Columbia University Archives: Individuals

University Archives

Butler Library postcardColumbia University Archives
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Butler Library, 6th Floor
535 West 114th Street
New York, NY 10027

Phone: (212) 854-3786
Fax: (212) 854-1365
E-mail: uarchives@columbia.edu

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Related Collections

Barnard College
The Barnard Archives and Special Collections serves as the final repository for the historical records of Barnard College, from its founding in 1889 to the present day. For more information, please contact archives@barnard.edu.

Health Sciences Library
The Archives and Special Collections at the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library of Columbia University can help you find information about the schools of the Medical Center: College of Physicians & Surgeons, School of Nursing, College of Dental Medicine (formerly the School of Dental & Oral Surgery), Mailman School of Public Health, and the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences. For more information, please contact hslarchives@columbia.edu.

Photographs of Individuals

How to find photographs of students, alums, faculty and other Columbians

These collections are only available in person at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) reading room.Visitors are required to register their own Special Collections Research Account before their visit and to validate the account in person with government-issued photo identification or Columbia ID card. Once you have created your Special Collections Research Account, you will be able to request the materials directly from the finding aids: click the check box located on the right for the box(es) you need, and then scroll back to the top of the container list document and click “Submit Request” button in the red-rimmed box at top. This should lead you directly to your Special Collections Research Account to complete the request form. For more information on how to access our collections, check out our Research & Access website.

Yearbooks

Yearbooks from Columbia College and the School of Engineering include photographs, information about student activities, life on campus and current events. To request a yearbook, you will need to enter the request manually from your Special Collections Research Account. In your account under New Request, look for the Manual Request Form (at the bottom of the page), and complete the form with the title, call number and date or year as specified below.

  • Columbiad, from 1869 to 1889, call number CP1 C721
  • Columbian, from 1890 to present, call number CP C722
  • The Miner, from 1879 to 1890, call number CP1 M66
  • The Engineer, from 1925 to 1986 and 1992, call number CP1 M66

When requesting yearbooks, please complete one request for each volume or year you are interested in (please enter each item individual, e.g. 1983; not by date range, e.g. 1983-1990).

In addition to Columbia College and the School of Engineering, we also have yearbooks from other schools of the University, including the Midshipmen's School (Side Boy), which was on campus during World War II, the Graduate School of Journalism, and the Graduate School of Business. For other schools, please check our Yearbook Holdings List noting which yearbooks are available in our collections for consultation.

Facebooks

In addition to yearbooks, the University Archives also holds an incomplete run of Columbia College Freshman Facebooks (1960s-2000s). To request a face book, you will need to enter the request manually from your Special Collections Research Account. In your account under New Request, look for the Manual Request Form (at the bottom of the page), and complete the form with the title, call number and date or year as specified below.

  • Columbia College Freshman Facebook, from 1962 to 2004, call number CP1 C738

When requesting face books, please complete one request for each volume or year you are interested in (please enter each item individual, e.g. 1983; not by date range, e.g. 1983-1990).

For more information on how to access our collections, check out our Research & Access website. If you have any questions about how to find materials or how to access materials, please contact uarchives@columbia.edu.

These collections are only available in person at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) reading room.Visitors are required to register their own Special Collections Research Account before their visit and to validate the account in person with government-issued photo identification or Columbia ID card. Once you have created your Special Collections Research Account, you will be able to request the materials directly from the finding aids: click the check box located on the right for the box(es) you need, and then scroll back to the top of the container list document and click “Submit Request” button in the red-rimmed box at top. This should lead you directly to your Special Collections Research Account to complete the request form. For more information on how to access our collections, check out our Research & Access website.

  • The Historical Photograph Collection (HPC) is our largest collection of images and includes portraits of individuals (ca. 34,000 items).
    • To start your search, look for the name of the individual in Series X: Portraits. This series includes studio and informal photographs depicting various individuals associated with Columbia University over the years. Individuals include students, faculty, trustees, honorary degree recipients and lecturers.

    • In addition to individual portraits, a former student can be found in Series VIII: Class Portraits. This series contains mostly large format (oversized), group photographs of Columbia’s graduating classes from across the various schools, including the College, School of Mines and Law. Classes represented are mostly from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Photos included also depict reunion dinners for various classes.

  • The Office of Public Affairs Photograph Collection (OPA) is another very large image collection and contains prints and negatives covering the 20th century and recent image files from the early 21st century in print, negative, and digital formats.

    • To start your search, look for the name of the individual in Series II: Negatives. These negatives are almost exclusively black and white and all originate from the University Photographer’s office. The negatives in this series consist of portraits, campus events, and athletic contests taken primarily between 1947 and 1998.

  • The Historical Biographical Files, a collection compiled by Columbiana curators and University Archives staff, contain general information about individual alumni, faculty, officers and other notable Columbians. A typical file might contain newspaper clippings, press releases, obituaries, and other published documents that provide short descriptions of the individual's accomplishments and activity. Occasionally, files also contain primary documents such as correspondence and documents or clippings containing images of the individual. Original photographs found in this collection have been moved into the Historical Photograph Collection.

For more information on how to access our collections, check out our Research & Access website. If you have any questions about how to find materials or how to access materials, please contact uarchives@columbia.edu.

These collections are only available in person at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) reading room.Visitors are required to register their own Special Collections Research Account before their visit and to validate the account in person with government-issued photo identification or Columbia ID card. Once you have created your Special Collections Research Account, you will be able to request the materials directly from the finding aids: click the check box located on the right for the box(es) you need, and then scroll back to the top of the container list document and click “Submit Request” button in the red-rimmed box at top. This should lead you directly to your Special Collections Research Account to complete the request form. For more information on how to access our collections, check out our Research & Access website.

For a individuals at Columbia, mostly from the 1850s to 1900s:
  • The Class Photograph Albums Collection, 1856-1902 is a collection of photo albums representing the faculty and graduating classes of Columbia College (now known as Columbia University in the City of New York), and more specifically, the School of Arts (the undergraduate college now known as Columbia College). While the majority of the albums represent Columbia College (1856-1888), there are a few from other schools including: the School of Law, the School of Mines, and the School of Music.
For faculty members circa 1938:
  • The Columbia University Faculty Photographs collection, 1938 offers 537 individual portraits of Columbia University faculty members. These are black-and-white images mounted on heavy cardboard with the name of the individual typed underneath the image. Names that begin with L-M-N-O-P and Q are missing from this collection.
For students of the Graduate School of Journalism from 1950 to 2008:
  • The Graduate School of Journalism Facebooks, 1950-2008 is a collection of publications issued by the Graduate School of Journalism. These small volumes list members of the incoming class for a particular year with a photo, address, educational background, employment history and personal interests.
For news makers from the 1950s to the 1990s:
For more recent photographs of students, alums, faculty and administrators from the 1970s to the 2000s:
  • The Graduate School of Journalism Photographs, 1918-2002 contains black and white photographic prints and negatives, color prints and negatives, slides and transparencies document the activities of the School of Journalism, including students, faculty, administrators, visitors, and events.

For more information on how to access our collections, check out our Research & Access website. If you have any questions about how to find materials or how to access materials, please contact uarchives@columbia.edu.

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About the image

Students and guitar. (Scan #2634) Columbian 1966, p. 153. University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.