Columbia University Archives

2022-2023 at the University Archives

Reading Room Access: The RBML reading room is open Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm by advance appointment only to external visitors and current Columbia students, faculty and staff whose individual research requires consulting RBML materials.

Reading room seats are limited and appointment slots are frequently filled a month in advance. Bookings are are first-come, first served and we cannot guarantee the availability of preferred dates/times. For more information on booking an appointment, visit our Appointment FAQ page.

See the Plan Your Visit Page for additional instructions on planning your visit. We invite all users to access our Digital Collectionsrequest reproductions, or contact us for alternatives to in-person visits.

Order Reproductions: Limited reproductions of materials may be requested. See our Orders & Services page for details.

Exhibitions: Our exhibition galleries are open to Columbia affiliates and external visitors with confirmed reading room appointments. Online Exhibitions are always available to all.

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.

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.

Records Management for Student Organizations

The Come Back Club, a campus organization of disabled ex-service men studying under the auspices of the United States Veterans' Bureau, 1922

The University Archives put together a Records Management for Student Organizations guide on how to manage the group's records and publications, what to keep and to discard, and how to donate materials to the University Archives. Learn some best practices for storing, organizing and making records accessible.

Online Exhibit

Insistent Change exhibition poster

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.