University Documents

The following is only a selection of websites and documents available online which can help you learn about the history of the University. You can find the original paper copies and additional resources by searching in the library's online catalog CLIO.

The Matricula

King's College King's College, July 17, 1754.

Charters and Minutes

The University Archives maintains copies of all of the Minutes of the Board of Trustees from 1754 to the present. These are a particularly useful tool for tracing the history of a department, a specific school's development, or university governance. The Minutes provide official information about numerous topics in the history of Columbia including university governance (e.g., changes to the University statutes), teaching appointments, awards of honorary degrees and certain prizes, endowments, donations of money and materials, real estate purchases, appointments to the Board of Trustees and its various committees, and construction projects. The minutes also often comment (both directly and indirectly) on major national events (e.g. Abraham Lincoln's assassination) and include resolutions of appreciation for significant individuals, usually associated with the Board. Minutes created since 2005-2006 are in electronic format only. Due to the nature of these records, Trustee Minutes are closed for 50 years after their creation.


Statutes, revised and passed by the Board of Trustees for the following years:

King's College engraving with palm tree. King's College engraving with palm tree.

Trustee Resolutions


Annual Reports

The Annual Reports of the President and Treasurer to the Trustees offer a yearly "state of the University" from 1891 to 1946. In addition to the President's remarks and the Treasurer's financial reports, each Dean reports to the President on the previous academic year at their school or division (Columbia College, Law, Business, Journalism, Barnard, Teachers College, etc.) as well as reports from the Librarian, the Registrar, the Secretary and other senior administrators. The reports include current events, facts and figures of students enrolled and degrees conferred, and trends in each school and the University as a whole. Paper copies are available at the University Archives.



Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Columbia College, also known as the Handbook of Information and sometimes, the Catalogue and General Announcement, is essentially a "snapshot" of the University in a given year. These publications usually include the list of trustees, officers of instruction, and administrators. They also contain information about the curriculum in the various programs, detail admission policies and requirements, explain degree and certificate programs, note tuition fees, list prizes and scholarships, provide a copy of the academic calendar, and describe general regulations of the university.  In the handbooks from the 19th century you can often find lists of students and sometimes alumni. From 1893-94 to 1918-19 one can find regularized registers of students listed for each school.  In addition to the register of students, the Catalogue also includes a list of the degrees conferred at the last commencement. For each year starting in 1893-94, the staff and student directories can found at the back of each volume. Full names of students appear beginning in the 1919-20 volume. Between 1893-94 and 1918-19 the student directories only list the first initial and the full last name since full name information is found in the school specific student registers. Paper copies are available at the University Archives.

* No catalogues exist for these years.