Columbia University Archives: Buildings & Grounds

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

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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

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

Buildings & Grounds Photographs

How to find photographs of Columbia buildings and campus features

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.

To start your search:
  • Historical Photograph Collection, Series VII: Buildings and Grounds
    This series includes include interior and exterior images of buildings and campus features for Columbia’s various homes over the years as well as places associated with Columbia but not located at one of the main campus sites (e.g., Baker Field).
  • Will Csaplar Postcard Collection, 1900-1950s [Bulk: 1910-1925]
    This collection contains postcards that feature imagery relating to Columbia University. These postcards date mostly from 1900 to 1950, although many date closer to the period of 1910 to 1925. There are a large number of postcards depicting Low Library and aerial views of the Morningside Campus, as well as a fair number depicting various sites on Barnard’s campus and Teachers College. These postcards contain a mixture of photographed and illustrated images, with both black and white and color images.This collection of Columbia-related postcards was collected over the years by alum Will Csaplar (AB 1957, AM 1958).
For Columbia College at 40 Park Place:
  • Nathaniel Fish Moore Photographs, 1850s
    Nathaniel Fish Moore was a student at Columbia (AB 1802, MA 1805), a professor of Greek and Latin (1817-1835), an honorary degree recipient (LLD 1825), the first College Librarian (1837-1839) and the eighth University President (1842-1849). In addition a few self-portraits, this collection contains an early photograph of Columbia College at Forty Park Place, New York City (1854), a photograph of Park Place after demolition began (1857), and a portrait of Clement Clarke Moore (CC 1798 and former Trustee), the latter credited for the poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," more commonly known as "The Night Before Christmas.”
For views of the Morningside campus building from the 1930s and 1940s:
  • Margaret Bourke-White Photographs, 1931
    Margaret Bourke-White enrolled at Columbia University in 1921 where she studied photography under Clarence H. White (no relation). By 1931, Bourke-White was a widely recognized photojournalist when she photographed the Morningside Campus for the Columbia University Press, offering six total views for sale to the public. Featured in this collection are views of Hamilton Hall, the School of Mines Building, Avery Hall, Low Memorial Library, Earl Hall, St. Paul's Chapel, Milbank Hall (Barnard College), and Russell Hall (Teachers College).
  • Walter L. Bogert Photograph Album, 1932-1943
    Walter Lawrence Bogert (CC AB 1888, AM 1889, LLB 1934) lived at 25 Claremont Avenue and produced a photographic record of his alma mater and neighborhood. Some of his campus views were included in the 1940 Columbia University calendar. Buildings depicted include Low Memorial Library, St. Paul's Chapel, Grant's Tomb, Avery, Livingston, and John Jay Halls. This album serves as a comprehensive source for campus views in this period. Of note are views of the George Washington Bridge, the old Juilliard School of Music building, and scenes of Student Army Training Corps (SATC) reviews.
For views of the Morningside campus in the 1980s and 1990s:
  • Office of Alumni and Development Photograph Collection, 1978-2006
    This collection contains photographs and contact sheets of alumni, faculty and student life taken expressly for a 1980s admissions brochure, capital campaign brochures in the 1990s and the Columbia alumni magazine in the 1980s through early 2000s. Look for photographer Gabriel Cooney's work who was hired by the Office of Alumni and Development to take photos of students, administrators and campus for use in an admissions brochure in the 1980s and fundraising campaign brochures in the 1990s.

  • Gabriel Cooney Photograph Collection, 1991-1999
    This collection consists of photographic prints (8x 10 and 11x14) and negatives (35mm and 2 ¼" square) taken by professional photographer Gabriel Amadeus Cooney for Columbia University. Many of the images were ultimately used in a brochure titled Broadway Local published in 1991 and in a series of brochures for the Campaign for Columbia produced between1996 and 1999. Some prints and negatives are in color, but most are in black and white. Many of these negatives and prints correspond directly to contact sheets and prints found in Series I of the Office of Alumni and Development Photograph Collection (UA#0208).

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

About the images

Top - Ferris Booth Hall demolition with Butler Library in the background, June 1996. (Scan #2417) Ferris Booth Hall Demolition Shots, June 1996. Roll 1, Frame 17, Office of Public Affairs Photograph Collection (Box 85), University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.

Right - Uris Hall Addition, Construction Update, Week of August 27, 1984. (Scan #3693)   Buildings and Grounds - Uris Hall Addition, Construction, Book 2, 1984, Historical Photograph Collection (Box 177, folder 9) University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.