The Columbia University Archives, a division of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, is pleased to announce the publication of an online finding aid for the University's Central Files collection.
Central Files, a collection emanating out of the Office of the President spanning the years 1890 to 1983, is composed chiefly of correspondence sent and received between Columbia University administrators and other University officers, faculty, and trustees, as well as correspondence sent and received between University administrators, individuals, and organizations from outside the university.
Central Files documents a wide range of people, topics, and functions during a critical time in the history of one of the nation's leading academic institutions. During the 20th century, Columbia not only underwent significant changes to its curriculum, facilities, administration, and student body, but also played an important role beyond its gates. By documenting the transformation of Columbia from a college to a university and recording the history of its many schools and departments, the formation of research programs at the University, Columbia's relations with other educational and cultural institutions, new directions in numerous academic disciplines and professions, and a host of other topics, Central Files takes its place as a major resource for researching the evolution of higher education in the United States.
Records represent the tenure of presidents Seth Low (1890-1901), Nicholas Murray Butler (1902-1945), acting president Frank D. Fackenthal (1945-1948), Dwight D. Eisenhower (1948-1953), Grayson Kirk (1953-1968), Andrew Cordier (1968-1970), and William J. McGill (1970-1980). The first few years of the tenure of President Michael I. Sovern (1980-1993) are also represented.
This collection is open to all researchers
The Rare Book & Manuscript Library owns over 500,000 rare books in some 20 book collections and almost 28 million manuscripts in nearly 3,000 separate manuscript collections. It is particularly strong in English and American literature and history, classical authors, children‘s literature, education, mathematics and astronomy, economics and banking, photography, the history of printing, New York City politics, librarianship, and the performing arts. Individual collections are as eclectic as they are extensive. For more information, please see: /content/libraryweb/indiv/rbml.html