Digital Library Collections

Projects

1968, Columbia in crisis

1968, Columbia in crisis

Drawing upon its extensive holdings of 1968-related materials, the University Archives has created an exciting and informative exhibit about these turbulent times on Columbia's campus. Through the use of original documents, newspaper articles, dramatic images and audio from WKCR and the 1968 commencement ceremony (not heard since 1968!) 1968: Columbia in Crisis provides a broad overview of the causes, events and after-effects of these events from more than forty years ago. The University Archives invites you to learn about these events for the first time or to re-live them once more. This online exhibition is based upon a physical exhibition of the same name which was on display in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library from March 17 to August 1, 2008.

Avery's architectural ephemera collections

Avery's architectural ephemera collections

Avery Classics is home to one of the largest special collections of rare architectural materials in the world. In addition to books, manuscripts, and photographs, the department includes a significant collection of ephemera. This exhibit describes some of the brochures, pamphlets, advertising materials, postcards, and other forms of architectural ephemera within Avery Classics.

Avery's architectural novelties

Avery's architectural novelties

Avery Classics is one of the largest collections of rare architectural books in the world. Among its thousands of volumes are the first printed book on architecture--Leon Battista Alberti's De re aedificatoria of 1485--and over one hundred editions of Vitruvius, who wrote the lone surviving classical text on the subject. In addition to printed books, the collection also includes manuscripts, photographs, and broadsides that reflect the library's scope. However, certain items in Avery Classics have distinctive forms that fall outside all these categories. Such items, which we will call Architectural Novelties, are best explained in images. This exhibition highlights a selection of items from the Avery Classics collection that are both comprehensive and eccentric in their treatment of architecture.

The Biggert collection of architectural vignettes on commercial stationery

The Biggert collection of architectural vignettes on commercial stationery

The Robert Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery was donated to the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library by Robert Biggert in honor of Lisa Ann Riveaux. This unique collection of printed ephemera contains over 1,300 items with architectural imagery spanning the dates 1850 to 1920, in more than 350 cities and towns in forty-five states, as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. possessions. The collection's billheads, letterheads, envelopes, checks, and business cards document the rise of the United States as an industrial nation, in often elaborate vignettes of factories, warehouses, mines, offices, stores, banks, and hotels.


Butler 75

Butler 75

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the building of Butler Library, an exhibit of more than 100 photographs decorate the bulletin board display on the third floor of Butler Library. The photographs span the decades and showcase the excavation and rise of South Hall (as it was originally named), design details throughout the building, reading rooms, services such as research assistance and student activities -- which include sleeping as well as studying!

Children's drawings of the Spanish Civil War

Children's drawings of the Spanish Civil War

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) children were evacuated from the war zones to colonies in the war-free areas of Spain and in the south of France. Drawings by these children were collected from throughout Spain in a concerted effort of the Spanish Board of Education and the Carnegie Institute of Spain. A large group was assembled by Joseph A. Weissberger. Those presented here consist of a collection of 153 made by children aged 7 to 14. They were willed to the Department of Art History and Archaeology of Columbia University by Martin Vogel.

Chinese paper gods

Chinese paper gods

The images in this collection were assembled by Anne S. Goodrich (1895-2005) in 1931, when as a Christian missionary in Peking she became interested in local folk religious practices. She studied the paper gods in this collection for much of her life. After publishing her research conclusions in 1991, she donated these prints to the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, Columbia University. The images are divided initially by usage: Those which were purchased to be burned immediately and serve as emissaries to heaven; and those which were purchased to be displayed for a year while offering protection to the family in a variety of ways, before being burned. The images are further divided by display locations and by the deities they represent.

Community Service Society photographs

Community Service Society photographs

Community Service Society Photographs is an online presentation of almost 1400 photographs (and a few illustrations) from the Community Service Society Records at Columbia University's Rare Book & Manuscript Library. They offer representations of urban poverty, unsafe tenement housing, inadequate hygiene in public areas, and other pressing social issues in late-19th- and early-20th-century New York. The images range from the 1880s through the 1950s.


Construction and evolution of Union Theological Seminary Campus

Construction and evolution of Union Theological Seminary Campus

This digital exhibit features images from a small collection of photographs documenting the construction of Union Theological Seminary located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City. The third location for the Seminary, the buildings were constructed from 1908-1910.

Core curriculum: Contemporary civilization

Core curriculum: Contemporary civilization

Columbia University's commitment to the Core Curriculum extends to the University Libraries' special collections. Columbia University Libraries preserve and provide access to important editions of, and in some cases autograph manuscripts by, many of the authors taught in the Core Curriculum. Additionally, the collections include subsequent editions, translations, and adaptations, which demonstrate the transmission and reception of these works across centuries and attest to their continuing importance.

Core curriculum: Literature humanities

Core curriculum: Literature humanities

Columbia University's commitment to the Core Curriculum extends to the University Libraries' special collections. Columbia University Libraries preserve and provide access to important editions of, and in some cases autograph manuscripts by, many of the authors taught in the Core Curriculum. Additionally, the collections include subsequent editions, translations, and adaptations, which demonstrate the transmission and reception of these works across centuries and attest to their continuing importance.

Dramatic museum realia

Dramatic museum realia

James Brander Matthews (1852-1929), America's first professor of dramatic literature, created a Dramatic Museum at Columbia in 1911 to supplement his teaching. He insisted that material objects and images were crucial to understanding drama, and that theater knew no geographical or chronological bounds. The differences in national style visible on the contemporary stage had their origins, he argued, in ancient local rituals and religious practice. So in addition to considerable manuscript collections and a large collection of printed books, the Dramatic Museum included 34,500 theatrical portraits (prints and photographs); 2,350 speech recordings; 35,000 eighteenth-, nineteenth- , and twentieth-century playbills; approximately 600 artworks, including costume and scenic designs and posters; 392 puppets and 128 masks; 12 models of historical theaters; and 29 stage sets. The Museum was formally dissolved and its collections dispersed in 1971. By the 1990s, the collections had all gravitated to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). ...Now, thanks to a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, RBML is creating a new collection and finding aid. Dramatic Museum Realia consists of puppets, masks, theater models and stage sets. The puppets and masks have all been photographed, and these images are presented here. The puppets come from around the world: Africa, Burma, China, England, France, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, Russia, and the U.S. There are 40 large (over five feet tall) shadow puppets and approximately 350 other puppets, including six oversize marionettes made by the prominent artist Remo Bufano. Most were collected by the 1930s; many date from the nineteenth century. The masks have a similar range: they come from Africa, Ceylon, Europe, Japan, Java, Mexico, North America, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.


Early modern futures

Early modern futures

How did early modern literature conceive the future? Scholarship of early modern literature has paid ample attention to the many ways in which time was perceived and understood, frequently emphasizing retrospective forms of historical thinking, such as memory and nostalgia. Early Modern Futures seeks to spark a conversation about the many ways in which early modern literature also thought about where things were headed. How did beliefs about future events (from the eschatological to the economic to the genealogical) shape people's actions in the present? How did early modernity understand the past in relation to the future? How was prospective historical thinking practiced through various textual and literary forms? That is, how did records, scripts, manuals, genres, or editions represent the future or anticipate their own reception? How do the modes of early modern prospection as suggested by terms like prophecy, speculation, and progression point to different theorizations of futurity? How does present scholarship receive and use the past's ideas about the future? This conference aims to explore early modernity's uniquely literary means for projecting its future, and through this to advance scholarly debates about the role and forms of historicism in early modern culture.

Frances Perkins

Frances Perkins

This exhibit features correspondence, manuscripts, notes, drafts of speeches, photographs, and memorabilia from RBML's extensive collection of Frances Perkins' papers. The physical exhibit opened on November 5, 2009 and runs through March 26, 2010.

G.E.E. Lindquist Native American photographs

G.E.E. Lindquist Native American photographs

An online presentation of the 1322 photographs, 124 postcards, 388 negatives, and 34 glass plate negatives/lantern slides, which derive from the G.E.E. Lindquist Papers archival collection at The Burke Library. They depict the people, places, and practices of Native Americans and their communities from at least 34 States, plus Canada and Mexico in the period from 1909-1953. The majority of the images were taken by G. E. E. Lindquist (1886-1967), an itinerant representative of the ecumenical Home Missions Council of the Federal Council of Churches.

Greene & Greene architectural records and papers collection, ca. 1896-ca. 1963

Greene & Greene architectural records and papers collection, ca. 1896-ca. 1963

The American architectural firm Greene & Greene was a partnership between the brothers Charles Sumner Greene (1868-1957) and Henry Mather Greene (1870-1954). The Greene & Greene Architectural Records and Papers Collection spans the years ca. 1896 - ca. 1963. The collection chiefly consists of architectural drawings (approximately 5,000) and also includes photographs, personal papers, and other manuscript material. Access to digital images of all the architectural drawings and to selected photographs are provided in the finding aid and through seven indexes: Images, Genre/Form, Geographic, Persons, Subjects, Corporate Names, and Projects.


Hugh Ferriss, (1889-1962)

Hugh Ferriss, (1889-1962)

The digitized images from the Hugh Ferriss Architectural Drawings and Papers Collection depict Ferriss' original architectural renderings of buildings by various architects, ca. 1918-1960, including variant designs for the United Nations buildings; the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York; Rockefeller Center in New York; La Guardia Airport in New York; National Airport in Washington, D.C.; the New York Times Building in New York; the 1939-1940 and 1964-1965 World's Fairs; the Chicago Tribune Tower; Hoover Dam; and three Frank Lloyd Wright projects including Fallingwater in Bear Run, Pa., Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the Johnson Wax Administration Building in Racine, Wisconsin. Also included are Ferriss' renderings of imaginary buildings, ca. 1920s-1930s, some of which were published in The Metropolis of Tomorrow (1929). Ferriss' drawings of important buildings in the United States were created as a result of a nationwide tour sponsored by a Brunner grant from the Architectural League of New York in 1941. Many of these renderings were later published in Power in Buildings (1953).

Italian Jewish Community Regulations

Italian Jewish Community Regulations

This collection contains about forty broadsides regarding communal and governmental regulations imposed in various Jewish communities throughout Italy from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Cities mentioned include Florence, Venice, Ferrara, Padua, Ancona, and others. Topics addressed are synagogue behavior, market regulations, municipal workers such as firefighters, and more.

Jewels in her crown

Jewels in her crown

The first major exhibition of treasures from the Special Collections Libraries at Columbia in over 50 years and gives the public a glimpse of the unique resources gathered by the University since its founding in 1754. Mounted in conjunction with the 250th anniversary of Columbia, this exhibition celebrates a rich collection of original books, manuscripts, individual and corporate archives, architectural drawings, ephemera, musical scores, works of art, and artifacts, embodying over 5,000 years of human history. Draws together an unprecedented array of 250 rare and unique items from eleven Special Collections - including a Buddhist sutra dating from the year 1162 C.E., Mrs. Alexander Hamilton's wedding ring, a set model for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's application for study at Union Theological Seminary, a fragment of the Iliad on papyrus, and a 1906 photograph of Czar Nicholas II with his family.

Joseph Pulitzer and The World

Joseph Pulitzer and The World

To celebrate the publication of James McGrath Morris's new biography of Joseph Pulitzer, Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power (HarperCollins, 2010), the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Butler Library, 6th Floor East, is presenting an exhibition of the papers of Joseph Pulitzer and of his newspaper, The World, held by the RBML. The exhibition contains a variety of materials that show the working life of this truly remarkable individual. On display are letters, documents, ledgers, newspapers, photographs, and realia concerning his life, as well as material documenting Pulitzer's role in the founding of Columbia's School of Journalism and the creation of the Pulitzer Prizes. Running through July, this is the first time that this material has been shown to the public.


Joseph Urban stage design models & documents stabilization & access project

Joseph Urban stage design models & documents stabilization & access project

Project focused on materials relating to Urban's New York theater career from 1914-1933, specifically the documentation of his productions for the Ziegfeld Follies and other theater producers, and his productions for the Metropolitan Opera.

Judging a book by its cover

Judging a book by its cover

The advent of gold-stamped decoration, circa 1832, was the most important factor in the acceptance of publishers' bindings. Gold stamping brought to the mass-produced book some of the prestige associated with gold-tooled leather bindings of the pre-industrial era. In fact, stamping often imitated the decorative styles and motifs of the hand-finished book. However, gold stamping also developed its own styles and imagery that reflected the period's taste and culture.

Korean independence outbreak movement

Korean independence outbreak movement

Commonly referred to as the Samil Movement (literally "three one") for its historical date on March 1, 1919, the Korean Independence Movement was one of the earliest and most significant displays of nonviolent demonstration against Japanese rule in Korea. The Records of the Korean Independence Outbreak, currently forming part of the archives in The Burke Library, were sent from Shanghai to Charles Fahs, the librarian of the former Mission Research Library in New York, by Korean Independence leaders in exile during 1919. The typescript reports here describe events in March/April 1919 and are accompanied by a pamphlet with rare and sometimes disturbing black and white photographs illustrating the events.

Lehman special correspondence files

Lehman special correspondence files

The Special Correspondence Files of the Herbert Lehman Papers contain correspondence with nearly 1,000 individuals from 1864 through 1982. Beginning with letters from Lehman's family in the late nineteenth century, the series documents the range and scope of Lehman's long career in public service. In addition to family letters, the Special Correspondence Files contain letters from every President of the U. S. from Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson, as well as from notables such as Dean Acheson, Benjamin Cardozo, Paul Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, W. Averill Harriman, Harold Ickes, Robert F. Kennedy, Fiorello LaGuardia, Henry Morgenthau, Alfred E. Smith, Adlai Stevenson, and Robert Wagner, among many others.


Mechelen Hospital Archive

Mechelen Hospital Archive

At the very end of the 12th century, the prince-bishop of Malines (Mechelen in today's Belgium) funded a hospital to be run by a group of hospital sisters; these women in the coming centuries cared for the ill and ailing so well that several other dependent hospitals were funded out of this mother house in Malines. Their institution was protected by the pope, Honorius III (who also formally extended his protection to the Dominican, Franciscan and Carmelite orders), and a few years later by the local lord, Godefroid de Fontaines, bishop of Cambrai; the next pope, Innocent IV also issued a bull to the sisters (in 1234), as did pope Nicholas IV (in 1288), and pope Clement V (in 1310, from his residence in Avignon). To these five founding documents, the collection adds two more of a slightly later date. The combination of the crucial materials, all present and in outstandingly good condition, allows one to form a view of the opening moments of a women's civic and religious organization, in ways that are hardly possible in the United States.

Music at Columbia

Music at Columbia

The 1996 Centennial Exhibition of Columbia University's Department of Music, Music at Columbia: The First 100 Years, mounted at Low Library as part of the department's celebration, was a highly varied and eclectic collection of items from many different sources.

The papers of John Jay

The papers of John Jay

The Papers of John Jay is an image database and indexing tool comprising some 13,000 documents (more than 30,000 page images) scanned chiefly from photocopies of original documents. Most of the source material was assembled by Columbia University's John Jay publication project staff during the 1960s and 1970s under the direction of the late Professor Richard B. Morris.

The people in the books

The people in the books

A printed book and a manuscript codex may contain the same text, but one can argue that the latter is inherently richer. The printing press produced a multitude of identical copies, but each manuscript is unique and individual. In a manuscript, each page had to be carefully prepared and every letter required painstaking work. Ultimately, each manuscript contains more than just the text within it. Isaac Mendelsohn, author of the first catalog of the Hebrew manuscripts at Columbia, wrote, "An old Hebrew book is...more than a mere collection of bound sheets on which a given text is [written]. The notes on the flyleaves, the remarks on the margins the names of its various owners, and the countries in which it saw service actually make it into two books - one containing the text, the passive part, and the other the history of the persons who owned and used it. This exhibit attempts to show the second kind of book: the book that tells a story about its authors, its owners, and its users. Occasionally, the story is found within the main portion of the text, but it is also found in the paratext: in the wine stains on a Passover Haggadah, in the candle wax in a prayer book, or in an odd notation on a title page or in a colophon.


Political ecologies in the Renaissance

Political ecologies in the Renaissance

Political Ecologies in the Renaissance brings together eleven scientific texts from Columbia's Rare Book and Manuscript Library. It features canonical and non-canonical science books and covers seven topics: mining, magnetism, navigation, astronomy, the art of war, hydraulics and hydrostatics, and astrology. Each of the texts featured here focuses on human engagement with the natural world, whether it be through observation, experimentation, and/or the manipulation of natural resources. But the texts do not only represent early examples of scientific culture; rather, they are politically resonant, for man's use of natural resources and scientists' observations of the world around them had a profound impact on the early modern world, and provoked and/or enabled religious, social, and political controversies. Many of the papers in the "Commons and Collectivities: Political Ecologies in the Renaissance" conference home in on man's relationship with the natural world and its political implications, and this online exhibition is meant to complement those essays.

The reading of books and the reading of literature

The reading of books and the reading of literature

This online exhibition is meant to accompany a day-long symposium at Columbia University on April 27, 2012. The exhibition, along with the conference, focuses on the relation between literature and the media in which it is conveyed. The symposium examines the extent to which the material forms of texts can contribute to the reading of literature as well as the construction of literary history, and, conversely, what literary analysis can contribute to the study of books as material objects.

Russian and early Soviet sheet music

Russian and early Soviet sheet music

A collection of Russian and early Soviet music scores published from 1904 to 1938. Numerous composers and lyricists (primarily Russian but also European and American) are represented. Most scores were published in Moscow or Leningrad. Other imprints include Rostov-na-Donu, Kiev, Kharʹkov, and Tiflis. Most scores are popular music, jazz or dance music. The covers were designed by many different artists. The collection includes musical settings of poems by Esenin, Lebedev-Kumach and Mayakovsky among others.

Russian Imperial Corps of Pages

Russian Imperial Corps of Pages

This online exhibition catalog contains selections from the Columbia University Libraries exhibition on view at the Bakhmeteff Archive, Butler Library from December 1, 2002 to February 28, 2003, timed to coincide with celebrations of the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg. The exhibition features objects drawn from the Imperial Corps of Pages collection, Bakhmeteff Archive. The objects include photographs, documents, theater programs, invitations and menus. The catalog also provides historical information about the Corps of Pages.


Sergei Diaghilev and beyond

Sergei Diaghilev and beyond

The diversity and splendor of Sergei Diaghilev's world of Russian ballet and opera seasons in Paris was on display at the Chang Octagon Exhibition Room. The exhibition features selections from the Bakhmeteff Archive and Rare Book and Manuscript Library collections. The exhibiton took place in the Chang Octagon Exhibition Room, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, March 16 through June 26, 2009.

Seymour B. Durst Old York Library

Seymour B. Durst Old York Library

Website for The Seymour B. Durst Old York Library collection at the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. The collection consists of more than 40,000 objects including historic photographs, maps, pamphlets, postcards, books, and New York City memorabilia from the 18th century to the 1980s.

The Varsity Show

The Varsity Show

Initially conceived as a fundraiser for the University's athletics teams, The Varsity Show has grown into Columbia University's oldest performing arts tradition. It is an annual extravaganza that has launched many students on their paths to careers in the arts and elicited cheers and blushes from those in the Columbia community who find themselves subject of its satire. This online exhibition is an expansion of a physical exhibit created in 2004 to mark the 110th anniversary of The Varsity Show. ... The distinguished roster of Columbians who have participated in The Varsity Show includes a who's who of show business talent and achievement. Among the more noteable alums are Oscar Hammerstein (CC 1916), Richard Rodgers (CC 1923), Lorenz Hart (CC 1918), I.A.L. Diamond (CC 1941), Herman Wouk (CC 1934), Terrance McNally (CC 1960), and Ed Kelban (CC 1960) who wrote the lyrics for A Chorus Line.

Wilbert Webster White papers

Wilbert Webster White papers

Dr White was the founder in 1900 and President, 1900-1939, of Bible Teachers' College, which was later known as Bible Teachers Training School, renamed the Winona Bible School, and then the Biblical Seminary of New York. In 1966, Biblical Seminary became New York Theological Seminary. Wilbert Webster White was renowned for his development of an inductive system of Bible Study, emphasizing knowledge of the Bible rather than knowledge about the Bible. His Papers contain an Address by him on the Biblio-centric Curriculum.



Displaying 36 of 77 total Collections.

People, corporate bodies and events that are represented in or by our items.

Original formats of our digitally-presented items.

Projects

All our digital library collections are listed below. indicates that a collection is viewable in the DLC and indicates that it is viewable in an external site. Note that some are available both in the DLC and externally.

1968, Columbia in crisis

1968, Columbia in crisis

Drawing upon its extensive holdings of 1968-related materials, the University Archives has created an exciting and informative exhibit about these turbulent times on Columbia's campus. Through the use of original documents, newspaper articles, dramatic images and audio from WKCR and the 1968 commencement ceremony (not heard since 1968!) 1968: Columbia in Crisis provides a broad overview of the causes, events and after-effects of these events from more than forty years ago. The University Archives invites you to learn about these events for the first time or to re-live them once more. This online exhibition is based upon a physical exhibition of the same name which was on display in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library from March 17 to August 1, 2008.

A.J. Downing & his legacy

A.J. Downing & his legacy

Alexander Jackson Downing is known as the "father" of the American architectural pattern book. Not an architect, nor a trained artist, Downing was an avid reader of British horticulture publications, some of which illustrated ideal houses for the country. Through the British publications, Downing saw both how books could transmit design ideas in words and pictures, and how modest houses with Romantic Revival design gestures could form the basis for an improved American housing for its middle classes, particularly in rural and small town settings. To further that end, he published three important works: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening (first issued in 1841); Cottage residences (first published 1842); and The architecture of country houses (first issued in 1852). Each ran to several editions, and remained in print for some thirty years. Earlier architectural design books showed buildings in stiff and barren elevation drawings, where in Downing's images, the house, landscape, and inhabitants become part of one happy, desirable image. This exhibition, originally mounted in Avery Library's Classics Reading Room to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth, showcases several editions of Downing's publications and those of his many successors. It offers a glimpse into the world of mid-19th century architectural publishing in the United States and reveals how Downing's distillation of design ideas came to influence American housing for half a century.

APIS

APIS

APIS links together in a single environment various sources of information about texts written on papyrus and the society that produced them. It contains descriptions of the papyri and other written materials in the collections of the participating institutions, digital images of many of these texts, and connections to databases with the texts themselves in their original languages and with bibliography about the texts.

Archibald Cox oral history

Archibald Cox oral history

This oral-history interview focuses on Archibald Cox's tenure as solicitor general from 1961 to 1965, when he argued many landmark civil-rights cases before the Supreme Court. The website contains transcripts, audion files and background on the interviewee and the interview.


Avery's architectural ephemera collections

Avery's architectural ephemera collections

Avery Classics is home to one of the largest special collections of rare architectural materials in the world. In addition to books, manuscripts, and photographs, the department includes a significant collection of ephemera. This exhibit describes some of the brochures, pamphlets, advertising materials, postcards, and other forms of architectural ephemera within Avery Classics.

Avery's architectural novelties

Avery's architectural novelties

Avery Classics is one of the largest collections of rare architectural books in the world. Among its thousands of volumes are the first printed book on architecture--Leon Battista Alberti's De re aedificatoria of 1485--and over one hundred editions of Vitruvius, who wrote the lone surviving classical text on the subject. In addition to printed books, the collection also includes manuscripts, photographs, and broadsides that reflect the library's scope. However, certain items in Avery Classics have distinctive forms that fall outside all these categories. Such items, which we will call Architectural Novelties, are best explained in images. This exhibition highlights a selection of items from the Avery Classics collection that are both comprehensive and eccentric in their treatment of architecture.

The Barbara Curtis Adachi Bunraku Collection at C.V. Starr East Asian Library

The Barbara Curtis Adachi Bunraku Collection at C.V. Starr East Asian Library

The Barbara Curtis Adachi Collection, given to Columbia's C. V. Starr East Asian Library in 1991, is one of the most extensive collections in the world visually documenting this rich performance tradition. The collection represents four decades of close contact and respectful collaboration between Ms. Adachi and the Japanese National Bunraku Troupe, the leading performance group of Bunraku in the world, and documents the significant revival of Bunraku's popularity in the second half of the twentieth century.

Barney Rosset and China

Barney Rosset and China

The photographs in this exhibit were taken from 1944-1945 by Barney Rosset, then a young American Army photographer. Rosset documented the Chinese Army in their pursuit of Japanese troops following the Battle of Henan-Hunan-Guangxi. The Japanese Army was pulling back from the Ichi-Go operation, the largest Japanese land campaign of the war, and Rosset joined Chinese troops at the deepest point of Japanese penetration (Kweiyang).


The Biggert collection of architectural vignettes on commercial stationery

The Biggert collection of architectural vignettes on commercial stationery

The Robert Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery was donated to the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library by Robert Biggert in honor of Lisa Ann Riveaux. This unique collection of printed ephemera contains over 1,300 items with architectural imagery spanning the dates 1850 to 1920, in more than 350 cities and towns in forty-five states, as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. possessions. The collection's billheads, letterheads, envelopes, checks, and business cards document the rise of the United States as an industrial nation, in often elaborate vignettes of factories, warehouses, mines, offices, stores, banks, and hotels.

Butler 75

Butler 75

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the building of Butler Library, an exhibit of more than 100 photographs decorate the bulletin board display on the third floor of Butler Library. The photographs span the decades and showcase the excavation and rise of South Hall (as it was originally named), design details throughout the building, reading rooms, services such as research assistance and student activities -- which include sleeping as well as studying!

Carnegie Corporation Oral History Project

Carnegie Corporation Oral History Project

The video, audio, and transcripts of the Carnegie Corporation of New York Oral History Project available on this page are for videotaped portions of the interviews. Some interviews were conducted solely on video, others were conducted on a combination of audio and video. Transcripts are also available. Interviewees include Omar Badsha, Fikile Bam, Geoffrey Budlender, James E. Carter, Arthur Chaskalson, Joan Ganz Cooney, John Dugard, Sara Engelhardt, Barbara D. Finberg, David A. Hamburg, Dudley Horner, Helene L. Kaplan, Clark Kerr, Dorothy Knapp, Mary-Jane Morifi, Lloyd N. Morrisett, Alan J. Pifer, Mamphela Ramphele, Desmond Tutu, David Weikart, and Francis Wilson.

Caste, Ambedkar, and contemporary India

Caste, Ambedkar, and contemporary India

This exhibit complements the conference, "Caste and Contemporary India," taking place on October 16th and 17th, 2009, at Columbia University in honor of alumnus Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. ... The exhibit features a sampling of resources on issues of caste with reference to gender, politics, constitutional history, and religion in contemporary India. We highlight resources available in the South Asian Studies Collections at Columbia University Libraries and reference research carried out by our faculty and students on these themes. The exhibit includes limited views of copyrighted works, many full-text works freely available online, and links to subscription resources available only to Columbia faculty, students, and staff. Many of the subscription resources may be available in other research libraries. We also feature links to the extensive network of non-governmental organizations dedicated to issues of caste and Dalit rights.


The Chamber of Commerce of New York

The Chamber of Commerce of New York

Digital exhibition on the history of the Chamber of Commerce of New York. The digitized images and documents are drawn from the New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry records collection held by Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Charles A. Platt's Italian garden photographs

Charles A. Platt's Italian garden photographs

In 1892, Charles A. Platt traveled to Italy with his brother, William, to view Italian Renaissance villas and gardens. Many of the photographs he took were used to illustrate his Italian Gardens (Harper & Brothers, 1894). Additional images were included in the 1993 reissue of Italian Gardens, with an overview by Keith Morgan (Sagapress/Timber Press). The remainder of these images remained unpublished. The images displayed in this exhibition have been photographed from the original 8" x 10" glass plate negatives held in the Charles A. Platt Architectural Records and Papers Collection, Drawings & Archives Collection, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library.

Children's drawings of the Spanish Civil War

Children's drawings of the Spanish Civil War

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) children were evacuated from the war zones to colonies in the war-free areas of Spain and in the south of France. Drawings by these children were collected from throughout Spain in a concerted effort of the Spanish Board of Education and the Carnegie Institute of Spain. A large group was assembled by Joseph A. Weissberger. Those presented here consist of a collection of 153 made by children aged 7 to 14. They were willed to the Department of Art History and Archaeology of Columbia University by Martin Vogel.

Chinese paper gods

Chinese paper gods

The images in this collection were assembled by Anne S. Goodrich (1895-2005) in 1931, when as a Christian missionary in Peking she became interested in local folk religious practices. She studied the paper gods in this collection for much of her life. After publishing her research conclusions in 1991, she donated these prints to the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, Columbia University. The images are divided initially by usage: Those which were purchased to be burned immediately and serve as emissaries to heaven; and those which were purchased to be displayed for a year while offering protection to the family in a variety of ways, before being burned. The images are further divided by display locations and by the deities they represent.


Choosing sides

Choosing sides

The Group Research, Inc. Records, housed in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University, comprise a rich resource documenting the organizations, people, and campaigns of conservative activists in the United States from the early-1960s to the mid-1990s. Drawn from that collection, the items in this exhibit highlight the important role that illustrators, cartoonists and designers played in the dissemination of conservative points of view during this formative period for modern US conservative ideology.

A church is born

A church is born

This film and commentary, originally produced by the India Committee of the Foreign Missions Conference of North America, provides a brief overview of the history of Christian Missions to India, explains the appeal for unity amongst Protestant denominations in India, and shows the inauguration of the Church of South India.

Columbia historical corporate reports

Columbia historical corporate reports

In 2007 a project was undertaken to digitize a selection of corporate reports from the Columbia Business Library's extensive collection of historical corporate annual reports. The selection targeted corporations that operated in and around New York City. Approximately 36 companies are represented with a total of approximately 770 individual reports (ca. 17,300 pages) ranging from the 1850s through the early 1960s.

Columbia Library Columns

Columbia Library Columns

Columbia Library Columns was published from 1951 to 1997 by the Friends of the Columbia Libraries. The digitized collection comprises some 6,900 pages in 46 volumes (135 issues). Over the years contributors included faculty, University adminstrators, writers, historians and collectors, as well as Columbia librarians. Articles focused on individual collections, special acquisitions, literary topics and issues relating to the growth of Columbia's libraries and special collections generally.


Columbia spectator archive

Columbia spectator archive

The Archive of the Columbia Daily Spectator, the newspaper of Columbia University and Morningside Heights preserves the second-oldest college daily paper in the country. When completed, the Archive will include the complete run of the newspaper from 1877 to the present. The goals of the Archive are to provide a public resource for Columbia University history and to preserve the Spectator's past work. It is the result of a partnership between the Spectator and Columbia University Libraries.

Comics in the curriculum

Comics in the curriculum

Graphic novels and comics are, for the most part, a recent addition to the Columbia University Libraries collections, and this addition reflects both the variety and sophistication of the medium as well as critical and academic interest. The "graphic novel" is a format--narrative conveyed through sequential art--not a genre, and as such these works encompass a myriad of genres and artistic styles, as you can see in the images here. While these materials can be read for entertainment--as can much of the literature in the libraries' collections--they can also be incorporated into research and curricula to illustrate a variety of themes. The examples that follow merely scratch the surface. Each theme begins with a familiar image from traditional art, one likely to be used to illustrate that theme in teaching or scholarship. Each image is matched with selections from graphic novels that can be used in a similar way.

Community Service Society photographs

Community Service Society photographs

Community Service Society Photographs is an online presentation of almost 1400 photographs (and a few illustrations) from the Community Service Society Records at Columbia University's Rare Book & Manuscript Library. They offer representations of urban poverty, unsafe tenement housing, inadequate hygiene in public areas, and other pressing social issues in late-19th- and early-20th-century New York. The images range from the 1880s through the 1950s.

Construction and evolution of Union Theological Seminary Campus

Construction and evolution of Union Theological Seminary Campus

This digital exhibit features images from a small collection of photographs documenting the construction of Union Theological Seminary located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City. The third location for the Seminary, the buildings were constructed from 1908-1910.


Core curriculum: Contemporary civilization

Core curriculum: Contemporary civilization

Columbia University's commitment to the Core Curriculum extends to the University Libraries' special collections. Columbia University Libraries preserve and provide access to important editions of, and in some cases autograph manuscripts by, many of the authors taught in the Core Curriculum. Additionally, the collections include subsequent editions, translations, and adaptations, which demonstrate the transmission and reception of these works across centuries and attest to their continuing importance.

Core curriculum: Literature humanities

Core curriculum: Literature humanities

Columbia University's commitment to the Core Curriculum extends to the University Libraries' special collections. Columbia University Libraries preserve and provide access to important editions of, and in some cases autograph manuscripts by, many of the authors taught in the Core Curriculum. Additionally, the collections include subsequent editions, translations, and adaptations, which demonstrate the transmission and reception of these works across centuries and attest to their continuing importance.

Cornelius Vander Starr, his life and work

Cornelius Vander Starr, his life and work

Born on October 15, 1892 in Ft. Bragg, CA, Cornelius Vander Starr (also known as Neil Starr) was the son of a railroad engineer of Dutch decent, whom he was named after. He briefly attended college at the University of California, Berkeley in 1910-11, enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private in 1917-18, and worked for a short time for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company in Yokohama, Japan, before setting out on his own in Shanghai, China. During his 76-year life-span C.V. Starr, the founder of the predecessor companies of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), had a diversified career as a journalist, a lawyer, an international businessman, a publisher and a philanthropist.

Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative

The Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) is an effort by Assyriologists, museum curators, and science historians to make available through the Internet cuneiform tablets dating from circa 3200 B.C. to the third millennium B.C. The project receives funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Digital scriptorium

Digital scriptorium

The Digital Scriptorium is an image database of medieval and renaissance manuscripts, intended to unite scattered resources from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research.

Dramatic museum realia

Dramatic museum realia

James Brander Matthews (1852-1929), America's first professor of dramatic literature, created a Dramatic Museum at Columbia in 1911 to supplement his teaching. He insisted that material objects and images were crucial to understanding drama, and that theater knew no geographical or chronological bounds. The differences in national style visible on the contemporary stage had their origins, he argued, in ancient local rituals and religious practice. So in addition to considerable manuscript collections and a large collection of printed books, the Dramatic Museum included 34,500 theatrical portraits (prints and photographs); 2,350 speech recordings; 35,000 eighteenth-, nineteenth- , and twentieth-century playbills; approximately 600 artworks, including costume and scenic designs and posters; 392 puppets and 128 masks; 12 models of historical theaters; and 29 stage sets. The Museum was formally dissolved and its collections dispersed in 1971. By the 1990s, the collections had all gravitated to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). ...Now, thanks to a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, RBML is creating a new collection and finding aid. Dramatic Museum Realia consists of puppets, masks, theater models and stage sets. The puppets and masks have all been photographed, and these images are presented here. The puppets come from around the world: Africa, Burma, China, England, France, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, Russia, and the U.S. There are 40 large (over five feet tall) shadow puppets and approximately 350 other puppets, including six oversize marionettes made by the prominent artist Remo Bufano. Most were collected by the 1930s; many date from the nineteenth century. The masks have a similar range: they come from Africa, Ceylon, Europe, Japan, Java, Mexico, North America, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

Early modern futures

Early modern futures

How did early modern literature conceive the future? Scholarship of early modern literature has paid ample attention to the many ways in which time was perceived and understood, frequently emphasizing retrospective forms of historical thinking, such as memory and nostalgia. Early Modern Futures seeks to spark a conversation about the many ways in which early modern literature also thought about where things were headed. How did beliefs about future events (from the eschatological to the economic to the genealogical) shape people's actions in the present? How did early modernity understand the past in relation to the future? How was prospective historical thinking practiced through various textual and literary forms? That is, how did records, scripts, manuals, genres, or editions represent the future or anticipate their own reception? How do the modes of early modern prospection as suggested by terms like prophecy, speculation, and progression point to different theorizations of futurity? How does present scholarship receive and use the past's ideas about the future? This conference aims to explore early modernity's uniquely literary means for projecting its future, and through this to advance scholarly debates about the role and forms of historicism in early modern culture.

Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program Archive

Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program Archive

The IFP archives cover the issues of social justice, community development, and access to higher education, and include paper and digital documentation and audiovisual materials on the more than 4,300 IFP Fellows as well as comprehensive planning and administrative files of the program.


Frances Perkins

Frances Perkins

This exhibit features correspondence, manuscripts, notes, drafts of speeches, photographs, and memorabilia from RBML's extensive collection of Frances Perkins' papers. The physical exhibit opened on November 5, 2009 and runs through March 26, 2010.

G.E.E. Lindquist Native American photographs

G.E.E. Lindquist Native American photographs

An online presentation of the 1322 photographs, 124 postcards, 388 negatives, and 34 glass plate negatives/lantern slides, which derive from the G.E.E. Lindquist Papers archival collection at The Burke Library. They depict the people, places, and practices of Native Americans and their communities from at least 34 States, plus Canada and Mexico in the period from 1909-1953. The majority of the images were taken by G. E. E. Lindquist (1886-1967), an itinerant representative of the ecumenical Home Missions Council of the Federal Council of Churches.

Greene & Greene architectural records and papers collection, ca. 1896-ca. 1963

Greene & Greene architectural records and papers collection, ca. 1896-ca. 1963

The American architectural firm Greene & Greene was a partnership between the brothers Charles Sumner Greene (1868-1957) and Henry Mather Greene (1870-1954). The Greene & Greene Architectural Records and Papers Collection spans the years ca. 1896 - ca. 1963. The collection chiefly consists of architectural drawings (approximately 5,000) and also includes photographs, personal papers, and other manuscript material. Access to digital images of all the architectural drawings and to selected photographs are provided in the finding aid and through seven indexes: Images, Genre/Form, Geographic, Persons, Subjects, Corporate Names, and Projects.

Hebrew and Judaica Manuscripts

Hebrew and Judaica Manuscripts

Columbia University Library's collection of Hebrew and Judaica Manuscripts is one of the largest in the country, behind only the Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College. Over 240 of these manuscripts have been digitized and are now fully accessible on the Internet Archive.


Hugh Ferriss, (1889-1962)

Hugh Ferriss, (1889-1962)

The digitized images from the Hugh Ferriss Architectural Drawings and Papers Collection depict Ferriss' original architectural renderings of buildings by various architects, ca. 1918-1960, including variant designs for the United Nations buildings; the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York; Rockefeller Center in New York; La Guardia Airport in New York; National Airport in Washington, D.C.; the New York Times Building in New York; the 1939-1940 and 1964-1965 World's Fairs; the Chicago Tribune Tower; Hoover Dam; and three Frank Lloyd Wright projects including Fallingwater in Bear Run, Pa., Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the Johnson Wax Administration Building in Racine, Wisconsin. Also included are Ferriss' renderings of imaginary buildings, ca. 1920s-1930s, some of which were published in The Metropolis of Tomorrow (1929). Ferriss' drawings of important buildings in the United States were created as a result of a nationwide tour sponsored by a Brunner grant from the Architectural League of New York in 1941. Many of these renderings were later published in Power in Buildings (1953).

Human rights web archive

Human rights web archive

The Human rights web archive at Columbia University is a searchable collection of archived copies of human rights websites from around the world created by non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions, tribunals and individuals. Collecting began in 2008 and has been ongoing for active websites. New websites are added to the collection regularly. The HRWA is an initiative of the Center for Human Rights Documentation & Research and is a key focus of the Columbia University Libraries' Web Resources Collection Program. The HRWA was made possible by generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Iconography of Manhattan Island

Iconography of Manhattan Island

Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes (1867-1944) was a housing reformer, real estate developer and architect from a prominent and wealthy New York family who trained at Columbia and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris after receiving his bachelor's degree from Harvard. In partnership with John Mead Howells, it was Stokes who designed St. Paul's Chapel on the new Columbia campus at Morningside Heights between 1903 and 1907. Earlier, he had served on the New York State Tenement House Commission, which wrote the ground-breaking New York Tenement House Law of 1901. One of Stokes' longest-lasting legacies, however, came as a consequence of his enthusiasm for collecting prints, which he began to do in 1899. His collecting activity intensified along with his interest in the history of New York, which together resulted in his monumental work, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909, a six-volume pictorial history published between 1915 and 1928.

Italian Jewish Community Regulations

Italian Jewish Community Regulations

This collection contains about forty broadsides regarding communal and governmental regulations imposed in various Jewish communities throughout Italy from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Cities mentioned include Florence, Venice, Ferrara, Padua, Ancona, and others. Topics addressed are synagogue behavior, market regulations, municipal workers such as firefighters, and more.


Jewels in her crown

Jewels in her crown

The first major exhibition of treasures from the Special Collections Libraries at Columbia in over 50 years and gives the public a glimpse of the unique resources gathered by the University since its founding in 1754. Mounted in conjunction with the 250th anniversary of Columbia, this exhibition celebrates a rich collection of original books, manuscripts, individual and corporate archives, architectural drawings, ephemera, musical scores, works of art, and artifacts, embodying over 5,000 years of human history. Draws together an unprecedented array of 250 rare and unique items from eleven Special Collections - including a Buddhist sutra dating from the year 1162 C.E., Mrs. Alexander Hamilton's wedding ring, a set model for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's application for study at Union Theological Seminary, a fragment of the Iliad on papyrus, and a 1906 photograph of Czar Nicholas II with his family.

John H. Yardley Collection of Architectural Letterheads

John H. Yardley Collection of Architectural Letterheads

The John H. Yardley Collection of Architectural Letterheads provides a unique view of New York City's evolution during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Selected for their illustrations of buildings in lower Manhattan, these pieces of stationery include rare images of the city's commercial architecture, much of which is no longer extant. Because the letterheads are organized by street, users can chart a path through the city, one address at a time, and see New York City as it was in another era. The Yardley Collection was donated to the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library by the wife of Mr. John H. Yardley in memory of her husband. Assembled over many years, the Yardley Collection reflects a sensitivity to New York's geographic and architectural heritage. These images of distinctive buildings now join the Avery Library's other strong holdings in architectural ephemera, a reflection of Avery's commitment to preserving ephemera as an essential and irreplaceable visual record of the historic built environment.

Joseph Pulitzer and The World

Joseph Pulitzer and The World

To celebrate the publication of James McGrath Morris's new biography of Joseph Pulitzer, Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power (HarperCollins, 2010), the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Butler Library, 6th Floor East, is presenting an exhibition of the papers of Joseph Pulitzer and of his newspaper, The World, held by the RBML. The exhibition contains a variety of materials that show the working life of this truly remarkable individual. On display are letters, documents, ledgers, newspapers, photographs, and realia concerning his life, as well as material documenting Pulitzer's role in the founding of Columbia's School of Journalism and the creation of the Pulitzer Prizes. Running through July, this is the first time that this material has been shown to the public.

Joseph Urban stage design models & documents stabilization & access project

Joseph Urban stage design models & documents stabilization & access project

Project focused on materials relating to Urban's New York theater career from 1914-1933, specifically the documentation of his productions for the Ziegfeld Follies and other theater producers, and his productions for the Metropolitan Opera.


Judging a book by its cover

Judging a book by its cover

The advent of gold-stamped decoration, circa 1832, was the most important factor in the acceptance of publishers' bindings. Gold stamping brought to the mass-produced book some of the prestige associated with gold-tooled leather bindings of the pre-industrial era. In fact, stamping often imitated the decorative styles and motifs of the hand-finished book. However, gold stamping also developed its own styles and imagery that reflected the period's taste and culture.

Korean independence outbreak movement

Korean independence outbreak movement

Commonly referred to as the Samil Movement (literally "three one") for its historical date on March 1, 1919, the Korean Independence Movement was one of the earliest and most significant displays of nonviolent demonstration against Japanese rule in Korea. The Records of the Korean Independence Outbreak, currently forming part of the archives in The Burke Library, were sent from Shanghai to Charles Fahs, the librarian of the former Mission Research Library in New York, by Korean Independence leaders in exile during 1919. The typescript reports here describe events in March/April 1919 and are accompanied by a pamphlet with rare and sometimes disturbing black and white photographs illustrating the events.

Lehman special correspondence files

Lehman special correspondence files

The Special Correspondence Files of the Herbert Lehman Papers contain correspondence with nearly 1,000 individuals from 1864 through 1982. Beginning with letters from Lehman's family in the late nineteenth century, the series documents the range and scope of Lehman's long career in public service. In addition to family letters, the Special Correspondence Files contain letters from every President of the U. S. from Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson, as well as from notables such as Dean Acheson, Benjamin Cardozo, Paul Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, W. Averill Harriman, Harold Ickes, Robert F. Kennedy, Fiorello LaGuardia, Henry Morgenthau, Alfred E. Smith, Adlai Stevenson, and Robert Wagner, among many others.

Ling long women's magazine

Ling long women's magazine

Ling long women's magazine, published in Shanghai from 1931 to 1937, was popular during a time of dramatic material, social, and political change in China. Today, the magazine offers researchers a unique glimpse into women's lives in Republican-era (1911-49) Shanghai. This site features Columbia University's collection of Ling long magazine, one of the most complete holdings outside China.


