National Endowment for the Humanities Supports Rare Book & Manuscript Library

NEW YORK, July 30, 2007 Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for $154,755 to support the arranging, processing, and digitizing of the records of the New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The archives document the history of the Chamber from its establishment in 1768 through 1973, when it merged with the Commerce and Industry Association (formerly the Merchants’ Association). In 1979 the Chamber joined ranks with the donor of the archives, the Partnership for New York City. Among the Chamber’s past leaders are legendary New Yorkers with names like Bayard, Murray, Astor, Hicks, Fish, Cooper, Morgan, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Schiff, Edison, and Rockefeller.

The records of the New York Chamber of Commerce consist of approximately 360 linear feet of records and correspondence between the Chamber’s executive staff and similar organizations across the nation, minutes of committees and general meetings, and published and unpublished investigations of major problems facing New York City. Of particular interest are the records of arbitration cases that shed light on daily business operations in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

The project has been designated a “We the People” project by the National Endowment for the Humanities, part of an initiative to encourage and strengthen the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture through the support of projects that explore significant events and themes in our nation’s history.

When organized and processed, the New York Chamber of Commerce archives will be available for research. For further information, call the RBML at 212-854-5153.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University owns more than 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: