Columbia University Archives

2021-2022 at the University Archives

Reading Room Access: Through July 30, 2021, the RBML reading room is open on a very limited basis by appointment only to current Columbia affiliates (students, faculty and staff) whose individual research requires consulting RBML materials.

Our reading room will be closed August 2-20, 2021 to accommodate our relocation back to our original space in Butler Library as we prepare to expand our services in the fall.

The reading room will reopen to Columbia affiliates on August 23, 2021Request an appointment. Alumni and other visitors will be permitted by appointment starting in early October. Specific access instructions for visitors will be posted here as soon as these protocols are finalized.

Order Reproductions: Our ability to deliver low-resolution digital scans is dependent on available staff resources. A limited number of staff are working on-site due to University-mandated density limitations. We appreciate your patience and flexibility. Limited reproductions of materials may be requested. See the RBML's Orders & Services page for details.


Documenting COVID-19

The University Archives is collecting materials to document the coronavirus pandemic. We are looking to hear from a diverse set of voices about your lived experience and to learn about your new everyday lives. Historians of the future will want to know how we spent our days during these tumultuous times. We invite you to be an active participant in documenting our community‚Äôs response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit our Documenting COVID-19 information page to find out how you can contribute and participate.


Columbia University History Online Resources


Archival Search Tools

  • CLIO
    The Columbia University Libraries online catalogue is a primary tool for locating archival materials.
  • Archival Collections Portal
    This portal provides access to records of archival collections at Columbia University Libraries, including finding aids, collection descriptions and available digital content, such as online exhibits and images.
  • Oral History Portal
    Use this portal to explore the collections of the Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH) Archives at RBML.

New Online Exhibit

Insistent Change poster

Insistent Change: Columbia's Core Curriculum at 100

In 1919 Columbia instituted a course of study known as Contemporary Civilization. It grew out of a War Issues course offered during World War I and was required of every student in order to provide all with a forum to analyze and discuss primary texts relevant to contemporary problems. Proceeding roughly by decade, this exhibition shows how the course transformed and developed over the years. By also focusing on the development of the Core Curriculum as a whole, the exhibition explains how CC's faculty, administrators and students have worked together to keep the course relevant through a succession of crises and changes in the broader political, economic and social realms in the country and the world.

This online exhibition is based on a physical exhibition of the same name which was on display in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library in February and March 2020.


Research Guides

Link to the University Archives Research Guides.

The Columbia University Archives staff has put together some Research Guides to help you take advantage of our holdings. For each type of search, you will find the most popular resources available and how to access them: some online and some in person. The guides focus on alumni, faculty, course descriptions, Master's essays and dissertations, and buildings and grounds information.