Jewels in her Crown:
Treasures from the Special Collections of Columbia's Libraries

Table of Contents for Printed Catalog
7/24/04 Jennifer B. Lee

Preface, James Neal, University Librarian

Introduction: The Special Collections Libraries, Jean Ashton, Director, RBML

Printing History/Book Arts (1 –13)

East Asian Collections (14 –36)

New York City History (37 – 52)

Art & Architecture (53 – 74)

Philanthropy, Social Services, Human Rights (75 – 90)

History (91 – 120)

Theology and Religion (121 – 141)

Health Sciences (142 – 158)

History of Science, Mathematics, Technology (159 – 174)

Law (175 – 189)

Literature (190 – 221)

Music (222 – 237)

Theater History & Dramatic Arts (238 – 250)


Name Index

PREFACE [to come]



DRAFT Three 7/24/04

Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures from the Special Collections of Columbia's Libraries brings together for the first time selected objects from the eleven Special Collections that exist within the Columbia University Libraries and their affiliates. Organized in honor of Columbia's 250th anniversary, the exhibition celebrates both the rich collection of books, drawings, manuscripts and other research materials that have been gathered since King's College had its start near Trinity Church in lower Manhattan in 1754 and the generosity of the donors whose gifts have made possible the work of students and scholars for many generations.

The Special Collections of the Libraries

The Special Collections of Columbia have as their mission the organization, preservation, and public presentation of materials that are unique, rare, or too fragile to be included in the circulating collections of the Libraries. Their contents include rare books, manuscripts, individual and corporate archives, architectural drawings, ephemera, musical scores, works of art in a vast range of media, sound recordings, motion picture films, videotapes, and realia: texts and artifacts that embody more than 5,000 years of human history, from the Mesopotamian empire to the breakup of the Soviet Union and beyond. Although many of these objects would command high prices on the collectors market, within the context of a teaching and research institution, their value is both higher and more abstract. Collectively, the Libraries' collections form an extended record of experience that is rich, varied, provocative and rewarding, a living archive where objects and texts gain value by proximity and context. In addition to long-acknowledged treasures – the Audubon "Double-Elephant" folio Birds of America, the Phoenix Book of Hours, the four Shakespeare folios, and John Jay's manuscript of Federalist #5 – the curious researcher can find at Columbia Renaissance playing cards, Chinese oracle bones, nineteenth-century puppets, missionary archives, fragments of the Iliad on papyrus, interviews with long-dead national leaders, and photographs of Rasputin and the Romanovs at home. These live with archival collections of tremendous depth. They inform one another, making possible that discovery of unexpected relationships that may lead in turn to new knowledge. Together, the holdings of the Special Collections Libraries offer the students and faculty of the Columbia community those special opportunities for teaching and learning that are the defining characteristic of a great university.

Jewels in Her Crown: The Treasures of the Libraries of Columbia University celebrates the presence of these unique resources in the city of New York and illustrates their amazing range of content. Visitors to the metropolitan area and New Yorkers themselves often have no idea of the existence of the collections at Columbia and even alumni, after spending years on and around the campus, are frequently astonished to learn of the range and diversity of the University's holdings. Despite a long history of research use, public exhibitions, and now international exposure by means of the World Wide Web, the special collections of the Libraries are sometimes viewed as buried treasures, secret caches of rarities that are seldom shared. We hope that Jewels in Her Crown will change this perception by refreshing the memories of old friends and introducing to others the scope of these research materials, and the pleasures of the mind and delights to the senses that an academic library can provide.

The objects pictured in this catalogue and on our institutional website form, of course, only the proverbial tip of the bibliographic iceberg. Each of them is intended to direct attention to the larger collections of which they are a part. Following rather loosely the topical organization used in a brief exhibition of Columbia Library Treasures mounted in 1951 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the College's founding, Jewels in Her Crown is designed less as a display of traditionally defined "treasures" (although we know there are many of those) than as a map of territories that include both well-known paths and unfamiliar by-ways. We hope that visitors to the exhibition and readers of the catalogue will be moved to follow these guideposts toward the individual libraries that have lent their works.


Shortly after the New York diarist George Templeton Strong matriculated at Columbia College in 1835, he noted that in 1776 the library of his new school had been "the finest in the country." Dispersed by the invading British soldiers who reportedly burned books and sold them for grog, the collections survived in part only because the Reverend Charles Inglis, who was himself forced to flee the city a few months later, hid somewhere between 300 and 800 volumes and some scientific apparatus in the steeple of St. Paul's They were rediscovered by accident some thirty years later when workmen attempted to replace an organ in the church and came upon the door to a locked closet.

Whether or not this steeple room can claim the honor of being the Library's first rare book vault is open to question, of course, since there is no record of which volumes survived. The earliest gifts-in-kind to the College Library had come from local ministers and lawyers and, perhaps surprisingly from Oxford University which donated in 1772 thirty books that had been published by the Clarendon Press. Although these might today be identified as rare, at the time they comprised a working library for the College students. Some of them, along with the libraries of Samuel Johnson, the first President, and his son William Samuel Johnson were later re-acquired by the University, and are part of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library collection.

In the decades following the establishment of Columbia College, the library collections, like the school itself, grew very slowly and little attention was paid to materials that were valuable for their own sake unless they contributed directly to the education of the small and often unruly student body. In fact, by the middle of the nineteenth century, despite some interesting purchases and gifts from faculty, including Professor of Italian Lorenzo Da Ponte and President Nathaniel Moore, whose private library was rich in classical titles, the Columbia collections had fallen well behind those of the other established educational institutions in the Northeast. The resources available in other libraries in New York were considered sufficient and students were even at times actively discouraged from using the College books. Acquisition funds remained low for decades. The first full-time librarian was not appointed until the 1830s and the first printed catalogue not issued until 1874. In light of this, it is perhaps remarkable that the college was one of the two institutional purchasers of the great elephant folio edition of Audubon's The Birds of America, still a cornerstone of the Libraries' special collections. Strong, who in 1842 records his visit to "Alma Mater" to inspect the Audubon plates, complains in the 1860s from his perspective as a member of the College Library Committee about the sparse funding available for the purchase of rare and interesting books and the Committee's inability or unwillingness to spend money on the acquisition of distinguished collections. (It is gratifying to note that Strong did donate many books himself to the library, including what appears to have been the first medieval manuscript in the collection, bound in with an early 16th-century printed Psalter.)

The substantial library of Leander van Ess was purchased in the 1838 by the faculty of Union Theological Seminary (as of 2004 a member of the Columbia Libraries community) and the John Jay library was donated by the Jay family to the Law faculty in 1860, but the real development of special collections at Columbia itself had to wait until the institution began to take shape as a modern research university in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Although the College had depended on the largess of donors to support its book collections since it had accepted the library of attorney Joseph Murray in 1758, the first major gift of books and support for the Libraries came only in 1881 when Stephen Whitney Phoenix, a member of the class of 1859, bequeathed both money and part of his own impressive collection of rare materials. These included a Shakespeare First Folio (1623), a Caxton printing of Christine de Pisan's The fayt of armes and of chyvalrye (1489), and manuscripts by Robert Fulton and Nathaniel Hawthorne, along with 7,000 additional titles. In the years following the Phoenix bequest, special materials donated to the Library included Persian, Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts, classical texts and early American documents, along with core works in a variety of disciplines and a growing body of documents related to the history of Columbia.

The 1897 opening of Low Library on the new Morningside campus relieved some of the crowding in the downtown stacks, giving more room for imaginative collection development. The expanded programs of the University and its growing reputation as a center for professional study with an international constituency and faculty stimulated a period of rapid growth that encompassed special materials as well as the general collections. The growth of the American economy which resulted in the accumulation of private wealth in the years surrounding the beginning of the twentieth century stimulated both bibliophily and philanthropy, and although the University Librarians George Hall Baker and James Canfield both actively discouraged the purchase of books that required special care and were rarely used, such materials were regularly added to Libraries, both by donation and by the use of restricted funds. The family of Samuel Putnam Avery, for example, who had given funds for architectural collections in memory of their son before the university moved uptown, in the first decade of the twentieth century provided a building to house a specialized art and architectural library which had from its beginning a clear mission to buy classics in the field of architecture to support studies in the field. The Chinese collection, established shortly after the founding of the Department of Chinese in 1901, was greatly augmented by a gift of the 5,044 volume encyclopedia Tu shu ji cheng from the Empress Dowager of China. In the same period, gifts of the papers of Anton Seidl, an eminent conductor, and of significant first editions and autograph letters by the composer Edward MacDowell, first chair of the Department of Music, enriched the resources available for the study of music performance and history. Whatever the official attitude of the administration might have been, exhibitions of rare books in the rotunda of Low Library – including a loan exhibition of the books of J. P. Morgan – made it clear that there was an appreciative audience for these materials at Columbia.

With some exceptions, the large collections in all fields from which the majority of the items in this exhibition were drawn, however, were not added until the 1920s and 1930s, when the expansion of the University's programs encouraged the rapid growth of the Libraries. The collections of Edwin Robert Anderson Seligman (Economics), David Eugene Smith (Mathematics and Astronomy), George Arthur Plimpton (Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Education), Brander Matthews (Drama), Acton Griscom (Jeanne d'Arc), Edward Epstean (photography), Park Benjamin (American literature), and the American Type Founders Company (history of printing) all came to the University in this period. The Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center opened in 1928 giving new life to the historical collections gathered by the College of Physicians and Surgeons, which included the libraries of John Green Curtis and George Sumner Huntington. Equally significant additions were made to the collections at Avery, the Law School, Barnard (founded in 1889), the East Asian Library (now the C. V. Starr East Asian Library), the Office of Art Properties, the Music Library (now the Gabe M. Weiner Music & Arts Library), and the Union Theological Seminary.

The organization of a Friends of the Library group in 1928 by Mr. Plimpton and Professor Smith lay behind many of these acquisitions, since the Friends had taken upon themselves the task of building the resources of the libraries. Because the differentiation between the circulating collections in day-to-day use by undergraduates and students in the professional schools and those materials requiring special care if they were to survive had become clear as a critical mass of the latter accumulated, new approaches to the management of these collections were developed. In 1930, Columbia became the first institution in the country to establish a separate Rare Book Library (later renamed the Rare Book and Manuscript Library) with a mission to collect and preserve early and rare materials. This Rare Book Library, which moved from Schermerhorn to Low to the new South Hall (eventually christened Butler Library) remained just one of the many places where rare materials were pursued and acquired. A 1936 publication of the Friends, Bibliotheca Columbiana, listed contributions to and purchases of unique materials by the Mathematics Library, the Music Library, Avery, Art Properties and Columbiana; an earlier issue of the same publication had described the Japanese collections, the Abbott collection of Sanskrit and Marathi manuscripts, the Epstean collection of books on the history and science of photography, and several others. Such riches supported a growing interest at the university in the history of books, printing and the transmission of texts. The development of this interdisciplinary field was supported by the Friends, partly in response to the collecting interests and tireless advocacy of the first Rare Book Library Curator, Helmut Lehmann-Haupt, who had come to Columbia from the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz. Lehmann-Haupt encouraged the purchase of the distinguished library of the American Type Founders Company, which still forms one of the unique strengths of the Library collections.

After World War II, the special collections continued to receive gifts and to buy materials as their budgets allowed. The manuscript collections were enhanced by the addition of the papers of Gouverneur Morris, John Jay and Herbert H. Lehman, among others; the Bakhmeteff Archive, developed on campus in the 1950s but only formally added to the Libraries in the early 1980s, brought over 1,000 collections from the Russian émigré community to the pool of research materials available for the study of Russian and East European history and culture. The addition of publishing archives and the archives of literary agents, initiated by the Rare Book and Manuscript Library Director Kenneth Lohf, much enriched the field for study that his predecessor Lehmann-Haupt had promoted five decades earlier. Rare book collections given by members of the Friends of the Library made first editions of important texts in all languages available for study. The vast expansion of the collections of Avery Library – now considered to be among the greatest architectural repositories in the world – resulted from the additions of drawings from virtually all of the great contemporary architects, as well as continued additions of classic printed works in the field. The Oral History Research Office, founded in 1948, had by the end of the 1990s created, transcribed and catalogued more than 1700 hours of interviews.

Special Collections Libraries have as their special mission the preservation of the material objects that have for five millennia transmitted knowledge from one generation to the next. The exciting possibilities for new kinds of access to fragile materials provided by the development of digital tools make the existence of such libraries even more important perhaps than they were in the past. The electronic enhancement of faded writing, or the ability to juxtapose images to discover fine similarities and compare detail, bring to the scholar tools for research that are far beyond what was available in the very recent past. Yet the conviction that these objects of study – the original books, manuscripts, ephemera, works of art, historical artifacts – not only contain texts but in themselves are texts that will repay careful scrutiny with knowledge and pleasure is unlikely to waver. Hand-printed playing cards, crudely printed legal documents, notes written on shards of pottery, and cross-written letters from a field of battle all breathe the past to us. The replacement of paper-based books and manuscripts as vehicles of information by electrical impulses in cyberspace is a process that replicates in its own way the replacement of clay tablets by papyrus scrolls, and the subsequent replacement of papyrus by parchment and parchment by paper, but it is not yet clear how issues of permanence in relation to these digital materials will be resolved. We must hope and assume that we will enable the survival of e-mail, digital files and videotapes to convey the thrill of discovery to researchers of the future as they plunge eagerly into their new-old worlds.

We hope that visitors to Jewels in Her Crown: The Treasures of the Special Collections Libraries of Columbia, in both its physical and its online form, will share our excitement in seeing these extraordinary books, manuscripts and works of art. We hope also that the exhibition can stimulate an appreciation of the cultural diversity that forms the foundation of learning in a modern university and of the way in which, within a great repository, old objects can be rediscovered by succeeding generations. Books and manuscripts from different historical periods are transformed by juxtaposition, their significance slipping and sliding about as they are placed in changed contexts and new collections added to old. Undergraduates at Columbia studying the Iliad and the Odyssey may look at a fragments of papyrus from as early as the third century BCE, medieval manuscript abbreviations of the text that were the "Cliff Notes" versions of their day, the editio princeps (first printed edition) of Aldus Manutius in 1488, the 1517 edition of the works published by Aldus's heirs and presented by the theologian Philip Melancthon to his colleague Martin Luther, Alexander Pope's English translation of the Iliad (1715-1720) and the Odyssey (1725), or the first edition of Joyce's Ulysses (1922) – each work in a sense providing a commentary on the others. As the objects in this exhibition suggest, and the collections they represent demonstrate more fully that great libraries can transcend time, space and cultural difference, enriching directly or indirectly all of us who seek knowledge or experience the pleasure of learning.

Finally, it is impossible to write about special collections without including a word of gratitude to donors. For 250 years, the Columbia Libraries have benefited from the generosity of those who have given books and manuscripts, who have donated funds for the purchase of collections, and who have encouraged their friends and associates to add to the special collections. There are many of them. Some of these people have been faculty, others alumni, but many others have simply acted on a generous conviction that by giving to libraries they are both preserving the past and enhancing the future. We believe they are right. Thank you.

The Libraries

Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

[corrected – Claudia]

The Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library ranks as one of the great architectural libraries of the world and is the only such library to directly support academic programs in architecture, urban planning, historic preservation, art history, and archaeology, as well as the liberal arts education of undergraduates. It was founded in 1890 by Samuel Putnam Avery and Mary Ogden Avery as a memorial to their son, Henry Ogden Avery, a New York City architect who died unexpectedly that year at the age of thirty-eight. The nucleus of the library was Henry's office collection, which included a number of rarities, as well as his drawings; Mr. and Mrs. Avery also provided a generous endowment to ensure continued and magnificent growth. Conceived as a library of architecture, archaeology and the decorative arts, Avery Library sought from its very beginning to make the great architectural treatises and plate volumes accessible to students, architects, and artists. These works, referred to as "Classics," constitute the core of Avery's stellar rare book holdings, which also include an extensive collection of catalogues of the American building trades, as well as one of view books of American cities and towns. The Classics collection today accounts for approximately ten percent of the library's 380,000 volumes. Included in that figure is one of the largest collections of architectural periodicals in existence, and since 1934 the library has produced the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, now an online database edited at Columbia and published with the support of the J. Paul Getty Trust that is a primary tool for architectural research. The Drawings and Archives collection has grown from Henry's archive to over one million items, with a particular emphasis on American work, including major archives of Richard Upjohn, Alexander Jackson Davis, Greene & Greene, Emery Roth & Son and drawings by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Drawings and Archives department has been a leader in employing new technologies to make its rich collections accessible to scholars and practitioners.

In 1912, Avery was the first library at Columbia to receive its own quarters, separate from Low Library, on the Morningside Heights campus. A gift from Samuel Putnam Avery, Jr., funded Avery Hall — designed by William Kendall of McKim Mead and White, and arguably one of the campus's most beautiful buildings — to house the library, as well as the School of Architecture. The building was expanded underground in the 1970s to accommodate the Fine Arts collection and further growth. Most recently, Avery Library has expanded again, with the opening in 2003 of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Study Center for Art and Architecture, which houses the Drawings and Archives collection, as well as the University's Office of Art Properties.

Burke Library, Union Theological Seminary

[not yet corrected – Sara]

The Special Collections of the Burke Library of Union Theological center comprise, in addition to the Seminary archives, a number of distinctive collections. The library of Leander van Ess, a Roman Catholic priest and Biblical translator, mentioned above, brought to the brand new Protestant seminary what was then the largest collection of incunabula in America. In addition to papers generated by its many distinguished faculty members, the Library also contains the McAlpin Collection of British History and Theology, a comprehensive collection of works on those topics printed between 1500 and 1700, and the extraordinary Missionary Research Library which documents in depth the social and cultural history of Protestant religious missions from the early 19th-century to the present. The Burke Library is a recent addition to the Columbia University Libraries community.

C. V. Starr East Asian Library

[text corrected by Amy]

The beginning of Chinese studies in 1900 served as an impetus for the building of a library devoted to the subject. Thanks to founding donations from alumnus and Trustee Horace Walpole Carpentier and the Empress Dowager of China, the library was one of the earliest and soon became one of the finest East Asian language collections in the country. The Japanese collection was begun in the 1920s by Ryusaku Tsunoda, adding to the Chinese Collection, and formally becoming the East Asian Library in 1935. The Imperial Household Ministry of Japan donated a collection which includes, among other treasures, 594 woodblock-printed or manuscript volumes covering the range of Japanese primary sources. The Library also contains a substantial collection of rare and scarce Korean books and in recent years has expanded its Tibetan collections. Housed in the former Law School Library in Kent Hall, the C. V. Starr East Asian Library includes the Kress Seminar Room, where rare books and manuscripts may be consulted, and an exhibit gallery. Among the Library's many treasures are a collection of Chinese paper gods, oracle bones, an archive of letters from 20th century Japanese writers, and a 15th –century Korean book, the first to use printed Han'gul.

Arthur W. Diamond Library, Special Collections, Columbia University School of Law

[not yet corrected, Whitney]

The Special Collections in the Law School's Arthur W. Diamond Library include incunabula, selected legal treatises, American books printed in the Confederacy, and many named collections of books and papers derived from the personal libraries of prominent men in the history of the field. In addition to the Jay family donation mentioned above, the books include the library of Joseph Murray, bequeathed to King's College in 1757, the law books of Samuel Johnson and William Samuel Johnson, the first presidents of King's College and Columbia College respectively, and the library of James Kent. Additional special collections in canon law, Roman law, and War Crimes trials are supplemented by the Law School archives and significant groups of manuscripts and papers related to legal history and teaching.

The Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library, Archives & Special Collections

[text corrected by Steve, 7/16]

King's College began instruction in medicine in 1767 and three years later had the distinction of granting the first doctor of medicine degree in North America. From the beginning, the medical school acquired books to support its studies, but the Health Sciences Library did not come together as a single entity until the opening of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in 1928. Even before that, though, the medical school had begun to create a rare book collection with the purchase of the collections of professors John Green Curtis in physiology and George Sumner Huntington in anatomy. Archives and Special Collections of the Augustus C. Long Library now comprises some 15,000 rare books including nearly complete editions of the works of Vesalius and Tagliacozzi. Among the particular collections of distinction are the Jerome P. Webster Library of Plastic Surgery, the Lena and Louis Hyman Collection in the History of Anesthesia, the Auchincloss Florence Nightingale and the Freud Library. Archives and Special Collections also serves as the archives for the University's four health science schools and holds a substantial manuscript collection.

Barnard College, Archives and Special Collections

[corrected by Donald]

The core of the rare book collection of Barnard College is the Overbury collection of 3,300 books written by women, including first editions and rare publications by Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, and Zora Neale Hurston, among others. The Barnard College Archives contains records of the college dating back to its inception and other material documenting the growth and progress of women's education in the United States, as well as the records of the American Womans Association.

University Archives-Columbiana

[corrected by Jocelyn]

Columbiana, established in 1884, is one of the oldest special collections at Columbia. In 1997 it merged with the University Archives (established in 1991), the central repository for Columbia records, forming a new entity devoted to maintaining institutional history. Among the resources the University Archives-Columbiana provides are administrative records, trustee minutes, pamphlet and clippings files, photographs, university publications, and ephemera. The King's College Room, in Low Library, adjacent to the University Archives-Columbiana Library reading room, displays paintings, period furniture, and decorative arts, pertaining to King's College and Columbia, 1754 to 1850. Several of the earliest books acquired by the College are on permanent exhibit there, along with early charters, letters, and significant documents. University Archives-Columbiana provides reference assistance to the community, creates exhibits, and conducts various outreach programs.

Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library

[not yet corrected by Elizabeth]

Although several rare music books were part of the Library collection before 1900, the Music Library was not organized as a separate entity until 1934. At that time, a Music Librarian was named and charged with the task of organizing the collection of scores, correspondence, and manuscripts that had been distributed among the general stacks, the Music Department and other areas of the campus. Of special interest in what has been since 1997 the Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library, located on the 7th floor of Dodge Hall, are the Judah Joffee Collection of Historical Records, 20,000 sound recordings from the estate of Robert L. Weiner, holograph facsimiles of twentieth-century piano music, and what is believed to be a unique collection of zarzuelas (popular Spanish opera scores). Holdings also include the papers and compositions of Edward MacDowell, the first head of the Music Department at Columbia, the Seidl collection mentioned above, scores or fragments of scores by Bela Bartok and Hector Berlioz, and first or early editions of the works of Luigi Cherubini.

The Oral History Research Office

[not corrected, Mary Marshall]

Founded by historian Allan Nevins in 1948, Columbia's oral history program was the first of its kind in the country and remains the largest within an academic institution, comprising over 7,000 taped interviews. Subjects range from in-depth personal interviews with prominent figures to special projects that focus on institutions or events. Representative of the scope of the collection are interviews with Frances Perkins on her years as Secretary of Labor, with Buster Keaton and D.W. Griffith on film, with Bennett Cerf and George Braziller on publishing, with the officers of the Carnegie Corporation on the growth of philanthropy. Other topics include Women in Law, Physicians and Aids, Civil Liberties, and African-American Journalists. Transcripts of the interviews are available for research in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. In recent years, the office has undertaken video interviewing as well, which it hopes to make widely accessible on the World Wide Web. Three major projects documenting local and national impact of the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 have been undertaken with the support of public and private funding agencies.

The Office of Art Properties

[text corrected by Sally]

Columbia has been acquiring paintings and works of art since the eighteenth century when the second President of King's College, Myles Cooper, whose own distinguished portrait by John Singleton Copley is at Columbia, expressed an interest in establishing an art collection. It was an interest not sustained by subsequent presidents. Nevertheless, art works — primarily portraits of faculty and administrators — were acquired and gradually the collection was broadened to include study materials and a wide variety of art objects, almost all of them received as gifts. The Office of Art Properties, charged with cataloging the collection, overseeing its conservation, and guiding the placement of art on campus, is under the administration of the Avery Librarian. The Curator of Art Properties also directs the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Gallery in Schermerhorn Hall.

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

The largest repository of special collections on campus, the Rare Book and Manuscript Library has been housed since the late 1930s on the sixth floor of Butler Library. Comprising an estimated 500,000 rare books, 28 million manuscript items, and vast collections of photographs, audio-visual material, ephmera and realia, the Library also holds the collections of the former Brander Matthews Dramatic Museum, which include masks, puppets, portraits, teaching models, and playbills. Although its collections range from papyrus fragments, cuneiform tablets, and cylinder seals to newly-minted artist's books, the Library's strongest holdings are in printing and publishing history, the history of philanthropy, American history and literature, journalism history, medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, human rights, and the book arts. Distinctive collections with their own curators include the Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian and East European History and Culture, the Archives of the Carnegie Corporation, the Herbert H. Lehman Papers, and the recently acquired archives of Human Rights Watch.

Other Libraries

Although most other libraries at Columbia do not maintain collections of rare books or manuscripts, many of them in fact, because of their age and the scope of collecting activity, contain reference materials, subject files, and unique or scarce items that might in other libraries be considered special collections. Among these are, for example, the collection of early settlement house reports in the Social Work Library, the early foreign dissertations in the History and Humanities Library in Butler, and the many publications in the area studies libraries that were published in limited runs or on deteriorating paper and are no longer available. Some of these are reclassified as rare when their fragility or value becomes apparent to the users or the library staff.

Jean Ashton

Director, Rare Book and Manuscript Library


Jewels in her Crown:
Treasures from the Special Collections ofColumbia's Libraries

Master Labels 7/26/04

Printing History and Book Arts

Aelius Donatus (fl. 354 CE)
Ars Minor
Printed on parchment, Folio 12, lines 4-28
[Mainz: Johann Gutenberg, ca. 1450]
Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Plimpton Collection

The momentous accomplishment of Gutenberg's first printing of the Bible was preceded by a number of necessarily experimental publications which developed the technique of printing with moveable type. This fragment, printed using the type of the 36-line Bible, is a relic of those trials. The text is part of a Latin grammar written by Donatus, who was the teacher of St. Jerome. His grammar was one of the most popular teaching aids during the medieval period, and Gutenberg seems to have found it advantageous to publish many editions of it, not only as practice but also as a source of much needed revenue. There are twenty-four known editions of the text in Gutenberg's earliest type, all preceding the famous Bible. Described by earlier scholars as a "Pfister imprint," dated ca. 1460, recent investigations indicate that this fragment belongs with Gutenberg's work, probably dating not later than 1452.