Mechelen Hospital Archive

Mechelen Hospital Archive

At the very end of the 12th century, the prince-bishop of Malines (Mechelen in today's Belgium) funded a hospital to be run by a group of hospital sisters; these women in the coming centuries cared for the ill and ailing so well that several other dependent hospitals were funded out of this mother house in Malines. Their institution was protected by the pope, Honorius III (who also formally extended his protection to the Dominican, Franciscan and Carmelite orders), and a few years later by the local lord, Godefroid de Fontaines, bishop of Cambrai; the next pope, Innocent IV also issued a bull to the sisters (in 1234), as did pope Nicholas IV (in 1288), and pope Clement V (in 1310, from his residence in Avignon). To these five founding documents, the collection adds two more of a slightly later date. The combination of the crucial materials, all present and in outstandingly good condition, allows one to form a view of the opening moments of a women's civic and religious organization, in ways that are hardly possible in the United States.

The melting pot

The melting pot

This online exhibition catalog contains materials from the Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian and East European History and Culture exhibition held at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library from April 4, 2006 to July 30, 2006. The exhibition featured more than 150 photographs, personal documents, posters, original artworks, and books on the New York Russian Jewish immigrant community held at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library and Bakhmeteff Archive. The exhibition explores many of the issues and personalities discussed in the April 4-6, 2006, international conference on Russian Jewish New York.

Missionary Research Library pamphlets

Missionary Research Library pamphlets

Select pamphlets from the Missionary Research Library (MRL) founded in 1914 by John R. Mott in connection with the Foreign Missions Conference of North America. In 1929 the Library was housed in the Brown Memorial Tower of Union Theological Seminary, its Board of Trustees composed of Foreign Missions Conference of North America and Union Theological Seminary members. In 1967, its unique collections, heritage of Ecumenical Protestantism, were transferred into the care of the Union Theological Seminary Library. These pamphlets have been digitized and are now freely accessible on the Internet Archive.

Music at Columbia

Music at Columbia

The 1996 Centennial Exhibition of Columbia University's Department of Music, Music at Columbia: The First 100 Years, mounted at Low Library as part of the department's celebration, was a highly varied and eclectic collection of items from many different sources.


Naked lunch

Naked lunch

This exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of William S. Burroughs's novel Naked Lunch and Columbia University's extensive holdings of rare books and original manuscripts related to the novel's creation, composition, and editing. The exhibition includes Burroughs's original manuscript of Naked Lunch, and correspondence from Lucien Carr, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac.

The New York real estate brochure collection

The New York real estate brochure collection

The New York Real Estate Brochure Collection was donated to Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library by Yale Robbins, Henry Robbins, and David Magier in 1986. The collection consists of over 9,200 advertising brochures, floor plans, price lists, and related materials that document residential and commercial real estate development in the five boroughs of New York and outlying vicinities from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Notable New Yorkers

Notable New Yorkers

The Notable New Yorkers Web site offers audio recordings and transcripts of interviews with ten influential New Yorkers, drawn from the collections of the Oral History Research Office of the Columbia University Libraries. These interviews, conducted by the Office between 1955 and 2001, open an imaginative portal into twentieth-century New York City and the ways in which it has deeply affected the culture and history of the United States and the world beyond. With three background essays and a briefer methodological introduction for each oral history, this site also provides a revealing look at the art of the biographical interview--a methodology developed by the Office over its four and a half decades of existence--in which individuals who have shaped history reflect upon their lives and accomplishments. The site also includes biographical sketches and photographs of the interview subjects, as well as indexes and tables of contents to the material. The texts of the transcriptions are fully searchable.

Our tools of learning

Our tools of learning

George Arthur Plimpton (1855-1936) was a publisher, author, and book collector, born in Walpole, Massachusetts. He assembled a remarkable collection of manuscripts and books illuminating the history of education. Describing his sixty years of collecting in the preface to his first book, The Education of Shakespeare, Plimpton wrote: "It has been my privilege to get together the manuscripts and books which are more or less responsible for our present civilization, because they are the books from which the youth of many centuries have received their education." The collection was given to Columbia in 1936. Drawn exclusively from the Plimpton Collection, the exhibition includes manuscripts and books from medieval times through the early 20th century, including many of the manuscripts and books that were used to illustrate Plimpton's The Education of Shakespeare and The Education of Chaucer, and David Eugene Smith's Rara Arithmetica. Additional sections of the exhibition deal with handwriting and education for women, two of Plimpton's particular interests.


The papers of John Jay

The papers of John Jay

The Papers of John Jay is an image database and indexing tool comprising some 13,000 documents (more than 30,000 page images) scanned chiefly from photocopies of original documents. Most of the source material was assembled by Columbia University's John Jay publication project staff during the 1960s and 1970s under the direction of the late Professor Richard B. Morris.

The people in the books

The people in the books

A printed book and a manuscript codex may contain the same text, but one can argue that the latter is inherently richer. The printing press produced a multitude of identical copies, but each manuscript is unique and individual. In a manuscript, each page had to be carefully prepared and every letter required painstaking work. Ultimately, each manuscript contains more than just the text within it. Isaac Mendelsohn, author of the first catalog of the Hebrew manuscripts at Columbia, wrote, "An old Hebrew book is...more than a mere collection of bound sheets on which a given text is [written]. The notes on the flyleaves, the remarks on the margins the names of its various owners, and the countries in which it saw service actually make it into two books - one containing the text, the passive part, and the other the history of the persons who owned and used it. This exhibit attempts to show the second kind of book: the book that tells a story about its authors, its owners, and its users. Occasionally, the story is found within the main portion of the text, but it is also found in the paratext: in the wine stains on a Passover Haggadah, in the candle wax in a prayer book, or in an odd notation on a title page or in a colophon.

Photographs from the Community Service Society records, 1900-1920

Photographs from the Community Service Society records, 1900-1920

This online exhibition contains materials from the Community Service Society Records housed at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University and accompanies the exhibition, Social Forces Visualized: Photography and Scientific Charity, 1900-1920 at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, November 9 to December 17, 2011.

Political ecologies in the Renaissance

Political ecologies in the Renaissance

Political Ecologies in the Renaissance brings together eleven scientific texts from Columbia's Rare Book and Manuscript Library. It features canonical and non-canonical science books and covers seven topics: mining, magnetism, navigation, astronomy, the art of war, hydraulics and hydrostatics, and astrology. Each of the texts featured here focuses on human engagement with the natural world, whether it be through observation, experimentation, and/or the manipulation of natural resources. But the texts do not only represent early examples of scientific culture; rather, they are politically resonant, for man's use of natural resources and scientists' observations of the world around them had a profound impact on the early modern world, and provoked and/or enabled religious, social, and political controversies. Many of the papers in the "Commons and Collectivities: Political Ecologies in the Renaissance" conference home in on man's relationship with the natural world and its political implications, and this online exhibition is meant to complement those essays.