CU Libraries Launches Children’s Drawings of the Spanish Civil War Online Exhibition

NEW YORK, March 9, 2004 Columbia University Libraries has launched Children’s Drawings of the Spanish Civil War, an online exhibition catalog, now available on the Libraries’ web site at:
. This is a joint project of the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library and the Libraries Digital Program Division.

The online exhibition presents more than 150 drawings made by children during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), depicting their observations of the unfolding conflict and their experiences of being evacuated from war zones and living away from home. Many children were evacuated during the war to safe colonies in various regions of Spain, in the south of France, and elsewhere. Children’s drawings were collected by a number of organizations, including the American Friends Service Committee, which used the illustrations to publicize the plight of Spain’s children and raise funds for more evacuations and assistance to the already established colonies.

The collection of drawings presented online was willed to Columbia’s Department of Art History and Archeology in 1938 by Martin Vogel, an attorney. In 1977, the late Professor George Collins discovered the drawings in the department’s slide library, and transferred them to the Avery Library. While a number of institutions across the United States hold some children’s drawings from the war, Columbia’s collection is second only to the one assembled in the Southworth Spanish Civil War Collection at the University of California, San Diego. Columbia’s collection was the focus of an exhibition in 1986 at the Spanish Institute in New York, which published an illustrated catalog, Children’s Drawings of the Spanish Civil War: A Collection of 153 Drawings by Children Living in Refugee Colonies during the War.

The creation of the online catalog was overseen by Angela Giral, who was until recently Director of the Avery Library, and by Stephen Davis, Director of the Libraries Digital Program Division. Giral has a personal connection to the material—originally from Spain, she was evacuated as a child during the civil war and taken to Algiers, where she stayed with her grandparents.

This exhibition, with text in English and Spanish, is the second to be published online by the Libraries Digital Program Division. The first, the Imperial Corps of Pages exhibition, featuring illustrations and texts from the Bakhmeteff Archive of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, was launched in October 2003. It is located on the Library’s web site at These exhibitions, and others to follow, will become permanent electronic resources accessible to the Columbia community and the public.

The Libraries Digital Program Division at Columbia was created in September 2002. The Division is responsible for collection-based digitization projects, improving access to and management of Columbia’s licensed commercial electronic resources, and implementing technological solutions for the Libraries’ evolving digital needs.

The Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library collects books and periodicals in architecture, historic preservation, art history, painting, sculpture, graphic arts, decorative arts, city planning, real estate, and archaeology. The Library contains more than 350,000 volumes and receives approximately 1,500 periodicals. Avery’s Drawings and Archives Collection includes one million drawings and architectural records. The Library’s web site is located at