library, the gallery is open to the public.

The WTC Archive at Columbia was intended primarily as a documentation resource that may help future researchers to understand the unprecedented breadth and depth of the international response to the events. Columbia University student, faculty, staff, and alumni contributions to the archive include e-mail messages, flyers, student course work, institutional memos and electronic photo files as well as de-acidified paper copies of newspapers and periodicals gathered from the Columbia libraries.

In addition, the archive has a wide selection of letters, banners, and posters that were sent to the counseling center run by the volunteer organization New York Cares. These items were on display for family members, volunteers and rescue workers at the Emergency Operations Center at Pier 92 and at the Red Cross Respite Center located at the Marriott Hotel near the WTC site. Thank you notes were sent by NY Cares when possible for the donations, cards and letters they received. The materials selected for the Columbia University WTC Archives were sent by New York Cares staff members who wanted a permanent home for the thousands of messages of comfort and solidarity they received in the months before the center closed.

To further the efforts to document the tragedy, the Oral History Research Office created the "September 11, 2001 Oral History Narrative and Memory Project," a longitudinal oral history project documenting the life narratives of more than 400 people directly and indirectly affected by the tragedy, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

During the summer of 2002 the Oral History Research Office began two additional projects, "The September 11, 2001 Response and Recovery Oral History Project" and "The Telling Lives Project," both supported by The New York Times 911 Neediest Fund.

This exhibition is presented in commemoration of the victims and survivors of the September 11 attacks.

The Algonac Foundation of Oregon contributed to the preservation and rehousing of the collection.

Read the original Call for Materials, "Columbia Libraries and University Archives Establish World Trade Center Archive" published October 9, 2001 on the Columbia University website.


For access information to the gallery contact the Library Information Office at: 212 854-7309.

For more information about Columbia's World Trade Center Archives, contact Jean Ashton, Director of the Rare Books & Manuscript Library at: 212 854-5153.

Link to LibraryWeb, the Columbia University Libraries website, for access information and directions to the Library and links to the Libraries services and collections.

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Written by KRS 09/10/02
Edited by KRS 09/23/02