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton, 1936

Canon Missae
Mainz: Johann Fust and Peter Schöffer, 1458
Printed on parchment
[bound with]
Missale Cracoviense
Mainz: Peter Schöffer, 1484
Printed on paper

In 1457, Johann Fust and Peter Schöffer completed the printing of the Psalterium latinum, the first printed book to give both the names of the printers and the date of its printing. The following year they used the same type and ornamental initial letters to print the exceedingly rare Canon of the Mass, in this copy bound at the center of the Missal for the use of Cracow (printed in 1484). The missal is, in the reality of its physical production and in reflection of its liturgical use, two separate books. One of nine editions produced by Schöffer between 1483 and 1499, the missal is printed on paper, using font sizes that are smaller than those of the canon. They printed the 12-leaf canon of the mass – the section with the consecration prayers – on vellum for durability, and in a larger font size for legibility. It was sold as a separate unit so that the purchaser could remove the canon of whichever missal he was using and insert this much nicer version. The advertisement put out by Schöffer in 1470 still included this 1458 canon among the books he offered for sale; presumably one could purchase it as late as the 1484 date of the present missal. Although Columbia's copy of the canon lacks three leaves, it is one of only three known copies to survive (together with a few isolated fragments). Of all the acquisitions that Henry Lewis Bullen made for the American Type Founders Company Library, he was most proud of this one.

Purchased with the American Type Founders Company Library & Museum, 1941

Alexander de Villa Dei (1175 – 1240 )
Printed on parchment, Folios 21-22
[Holland?: Laurens Janszoon Coster?, by 1463?]
Lower pastedown in the binding of UTS Ms. 14
The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Leander van Ess Collection

The 1499 Cologne Chronicle, while assigning the first printing from moveable type to Mainz, yet mentions that its forebears were "the Donatuses in Holland." Fragments of elementary grammar texts composed by Donatus and Alexander de Villa Dei survive, and are tied through study of their fonts to what may be the remnants of Dutch prototypography. Almost all such fragments, however, are now removed from their context, rendering their place and date of origin yet more obscure. The startling exception is the present pastedown in a manuscript containing works by Albertus Magnus and Raymond Lull. Paul Needham has taken into consideration evidence of the manuscript scribe's colophon: Conrad Itter signed his work four times during the course of 1463; Needham has identified the manuscript's paper stock and the paper stock of the flyleaves used by the binder; and he has studied the blind-stamped tools used on the manuscript's binding of calf over oaken boards.

The result is a verifiable proposal for the place and date of production of the manuscript: Cologne, 1463. By extension, we now have a terminus ante quem for the manuscript's pastedown and thus for Dutch prototypography that is some four years earlier than paper evidence amassed to date, and some eight years earlier than ownership inscriptions have attested. The Burke Library's fragment, because it survives in a context, advances knowledge of the means we have used for five hundred years to spread knowledge: printing itself. The manuscript and fragment came to Union Theological Seminary in 1838 with the library of Leander van Ess – at that time the largest and most comprehensive theological library, with the largest number of incunabula, in the New World.

Purchased with the Leander van Ess Collection, 1838

Iamblichus Chalcidensis (ca. 240 – 325)
De mysteriis Aegyptiorum, Chaldaeorum, Assyriorum
Venice: Aldi et Andreae soceri, 1516
RBML, Phoenix Collection

The 1516 edition of works of neo-platonic philosophers, including Iamblichus, Proclus, Porphyrius, Synesius and others, translated into Latin by Marsilio Ficino, is one of the significant books issued by the Aldine press. This copy is bound in an architectural style, ca. 1545, one of four known showing porticoes and the only one without perspective features, made by Claude de Picques for the noted French bibliophile Jean Grolier (1476-1565). The motif is derived from an illustration of the Corinthian temple in Diego da Sagredo's Raison d'architecture antique (1539). Among the owners of the volume after Grolier were Count Hoym, ambassador to France from Saxony and bibliophile, the dealer-bibliophile A.A. Renouard who documented the Aldine publications, and the notorious thief Count Libri.

Bequest of Stephen Whitney Phoenix, 1881

John De Beauchesne (1538? – after 1610) and John Baildon (fl. 1570)
A Booke Containing Divers Sortes of Hands
London: Thomas Vautrouillier, 1570
RBML, Plimpton Collection

This work, an enlarged adaptation of De Beauchesne's Le Thresor d'Escripture (Paris, 1550), was the first book on handwriting to be printed in England. De Beauchesne, a French Huguenot immigrant, was a writing master who became tutor to Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia, only daughter of King James I. Baildon's role in the work is uncertain; he may have cut the woodblocks, or edited the work. Containing thirty-seven leaves (this copy lacking nine leaves, dedication and letter press), the work includes admirable examples of gothic and secretary hands, as well as chancery, italic, secretary written with the left hand (a reversed hand read through a mirror) and other hands. One other incomplete copy of this edition and a fragment are known to exist.

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton, 1936

William Caslon (1693 – 1766)
A Specimen by W. Caslon, Letter-Founder, Ironmonger-Row, Old-Street, London
London: W. Caslon, 1734
RBML, Book Arts Collection

Daniel Berkeley Updike wrote in his Printing Types, "In the class of types which appear to be beyond criticism from the point of view of beauty and utility, the original Caslon type stands first." William Caslon, an engraver, began his career as a typefounder in about 1720 by cutting a font of Arabic-language types for use by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. In order to sign his name to a printed proof of these letters, he cut his name in a pica roman. These roman letters were so admired that he turned his attention to various other sizes of roman and italic, followed by Hebrew, black letter, Coptic and many other exotic types, as well as ornaments. He did not issue his first specimen until 1734 – the date is printed at the end of the brevier Greek at the lower right corner. Shown here, this is the only known complete copy of this type specimen, with Caslon's Ironmonger-Row, Old-Street, London address. In the only other recorded copy, at the British Library, the line of ornaments at the bottom has been cut off.

Purchased with the American Type Founders Company Library & Museum, 1941

Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)
Composing stick
RBML, Typographic Realia

This composing stick may have been purchased in France in the 1780s by Benjamin Franklin while he was serving as United States minister to France. During this period, Franklin had his own private press in his house at Passy, outside of Paris. He used his press to produce leaflets, broadsides, and even passports for American citizens. Made of wood, the composing stick has a head, knee, and rail faced with brass, and uses the slotted knee and screw system, standard at the time, to fix the length of the line of type being set. According to Henry Lewis Bullen, who acquired it for the American Type Founders Company Library and Museum, it was used by Franklin and his grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache.

Purchased with the American Type Founders Company Library & Museum, 1941

Alexander Anderson (1775 – 1870)
Diarium commentarium vitae Alexander Anderson
Autograph manuscript, 3 vols., 1793 – 1799
John Plumbe (1809 – 1857)
Daguerreotype portrait of Alexander Anderson
New York, ca.1846
RBML, Woodblocks, Related Material

Alexander Anderson (1775 – 1870)
Wood engraving of garden-house scene, signed in the block "AA"
6.5 x 8 cm.
RBML, Woodblock No. 6

Alexander Anderson has long been considered the father of wood engraving in America, being the first in this country to adopt the technique developed in England by Thomas Bewick. Wood engraving produces a finer image than the standard woodcut by working on the denser end-grain section of the wood. Anderson acknowledged his debt to Bewick in 1804 by creating an American edition of Bewick's A General History of Quadrupeds (1790) with his own re-engraved blocks, adding "some American animals not hitherto described."

Anderson's connections to Columbia are many. He received an M.D. from Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1796, engraved Columbia's commencement ticket in 1794, and a bookplate for the College Library. As noted in his diary, he began sketching the design for the bookplate on March 14, 1795, delivered the finished work to President Johnson on March 25th, and was, after some effort on his part, paid £2, 8s on May 7th.

Columbia's daguerreotype portrait of Anderson is one of two likenesses "taken in duplicate" in New York by photographer John Plumbe no later than 1847, when Plumbe went bankrupt. Anderson continued to produce wood engravings until at least 1868, two years before his death at the age of 94. Also on display is an early wood engraving by Anderson, depicting a summer, garden-house scene, and signed "AA" in the lower left of the block. It was published in A Memorial of Alexander Anderson, M.D., New York, 1872.

(Diary) Vols.1-2, gift of Phillips Phoenix; Vol. 3, gift of Mrs. Castle, 1911

(Woodblock) Purchased with the American Type Founders Company Library & Museum, 1941

Washington Hand Press
New York: R. Hoe & Co., 1843
Foolscap size (platen 35.3 x 49.4 cm., bed 45.6 x 60.9 cm.)

This press was used for over a hundred years by the American Bible Society, founded in 1816 to encourage a wide circulation of the Holy Scriptures. The Society started doing its own printing of Bibles in about 1844; thus this press, built in 1843, would have been one of the first it acquired for the purpose.

The Washington-style press employs two major innovations that distinguish it from the presses used since the 15th century: it is built of metal, and it uses a toggle action. A number of improvements in press design took place rapicly in the early 1800s, which simplified and reduced the cost of manufacture while developing maximum power with minimum effort. Samuel Rust of New York designed the main features of the Washington press: a "figure 4" toggle, which provided greater power than previous levers; and a lighter, stronger, frame, which could also be disassembled for moving.

R. Hoe & Co. bought Rust's patent and manufactured over 6,000 of these presses between 1835 and 1902. Simpler and cheaper though slower than the increasingly sophisticated presses becoming available through the 19th century, these presses found a niche in small shops doing short runs, and for extra fine printing. A number of contemporary fine printers use Washington presses today. This is one of the four presses owned by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Gift of the American Bible Society, 1953

Kelmscott Press
Specimen copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer
Pigskin binding by J. & J. Leighton, 1896
RBML, Book Arts Collection

In addition to a regular copy of the Kelmscott Press's edition of the works of Chaucer, bound in half-holland paper, the Rare Book and Manuscript Library also owns this specimen binding, made for William Morris by J. & J. Leighton, the text block made up of mostly repeating sheets from the print run of the book. Morris's wish was that the binding be executed in 15th-century style, using pigskin over oak boards, with blind-tooling. The tools were cut specially for this binding, and were based on designs found on two incunables owned by the British Museum Library [note to JBL: check], the Apocalypse block book and the Richel Bible. According to Sir Sidney Cockerell in his "List of All the Books Printed at the Kelmscott Press," in A Note by William Morris on his Aims in Founding The Kelmscott Press, this was the only design executed by Leighton's. It was then used by the Doves Bindery to bind forty-eight copies, including two printed on vellum, in full white pigskin.

Purchased with the American Type Founders Company Library & Museum, 1941

Arthur Rackham (1867 – 1939)
Self-portrait, 1924
Pastel, from Sketch book F1
RBML, Arthur Rackham Collection

Arthur Rackham (1867 –1939)
Sketchbook for A Midsummer Night's Dream, ca. 1908
Pencil, 18 pages, Sketch book F4
RBML, Arthur Rackham Collection

This haunting self-portrait reveals the genius of one of England's most renowned children's book illustrators. Born in 1867, Arthur Rackham entered the Lambeth School of Art in 1884. From 1885 to 1892 he worked as a clerk in an insurance office. In 1893 he began what would be his life's work, illustrating the Ingoldsby Legends, and Charles and Mary Lambs Tales from Shakespeare. He became famous with Grimm's Fairy Tales in 1900, and Rip Van Winkle in 1905, and through an exhibition held at the Leicester Galleries in 1905. The Rackham collection at Columbia University contains 413 drawings, watercolors, and oil paintings, as well as 30 sketch books, including this one of sketches for A Midsummer Night's Dream. In addition, the collection contains some 400 printed books and ephemera.

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred C. Berol, 1967


W. R. Johnson (b. 1933)
Lilac Wind,poems by W.R. Johnson on a pulp painting made by Claire Van Vliet with Kathryn Clark
Newark, VT.: Janus Press, 1983
1 folded sheet, 9 pp.
RBML, Book Arts Collection

Claire Van Vliet established the Janus Press, one of the country's most creative private presses, in 1955, at West Bourke, Vermont. Over the past fifty years, the Press has become known for its harmoniously balanced textual and visual elements, as well as for the careful consideration of inks, complex bindings, papers, boxmaking, and typography. Lilac Wind consists of a single printed sheet in which the illustration is integral to the paper itself, produced by the "painted papers" technique. The text poem by W.R. Johnson was printed on a pulp painting made by Van Vliet with Kathryn Clark, rendering each of the 150 copies unique. The Rare Book and Manuscript Library holds a complete collection of the books and ephemera produced by the Janus Press.

Purchase, 1983


Vincent Fitz Gerald & Company
Maquette for The Reed, by Jalaluddin Mohammad Rumi, translated by Zahra Partovi
Watercolor, ink and pencil on cut paper, by Susan Weil, 1989
RBML, Vincent Fitz Gerald & Company Archives

The fine press company created by Vincent Fitz Gerald, a Columbia alumnus, is the embodiment of that nexus of creativity that makes New York City such a vital place. Through the generosity of Sylvia and Joseph Radov, the Rare Books and Manuscript Library now only owns a nearly complete run of the publications of Vincent Fitz Gerald & Company, and also holds a significant portion of its archives.

As Village Voice theater critic, translator, and Columbia alumnus, Michael Feingold, a member of the company, has written: "In our degraded age of uncaring mass manufacture ... one artist was able to find so many kindred souls to share his love for works that are beautiful, meaningful, individual and scrupulously made." Fitz Gerald has brought together the work of such authors as Jalaluddin Mohammad Rumi, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Edith Sitwell, Lee Breuer, and David Mamet, with artists such as Susan Weil, Judith Turner, Edward Koren (also a Columbia alumnus), Neil Welliver, Dorothea Rockburn, and James Nares. Texts have been newly translated by Zahra Partovi, yet another graduate of Columbia, and Michael Feingold. Other members of the company include artisans such as book designer and calligrapher Jerry Kelly, paper artist Paul Wong of Dieudonné Papermill, and printer Daniel Keleher of Wild Carrot Press, in addition to Zahra Partovi, who is also a book binder.

Purchased with funds provided by Sylvia and Joseph Radov, 2003

East Asian

Oracle Bone
China, Shang Dynasty, ca. 1300 – 1015 BCE
Scapula, (11.4 cm. x 18 cm.)
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

An image of this bone is seen in countless textbooks as an example of the earliest Chinese writing. Dating from about 1300 to 1050 bce, it is a fine example of an authentic oracle bone. Questions of moment to the ruler and his people, about weather related to agriculture, about marriages of importance to the state, and about sacrifices important to the order of the world, were scratched onto the surfaces of bones or shells. Then heat was applied, and by the cracks on the surface, the diviner could read the answers of Heaven. These bones were unearthed by farmers and came to be known only at the turn of the last century. Together they provide information about the life of the ruling class of the Shang dynasty, some 3,250 years ago. Columbia's collection of oracle bones is an important one, donated over the first half of the twentieth century by a number of scholars and collectors.

Chinese, Zhou Dynasty (1050 – 256 BCE)
Vessel (gui)
Bronze, (6 ¼ x 12 inches)
Office of Art Properties

This bronze ceremonial vessel, with its smooth green patina, is a type (gui) that was used as a container for food, probably for grain. The body is round, with two dragon head handles and a band of conventional dragon motifs on the upper part. The vessel is raised on three legs, which are given the form of human figures.

Sackler Collections at Columbia University

Hyakumantō darani (One million pagoda dhārāni)
Kyoto, Japan: 764-770 C.E.
Cypress and cherry wood, (height 13.6 cm., bottom diameter 10.5 cm.)
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

As a gesture of appeasement (disguised as a gesture of Buddhist piety) after a political power conflict between the monk Dōkyō (d. 772) and the aristocrat Fujiwara no Nakamaro (706-764), the Empress Shōtoku (r. 764-770) ordered the production of one million miniature wooden pagodas with copies of at least four different dhārāni (mantras or charms). These pagodas, containing the rolled-up dhārāni, were then distributed to ten major temples. Most have been destroyed or lost over time. Only the Hōryūji (a monastery temple in Ikaruga, Nara prefecture) still owns approximately 1700 of its original one hundred thousand sets. In addition it is estimated that almost as many sets are held in public and private collections. The pagodas were made of two parts: the hollow bottom portion was made of hinoki (cypress) wood, and the top seven-tiered spire of cherry wood. The dhārāni were printed, most likely by the metal-plate method and, at least tentatively, form the earliest extant examples of printed text. They are also the only known printed texts from the Nara period (710-794), and as such remain of great interest in the history of printing.

Japanese, Fujiwara period (12th century CE)
Standing Bodhisattva
Wood, (height 33 ½ inches)
Office of Art Properties, S3404
This Bodhisattva, with inlaid eyes of painted crystal, stands on a low, lotus pedestal.
Sackler Collections at Columbia University


Da bo re bo luo mi duo jing(Prajna-paramita sutra)
Fenghua xian: Wang gong ci tang, 1162 CE
One volume of six surviving volumes
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

This extremely rare volume was identified by visiting scholar Shen Jin, from Shanghai Municipal Library, in 1987, as one of only six known surviving volumes of the original 600-volume printing of this Buddhist sutra. Printed apparently privately during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 C.E.), it is believed to be the oldest book in the Chinese collections at Columbia University. The Prajna-paramita sutra is one of the most important sacred books of Mahayana Buddhism, and Chinese translations of Indian sutras were used in the spread of Buddhism – and of the Chinese written language as well – throughout East Asia.


Nestorian Crosses

China, Yuan Dynasty (1260 – 1368 CE)

Bronze, varied sizes

C. V. Starr East Asian Library

Also known as "Ordos" crosses, from the region of China believed to have produced them, these unusual artifacts emerged only in the early part of the twentieth century. Christianity has had a long history in China, and Nestorians were welcome and active in China as early as the Tang dynasty (618-907). However, it languished for centuries until the Yuan dynasty. Many members of the Mongol ruling family were Nestorian Christians, including Khubilai Khan's mother, as well as large numbers of the general northern population. One of Khubilai Khan's advisors was a Nestorian priest who traveled to Europe – the western-most reaches of the Mongol empire – on behalf of the Mongols. While the use of the items is not certain, each one has a small ring on the back, indicating they might have been used as ornaments, either on a belt or as a pendant. Given their appearance near grave sites, some scholars have suggested that they may have been used in funeral rites.

Gift of Anne S. Goodrich, 1986

Yongbi Ŏch'on'ga (Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven)
Korea: s.n., 15th cent.?
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

These two volumes are from Yongbi Ŏch'on'ga (Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven), volumes 9 and 10 (of 10), printed in the late fifteenth century from the original blocks. Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven is a poem in 125 cantos, written in Korean, with a Chinese translation following. It was commissioned by King Sejong (1419-1450) and was compiled in 1445 by three court poets and scholar-officials. King Sejong recognized that the Chinese writing system, which was used at the time for all government business, was inappropriate for the sounds of Korean; furthermore, he believed it was important to convey the spoken language in writing. King Sejong invented the Korean script (called han'gul or "Korean writing," since about 1913), in late 1443 or early 1444.

These volumes are a tangible legacy of two related seminal historical and cultural events. The poem itself was composed to celebrate the legitimacy of the Chosŏn dynasty, which lasted from 1392 until 1910. In the history of Korean culture, it was a kind of declaration of cultural independence. The invention of a true alphabet that represents the sounds of the Korean language had enormous implications for the development of a national literature, and ultimately national consciousness. The history of printing in Korea, the most advanced in East Asia in the fifteenth century, is also illustrated by this first printing of han'gul.

Owned by Yi Sŏng-ŭi, Purchase, 1968

Kuzuoka Nobuyoshi (1629 – 1717)
Urashima Tarō
Japan: s.n., 1550
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

These volumes are fine examples of a genre known as Nara e-hon (Nara illustrated books, although with no known connection to the city of Nara or the historical Nara period, 645-794). The beautiful manuscript books and scrolls were actually produced in the late Muromachi (1336-1600) and early Edo (1600-1868) periods. This volume recounts the folk story of a young fisherman, Tarō from Urashima, who rescues a turtle from a group of children. The turtle later returns to take Tarō under the sea to the Palace of the Dragon King. He is treated with great kindness, but becomes too homesick to remain. When he returns to his island home he discovers that hundreds of years have passed while he was under the sea.

Urashima Tarō
Japan: s.n., 16--?
Painted scroll, (48 x 1,105 cm.)
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

This scroll, which has seven illustrations, including two contiguous pictures, is another version of the folk tale of Urashima Tarō. The story progresses as the scroll is unrolled, from right to left. It is an example of illustrated manuscript material that continued to appear even as the development of popular printed book publications began to expand. The combination of text and illustration has a long history in Japan, with popular books of the Edo period (1600-1868) developing integrated text and picture to a high degree – the forerunner of today's manga, or cartoon books.

Gift of Bertha Margaret Frick, 1959

Nogŏltae ŏnhae
Korea: s.n., Yongjo yon'gan, 1670
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

Printed with bronze moveable type, in a font created in 1668, these volumes form a textbook of colloquial Chinese for Chinese-Korean interpreters. Each Chinese character is followed by two han'gŭl (Korean alphabet) transliterations, the one on the left indicating the standard Chinese pronunciation as recorded in fifteenth-century Korean lexicons; the one on the right indicating a contemporary northern Chinese pronunciation. The set also includes a complete translation of the Chinese text into seventeenth-century spoken Korean. All the linguistic information contained in this format provides valuable data for scholars studying the developments of spoken languages as well as written languages.

Owned by Yi Sŏng-ŭi, Purchase, 1968

Murasaki Shikibu (active ca. 1000 CE)
Genji monogatari kogetsush ō
[Japan]: Murakami Kanzaemon, 1673
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

This 60-volume woodblock-printed edition of the 54-chapter masterpiece of Japanese literature, The Tale of Genji, was edited by Kitamura Kigin (1625-1705) and includes six additional volumes of commentary. The influence of The Tale of Genji has been felt not only in all areas of literature—poetry, drama, prose fiction—but also in visual arts and popular culture, as seen in the woodblock print accompanying this volume. In the twentieth century, it was translated into English three times, and into modern Japanese by many famous writers, including a recent version by Setouchi Jakuchō that became a best seller. The volume is open to the final chapter, "The Bridge of Dreams."

The edition was part of a gift to the East Asian collection from the Imperial Household Ministry of Japan in 1933 of 594 volumes either printed or written during the Edo period (1603-1868). Together they represent many of the most important texts in Japanese culture, covering history, poetry, and government, including the illustrated encyclopedia Wakan sansai zue.

Gift of the Imperial Household Ministry of Japan, 1932

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798 – 1861)
Yume no ukihashi (Bridge of dreams)
n.p.: Iseya Ichibei, 1845-46
Japanese paper, oban (approx. 38 x 25.5 cm.)
Print # 54
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

Circa 1845-46, Utagawa Kuniyoshi produced a series of prints with allusions to the Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji). The series was entitled Genji kumo ukiyo-e awase (A comparison of prints of the floating world with the cloudy chapters of Genji), and consisted of sixty designs, one for each of the fifty-four chapters of the Genji Monogatari , and six supplemental designs. The series is unusual in that the scenes depicted in the main body of the print have nothing to do with the actual content of the corresponding Genj chapters, but instead depict famous Kabuki actors. Only in the scroll-like inset at the top of each print a poem and minor symbolic representation of the theme of the relevant chapter refer to the novel. It is thought that this approach was used to circumvent the 1842 Tenpō reform laws forbidding the depiction of actors and prostitutes in works of art. Like the woodblock-printed volume shown elsewhere in this exhibition, the print here displayed corresponds to the so-called "Bridge of dreams" chapter of the novel.

Court of Raja Jaisingh II (1686 – 1743)
Manuscript on paper, 35 ff., Jaipur, ca. 1693-1743
RBML, Smith Indic 73

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library holds a significant number of Indic manuscripts, most of them acquired by David Eugene Smith in Bombay and Kashi in the early years of the 20th century. The subject matter of these manuscripts is predominantly Jyotihsastra (Hindu Astrology), including astronomy, mathematics, divination and predictive astrology. According to a note made by Smith, this manuscript on the astrolabe was copied by a priest in the court of Raja Jaisingh II in Jaipur, India, and was purchased by him in Jaipur at Christmas, 1907. Jaisingh, the great warrior-astronomer who ruled from 1693 until 1743, founded the city of Jaipur in 1727. His observatory and huge masonry instruments constructed there are still in use today, and were used by him and his court to achieve significant advances in the exact sciences.

Gift of David Eugene Smith, 1931

Andō Hiroshige (1797 – 1858)
Tōkaidō Go jūsan Tsugi no Uchi: Fujikawa
(Fifty-three stations of the Tōkaidō: Fujikawa station)
Takenouchi Magohachi (Hoeidō), 1833
Japanese paper, oban (approx. 38 x 25.5 cm)
Print # 38

C. V. Starr East Asian Library

The Tōkaidō was the highway connecting Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto during the pre-modern period in Japan. It consisted of fifty-three "stations" or rest stops, including the starting point in Edo and the end of the route in Kyoto. It was a popular subject among artists of ukiyo-e ("floating world" woodblock prints), among them Andō Hiroshige (1797-1858), who made a number of different series representing the fifty three stations. Most of these series were produced in a horizontal or landscape format. However, the series that came to be known as the upright Tōkaidō is in vertical or portrait format, and is generally considered the best of these series. The print here displayed depicts a group of travelers on horseback entering Fujikawa station during a heavy snowfall.

Amanoto Toryū (1818-1877)
Kyōka chakizai gazōshū
Tokyo: Seiryūtei, Ansei 2, [1855]
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

Kyōka or "mad verse" is a comic variant of waka, a 31-syllable Japanese poetry form heavily dependent on pivot words (kakekotoba) and related words (engo). Kyōka were written mainly during the Tokugawa period (1600-1868), and were popular among all classes. Many woodblock print artists illustrated kyōka, either individual verse as surimono (small edition or special occasion prints), or collections of verse in book format, an example of the latter is displayed here. Kyōka chakizai gazōshō (Collection of comic verse on tea utensils) is divided into two parts, the second of which contains verse by a number of poets. The first half of the book contains illustrations by two different artists, figures by Utagawa Yoshitora (a pupil of Kuniyoshi) and landscapes, such as the one here displayed, by Hiroshige (1797-1858).

Tibetan Printing Block
Tibet, 19th century
Wood, (40 x 9 x 3.5 cm.)
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

This block, carved on both sides, contains sections of the Prajna-paramita sutra, seen in Chinese translation elsewhere in the exhibition. The Tibetan language version was printed on both sides of long sheets. The leaves were traditionally unbound, but assembled in order between wood "covers," and bound up with colorful cloth. Printing blocks such as this provide scholars and researchers with information about specific editions of the sacred texts.

Fabric "cheat sheet"
China, n.d.
Ink on silk, (40 x 43 cm.)
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

The Chinese examination system, stretching though two thousand years of Chinese history, theoretically created system of meritocracy, in which any man of whatever background could join the governing class by means of his learning. By late Imperial times, successful candidates were appointed only to districts other than their own, to avoid conflicts of interest and other seeds of local corruption. But the examination system itself became increasingly bureaucratic and exacting, leading to a condition, according to Benjamin Elman, in which "cheating became a cottage industry." Since candidates and their possessions were physically searched before they could enter the examination hall, in which they were locked for the three days of the examination, it is hard to imagine how successful any of the attempts at cheating actually were. This handkerchief is covered with hand-brushed tiny characters representing some of the texts a candidate was required to know.

Gift of Anne S. Goodrich, 1986

Chen Menglei (1651 – 1741) and Jiang Tingxi (1669 – 1732)
Qin ding gu jin tu shu ji cheng
Beijing?: Zong li ya men shi yin ben, 1890?
1,672 volumes (original gift in 5,044 volumes)
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

East Asian Studies at Columbia University began in 1901, following donations by Columbia College graduate and Trustee General Horace Walpole Carpentier of $100,000 and by Dean Lung, his employee, of $12,000. In 1902 the Trustees approved the creation of the Dean Lung Chair in Chinese studies. University President Seth Low solicited the gift of books through the American ambassador in Beijing, and received the donation from the Empress Dowager of China of the 5,044-volume encyclopedia. The Qin ding gu jin tu shu ji cheng follows a line of increasingly extensive encyclopedias, but is substantially larger than its predecessors. It is divided into thirty-two classes or sections of various length, grouped under six main categories approximately representing Heaven, Earth, Man, Science, Literature, and Government. None of the content is original; rather, both text and illustrations were compiled and copied from earlier works. Columbia's set is from the second edition, published in 250 copies, and is one of only three such sets outside China. The first Dean Lung Professor of Chinese, Frederick Hirth, raised funds to rebind the volumes, received in their original format of several small silk-sewn volumes in a book case, in Western style, thought at the time to be easier to handle and keep safe.

Gift of the Empress Dowager of China, 1902

Jo Davidson (1883 – 1952)
Portrait of V. K. Wellington Koo
Paris, Valsuani Foundry, signed by the artist, 1920
Bronze, (60.5 x 25.5 x 23 cm.)
RBML, Art Collection

V. K. Wellington Koo (1888 – 1985) graduated from Columbia College in 1908, also receiving from Columbia an AM in 1909, a PhD in 1912 and a LL D in 1917. This bust portrait, depicting Koo at the beginning of his diplomatic career, was one of a number of portraits sculpted by Jo Davidson in 1920 of the delegates to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. RBML is also the repository for Dr. Koo's papers, including correspondence, diaries, memoranda, manuscripts, notes, printed material, and photographs, that he gave to Columbia in 1976. They document his work in many areas, including as the Republic of China's ambassador to France (1932 – 1941), to England (1941 – 1946), the United Nations (1944 – 1946), and the United States (1946 – 1956).

Gift of Mme. Juliana Koo, and Patricia Koo and Kiachi Tsien, 1989

Chinese Paper Gods
Beijing, China
Chinese paper, ink, and watercolor, (29.5 x 25.5 cm., 50.5 x 30 cm.), ca. 1931
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

In 1931, while living in Beijng, China, Anne Swann Goodrich assembled a substantial collection of folk prints of a type now commonly referred to as "paper gods." After publishing a study about them in 1991, she donated the collection of over 200 prints to the C. V. Starr East Asian Library. The inexpensive prints were typically hung about the home or pasted on doors as protection against evil. Frequently they were burned and replaced, generally at the beginning of the new year or some other auspicious point of the calendar, as a symbolic send-off to heaven to mediate on behalf of the owner. These paper god prints are thin sheets of paper with the image of a god woodblock-printed on them. Some are mostly black and white with just a few splashes of color on them. An example of this can be seen here in a depiction of Sanjie Zhifu Shizhe, a messenger of the gods. He delivered charms and acted himself as a charm against evil spirits who cause disease, particularly during the fifth month. This period was considered to be malignant by the Chinese as a time when contagious diseases were likely to appear. Other prints are quite colorful, like the other example here, which is a depiction of Zhong Kui, considered one of the most effective protectors against evil spirits, expeller of demons, and protector against poisons. Although his picture is usually pasted on the door on the last day of the year, like Sanjie Zhifu Shizhe, he is particularly worshipped during the fifth month.

Gift of Anne S. Goodrich, 1991

[Pigŭk sosŏl] Pulsanghan insaeng (An unhappy life)
Kyŏngsŏng-pu: Hongmun Sŏgwan, Shŏwa 11, [1936]
C. V. Starr East Asian Library


Yǒngsǒn (n.d.)
Syongdo mallyŏn pulgasari chyŏn (The account of a pulgasari in the last years of Songdo)
Kyŏngsŏng-pu: Tongyang Taehaktang, Shōwa 11, [1936]
C. V. Starr East Asian Library
[Kodae sosŏl] Tang Taejyong chyŏn (Biography of Tang Taizong)
Sŏul T'ŭkpyŏlsi: Sech'ang Sŏgwan, Tan'gi 4284, [1951]
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

A collection of 155 exceptionally rare, early twentieth century traditional style Korean popular novels is housed in the C. V. Starr East Asian Library. These novels are deemed unique and no other copies are known to exist, but were in all likelihood lost or destroyed during the Japanese occupation and the subsequent Korean war. The novels were printed in Korean script at a time when this was discouraged by the Japanese occupation government. Since the Korean language has changed considerably in the course of the twentieth century, and most published material before the twentieth century was typically written in formal language and Chinese script, the novels also provide a unique record of the colloquial language of the time. As these novels were not produced through the major publishing houses, most are physically sub-standard products, printed on cheap paper with primitive printing methods. Most volumes have gaudily colored covers and are no more than thin booklets, most of them with well under a hundred pages. The three volumes here on display are a traditional style popular novel (kodae sosŏl) chronicling the life of the Chinese emperor Tang Taizong (626-649), a tragic novel (piguk sosŏl) about a life full of hardship, and the story of a mythical creature (Pulgasari) during the last years of Songdo (modern Kaesŏng), the old capital of Chosŏn (1392-1910) said to eat metal, to expel nightmares, and to purge noxious vapors.

Peter H. L. Chang (Zhang Xueliang), (1901 – 2001)
"Recollections of Xian Incident [Review]"
Jiangshang, [May 10, 1946]
RBML, Chang Papers

Peter Chang (his name also rendered as Zhang Xueliang, and Chang Hsueh-liang) was born in Manchuria in 1901 and died in Hawaii in 2001. After his father, Chang Tso-lin (Zhang Zuolin), a leading war-lord know as the Old Marshal, was assassinated in 1928 by the Japanese, Chang took his place as the Young Marshal, becoming one of the most powerful military figures in China. In 1930, Chang became Deputy Commander in Chief of the Chinese Armed Forces. In 1933 he traveled to Europe. Upon his return to China, Zhou Enlai convinced him of the need for a united front between the Nationalist and Communist Chinese against Japan.

On December 4 1936, Chiang Kai-shek, the nationalist leader met with Marshal Chang in Xian, ostensibly to plan a campaign against the Communists that was due to begin on December 12. Chang arrested Chiang Kai-shek, an event that became know around the world as the "Xian incident." Two weeks later, Chiang was released after agreeing to work with the Communists in fighting the Japanese. After the Xian incident Marshal Chang might have chosen to join the Communists. Instead, he surrendered to Chiang Kai-shek who placed him under house arrest for the next 50 years. Marshall Chang lived comfortably in a house with an extensive garden. The house was filled with paintings and calligraphy honoring the Chiang family, including a number that were draw by Madame Chiang Kai-shek. Many of these items are now in the Chang Papers, along with correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, published materials, and memorabilia documenting the life of Peter and Edith Chang.

Gift of Peter H. L. and Edith C. Chang, 1994

Fukuda Bisen (1875 – 1963)
Ch ū goku sanjū emaki
Watercolor, (49 cm x 40 feet), Scroll 2 of 30, 1949-1959
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

The Japanese artist Fukuda Bisen twice painted a thirty-scroll series on Chinese landscapes, only to have the first set destroyed in the great Tokyo earthquake of 1923, and the second by the bombing of Tokyo in World War II. By chance, another painting by Fukuda was accidentally noticed and admired by General D. D. Eisenhower, then President of Columbia University. The artist was inspired to redo his series, which depict the great Yangtze River of China, to present to Columbia University. The artist donated the first scroll in 1951, and completed donating the entire set in 1960. The length of the scroll is used by the artist to create a panoramic view of a great river, viewed as though passing through the landscape on the water.

Painted for Columbia University and donated by the artist, from 1951 through 1960

New York City History

Johannes Nevins (1627 – before 1672)
Document pertaining to a plot of land
Manuscript document, signed, New York, 6 July 1658
RBML, Van Courtlandt Papers

The seal on this document is the first seal of the City of New York, granted to New Amsterdam in 1654 and used until 1659. The document, signed by Johannes Nevins, the Clerk of the Burgomasters from 1658-1665, confirms Oloff Stevenszen Van Courtlandt's (1600 – 1684) ownership of a plot of land on Stone Street.

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Cremin, 1970

New York City, Coroner's Office
Minutes of the Coroner's Proceedings in the City and County of New York
Manuscript on paper, 1747-1758

These early reports kept by John Burnet for New York City and County document colonial attempts to establish causation of injuries related to untimely and unnatural death. They offer an invaluable insight into the history of forensic pathology in America, showing the fees and duties of the coroner as well as documenting court testimony in criminal and civil proceedings.

Gift of Mrs. Charles Blyth Van Courtlandt Martin

Charles Willson Peale (1741 – 1827)
Portrait of Alexander Hamilton
Watercolor on ivory, (4.5 x 3.5 cm.), ca. 1780
Office of Art Properties
Alexander (1757 – 1804) and Elizabeth Schuyler (1757 – 1854) Hamilton
Gold double-band wedding ring of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, and wedding handkerchiefs of Alexander and Elizabeth Hamilton, 1780
RBML, Hamilton Memorabilia

American portrait painter, naturalist, and patriot, Charles Willson Peale was a distinguished painter of American statesmen of the Revolutionary era; of George Washington alone, he painted some sixty portraits. This miniature of Hamilton (1755 –1804) is thought to have been painted in 1780, the year of his marriage, at the insistence of his wife, Elizabeth Schuyler. She is credited with embroidering the silk mat. At the time, Hamilton was serving as Washington's secretary and aide-de-camp. He studied at King's College in 1773 and 1774, but his education was interrupted by the American Revolution. The renamed Columbia College granted him an honorary master's degree in 1788.

(Portrait) Gift of Edmund Astley Prentiss

(Wedding Ring and Handkerchiefs) Gift of Furman University Library through the suggestion and assistance of the Hamilton family descendents: Mrs. Marie Hamilton Barrett and Mrs. Elizabeth Schuyler Campbell, 1988

Tammany Society
Journal & Rules of the Council of Sachems of Saint Tammany's Society
Manuscript on paper, 1789 - 1796
RBML, Kilroe Tammaniana Collection

The Tammany Society was founded in New York City by William Mooney, a Revolutionary War soldier, as a patriotic fraternal order in opposition to the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization of officers. This volume records its first meetings. In order to mock the aristocratic Cincinnati, the society was named for Tammany, an Indian chief, and used American Indian names, imagery and ceremonies. Focused on youth, young men who could not normally participate in political events could experience something of politics within the society, and it developed into a political club, its clubhouse known as Tammany Hall.

Led by Aaron Burr, the Society helped to carry New York for Thomas Jefferson in the election of 1800. It became increasingly political by the nineteenth century and enjoyed the support of newly arrived immigrants through its program of aiding and helping them to become citizens. "Boss" William M. Tweed, the society's most powerful member, ruled New York like a despot, and Tammany Hall became synonymous with City Hall. Tammany retained considerable influence into the twentieth century until Robert Wagner was elected mayor on an anti-Tammany ticket.

Gift of Edwin Patrick Kilroe, 1942

Archibald Robertson
New York from Long Island
Ink and color wash on paper, (17 ¼ x 24 ½ inches), ca. 1795
Office of Art Properties

Emigrating from Scotland in 1791, Robertson set up practice in New York City as a miniaturist. In addition, he also made numerous landscapes and city views. Together with William and Thomas Birch, who worked in Philadelphia, he helped to introduce the English topographical watercolor tradition in the United States. This view across the East River to Manhattan, depicting an expansive landscape, stems from that tradition. The building at the right is George Washington's headquarters. The location is identified in an inscription across the bottom of the sheet.

Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan

DeWitt Clinton (1769 – 1828)
Vol. 17, 1808-16, of 24, 1785-1828
RBML, DeWitt Clinton Papers

Congress established the First Bank of the United States, headquartered in Philadelphia, in 1791. By 1816, Congress chartered the Second Bank of the United States. In the manuscript from DeWitt Clinton's own letterbooks shown here, Clinton argues passionately that New York City deserves to be the home of the national bank, writing: "New York is the commercial capital of the union. In her center is one third of our commerce and from here is derived one third of our revenue. There are ten times more goods purchased here." Clinton's wish prevailed, marking the commercial and political ascendancy of New York over its rival Philadelphia. The library's DeWitt Clinton holdings contain 15 volumes of letters received by Clinton (1785-1828), 8 volumes of letterbooks of his own letters and writings (1793-1828), and one volume of miscellaneous papers in various hands.

Gift of William Schermerhorn, 1902

Alexander Jackson Davis (1803 – 1892)
United States Custom House
Watercolor and black ink on paper, (8.25 x 14.37 in), ca. 1834
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Drawings and Archives, Alexander Jackson Davis Collection I

In 1833, Davis and his partner Ithiel Town won the competition for the US Custom House to be built on the site of Washington's Inauguration down the street from Trinity Church. The architects lost control of the construction, that being given to Samuel Thomson, and the finished building lacks the majesty of this drawing particularly in the reduction of the dome. A magnificent section, this drawing shows Davis in full command of his artistic and architectural powers. The proportion and harmony of the design are wedded to a direct and rich exposition of the architectural structure and detail.

Architect, writer, renderer, theorist, it is hard to overestimate Davis's position in American architecture of the 19th century before the Civil War. Davis designed civic and urban buildings for the burgeoning city of New York and with his friend, the landscape designer Andrew Jackson Downing, brought to life the romantic vision of Gothic cottage in the Hudson Valley. Fortunately his work survives in large numbers in three major repositories: the Avery Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New-York Historical Society.

Purchase, 1940

Richard Upjohn (1802 – 1878)
Trinity Church perspective view
Watercolor on paper, ca. 1840
Avery Library, Drawings and Archives, Upjohn Collection

At the head of Wall Street stands Trinity Church built by the dean of American Episcopalian architects, the Englishman Richard Upjohn. Upon his arrival in the United States, Upjohn passed the first five years in Boston where he met Dr. Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, who became the Rector of Trinity in 1838. The standing structure of the church was found to be unstable and the new rector called in Upjohn to build a new church, which was dedicated in 1846. This rendering, thought to be executed by Fanny Palmer, an artist for Currier & Ives, portrays the urban church as a typical English country side church rather than the dominant element of its neighborhood.

Upjohn was joined in his practice by his son, Richard Michell Upjohn, most famous for his design of the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford. His son, Hobart, also became an architect, with a practice in the New York area, with many churches, and North Carolina. Hobart's son, Everard, also an architect, taught at Columbia for many years. Upon the request of Avery Librarian Talbot Hamlin, Everard and his children donated his family's architectural drawings to the library through a series of donations, the last in 1983. The papers of the firm were donated to the New York Public Library.

Gift of the Upjohn Family

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)
Manuscript letter in John Hay's hand, signed by Lincoln, to Columbia University President Charles King
Washington, D.C., June 26, 1861
RBML, Columbia College Papers

At commencement exercises held at the Academy of Music on June 27, 1861, President King announced that the University was conferring an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on President Lincoln. Preoccupied by the events of the Civil War, Lincoln could not travel to New York to receive the degree, so Professor Francis Lieber was sent to Washington to present the diploma. Lincoln wrote to President King to thank him for the honor. Signed by Lincoln, the text of the letter is in the hand of John Hay, one of Lincoln's two private secretaries. The divisiveness of the Civil War, as well as the election of 1860, was doubtless in the President's thoughts when he wrote of preserving the country's institutions and of the honor being a gesture of "confidence and good will," awarded two months after the war began.

Gift of Janet Haldane and her Children, 1983

Louis Prang (1824 – 1909)
Views in Central Park, New York
Boston: L. Prang & Co., 1863-69
5 series of 12 chromolithographic cards, (6.3 x 10.1 cm each)
Avery Library, Classics Collection

By the mid-nineteenth century, New York City had expanded northward at such a precipitous pace, that the question of open space was addressed by legislators, who passed an act to create a large public park. In 1857, the same year that Columbia College moved uptown to Forty-ninth Street and Madison Avenue (where it remained until 1897), a competition was announced for the design of Central Park. The entry selected for the site (which extended from 60th to 106th Streets between Fifth and Eighth Avenues) was the now-famous Greensward Plan, created by Calvert Vaux (1824-1895) and Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903).

Today, it would be impossible to imagine Manhattan without this urban oasis. In the park's first decades, its distinctive blend of English picturesque and more rugged American Adirondacks style captivated the entire nation. Numerous prints, stereograph photographs, and souvenir books celebrated what quickly became one of New York City's major tourist attractions. These color lithograph album cards, issued in series for mounting in scrapbooks (a Victorian pastime), depict favorite landmarks. The first three series were published in 1863, and the last two in 1869, by the Louis Prang firm, one of the finest lithographic concerns in the United States. All five series in full are known to exist only at Avery.

Purchase, 1986

Architectural Iron Works of New York
Illustrations of Iron Architecture, Made by the Architectural Iron Works of the City of New York
New York: Baker & Godwin, Printers, 1865
Avery Library, Classics Collection

This catalogue of buildings, storefronts, and architectural elements is a noteworthy example of Avery Library's unrivalled collection of more than ten thousand catalogues from the American building trades. Daniel D. Badger's Architectural Iron Works was one of the larger American foundries producing cast-iron architecture. In 1865 Badger decided to advertise his firm's work with this volume listing its principal productions, including about 400 buildings and storefronts in New York, but also ones in Richmond, Virginia, and Sacramento, California—not to mention Alexandria, Egypt, and Panama. The book also featured claims for cast iron as a new building material and, most important, 102 lithographic plates of architectural details as well as whole facades, printed by the prominent firm of Sarony Major & Knapp.

Plate III (one of a handful of color plates) shows the E. V. Haughwout Building (1857), designed by architect J. P. Gaynor as an emporium for the sale of glassware, silverware, clocks, and chandeliers, and the first New York City store to have an elevator for customers. The cast-iron facades at the northeast corner of Broadway and Broome Street recall the arched windows set between columns at Venice's Biblioteca Marciana, testimony to Badger's assertion "that whatever architectural forms can be carved or wrought in wood or stone, or other materials, can also be faithfully reproduced in iron." The Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report quotes an architectural historian on the significance: "In this one building are combined the two elements that provided the basis for today's skyscraper—the load-bearing metal frame and the vertical movement of passengers."

In parallel, one might say that in this one publication are combined the elements that provided the basis for the flourishing of trade catalogues for decades to come—promotional writing and mass printing technology, in the service of prefabricated materials and building parts.

Purchase, 1944

Daly's Theatre, New York
Account book
Manuscript on paper, 1872
RBML, Dramatic Museum Manuscripts

Augustin Daly (1838- 1899), playwright, adaptor and critic, is considered one of America's greatest theatrical managers. Daly's first original work was the wildly successful melodrama Under the Gaslight (1867). He opened his first New York theater, The Fifth Avenue, in 1869, and a few years later established Daly's Theatre on Broadway with a stock company in which John Drew and Ada Rehan were stars, and many other 19th century luminaries appeared from time to time. Some stars, like Clara Morris, left the fold, but others, like Ada Rehan, John Drew, Mrs. Gilbert, and James Lewis stayed with him for years.

The library's Daly's Theatre records include 10 volumes of business records connected with the daily operations of the theater from 1872 through 1899, including income and expenditures, rosters of personnel, attendance books for members of the company, salary accounts, receipt books and one volume having to do with directions for the settings for various plays.

Brander Matthews Dramatic Museum Collection, transferred to RBML, 1956

Charles Follen McKim (1847 – 1909)
Typed letter, signed, to Stanford White, with initial sketch of Low Library
New York, July 24, 1894
Avery Library, Drawings and Archives Collection, Stanford White Collection

When Columbia purchased the land on Morningside Heights, it was the first time that the university had acquired land with the express purpose of building a campus. The university had previously occupied existing buildings on other sites. At the 49th Street campus, the university utilized the buildings of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum even after new buildings by Charles Coolidge Haight were erected. A competition for the new campus was announced and McKim, Mead and White were chosen from the competitors, who included Richard Morris Hunt, Haight himself, and Ware and Olmsted.

The focal point of the new campus was the library, named after President Seth Low in honor of his donation of one million dollars to erect this building. In this draft of a letter to his partner Stanford White, Charles McKim, the lead designer, explains that he cannot go golfing in Europe with White as President Low has cut out such a lot of work for him. On the verso of this letter emerges the conception of Low Library, remarkably close to the final version.

This letter was found within the office correspondence of Stanford White, who had kept the letter under M for McKim. Avery Library received the incoming and outgoing correspondence from the White family along with other gifts. From the successor firm, Walker O. Cain Associates, the library acquired many of the architectural drawings of the Columbia campus. The bulk of the firm's archive, more than 100,000 drawings as well as papers and files, was donated to the New York Historical Society.

Gift of the Stanford White Family, 1981

William Barclay Parsons, (1859-1932)
Diary, Rapid Transit System of New York
Typescript, 4 vols., with author's initials in vol. 1, 1900 - 1904

William Barclay Parsons attended Columbia University and graduated in 1882. He was the co-founder of the Spectator and became one of the great developers of the civil engineering projects that ushered America into the modern age of industrial design. He was chief engineer for the Rapid Transit System of New York, and designed the original plans for the Interborough Rapid Transit system which opened one hundred years ago, in 1904. His thorough examinations of Manhattan's topography resulted in his use of the less expensive and more efficient cut-and-cover construction method for the first subway lines.

Parsons made an important survey of Chinese railroads (1898-99), was on the board of consulting engineers for the Panama Canal (1905), and was Chief engineer for the Cape Cod Canal (1905-14). He served as a colonel in the Spanish American War and a general in World War I. Even his overseas duty did not diminish his dedication to improving Columbia University, as he was chairman of the Board of trustees, a founder of what would become the Starr East Asian Library, and a confidant of Nicholas Murray Butler during this time. In addition to this diary, Columbia received Parson's diaries kept during his work on the Panama Canal and during World War I, as well as his fine collection of railroad prints.

Gift of William Barclay Parsons, Jr., 1958

Lewis Hine (1874 – 1940)
Photograph of welder, Empire State Building
New York, 1930-31
Avery Library, Drawings and Archives, Empire State Buildings Archive

At the time of its construction in 1930-1, the Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world, its construction a fascination to everyone. As part of the publicity for the building, the Empire State Corporation hired photographer Lewis Hine to take photographs of the workers. Renowned for his social documentary of immigrants, child labor, and the poor and working classes, Hine was compelled by the economic realities of the Depression to take this advertising job. His photographer's eye was, however, unchanged by those realities and delivered an intimate and often heroic vision of American workers, published as Men at Work: Photographic Studies of Modern Men and Machines (Macmillan Company, 1932).

The Hine photographs are part of the Empire State Building archive. Included in this collection are over 400 demolition and construction photographs taken during the razing of the Waldorf-Astoria and the building of the new skyscraper. There are more than 20 scrapbooks of news items collected by clipping services that document the publicity blitz promoting the building. Post-construction the publicity machine continued with the photographs of dozens of celebrities and political figures who found the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building the perfect photo opportunity.

Gift of the Empire State Building Corporation, 1971

September 11th 2001 Oral History Narrative and Memory Project
Oral History Research Office

The Columbia University Oral History Research Office [OHRO], in collaboration with the Institute for Social and Economic Research Policy [ISERP] at Columbia University, has undertaken a major oral history project on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and their aftermath.More than 300 audiotaped interviews have been conducted with a wide variety of people who were directly and indirectly affected by the catastrophe. Many of the interviews were conducted within six to eight weeks of the attacks, in order to document the uniqueness and diversity of experiences of and responses to the catastrophe as close to the events as possible.Initial funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and Columbia University. The early success of the project was also made possible by a concentrated effort of volunteer oral historians, historians, sociologists, journalists and student interviewers.

The objective of the Oral History Memory and Narrative Project is to gather as many different perspectives on the impact of September 11th as possible, by asking individuals to narrate their experiences of the events and their aftermath through the telling of their life stories.The project is designed to return to the same individuals at least twice, over a period of two years, to assess the influences of September 11th on their self-understanding over time.While the nucleus of the project is in New York, an effort has been made to collect life stories around the country, and the scope of the project will expand internationally pending future funding.Interviews have been conducted over a broad spectrum of ethnic and professional categories, and include those who have been discriminated against or lost work in the wake of the events. Through the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, clusters of interviews have been conducted with Afghan American immigrants as well as refugees, Muslims and Sikhs, Latinos, and community and performance artists whose lives and work have been influenced by the September 11th events.

Art & Architecture

Leon Battista Alberti (1404 – 1472)
De re aedificatoria
Florence: Nicolaus Laurentii Alamaus, [1485]
Avery Library, Classics Collection

Although Vitruvius's is the oldest architectural treatise to survive in the West, the first to have been printed from movable type was Alberti's De re aedificatoria. Indeed, Alberti's was the first architectural treatise to be written in the West since Vitruvius and consciously recalled the ancient work, being likewise divided into ten books. Alberti wrote his text for patrons as well as architects, in elegant Latin, a deliberate effort to bring status to architecture and the architectural profession. He presented his treatise in manuscript to Pope Nicholas V in 1450. The text was posthumously printed at Florence in 1485, with a preface by the scholar-poet Angelo Poliziano, addressed to Lorenzo de' Medici. Lorenzo already owned a manuscript of De re aedificatoria, and he may indeed have lent it to the printer for the setting of type.

Avery acquired the editio princeps within a year of its founding, from the New York City bookseller Stechert. The copy has been dutifully annotated by a non-Italian student of the first half of the sixteenth-century; that is, up until leaf 23 of 204, where he appears to have stopped reading. Alberti's treatise included no illustrations, but for the first book on Lineaments, the reader has added diagrams that reflect the author's discussion of angles, arcs, and circles. The volume was rebound in the late nineteenth century and bears the gilt arms of the Bibliothèque de Mello on its front and back covers.

Purchase, 1891

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (b. ca. 80/70 BCE)
De Architectvra
[Rome?: s.n., 1486 or 1487]
Avery Library, Classics Collection

Avery Library, a memorial to Henry Ogden Avery, a New York architect who died tragically young, was expressly established to make expensive treatises and plate books accessible to architects and students. It was only quite natural, then, that the first printed edition of Vitruvius's De architectura should enter Avery's collections early on. Eight years after the library's founding, in March 1898, Henry's father, Samuel Putnam Avery – a superlative book collector as well as one of America's first great art dealers – presented a copy of the editio princeps to Columbia University.

Most of the little that is known of Vitruvius's life has been gleaned from his ten books on architecture, probably written around 30-20 B.C.E. He was a freeborn Roman citizen with a liberal arts education as well as architectural training. His text, the only architectural treatise to survive from Western antiquity, remains the most important document for understanding the built environment of the ancient Roman and Greek worlds. Although no papyri scrolls of De architectura are extant, medieval manuscripts are preserved. Probably at least two fifteenth-century manuscripts were used by Giovanni Sulpicio, a Roman humanist, to produce this first edition from movable type, which, like the manuscripts, includes little illustrative matter (actually just one woodcut diagram). The book is presumed to have been printed at Rome, current scholarship favoring Eucharius Silber over Georg Herolt as printer.

The Avery copy is the second of two variant printings and is bound (as is often the case) with the first printing of an ancient work on Rome's waterworks, Frontinus's De aquæductibus (Rome?: s.n., 1486 or 1487), in early nineteenth-century diced russia leather, decorated in gold and blind. The annotations of a late fifteenth-century reader appear in its margins. The inside front cover bears S. P. Avery's bookplate with a quote from John Lyly's Anatomy of Wit (1579): "far more seemely were it for thee to have thy Study full of Bookes than thy purses full of mony." Avery Library today includes well over a hundred different editions of Vitruvius among its 380,000 some volumes.

Gift of Samuel Putnam Avery, 1898

Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528)
Underweysung der Messung
Nuremberg: Hieronymus Andreae, 1525
RBML, Book Arts Collection

Best known of the books on the geometry of letterforms is Dürer's Unterweysung der Messung (A Course on the Art of Measurement). The text is printed in a form of blackletter known as fraktur. The book presents the principles of perspective developed in Renaissance Italy, applying them to architecture, painting, and lettering. Dürer's designs of roman capital letters demonstrate how they can be created using a compass and straightedge.

Purchased with the American Type Founders Company Library & Museum Purchase, 1941

Antoine Lafréry (1512 – 1577)
Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae
610 prints of varying sizes mounted on sheets, 76.8 x 55.2 cm.
Avery Library, Drawings and Archives

The Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae is a collector's album of engravings of Renaissance Rome that takes its name from a title-page designed by Etienne Dupérac (ca. 1573-77) and published by Antoine Lafréry. In his shop at Rome, Lafréry offered for sale well over a hundred prints of Roman subjects, which could be supplemented with other prints, and bound up by visitors to the eternal city. These sixteenth-century albums were in turn acquired by later collectors who further expanded them.

The Avery-Crawford Speculum is what may be called a "super" Speculum, consisting of over 600 prints assembled by the 26th Earl of Crawford (James Ludovic Lindsay, 1847-1913), most probably from two Speculum exemplars of 168 and 433 prints each. As was the fashion with these nineteenth-century amalgamations, the prints were removed from their old mounts and bindings, laid down on fresh sheets, and boxed. The Avery-Crawford Speculum is distinguished by the number of unusual suites and single prints it contains, as well as its size.

Purchase, 1951

Sebastiano Serlio (1475 – 1554)
Book VI, On Domestic Architecture
Ink, wash, and pencil on paper; drawing: 73 drawings on mount (62.3 x 47 cm.), and 63 text leaves (38.7 x 27 cm.), 1541 - ca. 1551
Avery Library, Classics Collection

"Book VI is a unique treasure because in the great variety of needs it seeks to accommodate it gives us, as no other book of its age has done, an insight into Renaissance society and customs." So, the architectural historian James Ackerman introduced this manuscript in its first complete printing, over four hundred years after its creation (Myra Nan Rosenfeld, Sebastiano Serlio on Domestic Architecture . . . The Sixteenth-Century Manuscript of Book VI in the Avery Library of Columbia University, 1978).

The Italian architect Sebastiano Serlio planned to issue seven books on architecture, among the first illustrated manuals of their kind to be printed in Europe. For reasons not fully known, one of these failed to find a publisher, Book VI, On Domestic Architecture. The Avery manuscript of Book VI is one of two extant in Serlio's hand. It passed through various private owners—some unknown and debated, some clearly known (the Bird family of Cheshire, England, in the eighteenth century, and Dr. David Laing of Edinburgh in the nineteenth)—before arriving at Avery, on deposit, in 1920.

Serlio probably began work on the book, a series of designs for houses both modest and regal, after arriving at the court of François I at Fontainebleau. Although the volume was not published as intended, its ground plans, elevations, and cross sections appear to have been known and influential. Drawings that have fascinated historians include ones for the chateau at Ancy-le-Franc, which established Serlio definitively as its architect, and Serlio's proposed plan and elevations for the Louvre, the earliest grand designs for the Parisian royal palace; and one of the first Renaissance designs for a domed secular building, noted for its similarity to Palladio's Villa Rotonda.

Purchase, 1924

John Shute (d. 1563)
The First and Chief Grovndes of Architectvre vsed in all the auncient and famous monymentes: with a farther & more ample discouse vyppon the same, than hitherto hath been set out by any other. Pvblished by Ihon Shute, Paynter and Archytecte
London: Thomas Marshe, 1563
Avery Library, Classics Collection

The First and Chief Grovndes of Architectvre is the first book in English on architecture and of excessive rarity, even in an imperfect copy such as Avery Library's, one of only two copies held outside the British Isles. Shute was a painter-stainer and does not seem to have worked as an architect, although he identifies himself as such. He had visited Rome and includes his own accounts of ancient buildings there, although his text in the main is indebted to Vitruvius, Philandrier, and Serlio, being largely a manual on the five orders.

The book's four engraved plates are less accomplished than contemporaneous Continental work. The larger woodcut illustration of the Composite order has, perhaps, greater charm and is the one original plate surviving in the Avery copy. Shute's book was influential in establishing English architectural terminology. One of the earliest English textbooks, it appears to have been popular, going through three further editions in the sixteenth century. These editions are even scarcer than the first, with no copies traced for two of them. According to library lore, the first edition was serendipitously acquired for Columbia when an Avery librarian walked into a London bookshop and asked if they had any Shute.

Purchase, ca. 1947

Thomas Wright (1711 – 1786)
Various & Valuable Sketches and Designs of Buildings
Album of ca. 175 drawings mounted on ca. 64 full leaves and numerous partial leaves, ink, pencil, and wash on paper, (30 x 25.5 cm.)
Avery Library, Classics Collection

Thomas Wright is best known as an astronomer, but he was also active as a landscape gardener and architect. His Universal Architecture (1755) in two parts (Arbours and Grottos) is a beautiful printed book of true rarity. This manuscript volume, however, is even rarer, being, of course, unique, and one of just two surviving that document Wright's designs beyond his published work.

For thirty years, Wright was employed by the 4th Duke and Duchess of Beaufort at Badminton, where he filled their grounds with follies, grottoes, and garden buildings, in the rustic, gothic, and Palladian styles. He also designed country houses, pavilions, and gatehouses for other wealthy patrons. Some drawings in the Avery volume have been identified as specific built projects for Badminton and elsewhere; others are still unassigned. An identified and wholly fantastic design is the garden barge with Chinese-style pagoda for Frederick, Prince of Wales, intended to travel the Thames.

The Avery Wright manuscript was previously owned by Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872), the greatest of all manuscript collectors (he owned over 100,000). Its front endpaper is inscribed: "Phillipps MS / 13448* / and / 13451 / (vol 1)." Phillipps manuscripts were dispersed in a series of sales, this one at London, in 1898.

Purchase, 1967

François de Cuvilliés (1695 – 1768)
A collection of engravings after the designs of François de Cuvilliés, the elder and his son, François the younger (1731 – 1777)
Paris and Munich, 1738 - ca. 1772
Bound for Victor Massena, Prince d'Essling (1836 – 1910)
Avery Library, Classics Collection

This large and unique compendium of ornament and architectural design by one of the greatest of rococo designers, Cuvilliés the elder, and his son, both architects at the Bavarian court, has been fully analyzed by Herbert Mitchell in The Avery Library Selected Acquisitions 1960-80: An Exhibition in Honor of Adolf K. Placzek (1980). It comprises 337 engravings on 307 leaves and includes the celebrated Morceaux de caprice à divers usages characteristically inventive and wonderfully bizarre.

The volume came to Columbia in 1962 as part of the John Jay Ide (1892-1962) bequest, one of the most substantial gifts of books to Avery Library after the initial donation of Henry Ogden Avery's collection. Ide was a great-great grandson of John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States and one of Columbia's most famous graduates. He had a distinguished career as an aeronautics expert but actually first studied architecture at Columbia, where, no doubt, Avery Library inspired his love of books.

Bequest of John Jay Ide, 1962

James Adam (d. 1794)
British Order
Ink and wash on paper with red highlighting, (116 x 60 cm.), 1762
Avery Library, Drawings and Archives

The third son of Scottish architect William Adam became best known as the partner of his brother Robert, who was one of the most important architects in England in the second half of the eighteenth century and a leading international figure in the neoclassical movement in Europe. Pursuant to their gaining knowledge of the "spirit of antiquity" both brothers had undertaken extensive stays in Rome and had been guided by the French architect Charles Louis Clerisseau, a pensionnaire at the French Academy in Rome. It was during James's tenure in Rome, 1760-1763, that this drawing, replete with Crown of Britain and other symbols of the Empire, was made as part of his project for the Houses of Parliament. Although he had little chance of winning the commission, James dedicated the design to the Earl of Bute, a close friend of the King.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720 – 1778)
Tavola Decimaquinta. Elevazione ortografica della Tribuna, e del Presbiterio della Basilica Lateranense
From Varj Disegni fatti d'ordine della Santità di Nostro Signore PAPA CLEMENTE XIII NEL'ANNO 1764 . . . pe'l compimento della nuova Basilica Lateranense: presentati nell'anno 1767 . . .
Pen and brown ink, with gray and brown washes on paper, (89.7 x 57.2 cm.)
Avery Library, Classics Collection

This artfully embellished section is one of twenty-three drawings at Avery that present Piranesi's ideas for the redesign of San Giovanni in Laterano at Rome. Widely acclaimed for their beauty and historical importance, they are justly regarded as the crowning glory of Avery Library's considerable Piranesi holdings.

Avery began collecting the work of the great Venetian-born printmaker Piranesi soon after its founding, acquiring an almost complete set of the Rome printing of his Opere in 1892. Through the years, other notable materials were added: a first state of the Antichità Romane (1756); a rare copy of the Lettere di Giustificazione (1767); the Prima parte di architetture (1743), Piranesi's first printed work; and a manuscript account book recording construction costs for Piranesi's redesign of the church of Santa Maria del Priorato in Rome (1764-1767).

In 1970, through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Sackler, Avery acquired a collection of most of Piranesi's major works in their early states up to 1764. And in 1971, once again through the Sacklers' beneficence, Avery acquired twenty-three of the twenty-five known large drawings for the redesign of the Lateran Basilica, in memory of Rudolf Wittkower, chairman of Columbia's Art History and Archaeology Department from 1956 to 1969.

Jointly executed by Piranesi and his assistants, these drawings propose various architectural solutions for rites in the church space, sympathetic with the remodeling by Francesco Borromini (1599-1667). They were commissioned by Pope Clement XIII and presented to his nephew Cardinal G. B. Rezzonico; however, none of the six schemes was ever realized. They remain a magnificent record of Piranesi's second and final attempt to work as an architect.

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Sackler in Memory of Rudolf Wittkower, 1971

Abraham Swan (ca. 1720 – ca. 1765)
A Collection of Designs in Architecture, Containing New Plans and Elevations of Houses, for General Use
Philadelphia: R. Bell Bookseller, 1775
Avery Library, Classics Collection

Swan's Collection of Designs is the second architectural book to be printed in the Colonies, and by far the rarest of the handful printed before 1800 in what came to be the United States of America. It appears that only two other copies exist, at the New York Public Library and Winterthur in Delaware.

The printer Robert Bell and engraver John Norman had announced their intention to publish A Collection of Designs, in twelve monthly numbers, in their publication of Swan's British Architect (1775), the first book on architecture printed in the Colonies. Perhaps because of the political situation, only this, the first number, ever appeared. The book was dedicated to John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress. Its dedication leaf features an emblem engraved by Norman, symbolizing the unity of the thirteen colonies.

The Avery copy was purchased by Richard Smith (1735-1803), a delegate to the Continental Congress, while on recess in Philadelphia. His inscription on the title-page, "Richd. Smith Novr. 15. 1775," gives a terminus ante quem for publication; the fascicule with its ten leaves of plates may have been available some months earlier. In the twentieth century, the book was owned by the Pennsylvania senator's nephew and namesake, Boies Penrose II (1902-1976), who affixed his ex-libris to the title-page's verso.

Purchase, 1990

Minard Lafever (1797 – 1854)
Drawings for unbuilt church in Brooklyn Heights, 1840
Avery Library, Drawings and Archives

Lafever's reputation rests on two aspects of his career. In the 1820s and 1830s, the architect published several works that promoted the Greek Revival style. His Modern Builders' Guide, first printed in 1833, had seven editions by 1855, their popularity due to their designs for townhouses then gaining fashion in New York. Lafever was also known for his Gothic Revival churches, mostly executed in Brooklyn. Upjohn's Trinity Church, begun in 1839, had sparked this interest in Gothic Revival churches. These drawings are designs for an unbuilt church on Henry and Montague, which may be an early version of Holy Trinity on Montague Street. It was perhaps too expensive for the funds raised by subscription. This drawing is bound in a book of specifications for the church along with other drawings and a print of Holy Trinity as built.

Purchased through the New York Chapter American Institute of Architects Heritage Ball fund, 1989

David Octavius Hill (1802 – 1870)
A Series of Calotype Views of St. Andrews
Edinburgh: D. O. Hill and R. Adamson, 1846
Avery Library, Classics Collection

This volume of twenty-two mounted calotypes is the third book of photographic illustrations to be published and the first such to be devoted to the monuments and scenery of just one city, St. Andrews, Scotland. David Octavius Hill was a painter and illustrator and learned the art of calotype photography from Robert Adamson (1821-1848), with whom he first teamed in 1843, to tackle a daunting group portrait project. Adamson had been trained by his brother, John, who had learned the process from Sir David Brewster, a friend of William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877), the inventor of negative-to-positive paper photography.

The Views of St. Andrews has a printed title-page but no table of contents. There are fewer than ten copies recorded, and each differs in assortment and number of images. The calotypes in the Avery copy have faded, as is usual. Alas, the ephemeral medium eerily seems to suit the medieval ruins, nineteenth-century fisher folk, and top-hatted gentlemen depicted. Too fragile for exhibition, the book is preserved and made available through study prints.

Avery acquired this volume early on from a London bookseller. For years it sat on the open shelves, classed with other books on Scotland's cities, more a novelty, perhaps, than a "treasure." Today, as photomechanical processes in book illustration give way to digital ones, the significance of this volume is obvious.

Purchase, 1896

Dickinson's Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851. From the Originals Painted for H. R. M. Prince Albert, by Messrs. Nash, Haghe, and Roberts
London: Dickinson, Brothers, 1854
2 volumes
Avery Library, Classics Collection

This deluxe edition was created to commemorate the 1851 exhibition in the Crystal Palace. Great Britain's Prince Albert had proposed a trade exhibition like no other before it, truly international, with the work of nearly 14,000 exhibitors from twenty-six nations on view. To house such an event, Joseph Paxton (1803-1865) designed a new type of building, using the latest in cast iron and glass technology. Sited in London's Hyde Park, the landmark structure, 1848 feet long by 408 feet wide, was visited by more than six million people in the exhibition's five months. Public feeling for the temporary building was so strong that it was re-erected in South London, in enlarged form, the year that these volumes appeared. Fire destroyed the Crystal Palace in 1936.

Dickinson's Comprehensive Pictures document the pomp and ritual in this resplendent space, and the exhibits—from European bourgeois furnishings and modern machinery to an Arab tent from Tunis, draped with leopard and lion skins. Avery's set of these spectacular large-format color plate books—from the genre's heyday in the nineteenth century—is a unique one. The fifty-five chromolithographs, with some details colored by hand, are in proof impressions, many signed in pencil by the artists.

Purchase, 1963

Stanford White (1853 – 1906)
Album of family letters with sketches
Mixed media, 1873-78
Avery Library, Drawings and Archives, Stanford White Collection

Throughout his life White was a prolific letter writer, both professionally and personally. This album, one of four in the Avery collection, contains letters to his mother and father during his employment with Henry Hobson Richardson in Boston. The letters reveal his enormous energy, keen observation, and personal magnetism, as well as his strong affection for his parents. White often included sketches of scenes he described. At this early stage in his career, he had only recently given up his wish to become an artist, instead focusing his artistic talents on a career in architecture. Unlike the clarity of his artistic vision, White's handwriting was nearly illegible; fortunately his son, the architect Lawrence Grant White, transcribed the letters when he compiled these albums of letters and drawings.

In addition to these albums, the White family has donated more than 500 drawings for the White houses in St. James and on Gramercy Park in Manhattan and a variety of other projects. They have donated letterpress books with outgoing correspondence and incoming correspondence for White's professional activities from 1887-1907 as well as a death mask and plaster cast of the architect's hand.

Acquired by purchase and gift, 1999

Louis H. Sullivan (1856 – 1924)
Drawing for Doorknob, Guaranty Building, Buffalo, New York
[Medium], 1895
Avery Library, Drawings and Archives, Louis Sullivan Collection
Yale & Towne
Doorknob, Guaranty Building
Cast iron, 1895
Avery Library, Drawings and Archives, Louis Sullivan Collection

Considered one of Sullivan's most famous buildings, the Guaranty Building retains much of its original decorative elements designed by the architect. The drawing shows the general outline of the doorknob that was used throughout the building. Yale & Towne, a manufacturer of cast iron architectural elements, produced the doorknob.

The drawing was part of a group of drawings that Sullivan gave to Frank Lloyd Wright, who had worked for Sullivan as a young architect. The drawings were purchased for Avery after Wright's death by Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., whose family had commissioned Wright's Fallingwater. The doorknob was an extra found at the building and donated to the library.

Purchase, 1965


Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 – 1959)

Drawing of dining room, Dana House, Springfield, Illinois

Watercolor on paper, (62 x 50.5 cm.), 1902-04

Avery Library, Drawings and Archives

Susan Lawrence Dana commissioned this house from Wright in 1902-04, which is now a state landmark. The cut-away view of the dining room, complete with furniture, hanging lamps, sculpture, and wallpaper, makes the room look much larger than its true size. This drawing appears in an early photograph of Wright's Oak Park office and was purchased from the architect's son, John Lloyd Wright. John Wright's notes indicate that his father was the draughtsman of the drawing, although others have claimed authorship for George Niedecken, an interior decorator who collaborated with Wright.

Purchased from John Lloyd Wright, 1969


Greene & Greene

Detail drawing of decorative window, Earle C. Anthony House, Los Angeles

Pencil on paper, 1913

Avery Library, Drawings and Archives, Greene & Greene Collection

Born in Ohio and educated at MIT, these brothers designed several of the most distinguished Arts and Crafts houses in the United States, mostly in Pasadena and other towns in southern California. Combining Japanese-inspired wood construction and individually designed and handcrafted furniture and objects in houses that opened into the beautiful California climate, Greene and Greene defined the California bungalow in the early 20th century. This stained glass window was designed for the house of the Los Angeles businessman, Earle C. Anthony, for whom the brothers had also designed a showroom for his Packard dealership. The mixture of Japanese-inspired line with California flora—here the live oak—was typical of the Greenes's design sensibility.

The Greene and Greene papers are spread among three repositories: the Gamble House, the Environmental Design Archives at UC Berkeley, and the Avery Library. Under the aegis of the Gamble House, now a house museum belonging to the University of Southern California, the three repositories cooperated on a "virtual archive" of the three collections. The site can be located at the Gamble House's website:

Gift, 1960


Rafael Guastavino (1842 – 1908)

Drawing for Dater House, Montecito, California

Pencil & colored pencil on tracing paper, (9.5 x 7.37 in), 1917

Avery Library, Drawings and Archives, The Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company/ George Collins Architectural Records & Drawings


Rafael Guastavino (1842 – 1908)

Tile made for Dater House

Polychromed terra cotta, (5.75 x 5.75 x .8 in) 1917

Avery Library, Drawings and Archives, The Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company/ George Collins Architectural Records & Drawings

Rafael Guastavino was a Spanish émigré architect who brought to the United States a centuries-old vernacular method of building fireproof vaults and domes and adapted it to the steel-frame construction prevalent in this country. Although Guastavino practiced as an architect in Barcelona and in New York on his arrival, his career took an unexpected turn through his connection with Charles McKim and his work at the Boston Public Library in the late 1880s. It was at this building that Guastavino began to function primarily as a contractor building vaults and domes. His company, the Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company, under his leadership and that of his son, Rafael, Jr., was extremely prolific. By the time the firm closed its door in 1962, they had built vaults, domes, and other architectural elements in approximately 1,000 buildings in the United States. Their best known works include the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal and the dome at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

The Guastavinos worked frequently with Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, the architect of notable Gothic churches and the Nebraska State Capitol. Goodhue had an interest in Mexican architecture, which he put to use in his designs for the Panama-Pacific exposition in San Diego in 1915. These tiles were designed for the Dater house in Montecito, California, but were also used in San Diego and at the Goodhue hotel in Colon, Panama. Goodhue, more than any other architect the Guastavinos worked with, took advantage of the decorative possibilities of the surfaces of the Guastavino vaults and domes.

The Guastavino papers were saved through the efforts of the late George R. Collins, Professor of Art History and donated to the University in 1963. Professor Collins served as custodian and guide to the papers until his retirement in 1988, when the archives were transferred to the Avery Library.

Gift, 1963


Hendrick Petrus Berlage (1856 – 1934)

Frank Lloyd Wright. Wendingen

Amsterdam: "De Hooge Brug," 1921

Avery Library, Classics Collection

This special number of the Dutch art magazine Wendingen testifies to the international reverberations of American architecture in the early twentieth century, as well as the powerful intersection of typography and book design with criticism and the visual arts. It also serves as a fine example of Avery Library's architectural periodicals collection, perhaps the largest in the world.

Under the editorial and design leadership of H. Th. Wijdeveld, the periodical entitled Wendingen—"Upheavals" or "Turnings"—was intended as a medium for creation and not just art journalism. Individual issues were dedicated to a single subject, with writings by noted practitioners. The distinctive format and style of binding echoed Japanese traditions. Covers were conceived as works of art, most being designed by "representative members" of the society sponsoring the publication, Architectura et Amicitia.

For this issue devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright the artist El Lissitzky (1890-1941) was paid to provide the cover design, among his first commissions upon leaving Russia. In the magazine's fourth year (1921), German-language and English-language editions of issues began to appear, evidence of its appeal beyond the Netherlands. This deluxe copy of the English edition of vol. 4, no. 11, is one of about 75 produced with heavier paper and hard covers. The text of the influential Dutch modern architect Berlage introduces a selection of photographs and renderings of Wright's work, including Midway Gardens, Taliesin, the Imperial Hotel, and the Barnsdale Theatre. A further seven issues of Wendingen would be devoted to Wright in 1925-26.


Florine Stettheimer (1871 – 1944)

Portrait of Myself, 1923

Oil on canvas, on masonite or canvas mounted board, signed and dated, upper left, "Florine St." (100 x 65 cm.), 1923

Office of Art Properties

Florine Stettheimer was an artist, designer and poet. Although during her lifetime she was little known outside the circle of New York modernists of which she and her sisters were a part, Stettheimer's achievements in painting, costume and set design have since been recognized as important contributions to American art in the first half of the twentieth century. She was born in Rochester New York, the second youngest of five children in a well-to-do German-Jewish family. In 1914, after studying art in both New York and Europe, Stettheimer settled permanently in New York City with her mother and two sisters. Together they hosted salons and intellectual gatherings for over twenty years that included such figures as Marcel Duchamp, Carl Van Vechten, Georgia O'Keefe, and Alfred Stieglitz, many of whom became the subjects of Stettheimer's portraits.

Her first and only solo exhibition during her lifetime took place in 1916. It was a great disappointment to her, and subsequently Stettheimer showed her work only in group exhibitions. In her vividly colored portraits of family and friends, Stettheimer experimented with modernist styles and expressed her often witty social commentary on contemporary culture. She created sets and costumes for two never-produced ballets and the well-known 1934 Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson opera Four Saints in Three Acts. In addition to the paintings catalogued by Columbia's Office of Art Properties, the Rare Book and Manuscript Library holds her journals, early paintings and drawings, scrapbooks, and figurines and prop maquettes, including those for Four Saints, included in the Theater and Performing Arts section of this exhibition. Her Portrait of Myself shows the artist dressed in a diaphanous gown; she floats beneath the arch of her signature, which ends in a radiant sun and dancing mayfly.

Gift of the Estate of Ettie Stettheimer, 1967


Roy Lichtenstein (1923 – 1997)

Untitled, 1974

Lithograph and silkscreen with embossing, (40 9/16 x 31 7/8 inches, sheet; 32 1/2 x 23 7/8 inches, plate)

1/100, from the portfolio For Meyer Schapiro, twelve signed prints by twelve artists, published by The Committee to Endow a Chair in Honor of Meyer Schapiro at Columbia

Office of Art Properties

This portfolio is a tribute to Meyer Schapiro (1904 –1996), distinguished teacher, lecturer, and scholar, whose writings have influenced generations of scholars and critics the world over, particularly in the areas of medieval and modern art. Affiliated with Columbia since he enrolled as a freshman in 1920 at age 16, he earned three degrees at the University, including the Ph.D. in 1929, with a dissertation on the Romanesque sculpture of Moissac. Schapiro began teaching art history at Columbia in 1928 and rose through the professorial ranks to become full professor in 1952. He was named University Professor, Columbia's highest rank, in 1965 and was designated University Professor Emeritus 1973.

Known as a champion of the art of his time, Schapiro not only wrote about contemporary art but was a friend of countless artists. As a gesture to their friend and mentor on his 70th birthday, 12 artists, among them Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Motherwell, Claes Oldenburg, Saul Steinberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol, in addition to Roy Lichtenstein, created this portfolio of original lithographs, etchings, and silk screens.

Philanthropy, Social Services, Human Rights


Memorial to the Columbia College Board of Trustees

Printed document, with signatures in ink, on paper, 26 sections, New York, 1882 – 1883

Barnard College, Barnard College Archives

On April 22, 1882, a large public meeting was held to discuss the reform of women's higher education in the City of New York. The venue was the Union League Club on East 39th Street, which had been formed in 1863 to support the Union during the Civil War. Prominent speakers at this meeting included Joseph H. Choate, the Reverend Henry C. Potter, and Sidney Smith, who drew attention to the "empty minds and nimble fingers of women" in arguing that there was a need for reform in women's education. When it was Choate's turn to speak, he stressed that women were entitled to an equal education and called for an end to the "educational privileging" of the male sex. At the conclusion of the event, attendees began signing a petition calling on the Trustees of Columbia College, the leading institution of higher learning in New York, "to extend with as little delay as possible to such properly qualified women as might desire it, the benefit of education at Columbia College by admitting them to lectures and examinations." As more persons signed in the subsequent weeks and months, section after section was glued on to extend the document, until it was 75 feet long and held the signatures of 1,410 persons, including those of then United States President Chester A. Arthur, Samuel P. Avery, Theodore Roosevelt, and Susan B. Anthony.

Presented to the Columbia College Board of Trustees in February of 1883, the Giant Memorial served as proof that many progressive citizens of New York favored the idea of post-secondary co-education, a trend that was already well-established elsewhere in the United States. Although the Trustees (with the lone exception of President Frederick A. P. Barnard) voted to reject the Memorial's substance, it did persuade them to immediately form the Select Committee on the Education of Women. In the fall of 1883, the Committee issued a report advocating the improvement of higher education for women. Although still not allowed to attend the lectures that were so essential to a genuine college education, qualified women were offered the Collegiate Course for Women, which permitted them to receive syllabi and to take examinations. When Annie Nathan Meyer enrolled in the Collegiate Course, she found its shortcomings so great that she made it her personal mission to help found an independent, four-year women's college in the City of New York annexed to Columbia, and with precisely the same academic standards. That vision finally was realized in the fall of 1889, when Barnard College opened with the provisional blessing of the Columbia College Board of Trustees.

In the spring of 2003, one hundred twenty years after it was presented to the Columbia College Board of Trustees, the Giant Memorial was returned to the Barnard College Archives by the Northeast Document Conservation Center, following a process of manual restoration that took the better part of a year, and was made possible by a generous gift from the Class of 1942. Originally rolled on a wooden dowel, too fragile to be examined for many years, the 75-foot document was meticulously repaired, flattened, photographed, and cut into twenty-six sections which were individually encapsulated in Mylar.


Eastman Johnson (1824 – 1906)

Portrait of Fredrick A. P. Barnard

Black and white chalk on prepared gray paper, mounted on linen, signed, (24 x 17 ¾ in.), 1886

Office of Art Properties

Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard (1809 –1889) succeeded Charles King as president of Columbia College, now Columbia University. During his long administration (1864 –89), Columbia grew from a small undergraduate college of 150 students into one of the nation's great universities, with an enrollment of 1,500. He was instrumental in expanding the curriculum, adding departments, and fostering the development of the School of Mines (founded 1864; now part of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science). He extended the elective system and advocated equal educational privileges for men and women. Barnard College, the woman's undergraduate unit of Columbia, was named for him, who was a staunch advocate of higher education for women. Renowned for his sophisticated portrayals of American rural life, Eastman Johnson was also one of the most cosmopolitan painters of his era. During the 1880s, he turned almost exclusively to portraiture. This chalk drawing is probably a study for the large oil portrait that hangs in Low Memorial Library.


Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919), Carnegie Corporation of New York

Records of College Donations New York

Bound manuscript volume, 1901-30

RBML, Carnegie Corporation of New York Archives

This volume contains the records of donations made by Andrew Carnegie and subsequently the Carnegie Corporation of New York to colleges and universities for their endowments, libraries, scholarships, new buildings, programs and research.

Gift of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1990


Carnegie Family Convention, Pittsburgh

Black and white photograph, Pittsburgh Gazette Times, (10 x12 in.), April 1910

RBML, Carnegie Corporation of New York Archives

Carnegie family in Pittsburgh on the return of Mr. Andrew Carnegie (front row, third from the left) and Mrs. Loiuse Whitfield Carnegie (front row, second from the left) from California en route to New York. Pittsburgh was the first place of residence in the United States for the 12-year-old Andrew, when he arrived from Scotland along with his parents Margaret and William, and his younger brother Tom. The family chose Pittsburgh, since Margaret Carnegie's sisters had already been living in the area. Pittsburgh witnessed Carnegie's meteoric rise from bobbin boy on a cotton mill to a telegraph operator, then to a railroad manager, then to a steel industry titan. Over the years many other members of the extended family settled there as well. Andrew Carnegie moved to New York City in 1867, but Pittsburgh has always remained the site of his steel factories, and the recipient of many Carnegie benefactions.

Gift of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1990


Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919)

Typed letter, signed, to Robert A. Franks

Skibo Castle, Scotland, September 1, 1910

RBML, Carnegie Corporation of New York Archives

One of several hundred letters from Andrew Carnegie to his close friend and financial agent, Robert A. Franks authorizing payments for various charity causes. Franks was the president and director of the Carnegie Home Trust Company (the trust to invest, keep, and distribute the money for Carnegie's pensions and philanthropic activities) and served as a trustee, an executive committee member and a treasurer for both the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching and the Carnegie Corporation of New York until his death in 1935; for some years he was also treasurer of the Teachers Insurance Annuity Association of America. The letter uses simplified spelling, championed by the New York State Librarian Melvil Dewey and much favored by Carnegie. This spelling was used for all official documents in early days of the Carnegie philanthropic foundations.

Gift of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1990


Sigmund Freud (1859 – 1939)

Contract for "The Psycho-Analytic Problem of the War"

Typescript, signed, Vienna, October 10, 1921

RBML, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Records

This contract between Sigmund Freud and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is signed by Freud and James S. Shotwell, the General Editor of the CEIP's seminal 150-volume series Economic and Social History of the World War. In December 1921, Freud, informing Shotwell that he "can't make any headway," asked to be released from the contract. In 1924, as the series was brought to a conclusion, Shotwell became director of the CEIP Division of Economics and History.

Gift of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1953-54


Lillian Wald (1867 – 1940)

The House on Henry Street

Autograph manuscript, ca. 1915

RBML, Lillian Wald Papers

One of the most influential and respected social reformers of the 20th century, Lillian D. Wald (1867-1940) founded the Henry Street Settlement in 1893. She focused her energy on improving the health and hygiene of immigrant women on the impoverished Lower East Side. Wald devoted herself to the community full-time and within a decade the Settlement included a team of twenty nurses offering an astonishing array of innovative and effective social, recreational and educational services.

Wald pioneered public health nursing by placing nurses in public schools and with corporations. She founded the National Organization for Public Health Nursing and Columbia University's School of Nursing, becoming an international crusader for human rights and a labor activist. The Lillian Wald Papers focus on the administration of the Henry Street Settlement that she directed until 1932, and her involvement in numerous philanthropic and progressive causes. Her office files trace the founding and growth of the Settlement from 1895-1933. Other papers detail her activities on behalf of child welfare, civil liberties, immigration, public health, unemployment, the peace movement during World War I. The House on Henry Street … with Illustrations from Etchings and Drawings by Abraham Phillips and from Photographs was published by Henry Holt and Company in 1915. The book became a classic, influencing generations of nursing, sociology, and social welfare students.

Gift of the Visiting Nurse Service, through Mrs. Eva M. Reese, 1967


Jessie Tarbox Beals (1870 – 1942)

Photograph of slum children

Photograph #1900, ca. 1918-19

RBML, Community Service Society Papers

Jessie Tarbox was born in 1870 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Her family's comfortable lifestyle allowed her, at the age of 14, to attend the prestigious Collegiate Institute of Ontario. Her first photographs were of the children in her classroom in 1888. By 1900 The County Reformer newspaper published Jessie's photographs of a carnival, making her the world's first female photojournalist. Her superb work led her to become one of the official photographers of the St. Louis World's Fair. In 1905 she moved to New York City where with her husband, Alfred Beals, she ran a successful studio until her death in 1942.

During this time, she took many photographs for the Community Service Society, an organization that, through its predecessor organizations, the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor and the Charity Organization Society, has tackled the problem of urban poverty for 150 years. They were responsible for the first public baths in New York City in 1852, the first model tenement in 1855, the first shelter for homeless men in 1893, a prototype of the free lunch program in 1913, and the ground-work for New York State's Old Age Assistance Act of 1930. The Rare Book and Manuscript Library was designated as the repository of the CSS papers in 1979, comprising to date, some 300 linear feet of material, including hundreds of photographs.

Gift of the Community Services Society, 1979 and ongoing


Varian Fry (1907 – 1967)

Surrender on Demand

Typed manuscript, with autograph corrections, ca. 1942-45

RBML, Varian Fry Papers

Surrender on Demand , published just before VE Day in 1945, describes the dramatic story of the underground organizations set up by Americans in France to rescue anti-Nazis from the Gestapo. Fry, a 32-year old Harvard-educated classicist and editor from New York City, helped save 4,000 endangered refugees who were caught in the Vichy French area during World War II, including Max Ernst, Marc Chagall, Hannah Arendt, Andre Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Franz Werfel, and Alma Mahler. In 1991, 24 years after his death in obscurity, Fry received his first official recognition from a United States agency the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. In 1996, he was named as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Heros and Martyrs Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem.

Gift of Annette Riley Fry, 1969 and 1974


Telford Taylor (1908 – 1998)

Public Relations Photo Section, Office Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, Nuremberg, Germany, APO 696-A, US Army, Photo No. OMT-IX-P-7

OMGUS Military Tribunal – Case 9, Nuremberg, Germany

Palace of Justice, Nuremberg, German: February 13, 1948

Black and white photograph, 8 x 10 in.

Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, Special Collections, Telford Taylor Papers


Telford Taylor (1908 – 1998)

Statement on Nuremberg Trials for the International News Service

Typescript, May 9, 1949

Law Library, Special Collections, Telford Taylor Papers

Telford Taylor was an attorney, historian, writer and legal scholar. Taylor was a Professor of Law at Columbia University Law School (1963 – 1976) and served as Nash Professor Emeritus of Law (1976 – 1998). From 1945 to 1946, Taylor was a member of the Office of United States Chief of Counsel, Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, Nuremberg, Germany. In 1946, Taylor was appointed Chief Counsel, and Prosecutor for the Nuremberg Military Tribunals that ran from 1946 to 1949. In this photograph, Taylor is shown presenting the closing arguments of the prosecution in the Einsatzgruppen case. The defendants, as officers of the Einsatzgruppen extermination units, were charged with furthering Hitler's program of genocide through the murdering of approximately one million Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Soviet officials, and others marked in the Nazi race purification plan for the strengthening of Germanism. "When a plan was so criminal that Himmler and Hitler were ashamed of it," stated General Taylor, "it must have been indeed horrible."

In his May 9, 1949 statement to the International News Service, Brig. Gen. Taylor announced the end of the Nuremberg Military Tribunals. The document contains Taylor's original corrections and clearance stamps from the Security Review Section, Public Information Division, Special Staff United States Army. Taylor declared: "… I venture to predict that as time goes on we will hear more about Nuremberg rather than less, and that in a very real sense the conclusion of the trials marks the beginning, and not the end, of Nuremberg as a force in politics, law and morals." … "Nuremberg was part of the process of enforcing law – law that long antedated the trials, and that will endure into the future; law that binds not only Germans and Japanese, but all men."

Gift of Professor Toby Golick, 1999


John Howard Griffin (1920 – 1980)


Typescript, with interspersed photographs, 1950 - 1980

RBML, John Howard Griffin Papers

This massive Journal runs to 2,762 pages of single-spaced typed pages and covers the years 1950 - 1980. This page count does not include ten autograph notebooks he kept while traveling. Griffin kept a journal from the age of sixteen until twenty-one. When France was about to fall to the Germans, he gave the journals to a schoolmate for safe-keeping. "Years later when I returned to France [in 1976], I retrieved the journal which had been buried on my friend's father's farm during the war." As he read what he had written so long ago, Griffin became saddened by the discovery that it was filled with petty reflection on music, food, and literature and practically nothing on the World War. Griffin burned this journal.

John Mason Brown, the theatre critic, encouraged Griffin to write. The result was his first novel, The Devil Rides Outside, written in 1949. Griffin began his mature Journal in December of 1950, the third year of his blindness. He would regain his sight seven years later. When he was not working on novels or short stories, he wrote his Journal, which became a seedbed for most of the work he would publish later. Its pages are full of fragments and drafts of stories and novels; essays and articles; meditations on human rights, the Civil Rights Movement, and major events such as the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ethics, religion and philosophy; responses to the music he listened to constantly; discussions of cooking, farming and family relationships; insights into the realities of blindness and how the condition is wrongly perceived by the sighted; speculations on psychology, sociology, anthropology and the arts in relation to the diminishment of culture in America.

Purchased with the John Howard Griffin Papers, 1995


Ivan Morris (1925 – 1976)

Hiroshima Project

Typescript, with photographs, [date]

RBML, Ivan Morris Papers

Ivan Ira Esme Morris was a member of the Columbia faculty from 1960 until his death in 1976, serving as chairman of the East Asian Department from 1966-69. His field was Japanese literature and culture, but he was also very active in the human rights organization Amnesty International. A member of the group's executive committee in London, he co-founded an American section and served as section chairman from 1973-76. Morris's "Hiroshima Project" recorded the personal accounts of survivors of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb blast. Included with each account is a photograph of the person, bringing to life their deeply personal struggles to live with the pain of their experiences. These accounts also contain anecdotal documentation of the medical problems suffered by each interviewee as a result of the blast, as well as recording the exact distance that each person was from its epicenter.

Gift of Annalita M. Alexander, 1979 and ongoing


John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 – 1963)

Executive Order, Equal Opportunity in Housing

Typscript, signed, with pen, November 27, 1962

RBML, Whitney M. Young, Jr. Papers

John F. Kennedy had criticized President Dwight Eisenhower during the election campaign of 1960 for not eliminating discrimination in housing "by the stroke of a pen." On November 27, 1962, President Kennedy issued this executive order prohibiting racial and religious discrimination in housing built or purchased with Federal aid, and set up the President's Committee on Equal Opportunity in Housing. He then sent this copy, with a pen used in the signing ceremony, to Whitney M. Young, Jr. (1921-1971), Executive Director of the National Urban League from 1961 until his tragic death in 1971. Young's papers, including correspondence, speeches, reports, testimony, press releases, and the texts of his radio broadcasts "To Be Equal," document his leadership.

Gift of Mrs. Margaret Young in memory of Whitney M. Young Jr. (LL.D 1971), 1975


Presidential Medal of Freedom and Certificate signed by the President, Awarded to Herbert H. Lehman (posthumously) by President Lyndon B. Johnson, December 6, 1963

Silver miniature medal, ribbon bar, and silver lapel emblem, in walnut presentation case lined with silver gray plush and white satin, with silver disk containing the arms of the President of the United States inset in the cover of the case. Certificate signed by the President, with citation formally detailing the achievements for which the President is recognizing the individual.

RBML, Lehman Papers


Photograph of President Johnson presenting the Medal of Freedom to Edith Altschul Lehman (Mrs. Herbert H. Lehman)

Washington, D.C., December 6, 1963

RBML, Lehman Papers

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian award, which recognizes exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Among all American honors, it ranks second to only the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award. The medal was established by President Truman in 1945 to recognize notable service in the war. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy reintroduced it as an honor for distinguished civilian service in peacetime.While the medal may be awarded for singular acts of importance, it is customarily given only for a lifetime of service or at the conclusion of a distinguished career. With this criterion, it was altogether fitting that the Medal of Freedom was presented to Herbert H. Lehman in 1964 for 35 years of service as both Lieutenant Governor (1928-1932) and Governor of New York (1933-1942), Director-General of the United Nations Rehabilitation and Relief Administration (1943-1946), and U.S. Senator from New York (1949-1956).

This particular award ceremony was significant in that it marked the reintroduction of the medal as a civil honor, but the occasion was also saddened by the absence of two men: John F. Kennedy, who had been assassinated during the previous November and Herbert Lehman himself, whose death in New York occurred just minutes before his departure to Washington to receive the award. Lehman's wife of over fifty years, Edith Altschul Lehman, journeyed to the White House and accepted the medal on her late husband's behalf.

As the medal was presented to Mrs. Lehman, President Johnson read, "The President of the United States of America awards this Presidential Medal of Freedom to Herbert H. Lehman, citizen and statesman. He has used wisdom and compassion as the tools of government and he has made politics the highest form of public service." Mrs. Lehman accepted the award and replied, "I can't tell you how honored I feel to accept this medal. I want to also say that the knowledge that this medal was coming to him added a great deal to his last hours of life." Among Lehman's fellow award recipients that year were: Thornton Wilder, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, E. B. White, George Meany, Marian Anderson, Edward Steichen, Felix Frankfurter and the late President John F. Kennedy.

Gift of the Estate of Edith Altschul Lehman, 1976


Archdiocese of Sao Paulo

Projeto A " Brasil: Nunca Mais"

Sao Paulo: Arquidiocese de Sao Paulo, 1985

Law Library, Special Collections

"Nunca mais — Never again." On April 1, 1964 a military coup in Brazil established a regime which made political prisoners of dissenting citizens and people who belonged to "clandestine organizations." During the time Brazil remained under military control, from 1964 until March 1985, political prisoners were detained by government security agents. Transcripts from 707 trials conducted by the military indicate that physical and psychological torture was practiced on prisoners in order to coerce confession. Lawyers for the defendants, working with the Roman Catholic Church, photocopied over 1,000,000 pages of these records to analyze the trials and to discover the fate of persons who had disappeared. The results of their investigations were published in "Projeto A" of which this is the volume documenting torture.

Acquired, 1987


Antonio Hernandez Palacios (1921 – 2000) and Will Eisner (b. 1917)

Les Droits de l'homme

Brussels: Magic Strip, 1989

Law Library, Special Collections

From Spain, France, Italy, Uruguay, Argentina and the U.S., six artists contributed stories to illustrate what can happen in a world that disregards fundamental human rights embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Scenes of these sophisticated cartoons are situated in first century Jerusalem, twentieth century Paris, and sixteenth century Italy. Of the 22 articles in the Declaration, the artists chose to portray the right to life, liberty and security of person; freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman treatment; the right to a hearing by an impartial tribunal; freedom of movement within one's country and the right to return to one's country; freedom of opinion and expression; the right of participation in government and the right of access to public services. This episode by Will Eisner takes place in an imaginary country where citizens learn the results of failure to participate in elections.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. At their website,, the Declaration is available in 300 languages.

Gift of Kent McKeever, 1989



Cuneiform Tablet

Cone, 11.5 cm high, 3.8 cm diameter

Ur, Southern Babylonia, ca. 2060 BCE

RBML, Cuneiform Collection

This cone was found prior to 1937 in what is now Southern Iraq in the archeological site of Ur of the Chaldees, the birthplace of Abraham. It was built into a temple wall with similar cones, serving a purpose similar to our modern corner stone. The inscription, dating from the reign of King Libit-Ishtar, just prior to the time of Abraham, is one of the best examples yet discovered of writing dating from that period, and confirms the existence of some of the cities mentioned in the Book of Genesis, once doubted, including Erech, Isin, Sumer and Akkad.

Gift of Frances Henne, 1973


Urraca, Queen of Leon and Castille (r. 1109 – 1126 CE)

Confirmation of Land Grant

Manuscript on vellum, dated according to Spanish Era, 1160 [1122 CE]

RBML, Smith Documents

Urraca, Queen of Leon and Castile, and her son, Alfonsus, confirm the grant by Count Suarius and Countess Enderquina to give after their death to Cluny properties and churches in Asturia and Galicia, among them the church of St. Salvador in Cornelia (Asturia).

Gift of David Eugene Smith, 1931


Marco Polo (1254 – 1324)

Buch des edeln Ritters und Landtfahrers Marco Polo

Nuremberg: Friedrich Creussner, 1477

RBML, Engel Collection

Fourteen copies of this incunable survive, although not all with the woodcut frontispiece depicting Marco Polo as a Renaissance gentleman, posing before a cloth of honor. The German of the text was produced by an anonymous translator who worked from a Tuscan copy: whenever he encountered a word he didn't recognize, he left it in that Italian dialect. As with many incunables, the printed text stands independently of the surviving manuscripts (two, in this case); presumably its exemplar was jettisoned once the printer, Creussner had finished using it for casting off the type.

Gift of Solton and Julia Engel, 1955


Gilles Le Bouvier (1386 – ca. 1457)

Le chronique des rois Charles 6 et 7 conformé aux troubles d'aujourduy

Manuscript on paper, France, ca. 1485

RBML, Jeanne d'Arc Collection

Gilles Le Bouvier, herald of the King of France and King-of-Arms of Berry, was in the army with Joan of Arc from the coronation of Charles VII at Rheims to her capture at Compiègne. His chronicle was first published in 1661. This manuscript is part of the collection formed by Acton Griscom, one of the most important collections of books and manuscripts about Joan of Arc outside of France.

Gift of Acton Griscom, 1920



Silver wire coin, Russia, Moscow Mint, 16th century

RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive

This coin was apparently produced during the reign of Ivan IV (1530-1584) better known as Ivan the Terrible. Ivan IV was the first Russian ruler who was formally crowned as Czar (1547). Ivan the Terrible reformed the Government and Court, conquered Kazan Khan (1552) and Astrakhan Khan (1556) and created an empire that included non-Slav states. The home policy of Ivan the Terrible was accompanied by repressions and the enslaving of peasants.


Abraham Ortelius (1527 – 1598)

Theatrum orbis terrarum

Antwerp: Egidius Coppens Diesth, 1570


Ortelius's "Theater of the Whole World" is considered the first modern geographical atlas and was first published on May 20, 1570. It proved to be so popular that a second edition appeared later that year. Ortelius compiled and edited the work, gathering together the best maps that he could find, and had them re-engraved in uniform size, listing all of the contributors to the volume. Most of the engraving work was executed by Franz Hogenberg (fl. 1558 - 1590).


Joan Oliva (1580 – 1615)

Portolan atlas of five charts of the the European and African Coasts of the Mediterranean and Atlantic

Manuscript on 6 vellum leaves, signed Iovanne Oliva fecit, Italy, ca. 1590

RBML, Plimpton Ms. 94

The portolan chart is of the same tradition as the isolario, and many of the portolan atlanses made by the Oliva family and other chart makers of the period include an isolario at the end. This fine example has only charts, Portolan charts were used by mariners well into the seventeenth century, but there was also a demand for richly decorated versions among the enlightened wealthy. One can assume that the present atlas was meant for this market. Joan Oliva was the most prolific member of a large family of Catalan chart makers, one branch of which had settled in Messina (Sicily) some time before 1550. Charts signed by at least sixteen members of the Oliva family are recorded, with dates between 1538 and 1673.

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton, 1936


Peter the Great (1672 – 1725)


Moscow, May 3, 1722

RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Georgii Mitrofanovich Kiselevskii Papers

Peter I, was a grandson of Russian Tsar Mikhail Romanov (1596-1645), a founder of the Romanovs dynasty, and was proclaimed a tsar at the age of ten. He introduced a series of important reforms, which placed Russia among the major European powers. Peter's main goal was to regain access to the Baltic Sea and in 1700 he started the Northern War with Sweden. The war lasted for 21 years, after which Russia was declared an Empire. This Patent raises Yurii Gein to the Rank of Colonel. It also signed by Alexander Menshikov (1673-1729), Peter the Great's close friend.

Purchase, 1966-1967


Mason/Dixon Map: A plan of the boundary lines between the Province of Maryland and the three lower counties on the Delaware with part of the parallel of latitude which is the boundary between the provinces of Maryland and Pennsylvania

Philadelphia: Robert Kennedy, 1768

2 sheets, (54.5 x 76 cm., 54.5 x 77 cm.)

RBML, Historical Map Collection

The surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon established the boundary line in 1767, which was to bear their names, resolving a dispute of nearly ninety years between the Penns and the Baltimores. The boundary 244 miles in length, is printed on two sheets, the eastern line on a single copperplate, the western line, because of its length, divided into three parts, one engraved under the other. This copy belonged to Benjamin Chew (1722-1810), a member of the Boundary Commission established in 1750 by the English High Court.

Gift of the Chew Family through the Courtesy of John T. Chew, 1983


John Jay (1745 – 1829)

Federalist Number 5

Autograph manuscript, 4 p., 1788

RBML, John Jay Papers

Along with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, John Jay formed the triumvirate of authors who wrote and anonymously published The Federalist, an eloquent series of essays in defense of the Constitution of 1787. Jay wrote five of the essays, and this is his manuscript draft for Number 5, which varies from the printed version. It is a concise, tightly argued exposition warning that rejection of the federal form of government would reinforce and worsen the already apparent sectional strife among the thirteen states; therefore, only through the establishment of a united American state could the young nation hope to succeed in its domestic and foreign affairs.

Purchased on the Frederic Bancroft Fund and Various Donors,


George Washington (1732 – 1799)

Proposals for the additional army

Autograph manuscript, 4 p., 1798 or 1799

RBML, Hamilton Family Papers

This working draft of George Washington's proposals for the new American army was probably given by the President to Alexander Hamilton for his comments, since it remained in the Hamilton family until coming to Columbia. Written on both sides of two integral folio leaves, it has sections headed "Half-pay, & Pensionary establishmt." and "Compleating the Regiments and altering the establishmt. of them."

Gift of Marie Hamilton McDavid Barrett, 1988


France. Ministère de la Marine

Comptabilité particulière du Citoyen David, pour l'Expedition d'Angleterre

Manuscript on paper, 21 ff., Dunkirk, 1799

RBML, Montgomery Ms. 252

Robert Hiester Montgomery (1872 – 1953) assembled an outstanding collection of books and manuscripts that document the history of accounting and business procedures from the 14th to the 20th century. These include instruction books, daybooks, waste books, journals, bank books, ledgers, receipt books, storage books, invoice books, registers, ships' logs, letterbooks, tax roll books, articles of agreement, bills of sale, deeds, wills, and other business items, making it is the largest collection of rare accounting works in the United States. This document, created for the French Ministry of Marine by "Citoyen David," gives detailed estimates of the amount of money required for Napoleon's projected invasion of England from Dunkirk.

Gift of Robert H. Montgomery, 1924


Kara George (1762 – 1817)


Belgrade, December 14, 1808

RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Prince Paul of Yugoslavia Papers

This document represents an agreement between Kara George, leader of the Serbian people in their struggle for independence from the Turks and founder of the Karageorgevic dynasty, and the Serbian National Council. It introduced a system of limited monarchy and established the legal basis for the Karageorgevich Dynasty. The text was first published in the "Istorija Matice Srpske", [Novi Sad]: Matice Srpska, 1863, page 149.

Gift of Prince Paul and Princess Olga, 1954-1985


Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)

Arithmetic exercises from manuscript sum book

Autograph manuscript, 2 p., 1824

RBML, Plimpton Collection

The earliest known examples of Lincoln's handwriting come from the arithmetic text that he copied out for his own educational use while living in Indiana. His later law partner and biographer, William H. Herndon, acquired the hand-stitched notebook in 1866. The leaves were later separated and scattered, and today only ten of them are located. It was a fitting addition to the collection of George Arthur Plimpton, a member of the board of directors of textbook publishers Ginn & Company, whose vast collection shows the development of education.

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton, 1936


Alexander I (1777 – 1825)

Funeral scroll

Manuscript on paper, Russia, (ca. 30 feet), 1826

RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Georgii Mitrofanovich Kiselevskii Papers

This printed scroll (stolbets) depicts the order of the Alexander I funeral ceremony. The scroll is comprised of 18 sections, each 20 inches long and 3 inches wide. Each section describes a sequence of the mourning procession, for instance, a mourning procession being held on the occasion of a transfer of the deceased with God Emperor, Alexander the First, from the Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral to the Peter and Paul Cathedral. After the Master of Ceremonies there will be His Imperial Majesty Personal Convoy, etc.

This type of funeral ceremony was introduced by Peter the Great. The Tsar-Reformer had borrowed many details from Western funeral tradition such as horses, shields with coats-of-arms, helmets, gold spurs and swords. The last Emperor buried according to the adopted tradition was Alexander III (1881).

Purchase, 1966-1967


Alexander Bestuzhev (1797 – 1837)

On Your Namesake Day [Decemberist Poem]

Yakutia, May 18, 1829

RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, General Manuscript Collection, Bestuzhev

Alexander Alexandrovich Bestuzhev (pseudonym Marlinsky) was a military officer, popular writer, literary critic and poet. However, after participation in the Decembrist Revolt of 1825, his life dramatically changed. Bestuzhev was stripped of his noble status and exiled first to Siberia and then to Caucasus. His prose and poetry weren't published and his name was not mentioned until his death in 1837. In 1838 Bestuzhev's sister published his collective works. A multivolume set was sold out within weeks of its issue.

On Your Namesake Day was first published in this edition from an incomplete copy and wrongly dated 1828. The original has never been found and all later editions used the same incomplete copy.

Gift of Ekaterina G. Garina, 1964


Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749 – 1838)

Memorie. In tre volume. Seconda editione corretta, ampliata e accresciuta

New York: Pubblicate dall'Autore, 1829-30


The beginning of Italian studies in North America can be traced to 1825 when Lorenzo Da Ponte joined the faculty of Columbia College. Da Ponte had arrived in New York in 1805, an immigrant grocer and private teacher, who had fallen on hard times following his days as Mozart's librettist. While at Columbia, he finished writing his memoirs, that had been first published as a slim volume in 1807 ("Storia compendiousa della vita di Lorenzo Da Ponte"), then as a three volume work published serially from 1823 to 1829, and this revised and augmented edition, published in 1829-1830. Da Ponte considered it to be his lifetime achievement.

Purchase, 2004


Nicholas I, Czar of Russia (1796 – 1855)

Autograph letter, signed, to Count Alexander Benckendorff (with envelope )

Peterhof, June 19, 1837

RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Benckendorff Family Papers

Nicholas the First was the personification of classic autocracy. His reactionary policies earned him the title "The emperor, who froze Russia for 30 years." Nicholas was faced early in his reign with an uprising in the army, the Decembrist revolt, which he dealt with swiftly and decidedly, thus establishing his reputation as a powerful leader. In this letter to a close friend, Count Alexander Khristoforovich Benckendorff (1782-1844), he discusses his architectural projects in Peterhof (his estate near St. Petersburg) as well as his observations on a situation in England in the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria.

Purchased from the Benckendorff Family Estate, on the Tulinoff Fund, 1995


John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873)

Autobiography of J. S. Mill, written by himself

Autograph manuscript, 210 leaves, 1861, 1869-70


One of the most versatile British thinkers of the nineteenth century, Mill was an incisive critic of liberalism as well as its greatest exponent. His Autobiography, published the year of his death, has eclipsed his political and economic studies, such as the Essay on Liberty and Utilitarianism. According to a note written by Mill's step-daughter Helen Taylor on this manuscript, the work was "to be published without alterations or omissions, within one year of my death." In fact, it was published from a hastily made copy, and it was not until 1924 that an edition, based on this manuscript, considered more reliable since it is in Mill's own hand, was first published by the Columbia University Press. The 1861 portion of the manuscript represents a heavily revised version of an early draft done in 1851; the last forty-eight leaves are the only draft of all but one small portion of the rest of the Autobiography.

Gift of nine members of the Department of Philosophy: Lawrence Buermayer, William F. Cooley, John J. Coss, Horace L. Friess, James Gutmann, Thomas Munro, Houston Peterson, John H. Randall, Jr., and Herbert W. Schneider, 1942


K. F. von Gan

Czar Nicholas II with his family

Photograph, Tsarskoye Selo, (18 x 24 cm.), July 17, 1906

RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Corps of Pages Papers

Rare photo of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II (1868-1918) holding his son, successor to the throne, Tsarevich Aleksei (1904-1918). Next to him is his wife Alexandra Fiodorovna (1972-1918) and their three daughters. This photograph was taken during maneuvers and a military review at the Guard's summer camp at Tsarskoye Selo near St. Petersburg.

Gift of Colonel Meshcherinov, 1957


Nicholas Murray Butler (1862 – 1947)

Medal, Nobel Prize for Peace, 1931

RBML, Nicholas Murray Butler Papers

Nicholas Murray Butler, as Robert A. McCaughey has stated in his 250th anniversary history Stand Columbia, "was the dominant personality in Columbia University's history in the first half of the twentieth century," serving as President from 1902 until 1945. He viewed the world, not merely Morningside Heights, as worthy of his attention and considered himself the last of America's "presidential" university presidents. Even though, according to then university archivist Milton Halsey Thomas, Butler spent the last two years of his life directing the selected pruning of his papers for posterity, they still amount to 600 boxes of material and 315 volumes of newspaper clippings.

Butler was also involved with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, serving as its president from 1925 to 1945. He used his friendship with many world leaders, including Pope Pius XI, in pursuit of peace and international cooperation, working to secure the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Treaty outlawing wars. For this work he received the Nobel Prize for peace, jointly with Jane Addams, in 1931.

Gift of the Estate of Nicholas Murray Butler, 1947


Jane Addams (1860 – 1935)

Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes ... with Illustrations by Norah Hamilton, Hull-House, Chicago

New York: The MacMillan Company, 1910

Barnard College, Overbury Collection

Jane Addams is best known as the founder of Hull House in Chicago, one of the first social settlements in North America. During a trip to Europe in 1887-88 with Ellen Gates Starr, she was inspired by a visit to the Toynbee Hall settlement house, founded in 1884. Toynbee Hall was located in Whitechapel, the area east of the City of London that would become notorious for the exploits of Jack the Ripper beginning in August, 1888.

Returning to the United States, Addams and Starr acquired a large vacant house that had been built by Charles Hull, renaming it Hull House. This would grow to a settlement that included thirteen buildings and a camp near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. In 1910, the year that Twenty Years at Hull House was published, she became the first woman president of the National Conference of Social Work. In 1920, she was instrumental in the founding of the American Civil Liberties Union. For these and many other endeavors, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace in 1931, along with Nicholas Murray Butler.

Bequest of Bertha Van Riper Overbury, 1963


Frances Perkins (1880 – 1965)

Draft notes of reply to F. D. Roosevelt on her nomination to the Cabinet

Autograph manuscript notes, ca. February 25, 1933

RBML, Frances Perkins Papers

Frances Perkins was the first woman ever to become a U. S. presidential Cabinet member, serving as Secretary of Labor for all twelve years of the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. She had been Industrial Commissioner of New York from 1929 to 1932 while Roosevelt was Governor, and after being elected President, he asked her to join him in Washington. Before accepting his offer, she wrote these notes in order to determine whether or not he would support her ideas. These would become the most important elements of the New Deal: including unemployment relief, public works, maximum hours, minimum wages, child labor laws, and social security.

Gift of Frances Perkins, 1955


Harrison & Abramovitz

Sketch of original plans for United Nations building

Pencil on tracing paper, (14.25 x 17.5 in.), 1947

Avery Library, Drawings and Archives, Wallace Harrison Collection

The United Nations was designed by a committee of international architects selected by Wallace Harrison. Le Corbusier from France, Howard Robertson of England, and Oscar Niemeyer from Brazil were among the members of this committee, of which Harrison was the Director of Planning. The architects were charged with planning and siting the buildings needed to house the complex functions of the newly formed international council. As the architects presented and discussed ideas, the concepts were turned over to a team of renderers, headed by Hugh Ferriss, to develop the ideas into drawings. This drawing is one of many sketches Harrison made.

Gift of Ellen Harrison (Mrs. Wallace Harrison), 1981


Mikhail Taube (1869 – 1961)

Reminiscences, 1900-1917 [ Fragment of a memoir]

Paris, 1954

RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Mikhail Alexandrovich Taube Papers

In 1953, Anatolii Vel'min, Parisian representative of a newly organized Russian Archive at Columbia University, asked Baron Mikhail Alexandrovich Taube, former Professor of International Law at St. Petersburg University, Senator, and former Advisor to the Imperial Minister of Public Education, to write a memoir about everything that he had witnessed and participated in during his long life. The Archive pledged to pay $100 US for its first ‘commissioned memoir'. Of the three hundred memoirs now in the Bakhmeteff Archive, over one hundred date from the time of this ‘memoir initiative'. Baron Taube's reminiscences will be published by the Russian Publishing House ROSSPEN in 2005.

Purchased on the Humanity Fund, 1953


Herb ert L. Matthews (1900 – 1977)

Interview with Fidel Castro in Sierra Maestras Mountains

Autograph manuscript notes, February 17, 1957

RBML, Herbert L. Matthews Papers

During the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro's forces were attacked by Batista's army at the foot of the Sierra Maestras in eastern Cuba. A government report claimed that forty of the rebels had been killed, including Castro. Only a few of them escaped into the mountains, among them Fidel, his brother Raul, and a gun-totting, asthmatic Argentinean physician, Che Guevara. These few survived with the help of people who lived in the mountains, while outside the Sierra Maestras few knew of the rebels' existence.

In early 1957, Herbert Matthews of the New York Times evaded army checkpoints, interviewed Castro, and returned to New York. Publication of the interview created a sensation and Cuba's minister of defense called the story a fantasy. The New York Times published a photo of Matthews and Castro, making the Batista regime look foolish. With the publication of this interview Castro gained the credibility and international support that allowed him to overthrow Batista's government. The Matthews Papers also include the working notes, manuscript, and typescript of his biography of Castro, published in 1969 by Simon and Schuster.

Matthews had Castro sign one page of his notes as further proof of the authenticity of his interview. That portion of the page was detached, and for a time was missing, but was eventually returned to Matthews who sent it along to join the other pages of notes, already given to Columbia.

Gift of Herbert L. Matthews, 1962


L. S. Alexander Gumby (1885 – 1961)

Collection of Negroiana

Multi-media, New York, ca. 1800 - 1961

RBML, Gumby Collection

Earlier treasures of the Columbia libraries exhibits have overlooked the achievement of Alexander Gumby, a book collector and Harlem hairdresser who compiled a remarkable series of scrapbooks that document African American life in America. Gumby started his collection in 1901 at the age of sixteen, and in 1910 began the process of gathering the material into scrapbooks. Most of the material dates from the period 1910 until1950, the year that he presented the collection to the Columbia University Libraries. Whole volumes are devoted to major figures such as Booker T. Washington, Paul Robeson and Josephine Baker. In addition to his six volumes of personal scrapbooks, labeled "Gumby's Autobiography," that came with the original collection, the library has recently acquired materials that were held back as too private, detailing his life as a gay black man.

Gift of L. S. Alexander Gumby, 1950


Kate Millett (b. 1934)

Sexual Politics [Submitted in partial fulfillment of the Ph.D.]

Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1970


In her groundbreaking Columbia University dissertation, Kate Millett proposed an end to patriarchy. Using passages from Henry Miller, Jean Genet and Norman Mailer, Millett illustrated how men use sex to degrade women. Millett assailed romantic love ("a means of emotional manipulation which the male is free to exploit") and called for an end to monogamous marriage and the family. The late 60's and early 70's became the second wave of the fight for equal rights for women. At that time woman were only 3% of the lawyers in the country and 7% of the doctors, earning 59% of the salaries given to men for similar jobs. Millet used the $30,000 that she earned for the initial publication of Sexual Politics to establish the Women's Art Colony Farm for writers and visual artists.

Copy submitted for the Ph.D., 1970


Thurgood Marshall (1908 – 1993)

Transcript of Oral History Interview

New York: Columbia University, Oral History Research Office, 1977

Oral History Research Office

The Columbia University Oral History Research Office is the oldest and largest organized oral history program in the world. Founded in 1948 by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Allan Nevins, the oral history collection now contains nearly 8,000 taped memoirs, and nearly 1,000,000 pages of transcript. These memoirs include interviews with a wide variety of historical figures, including Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967. Some interviews, conducted in the late 1940s, contain recollections dating back to the second administration of Grover Cleveland. An interview with Charles C. Burlingham conducted in 1949 opens with a discussion of the drafts riots during the U. S. Civil War. This transcript of Thurgood Marshall's oral history interview, conducted by Ed Edwin in Washington, D.C. in February, 1977, captures something of his unique presence, even on paper.

The Oral History Research Office has never confined its work to one area of historical experience or to one region. It is the only oral history program in the country which conducts interviews over a broad range of fields and areas. Thus it has attracted scholars from around the world, whose research has examined almost every aspect of our recent past. The focus of the collection is United States political and cultural history. However, there are large projects in the history of China and Argentine, and some scattered interviews on the histories of other countries. Each year approximately 200 to 300 interviews are added to the collection through the efforts of the OHRO itself and by donation. These interviews generally fall into two categories: longer biographical memoirs and shorter interviews focused on specific topics or experiences.


Harrison E. Salisbury (1908 – 1993)

China Diary – Tiananmen

Spiral bound notebook, Beijing, June 2 - ***, 1989

RBML, Harrison E. Salisbury Papers

The American journalist Harrison E. Salisbury was well-known for his reporting and authorship of books on the Soviet Union. A distinguished correspondent and editor for The New York Times, he was the first American reporter to visit Hanoi during the Vietnam War. In 1989, at age 81, Salisbury journeyed to China to collaborate on a documentary marking forty years of the Chinese Peoples Republic. His assignment by Japan's NHK TV coincided with the events in Beijing during the first days of June, 1989. Salisbury found himself in a hotel room one block away from Tiananmen Square, arriving the day before student demonstrators and government troops met for their bloody confrontation. His book, Tiananmen Diary: Thirteen Days in June, published later that year, records not only the terror and confusion in Beijing, but also the reaction in the countryside, where Salisbury traveled in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Gift of the Estate of Harrison E. Salisbury, 1993

Theology and Religion


Aurelius Isidoros (4th century CE)

Petition to Dioskoros Caeso

Papyrus, in Greek, Karanis, 324 CE

RBML, Papyrus Col. inv. 187

This petition by Aurelius Isaidoros, the son of Ptolemaios, from the village of Karanis, to Dioskoros Caeso, praepositus of the 5th pagus, is among the earliest known documents relating to the history of the early Christian church. It contains Isidoros's vivid account of how cattle owned by Pamounis and Harpalos had damaged his crops, and how their cow had "grazed in the same place so thoroughly that my husbandry had become useless." He continues: "I caught the cow and was leading it up to the village when they met me in the fields with a big club, threw me to the ground, rained blows upon me and took away the cow ... and if I had not chanced to obtain help from the deacon Antonius and the monk Isaac, who happened by, they would probably have finished me off completely."

Images of this petition, along with the translation used here, in addition to entries for all of Columbia's papyrus holdings, can be found on the Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS), a multi-institutional database.

Purchased from Dr. Askren, through H. I. Bell, 1924


Anthology of Church Dogma

Manuscript on vellum, Southern France, second third of the 9th century

RBML, Plimpton Ms. 58

This codex is composed of some twenty pieces of text, as if it were the casual compilation of an owner-scribe, copying out passages of beauty or interest. Scholars suggest, however, that the volume constitutes an intentionally formed sequence, since six other manuscripts, all of the 9th century, repeat the same series of texts. One text draws our attention: it is an extract of a letter written ca. 798 by Alcuin to the future emperor, Charlemagne. It ends, in the anthologies but in no other copies, with the wish that the recipient's power grow and prosper. Was the compiler of the anthology a member of Charlesmagne's court circle? Following straight on after the pious closing of the letter is an astronomical observation on the movement of the planet Mars during the summer of 798. The wish and the astronomy were copied as a unit, in alternating lines of red and black.

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton, 1936



3rd section, in muhaqqaq script with Persian interlinear translation

Manuscript on paper, copied by the calligrapher Mes`ud and illuminated by Mahfuz, two sons of `Abd al-Malek, scribe of Ghiyath, 91 ff., 657 A. H. (1259 CE)

RBML, Smith Oriental Ms. 263

Along with his magnificent collection of primarily western printed books and manuscripts on the history of mathematics and astronomy, David Eugene Smith gave to Columbia a number of Arabic and Persian manuscripts, including a number of Qurans and Quran fragments. This third volume of the Quran, from a set of thirty, is similar to volumes from the later Abbasid period in the Iranian-Iraqi tradition such as the eleventh-century Quran manuscript by Ibn al-Bawwab in the Chester Beatty Library, dated 1001.

The Persian interlinear translation is in a version of naskh script and appears in clusters of words and phrases, hanging at a forty-degree angle beneath the corresponding Arabic phrase. The muhaqqaq, used for the Arabic lines, was a favored script for the large Qurans of the 14th and15th centuries. Here, the majestic muhaqqaq, outlined in gold, allows only three lines per borderless page. In a reversal, the vocalizations are marked in gold that is highlighted by black. Other aids to pronunciation are marked in blue ink. The dots of the letters are black, nearly perfect circles. The text is punctuated with roundel verse endings illuminated in gold, brown and blue. Larger versions of these mark the end of every tenth verse, as well as the points of prostration, in the wide margins. An illuminated teardrop-shaped roundel in the margin also marks every fifth verse.

Gift of David Eugene Smith, 1931


Lexicographical Works

Manuscript, Nestorian, on paper, 19th century

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Syriac Ms. 19

The Syriac language was based on the East Aramaic dialect of Edessa, present-day Sanliurfa in Southeastern Turkey, which became one of the chief centers of Christianity in the Middle East at the end of the 2nd century. The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary houses a significant number of Syriac manuscripts, the earliest dating from the 10th-11th century CE. This volume contains two works that show the differences between words written with the same letters.



Manuscript on vellum, Perugia, Italy, 1473

RBML, Plimpton Ms. 41

Payment records survive to document the date, the scribe, and the miniaturist of this antiphonal: it was copied in 1473 by one Don Alvise, and the artist was Giapeco Caporali. It is one of a set of four antiphonals: the present book covers the Sanctorale from the vigil of Andrew (29 November) through John and Paul (26 June); a second volume finishes the Sanctorale, and the Temporale occupies another two. The other three volumes of the set are in Perugia to this day. All bear the characteristic ownership note and call number inscribed at the foot of the page: "This antiphonal belongs to the congregation of St. Justina (the saint with the martyr's palm in the roundel in the upper margin), of the order of St. Benedict (in his black robes in the roundel to the right), assigned to the use of the monks of St. Peter's in Perugia (Peter with his keys is in the bottom roundel)." The historiated initial depicts the calling of Andrew, as he leaves his boat to follow Jesus (Mark. 1:16-18). Though this antiphonal is bound in diced Russia leather dating from the 17th century, it retains most of the original 15th century metal ornaments (including the stamps of the Holy Monogram, the Agnus Dei, a sunburst, and a flower).

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton, 1936


Biblia Germanica

Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 1483

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Frederick Ferris Thompson Collection

Anton Koberger's Biblia Germanica, the ninth German Bible to be printed, appeared in 1483, the year that Martin Luther was born. It contained a set of 109 woodcuts illustrating major incidents of biblical history by the "Master of the Cologne Bibles." This set became the standard for German biblical illustration through the 16th century. Koberger (ca. 1445 – 1513) became one of the most important printers in fifteenth-century Germany. He may have operated as many as twenty-four presses and produced some 250 works between ca. 1471 and 1504.

Gift Mrs. Mary Clark Thompson, 1923


Book of Hours, use of Paris

Manuscript on parchment, 197 leaves, Paris, ca. 1485

RBML, Phoenix Collection

The artist of this book of hours is known as the Chief Associate of Maître François or sometimes as the Master of Jacques de Besançon. Large numbers of works are attributed to his hand, in particular books of hours. He painted these with unvarying competence but also with constancy in his choice of subject matter and arrangement: the same compositions are repeated again and again. Here on ff. 194v-195 we see his usual martyrdom of St. Catherine of Alexandria: the wheel on which she would have been tormented stands ruined behind her, and the frustrated executioner has finally opted for beheading. On the facing page, a somewhat less frequent scene shows dainty Genevieve picking her way along a country path; as a tiny devil with large bellows attempts to extinguish the flame of her taper, an angel constantly relights it.

Bequest of Stephen Whitney Phoenix, 1881



Carthusian Nocturnale

Manuscript on parchment, Germany, in or after 1514-15

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Ms. 111

"I look from afar, and behold I see the Power of God, coming like as a cloud to cover the land . . ." This response to the first reading in Advent is what normally determines the iconography of its historiated initial. It seems to have been the inspiration for the present illumination, but here, instead, the vision of God's power is incarnated in the Virgin and Child.

