Columbia University Archives: Photographs

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

How to find photographs in the University Archives collections

The University Archives maintains an extensive collection of Columbia-related images dating from the mid-19th century to the present. These collections are for the most part only available for access in person at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) reading room.

In order to use the University Archives collections at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML), 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 boxes directly from the finding aid or from the CLIO online library catalog record. For more information on how to access our collections, check out our Research & Access website.

To start your photograph search, these are our two main photograph collections:

For earlier materials (1860s to 1980s):

The Historical Photograph Collection (HPC) is our largest collection of images and includes portraits of individuals (ca. 34,000 items), images of buildings and grounds (ca. 12,000 items), various university events, student activities and student life, athletics, academics, university symbols, university administration, and campus activity during WWI and WWII.  You can request materials directly from HPC Finding Aid: 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 recent dates and events (1950s to 2000s):

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. The negatives in this collection are often the best source for finding images of more recent events. You can request materials directly from OPA Finding Aid: 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.

In addition to these two main collections, the guides below will help you locate additional photographs in our holdings:

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.

About the image

Camera Club members at work in Avery Hall darkroom; March, 1944 (Scan #490). Camera Club, Historical Photograph Collection (Box 196), University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.