While the iconography is unusual on medieval terms, the late date of production of this manuscript may explain a loosening of traditional image patterns. The manuscript was copied in or after 1514/15, when the Carthusian order received authorization to celebrate the feast of their founder, St. Bruno. In the calendar of this manuscript, in the hand of the original scribe, we find the feasts of Bruno (6 October), Hugh of Lincoln (a bishop of that order; 17 November), and the feast of the relics, celebrated by Carthusians on 8 November. The three feasts are to be honored cum candelis, ‘with candles,' just as we might put candles on a birthday cake to signal the importance of the day.

The codex itself is a celebration of Milton McC. Gatch, librarian of the Burke Library for many years. The library's Friends purchased the manuscript in his name, in recognition of his studies on Leander van Ess (1772 – 1847), a German who had owned this same manuscript some one hundred and fifty years earlier.


Acquired by the Friends of the Burke Library in Honor of M. McC. Gatch, 1995


Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)

Der Prophet Jona

Augsburg: Johannes Knobloch, 1526

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Leander van Ess Collection

Jonah was the first of the prophetic books Luther translated. Others appeared separately over the next few years, before a complete translation of the Prophets was issued in 1532. According to Luther, Jonah was "well suited for the present time" immediately following the Peasants' War because it taught trust in God and reminded readers of Christ's death and resurrection. It was printed sixteen times in 1526 alone, thirteen in German and three in Latin. Reformation pamphlets commonly had woodcuts on their covers or title pages. The woodcut on the title page of this unbound Augsburg printing of the pamphlet shows Jonah at various points in his story.

The library of Leander van Ess, a Roman Catholic priest, was particularly strong in materials on the German Reformation, and contained a number of Luther's "Flugschriften," literally "flying writings," ephemeral pamphlets such as this one. He kept these pamphlets in a separate part of his collection and they have been reconstructed on the basis of numbered stickers which remain on most of them. A man far ahead of his time, van Ess instituted a number of reforms in his Marburg church, including the use of vernacular throughout the service, turning the priest to face the congregation, and giving detailed explanations of what was going on as mass was celebrated. He was a very popular preacher and his sermons attracted both Catholics and Protestants.

Purchased with the Leander van Ess Collection, 1838


Babylonian Talmud

Manuscript on paper, 152 ff., copied by David ben Me'oded of San‘a, Yemenite Rabbinic, 1546

RBML, Hebrew Manuscripts

Although the two versions of the Talmud, the Jerusalem Talmud completed about 400 C.E. and the Babylonian Talmud completed one hundred years later, constitute the primary body of Jewish law and thought, its text exists in only one complete manuscript copy of each version, and even incomplete copies are scarce. This one, copied in the 16th century in Yemen, is known as the "Columbia Talmud." It, and a companion volume containing the Megillah, was copied by David ben Me'oded of San‘a, who appears to come from a family of scribes. The text has been found to differ from all of the other known manuscript copies, and from the first printed edition of 1516, in a large number of cases, establishing beyond doubt that it came from an independent source.

These two volumes came to Columbia along with a collection of Jewish manuscripts, in Hebrew and Arabic, acquired by Professor Richard J. H. Gottheil for the library in 1890. With the financial support of Temple Emanu-El in New York, Gottheil had been appointed professor of Rabbinic Literature and Semitic Languages in 1887. It was the first endowed chair for Jewish studies in the United States. The foundation of the library's Judaica resources also came from Temple Emanu-El, through their gift of 2,500 printed books and 50 manuscripts from their library in 1892. Today, the Rare Book and Manuscript Library holds more than 1,000 manuscripts in Hebrew and a variety of European languages, as well as 28 fifteenth-century and 300 sixteenth-century printed Hebrew books.

Purchased from Ephraim Deinard, 1890


Gospel lectionary

Manuscript on parchment, Spain, second half of the 16th century

RBML, Western Ms. 29

This book containing the gospel readings for the mass is an example of the influence of printed books on manuscripts during the 16th century. According to the prefatory statement on the left, the text of this manuscript was corrected on the basis of comparison with a Roman missal printed in Venice in 1577 and then compared to another missal printed in Salamanca in 1588. The style of illumination shows Flemish influence in the naturalistic fruits and flowers on a gold ground. The text appears as if in a frame hung against a tapestry of lush vegetation. On the right is the gospel for the first Sunday of Advent, Luke 21. This binding is contemporary calf binding over wooden boards, gilt stamped, with gilt edges.

Gift of John M. Crawford, Jr., 1971


The Holy Bible, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New: Newly Translated out of the originall tongues & … revised, by his Maiesties speciall Cōmandement

London: Robert Barker, 1611

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Frederick Ferris Thompson Collection

The King James Version or the Authorized Version of the English Bible was made by a team of translators appointed by James I. It was first published in this edition of 1611 and remained the standard English Bible until the nineteenth century. This copy, with a contemporary English binding, is one of the treasures of the Burke Library's Thompson Collection.

Gift of Mrs. Mary Clark Thompson, 1923



Manuscript on parchment, 399 ff., signed by Nikoghayos, Crimea, Kafay, 1646

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Armenian Ms. 1

The binding on this hymnal is a fine example of traditional Armenian bookbinding techniques that were still being used in 17th-century Crimea, including a loop board attachment, cloth doublures, traditional endbands, blind-tooled leather fore-edge flaps, and a vertically ruled spine. What is particularly notable is that the illuminator and scribe, Nikoghayos, also bound the book. The text is an abbreviated version of the Armenian Hymnal (Sharaknots‘), with decorated headpieces at the major divisions of the book.


Solomon Stoddard (1643 – 1729)

Common Place Book and Sermon Notes

Manuscript on paper, 1660-64

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Ms. 104

Solomon Stoddard was born in Boston in 1643 and graduated from Harvard College in 1662. From 1667 to 1674 Stoddard served as the first librarian at Harvard. This volume contains his college notes. These include the name of the instructor for the day, as well as the scripture that was expounded in class and then applied to seventeenth-century society. Using what would have been the blank portions of the pages, and turning the volume upside down, Stoddard also used the volume to make notes for sermons that he preached during the early years of his ministry at Northampton, where he served until his death in 1729. His grandson, Jonathan Edwards, was ordained associate pastor of the Northampton church in 1727.


The African Union Hymn book, designed as a companion for the pious, and friends of all denominations … compiled by Peter Spencer

Wilmington: Published by P. Spencer, for the African Union Church, 1822

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

An extremely rare early hymnal for the African American Church, this is the only copy recorded in the national databases. The "Union Church of Africans," also called the "African Union Church," was chartered by Peter Spencer (1782 – 1843) in Willmington, Delaware in 1813. Now known as the African Union First Colored Methodist Protestant Church and Connection, usually called the "A.U.M.P. Church," it is the oldest independent black denomination in the United States. Although it began as a Methodist Protestant church, by the 1880s it considered changing to an episcopal structure, a change that was not formally adopted until 1967 when it consecrated its two leaders as bishops.


Amanda Smith (1837 – 1915)

An Autobiography: the story of the Lord's dealing with Mrs. Amanda Smith, the Colored Evangelist; containing an account of her life and work of faith, and her travels in America, England, Ireland, Scotland, India and Africa, as an Independent Missionary

Chicago: Meyer and Brother, 1893

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

Amanda Smith's Autobiography reflects a remarkable career. This is the first edition of her often-reprinted narrative. The Burke Library was supported by the interest and knowledge of the late Professor James M. Washington in building this area of the collection.


Collection of magical prayers and "images"

Manuscript on parchment, 191 folios, copied for Akāla Wald Baqqala, early 20th century

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Ethiopic Ms. 5

This collection of Ethiopian magical prayers includes those that can be used against demons for each day of the week, and prayers for overcoming enemies. It also includes "images," an "image" being a hymn in honor of a saint in which the different members of his or her body are addressed in successive stanges. The book is bound in wodden boards covered in reddish tooled leather in which crosses have been worked. The leather carrying case was used to facilitate easy and safe transport. The manuscript's elegant script is enhanced by two kinds of decoration: abstract, linear motifs that highlight textual transitions and figural representations. This is a fine exemplar of an African Christian culture to which the African American community has, from earliest days, looked as a source and model.


Emily Grace Briggs (1867 – 1944)

The Deaconess in the Ancient and Medieval Church: A Study in the History of Christian Institutions

Autograph anuscript, written in partial fulfillment of the Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary, 1913 – 1925

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Archives, Emily Grace Briggs Papers

In 1897, Emilie Grace Briggs became the first woman to earn a degree from Union Theological Seminary. Union was one of the first institutions of theological education to admit women students in great quantity and to hire and tenure women faculty. Briggs later enrolled in the Doctoral program at Union, and wrote this dissertation, now among her papers held by the Burke Library Archives. Between 1913 and 1925, as women elsewhere were marching for the right to vote, she revised her manuscript for publication as the final step toward receiving her Ph.D. degree. She was unable to find a publisher, and she and her work were largely forgotten.

Half a century later, with the re-emergence of the womens movement, large numbers of women entered seminaries, persuing careers in theological education, positions of church leadership, and religious scholarship. In 1997, one hundred years after Briggs had received her first degree, she inspired the founding of the Archives of Women in Theological Scholarship (AWTS) at Union. At that time, no institution had a program devoted to preserving the records of women theologians. The inaugural collection received by the Archives came from Phyllis Trible, formerly Unions Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature. The archive now houses 17 personal and institutional collections that document a diverse range of individuals and groups.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945)

Application to Union Seminary

Printed document, completed by the author and signed in ink, Berlin, February 12, 1930

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Archives, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Manuscript Collection

Dietrich Bonheoffer was raised in the academic circles of the University of Berlin where his father was a professor of psychiatry and neurology. He studied theology at the universities of Tubingen and Berlin from 1923 to 1927, and served for a year as assistant pastor for a German-speaking congregation in Barcelona. With this document he then applied for one year of graduate study at Union Theological Seminary that began in September, 1930. He returned to Germany the following year.

With the rise to power of the Nazis in 1933, Bonhoeffer was a vocal opponent of the regime, speaking out in particular aginst its policies of anti-Semitism. His stance became politicized in 1938 after he became involved through his brother-in-law, Hans von Dohnanyi, in a plot to overthrow Hitler. Although he returned to New York in 1939, he stayed for only two weeks, writing to Unions Seminary's Reinhold Niebuhr: "I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people." Following the failure of the July 20, 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler, Bonheoffer was arrested and excecuted on April 9, 1945. His Letters and Papers from Prison, published in 1951, contain some of his most profound writing.


Elizaveta Kuzmina-Karavaeva Skobtsova (1891 – 1945)


Watercolor, (21 x 27 cm.), Paris, [1930s]

RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Mother Maria Papers

Elizaveta Iurievna Kuzmina-Karavaeva Skobtsova, later known as Mother Maria, was a Russian Orthodox religious thinker, poet and artist. Her multi-faceted legacy includes articles, poems, art, and drama. In the 1910s she was part of the literary milieu of St. Petersburg and was a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. She fled Russia soon after the Bolshevik's takeover and lived in Paris where she became a nun. In 1935, she participated in organizing the so-called Orthodox Action, which was designed to help Russian immigrants in France. She and her fellow-workers from Orthodox Action opened a house for homeless and sick immigrants in Paris. During the Nazi occupation of the city, the house was transformed into a refuge for Jews and displaced persons. Mother Maria and her son were arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 and died in the Ravensbruck camp in Germany. Mother Maria's selfless devotion to people and her death as a martyr will never be forgotten. In 2004, the Holy Synod confirmed the glorification of Mother Maria.

Gift of Sofia Pilenko, 1955


Thomas Merton (1915 -- 1968)

The Seven Storey Mountain

Typed manuscript, with Merton's emendations in ink, 649 pp., Trappist,

Kentucky, 1948

RBML, Thomas Merton Papers

Thomas Merton graduated from Columbia College in 1938, and received his Master's in English in 1939. He had converted to Catholicism while at Columbia, but surprised his many friends and professors, including Mark Van Doren, by becoming a Trappist monk, a member of the Cisterian Order of the Strict Observance, in 1941. He was later ordained a priest, taking the name of Father M. Louis. Among Merton's most widely read writings is his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, shown here in the original setting-copy for the first edition. In addition to Merton's own changes, the typescript also has editor Robert Giroux's corrections in pencil and a copy editor's marking in red pencil. Less well known material in Columbia's Merton Papers are most of his lecture and conference notes which he used while serving as master of scholastics and, later, master of novices, prior to his untimely death in Bangkok in 1968.

Gift of Robert Giroux, 1991

Health Sciences


Articella nuperrime impressa cum quamplurimis tractatibus pristine impressioni superadditis

Lyons: Jean de la Place, for Bartholomew Troth, 1515

Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library, Rare Book Collection

Nothing certain is known of the origin or the use of the Hippocratic Oath in the ancient world. The first Latin translations appeared in the 12th century. However, the Oath only became part of the European medical tradition when it was included in the Articella, a popular compilation of Greek and Arabic medical texts in Latin intended as a handy guide for the practitioner.

The first printed edition of Articella appeared about 1476; the second edition of 1483 was the first to include the Oath. In this 1515 edition the Hippocratic Oath begins in the middle of folio xvii.

Purchased with the John Green Curtis Library, 1914


Jacopo Berengario da Carpi (1460? – 1530?)

Commentaria cum amplissimis additionibus super anatomia Mundini

Bologna: Hieronymus de Benedictis, 1521

Health Sciences Library, Rare Book Collection

Human dissection was reintroduced into the study of anatomy for the first time in 1500 years by the Italian universities around 1300. Among the first notable anatomy teachers was Mondino de' Luzzi (d. circa 1318) whose Anothomia, published in 1316, would be a popular textbook for the next 200 years. Berengario da Carpi, one of Mondino's successors at the University of Bologna, produced this massive commentary on the Anothomia in 1521. It is the first anatomical text to contain illustrations based on human dissections, of which Berengario performed hundreds. The striking woodcuts are, unfortunately, too abstract to be useful to the student. Although both Mondinus and Berengario criticized the anatomical knowledge of the ancients, they did not succeed in overturning their authority, especially that of Galen, the 2nd century A.D. physician whose works defined medical orthodoxy in the Middle Ages and early Renaissance.

Purchased with the George Sumner Huntington Library, 1928


Hans von Gersdorff (1455 – 1529)

Feldtbuch der Wundartzney

Strasbourg: Johannes Schott, 1528

Health Sciences Library, Rare Book Collection

First published in 1517, the Feldtbuch was addressed to the military surgeon. It focuses on treating wounds, amputating limbs, and extracting bullets and arrows, though it also has chapters on subjects as varied as anatomy, medications, and leprosy.

The illustrations, attributed to Hans Wechtlin, are well known for their realistic depictions of surgical operations and are often handcolored, as in this copy. Its pictures, along with its practical advice, made the Feldtbuch one of the most popular – and plagiarized – surgical works of its time. The first edition showed the first printed picture of an amputation.

Purchased with the George Sumner Huntington Library, 1928


Andreas Vesalius (1514 – 1564)

De humani corporis fabrica libri septem

Basel: Joannis Oporini, 1543

Health Sciences Library, Rare Book Collection

Vesalius's Fabrica is an epochal work, the starting point of the modern study of anatomy and, by extension, of modern Western medicine. Besides its importance to medicine, it is a masterpiece of the book arts and a landmark in the organization of knowledge. At some point, probably while finishing his medical education at Padua, Vesalius realized that Galen, the "Prince of Anatomists," had never actually dissected a human body. With conceptual blinders removed, he undertook his own comprehensive survey of the body, completing the work in July 1542 after two years' labor. He was twenty-seven at the time.

The celebrated frontispiece is a visual representation of Vesalius's belief that knowledge of the body could be gained only through the direct experience of dissection by the anatomist. Vesalius is shown at the center of an imaginary anatomical theater performing a dissection with his own hands while a vast crowd looks on. The barber-surgeons who previously opened the cadavers at dissections have been banished to the floor, where they quarrel over who will sharpen Vesalius's razors. The dogs on the right and the monkey on the left can be seen as a sly reference to Galen's animal dissections. The Health Sciences Library is one of the few to own four copies of this first edition.

Purchased with the John Green Curtis Library, 1914


Giovanni Andrea dalla Croce (1509? – 1580)

Chirurgiae libri septem

Venice: Giordano Ziletto, 1573

Health Sciences Library, Rare Book Collection, Jerome P. Webster Library of Plastic Surgery

Croce's Chirurgiae is notable for its description of all the surgical instruments used before and during his own time. It also has the earliest known illustration of neurological surgery in progress. Shown here is a trephination, the drilling into the skull to relieve pressure. It accurately depicts the operation taking place in a private home, with family members and servants (as well as the family cat and a mouse) present.

Bequest of Jerome P. Webster, M.D., 1974


Gaspare Tagliacozzi (1545 – 1599)

De curtorum chirurgia per insitionem

Venice: Gaspare Bindoni the Younger, 1597

Health Sciences Library, Rare Book Collection, Jerome P. Webster Library of Plastic Surgery

Tagliacozzi, professor of surgery and anatomy at the University of Bologna, published De curtorum chirurgia to instruct surgeons on all they needed to know about reconstructing noses and ears. It is the first published work on plastic surgery. The work's twenty-two plates depict every step of the process of rhinoplasty and are among the best-known illustrations in the history of medicine. Shown here is the patient, immobilized in a vest of Tagliacozzi's devising, waiting for the skin graft taken from the arm to adhere to the nose. The process was supposed to take two to three weeks.

De curtorum is the centerpiece of the great library on the history of plastic surgery assembled by Dr. Jerome P. Webster (1888 – 1974), professor of surgery at Columbia and first director of the division of plastic surgery at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. The Webster Library holds seven copies of the first edition of this work as well as two copies of the extremely rare pirated version printed in the same year.

Bequest of Jerome P. Webster, M.D., 1974


William Harvey (1578 – 1657)

De motu cordis & sanguinis in animalibus, anatomica exercitatio

Leiden: ex officina Ioannis Maire, 1639

Health Sciences Library, Rare Book Collection

Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood is generally regarded as the most important breakthrough in the history of medicine. It is also the starting point of modern physiology. It had long been believed that blood was continually created afresh in the liver, which then sent it out to be absorbed by the body. Harvey, though experimentation, observation, and measurement of blood flow, realized that the circulation was a closed system in which the heart played the central role.

Although Harvey lived to see his theory generally accepted by the medical world, it first met considerable opposition. This third edition of De motu cordis – which is actually only the second complete one – prints the text interspersed with a point-by-point counter-argument by Emilio Parisano, one of Harvey's most vocal opponents. Harvey's professor at Padua, Girolamo Fabrizio [Fabricius], had discovered the valves of the veins but had not understood their purpose. When Harvey wanted to demonstrate that the valves directed the venous blood flow back to the heart, he simply adapted a plate from one of his former professor's works, De venarum ostiolis. This is the only illustration in any edition of De motu cordis.

Purchased with the John Green Curtis Library, 1914


Robert Hooke (1635 – 1703)

Micrographia: or, Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies made by Magnifying Glasses

London: Jo. Martyn and Ja. Allestry, 1665

Health Sciences Library, Rare Book Collection

Hooke constructed one of the first compound microscopes. Micrographia is an account of his discoveries using it and is the first book devoted entirely to microscopic observations. It also introduced the word "cell" to describe the structure of tissue.

The spectacular plates are renowned for their clarity and detail. It seems most are derived from Hooke's own drawings, though a few may be the work of Christopher Wren. This is of a bluebottle.

Purchased with the John Green Curtis Library, 1914


King's College Board of Trustees

Draft of medical diploma of Robert Tucker

Manuscript on paper, New York, May 15, 1770

RBML, Columbia College Papers

Though Columbia's medical school, now known as the College of Physicians and Surgeons, is the second oldest in the United States, having been founded in 1767, two years after the Medical College of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania College of Medicine, Columbia has the honor of having conferred the country's first doctor of medicine degree on Robert Tucker in 1770. While Tucker's diploma appears to no longer survive, this draft preserves the text, if not the format, of one of the founding documents of American medicine.


John Hunter (1728 – 1793)

The Natural History of the Human Teeth

London: J. Johnson, 1771

Health Sciences Library, Rare Book Collection

Hunter was one of the greatest surgeons of the eighteenth century. Though not a dentist, he wrote several works that laid the foundation for much future dental research. His first major treatise was this meticulous study of the mouth, jaws, and teeth, which described with unparalleled accuracy the growth of the jaws and their relationship to the muscles of mastication. The work also did much to popularize the terms cuspids, bicuspids, molars, and incisors. The illustrations by the Dutch-born artist Jan van Riemsdyck are renowned both for their accuracy and for their beauty.

Purchased with the George Sumner Huntington Library, 1928


James Graham (1745 – 1794)

Doctor Bard's Lectures upon the Palsey

New York, February 11, 1774

Health Sciences Library, Graham Family Papers

The King's College Medical School opened in the fall of 1767, boasting an impressive faculty of New York's leading medical men. Among them was Samuel Bard (1742-1821), who served as dean and would later win fame as physician to George Washington during his first term as President. The medical school, along with the rest of the college, closed in 1776 as a result of the disruptions of the American Revolution. These notes of Bard's lectures taken by medical student James Graham in 1774 are the only ones from the pre-revolutionary school now in the possession of the University.

Graham did not receive a medical degree from King's, but he later practiced medicine in Walkill, New York, and his son George was a member of the medical class of 1819.

Purchased with the assistance of W.W. Palmer, M.D., 1940


Luigi Galvani (1737 – 1798)

De viribus electricitatis in motu musculari commentarius

Bologna: Ex typographia Instituti Scientiarum, 1791

Health Sciences Library, Rare Book Collection

Galvani, professor of anatomy at the University of Bologna, was studying the nervous system of the frog when he noted that distant electrical discharges would cause violent muscular contractions in a dissected frog if the lumbar nerve was in contact with a metal instrument. He called this force "animal electricity" but it quickly became known across Europe as "galvanism."

Galvani was in error – the phenomena he observed was caused by the generation of electricity by different metals in a moist atmosphere – but his mistake had manifold consequences. The idea of galvanism forms the background to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, while the physicist Alessandro Volta, in disproving Galvani's theory, was led to the invention of the electric battery.

Galvani first published his findings in the proceedings of the Bologna Academy and Institute of Sciences and Arts in March 1791. A very small edition of the paper was then printed to be distributed to Galvani's friends. Though the Health Sciences Library owns one of that rare edition, the copy on display here was part of a printing later that same year designated for public sale. The plate shows Galvani's laboratory with the dissected frog's legs, an electrostatic machine (left), and a Leyden jar (right).

Purchased with the John Green Curtis Library, 1914


René Théophile Hyacinthe Laennec (1781 – 1826)

De l'Auscultation Médiate, ou Traité du Diagnostic des Maladies des Poumons et du Coeur fondé principalement sur ce Nouveau Moyen d'Exploration.

Paris: Brosson & Chaudé, 1819

Vol. 1 of 2 Volumes

Health Sciences Library, Rare Book Collection

Laennec discovered "mediate" auscultation in 1816 while examining a female patient whose stoutness made "direct" auscultation – where the physician placed his ear on the chest of the patient – impractical. Taking a piece of stiff paper, Laennec rolled it into a tube and placed one end on the patient's chest and the other against his ear. He had inadvertently invented the stethoscope.

This first edition of Laennec's De l'Auscultation Médiate [On Mediate Auscultation] depicts his stethoscope after three years of experimentation. A wooden tube about 30 centimeters long and about 6.75 millimeters in diameter, the instrument was constructed in two pieces that could be unscrewed for easier portability. Readers could purchase the instrument directly from publisher at first, but the simplicity of the design allowed it to be replicated by any competent woodworker.

Purchase, 2002


Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910)

Notes on Nursing: What it is, and What it is Not

London: Harrison, [1860]

Health Sciences Library, Auchincloss Florence Nightingale Collection

Notes on Nursing is Nightingale's best-known work and the most influential book ever written on nursing. In simple, direct prose, Nightingale set forth her principles of patient care, which stressed cleanliness, fresh air, warmth, light, and proper diet. A popular book, Notes sold over 15,000 copies within months. Nightingale inscribed this copy in its year of publication.

Gift of Althea Andrews, 1997


A. A. Turner

Portrait of Florence Nightingale

New York: D. Appleton & Co., undated

Carte-de-visite , signed, 10 cm. x 6 cm.

Health Sciences Library, Auchincloss Florence Nightingale Collection

Cartes-de-visite were small, mass-produced cards with photographic portraits of notable people. They were very popular in the mid-19th century and frequently kept as souvenirs. The production of cartes-de-visite with Nightingale's portrait attests to her fame. Although Nightingale signed this card in 1867, the photograph was likely taken in London soon after her return from the Crimea.


The Holy Bible, containing the Old Testament and the New

London: Charles Bill, 1693

Health Sciences Library, Auchincloss Florence Nightingale Collection

This Bible belonging to the Nightingale family passed down to their most famous member, Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). Though deeply Christian, Nightingale did not feel bound by any particular dogma, and was influenced by Anglican, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Unitarian beliefs. She signed this family heirloom at the beginning of the New Testament.

Gift of Hugh Auchincloss, M.D., 1942


Jean-Martin Charcot (1825 – 1893)

Ueber die Localisationen der Gehirn-Krankheiten

Stuttgart: Adolf Bonz & Co., 1878

Health Sciences Library, Rare Book Collection, Freud Library

In 1885, Freud studied with Jean-Martin Charcot, a charismatic lecturer and outstanding clinician, at the famous Salpêtrière hospital in Paris. Freud greatly admired Charcot, even naming his first son Jean Martin in Charcot's honor. This copy of the German translation of Charcot's lectures on the localization of brain disorders bears Freud's ownership signature.

The New York State Psychiatric Library acquired part of Freud's library in 1939, after Freud had to flee Nazi-occupied Vienna. It has been housed in the Health Sciences Library since 1978.


Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939)

Totem und Tabu

Autograph document, Essay II, section 3, Vienna, ca. 1912-13

Health Sciences Library, Rare Book Collection

In Totem und Tabu, a study in cultural anthropology and psychoanalysis, Freud made use of Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough to theorize about early human culture. He believed that the Oedipus complex was at the root of civilization's origin—when, Freud asserted, a dominant patriarch was slain and eaten by a primal horde.

Freud gave the manuscript of part II, sections 3 and 4, to his Hungarian disciple Sandor Ferenczi. After Ferenczi's death his family held the manuscript, which was nearly destroyed in 1945 when the family home caught fire during the Soviet capture of Budapest. The manuscript later passed to Ferenczi's literary executor, Dr. Michael Balint, whose son, Dr. John Balint, later donated it to the Health Sciences Library.

Gift of John Balint, M.D., 1998

History of Science, Mathematics, Technology


Cuneiform Tablet

Larsa (Tell Senkereh), Iraq, ca. 1820 – 1762 BCE

RBML, Plimpton Cuneiform 322

"Plimpton 322" is known throughout the world to those interested in the history of mathematics as a result of the interest that Otto Neugebauer, chair of Brown University's History of Mathematics Department, took in the tablet. In the early 1940s, he and his assistant Abraham Sachs interpreted it as containing what is known in mathematics as Pythagorean triples, integer solutions of the equation a2 + b2 = c2, a thousand years before the age of Pythagoras.

Recently, Dr. Eleanor Robson, an authority on Mesopotamian mathematics at the University of Cambridge, has made the case for a more mundane solution, arguing that the tablet was created as a teacher's aid, designed for generating problems involving right triangles and reciprocal pairs. Mr. Plimpton, who collected "our tools of learning" on a broad scale, would have been delighted with this interpretation, showing the work of an excellent teacher, not a lone genius a thousand years ahead of his time.

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton, 1936


Omar Khayyam (1048 – 1122 CE)

Maqalah fi al-jabr wa-al muqabalah

Manuscript on paper, 56 folios, Lahore, India, 13th century

RBML, Smith Oriental Ms. 45

Best known in the west as the poet who wrote the Ruba 'iyat, Omar Khayyam was also one of the leading mathematicians of the Islamic world. This manuscript of his "Algebra," written in standard Arabic scientific characters, was probably copied from an earlier manuscript; the work begins with basic definitions and makes its principal contribution in the field of cubic equations. Although the "Algebra" was unknown to western mathematicians until the eighteenth century, Omar received wide recognition for it in the Islamic world. He was called to the court of Sultan Malik Shah I (1054-1092), where he revised astronomical tables and introduced a highly accurate calendar. Among the fifteen works bound in this volume are two by Sharaf al-Din al Tusi (d. ca. 1213/1214), one on the height of vertical objects and the other on the height of the North Pole, and treatises by Alhazen (965-1039) on the astrolabe, and by al-Farabi (ca. 870-950) on music.

Gift of David Eugene Smith, 1931


Arte dell'Abbaco

Treviso: [Gerardus de Lisa de Flanobia or Michele Manzolo], 1478


This unpretentious little book could almost be taken as a symbol of the third component in the collection of George A. Plimpton: "reading, writing and ‘rithmetic." It intends to teach commercial arithmetic, starting from the most elementary level to explain numbers and their positions as designators of units, tens, hundreds, and so forth. On the opening displayed a reader has noted the method for calculating differences in income for those who invest varying amounts of money at different times. Graphically clear are the various earnings of Piero, Polo and Zuanne. Their names, and indeed the entire text, are in the local vernacular: Venetian dialect, not Italian. Abbacus, or commercial arithmethic, was solidly vernacular, Latin being reserved for the abstract studies of the universities.


Bequest of George Arthur Plimpton, 1936


Georg Agricola (1494 – 1555)

De re metallica

Basel: 1556


Georg Bauer, better known as Agricola, spent most of his adult life as a physician in the mining region of Joachimsthal in Bohemia. There he observed first-hand every aspect of mines, mining, and minerals. His subjects include, among other things, administration, prospecting, equipment, diseases of the lung, ventilation, ore transportation, soil erosion, and descriptions of eighty different minerals and metallic ore. The book contains 273 splendid woodcuts by Rudolf Manuel Deutsch.

Bequest of Daniel E. Moran, 1939



Italy, signed by Bernard Sabeus, 1558

RBML, Smith Instruments

This western astrolabe was made by Bernard Sabeus or Zabeus, who worked in Padua during the years 1552 – 59. It came to Columbia with the mathematical instruments and books collected by David Eugene Smith. Smith was professor of mathematics at Teachers College from 1901 until his death in 1944, serving as Teachers College librarian from 1902 until 1920. When he began giving his collection to the Columbia University Libraries in 1931, it included 12,000 printed books on the history of mathematics, ranging from the 15th through the 20th century. It also included 35 boxes of historical documents relating to mathematics; 140 boxes of his own professional papers; 350 volumes of western European manuscripts dating from the 15th to the early 20th century; 670 volumes of Oriental (primarily Arabic and Persian) manuscripts dating from the 8th to the early 20th century; 88 volumes of Chinese and 363 volumes of Japanese block-print books; 3,000 prints portraits of mathematicians; and some 300 mathematical instruments and related objects.

Gift of David Eugene Smith, 1931


Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) Sidereus nuncius

Venice: 1610

RBML, Smith Collection

This thin pamphlet entitled "The Starry Messenger" contains the first publications of modern observational astronomy, and some of the most important discoveries to be found in scientific literature. Galileo was the first astronomer to make full use of the telescope, learning of its invention in the summer of 1609. He constructed his own, eventually perfecting it to a magnification of 30 diameters, and began a series of astronomical observations. He observed the craters of the moon, saw the vast number of stars in the constellations and Milky Way, and discovered four new "planets," the satellites of Jupiter. He also declared himself to be a Copernican, and while none of his work proved that Copernicus's theory of the universe was right, it proved beyond doubt that the Aristotelian/Ptolemiac world-view was wrong.

Gift of David Eugene Smith, 1931


Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727)

The Three Mysterious Fires: Commentary on Monte -Snyder's Tractatus de Medicina Universali

Autograph manuscript, 3 pp., after 1678

RBML, Smith Historical Manuscripts

In addition to his many renowned contributions to mathematics, physics and astronomy, such as the discovery of the law of universal gravitation, the invention of calculus, the construction of the first reflecting telescope, and the first analysis of white light, Sir Isaac Newton devoted many years of his life to chemistry, alchemy and metallurgy. For 250 years after his death, his manuscripts and books lay in a large chest into which he placed them in 1696 when he became Master of the Mint. They remained untouched until 1872 when Newton's heirs donated his papers to Cambridge University. After the University Library accessioned those items of scientific interest, they returned to the family all personal items, including the alchemical manuscripts. In 1936 these "personal papers" were dispersed at auction. This manuscript, a commentary on Johann de Monte-Snyder's Tractatus de medicina universali (1678), testifies to the depth to which Newton pursued studies in alchemy.

Gift of the Friends of the Columbia Libraries


Giovanni Domenicis Cassini (1625 – 1712) and Giovanni Cassini (1677 – 1756)

Planisphere terrestre ou sont marquees longitudes de divers lieux de la terre

Paris: Iean Baptiste Nolin, 1696

RBML, Historic Map Collection

This is the first map constructed using scientific data. Under Giovanni Domenicis Cassini's direction, coordinates of latitude and longitude for points throughout the world were collected by the Académie Royale des Sciences for over thirty years. These were placed on the floor of the Paris Observatory, creating a planisphere that was 24-feet in diameter, with the North Pole at the center. Cassini's son Giovanni drew the much reduced version that was then engraved by Nolin.

Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Alexander O. Vietor, 1958


John James Audubon (1785 – 1851)

The Birds of America

London: Published by the author, 1827-1838


America's premier artist-naturalist, Audubon was born in Les Cayes, Santo Domingo, and spent his boyhood in France. At the age of eighteen he came to the United States to enter business but spent an increasing amount of time pursuing his childhood interest in drawing birds. By 1820 he was already devoting his efforts to what would eventually become The Birds of America, which would illustrate all the then-known birds of North America. In 1826 he left America in search of a publisher for the material he had already produced; his genius was immediately recognized in Great Britain, both by artists and scientists, and publication began. Over the next decade work continued, Audubon receiving assistance from his sons Victor and John and from William MacGillivray who collaborated with Audubon on the text which appeared in a five volume work, Ornithological Biography (1831-1839), published in Edinburgh.

Columbia was one of only three United States colleges or universities (along with Harvard and the other Columbia College, now the University of South Carolina) to become original subscribers to the "double-elephant" folio edition. It was published in less than two hundred sets with 435 hand-colored aquatints, principally the work of Robert Havell, Jr. The entry for "Columbia College State of N.Y." appears in Audubon's Ledger "B," dated May, 1833. Audubon had visited the college, then located at Park Place, and had shown his drawings to a gathering in the rooms of Columbia's president, the Rev. William Alexander Duer. A subscription of $800 was raised, and Ledger "B" records that the set was "Completed Nov. 10, 1838 – (Bound)."

Purchased from John J. Audubon by subscription, 1833


Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (1787 – 1851)

Historique et description des procédés du daguerréotype et du diorama

Paris: Susse frères, 1839

RBML, Epstean Collection

Edward Epstean (1868 – 1945) began collecting books about the history and science of photography in order to aid his own work, beginning in 1892, as a pioneering photo-engraver. His collection was also focused on the applications of photography to the graphic arts, and is an important, though not widely known, addition to the rich holdings of the RBML pertaining to the art and technique of printing.

Gift of Edward Epstean, 1934


Stephens and Company


Watercolor drawing, signed with perforated initials "F.S.K.," 1828?

RBML, Parsons Railroad Prints R5

William Barclay Parsons (CC 1879, Mines 1882) is best remembered as the chief engineer for the Rapid Transit System of New York, opened in 1904. However, he was also a great collector of books and prints. After his death, his family presented his book collection to The New York Public Library, but his collection of some 235 transportation prints came to Columbia. The collection includes prints dating from 1820 to 1880, covering primarily railroad transportation in Europe and the United States.

General Parsons purchased this watercolor of the legendary locomotive, originally named the "Pride of Newcastle," at the Americna Art Association sale (December 18, 1930) of the collection of Cornelius Michaelsen, who had purchased it in London. "America" was built by the firm of Robert Stephenson and Company, and was similar to the firm's "Rocket" built for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway that won the Rainhill locomotive trails in 1829. The fate of the "America" remains a mystery. It may have exploded on July 26, 1829 during its maiden run near Honesdale, Pennsylvania. If so, it would have been the first commercial steam locomotive to run in the United States. Its sister locomotive, the "Stourbridge Lion," made its first run successfully on August 8, 1829.

Gift of Mrs. William Barclay Parsons and Family, 1934


Unidentified photographer

Portrait of John Watson Webb

Daguerreotype, (13 1/8 x 11 inches, plate), (11 x 9 inches, image, oval), 1850s

Chandler Chemical Museum Collection

Office of Art Properties

The Chandler Chemical Museum was established by Professor Charles F. Chandler in order to illustrate the things he discussed in his many lectures. He began to collect material for the museum almost immediately on his arrival at Columbia in the 1860s. For half a century, he bought rare and interesting exhibits of chemicals and of products of various chemical industries. Many times were paid for out of his own pocket, and other materials were donated by the chemical industries. First located in Columbia campus on 49th Street, the museum was eventually moved to the East End of Havemeyer Hall when the university was relocated to Morningside Heights. When the museum was dismantled in 1987, some of its collections were transferred to Art Properties. Chandler's papers are located in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Daguerreotypes of this size, called mammoth plates, are rare. They were evidently difficult to make, and few are known to exist. John Watson Webb (1802 – 1884) was a journalist and diplomat. After an early career in the army, in 1827 he settled in New York City, where he became an editor and the owner of a number of newspapers. From 1861 to 1869, he was minister to Brazil.


Michael Idvorsky Pupin (1858 – 1935)

X-ray photograph of lead shot in hand

Photograph, 1896

RBML, Michael Idvorsky Pupin Papers

Michael Idvorsky Pupin received his Columbia College undergraduate degree in 1883 and his PhD at the University of Berlin in 1889, returning to teach at Columbia in 1892. The subject of electrical resonance engaged his attention between 1892 and 1895, and resulted in the electrical tuning which was universally applied in all radio work. In February of 1896, following Wilhelm Roentgen's November 1895 discovery of "new kind of rays," he discovered a rapid method of X-ray photography that used a fluorescent screen between the object to the photographed and the photographic plate. This shortened the exposure time from about an hour to a few seconds, and is the method now in universal use.

In April of that year he discovered that matter struck by X-rays is stimulated to radiate other X-rays (secondary radiation), and invented an electrical resonator. Pupin received 34 patents for his inventions, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1924 for his autobiography From Immigrant to Inventor. Columbia University's holdings include architectural drawings, blueprints and graphs, photographs, portraits, awards and diplomas. This print of an x-ray photograph, showing lead shot in a human hand, was probably taken in February, 1896.

Gift of Mrs. Rose Trbovich Andrews, 1965 & 1970


Harold Miller Lewis (1893 – 1978)

Laboratory notebook, recording Edwin H. Armstrong's discovery of superheterodyne reception

Autograph manuscript, 137 pp., Paris, July 21, 1918 – January 8, 1919

RBML, Edwin Howard Armstrong Papers

Edwin Howard Armstrong (1890 – 1954) is the largely unsung electrical engineer and inventor of three of the basic electronic circuits underlying all modern radio, radar, and television. Upon graduating from high school, Armstrong began to commute by motorcycle to Columbia University's school of engineering. In the summer of 1912, while a junior at Columbia, he made his first major invention: a new regenerative circuit in which part of the current at the plate was fed back to the grid to strengthen incoming signals. This single circuit yielded not only the first radio amplifier but also the key to the continuous-wave transmitter that is still at the heart of all radio operations. Armstrong received his engineering degree in 1913, filed for a patent, and returned to Columbia as an instructor and as assistant to the professor and inventor, Michael Pupin.

During World War I, Armstrong was commissioned a Captain and sent to Paris. While working under his direction in the Paris laboratory of the U.S. Signal Corps, Corporal Harold M. Lewis kept this notebook in which he recorded the invention of Armstrong's superheterodyne circuit, the basis for most radio, television and radar receivers. On August 13, 1918, Armstrong first explained to Lewis his new short wave amplification system; the complete circuit designs and the first working model were finished between August 14 and September 3, 1918. Thus, Armstrong had created a circuit capable of handling radio signals at much higher frequencies than were then possible. Lewis went on to a career in radio engineering and patented nearly sixty inventions of his own. Upon the success of early radio broadcasting after the war, Armstrong became a millionaire, but continued at Columbia University as a professor and eventual successor to Pupin. In 1941 he was given the highest honor in U.S. science, the Franklin Medal.

In 1933, Armstrong brought forth a wide-band frequency modulation (FM) system that in field tests gave clear reception through the most violent storms and, as a dividend, offered the highest fidelity sound yet heard in radio. But in the depressed 1930's the major radio industry was in no mood to take on a new system requiring basic changes in both transmitters and receivers. Armstrong found himself blocked on almost every side. It took him until 1940 to get a permit for the first FM station, erected at his own expense, on the Hudson River Palisades at Alpine, N.J. It would be another two years before the Federal Communications Commission granted him a few frequency allocations. Armstrong spent the rest of his life fighting infringements on his patents. Drained of resources and exhausted, Armstrong committed suicide on January 31, 1954. His estate eventually won $10,000,000 from multiple corporations in patent infringement actions. The Armstrong Papers were given to Columbia in 1977 by the Armstrong Memorial Research Foundation.

Gift of Keith E. Mullinger of Pennie & Edmonds, Patent attorneys for Armstrong, 1983


Academic cap worn by Marie Curie while receiving honors at American colleges and universities, 1921

RBML, Meloney-Curie Papers


Marie Sklodowska Curie (1867-1934)

Impressions of America

Autograph manuscript, 11 leaves, 1921

RBML, Meloney-Curie Papers

The American editor and journalist Marie Mattingly Meloney first met Madame Curie in May 1920 when she went to interview her at the Radium Institute of the Sorbonne. When Mrs. Meloney learned that the scientist had no radium with which to carry on her experiments, she founded the Marie Curie Radium Fund and raised over $100,000 from private donations for the purchase of one gram of the precious element. Curie's visit to the United States was arranged by Mrs. Meloney for May and June of 1921 so that the scientist could personally receive the radium from President Harding at a White House reception. During her stay, Curie attended dinners and receptions in her honor and visited colleges and universities, as well as such tourist attractions as the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls. A few days after her return to France, she sent this manuscript of her account of the visit to Mrs. Meloney for publication in The Delineator.

Gift of William B. Meloney, Jr., in memory of Marie Mattingly Meloney, 1956


Delano and Aldrich

Marine Terminal, LaGuardia Airport

Pencil on tracing paper, (20 x 14.25 in.), 1943

Avery Library, Drawings and Archives, Delano & Aldrich Collection

With their society connections, the firm was widely known as architects of urban clubs, such as Manhattan's Union, Knickerbocker, and Colony Clubs, and country estates, the Charles Lindberg and Otto Kahn residences among their best known. They worked extensively at Yale University, Delano's alma mater. Delano and Aldrich were also responsible for a large-scale renovation of the White House under Harry Truman. Yet at the end of their career, they were heavily involved with the new mode of transportation, the airplane. They designed airfields for Pan-Am in Florida, Panama, and Guam. The firm received this commission for the Marine Terminal at Laguardia in the late 1940s. The terminal is still the departure gate for the Boston shuttle and thousands of passengers walk through this building everyday and admire the decoration.

Avery is the largest repository of drawings of the work of Delano and Aldrich. The original gift by Delano was in 1951. The next and largest gift, including over 6500 drawings and 3,000 photographs, was donated by the estate of the successor firm headed by Alexander McIlvaine. Subsequent donations of the drawings of the Knickerbocker, Colony, and Union clubs have come into the collection in the last several years. Delano's personal papers are at Yale University.

Gift, 1985



Nicholas Statham (fl.1472)


Law Library, Special Collections

By the Statute of Quo Warranto (1290), the English fixed a date for the limit of legal memory: 3 September 1189, the beginning of the reign of Richard I. With a habit of legal record keeping so deeply ingrained, one understands the need for organizing and systematizing court records and judges' decisions to give attorneys a durable frame of reference. Lawyers were accustomed to compile their own commonplace books to keep track of significant points, pleadings, and decisions, but these were for generally personal use. One lawyer, Nicholas Statham, made an abridgment of cases drawn from the manuscripts of English year books, oldest legal records of the common law, which was ultimately printed in the last decade of the fifteenth century. Statham's Abridgment dealt with cases from the reign of Henry VI (1423-1461). Cases were arranged alphabetically by subject under such topics as jurisdiction, fines, disclaimer and damages. The copy on display shows how lawyers continued to add cases to the abridgment by covering the margins with notes. The abridgment format continued to be a useful tool for lawyers until the nineteenth century, when abridgements of reports ran to 24 volumes.

Purchased on the Carpentier Fund, 1917


Johannes Andreae (d. 1348)

De arbore consanguinitatis, affinitatis et cognationis spiritualis

Manuscript on paper, Germany, November 24, 1483

Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Ms. 8

The famous Bolognese authority on canon law, Johannes Andreae wrote several treatises on marriage law in regard to relationships considered too close for marriage. These were often illustrated with tree diagrams to facilitate understanding of the concepts of consanguinity, or blood relationships, affinity, or relationships by marriage, and spiritual relationships, those created through sacramental duties such as that of godparent. In this manuscript, the Arbor affinitatis (f. 7v) shows a person in an Italianate hat above the tree who may represent the author. The Arbor consanguinitatis (f. 3v) shows a pope above the tree, undoubtedly Innocent III. The work was often found bound after early printed copies of the great collections of canon law. The Burke Library has copies so bound, but this one came to New York with the library of Leander van Ess unbound, as it remains today.

Purchased with the Leander van Ess Collection, 1838


Thomas Littleton (1422 – 1481)


London: Richard Tottell, 1557

Law Library, Special Collections, Krulewitch Collection

This treatise on land tenure was the authoritative work on English landholding in all its complex forms: fee simple, fee tail, tenant at will, tenant by copy, tenant by the verge, in a vocabulary that preserves such legal terms as parcener, socage and frankalmoign. It was the book every law student read and every lawyer had to have from the time of its first edition in 1481 until the mid-nineteenth century. Many editions were printed in order to meet a great demand for the volume. Sir Thomas Littleton, Justice of the Common Pleas, wrote it as a book of instruction for his sons, which may account for its refreshingly simple and direct style of writing, even if the terminology is technical. Littleton wrote in French, the language of the court, although English translations began to appear in the early sixteenth century. Copies of this book often contain annotations by lawyers who added references to decisions of cases. In addition, the book's compact form lent itself to portability.

Gift of General and Mrs. Melvin L. Krulewitch, 1970


William III, Great Britain (1650 – 1702)

Anno regni Gulielmi III Regis Angliae, Scotiae, Franciae & Hiberniae, Decimo

London: Charles Bill and the Executrix of Thomas Newcomb, 1699

Law Library, Special Collections

This book of English statutes belonged to Joseph Murray, (1694-1757), a lawyer in colonial New York. A prominent and successful practitioner, Murray served on the vestry of Trinity Church from 1720 to 1726 and as warden until 1757. He was a member of the King's College Board of Governors since its foundation in 1754. Although married, he had no children and when he died in 1757, he bequeathed his library to the recently founded College, along with a considerable remainder of his estate. With enough money to import law books from England, Murray assembled an excellent library of law reports and treatises. Unfortunately the College library suffered plundering during the American Revolution resulting in the loss of many of Murray's gifts.

Gift of Joseph Murray, 1758


Catherine II, Empress of Russia (1729 – 1796)

Nakaz Eia Imperatorskago Velichestva Ekateriny Vtoriya, Samoderzhitsy Vserossiiskiia dannyi Kommissii o sochinenii proekta novago ulozheniia

St. Petersburg: Akademii nauk, 1770

Law Library, Special Collections

After coming to power in 1762, Catherine II traveled across Russia to meet her subjects. During her journeys, she was struck by the pressing need to create a uniform body of laws for her country. This book is a publication of her instructions to the Commission on the Code of Laws which she called into being and charged with that responsibility. Her instructions were printed in columnar style in four languages: Russian, Latin, German and French. Montesquieu's De l'esprit des lois and Cesare Beccaria's Dei delitti e della pene, an essay on crimes and punishments, strongly influenced Catherine's ideas. In this spirit, she envisioned Russia as a European country; she endorsed lofty concepts of equality; and she asked for administrative and judicial reforms in the structure of government. Although members of the Commission on the Code met for many sessions and debates over several months, they failed to codify any laws. In the end, privileges of the nobility were not curtailed, nor were there land reforms, nor freeing of the serfs. Catherine's attentions had been drawn to expanding the borders of her Empire, fighting wars with the Turks, and responding to internal unrest.

Acquired in 1937


Ephraim Kirby (1757 – 1804)

Reports of cases adjudged in the Superior Court of Connecticut; with some determinations in the Supreme Court of Errors

Litchfield: Collier & Adam, 1789

Law Library, Special Collections

This was the first publication of decisions of an American court, the Superior Court of Connecticut. Lawyers and judges faced a dilemma after the thirteen colonies won independence because there was no publication of American reports during the colonial period. Would lawyers continue to base their arguments on English law reports which were not widely available in the new nation? How could decisions of American courts be cited if they were not printed? Connecticut was first to address this problem. The legislature passed and act in 1784 requiring judges to submit written judgments which could be kept on file with the clerk of the court. Filing decisions, however, is not the same as publication for sale or distribution. It was the initiative of Ephraim Kirby, a private citizen who recognized the need and opportunity, who undertook the task of finding interested purchasers to subscribe to a volume of reports. Names of 230 subscribers listed in the back of the volume show that lawyers from Vermont and New York were interested to acquire reports from this court. Nor was it a simple matter for Kirby to assemble these reports. The court was ambulatory, meeting in New London, Hartford, Litchfield, Windham, Fairfield, and New Haven counties. The completed volume covers decisions from 1785 to 1788 and distinguished Kirby as the first reporter of court decisions in the United States.


William Samuel Johnson (1795 – 1883)

Litchfield notebook of law lecture courses

Manuscript on paper, Litchfield, Connecticut, 1817

Law Library, Special Collections, Johnson Collection

The Litchfield Law School, established by Tapping Reeve in Litchfield, Connecticut, was the first law school in America. From its opening in 1774, the school trained more than 1,000 students before it closed in 1833. The course of instruction included lectures by Reeve, a graduate of Princeton College, and moot court sessions. Students transcribed Reeve's lectures into notebooks like this, which would later serve as useful reference works in the law office.

William Samuel Johnson (not the first president of Columbia College, but related to that family) received his A.B. from Union College (Schenectady, N.Y.) in 1816 after which he read law at the Litchfield Law School. He began his practice in New York City and was later elected to the N.Y. State Senate in 1848, representing the sixth district in Manhattan.

Gift of William Samuel Johnson


Georgios Kalognomos

Enchiridion peri synallagmatikon

Athens: Philolaos, 1841

Law Library, Special Collections

This manual on bills of exchange and contracts is one of the earliest law books to be printed in Greece. Greece had won its independence from the Ottomans only two decades earlier and was beginning to develop their own civil and commercial codes. Nothing is known about the author, who was a lawyer, except that he also translated books from French into Greek.

Acquired in 2003


Benjamin Cardozo (1870 – 1938)


Autograph manuscript on paper, 66 pp., Senior Thesis, prepared for A.B. degree, Columbia College, 1889

RBML, Benjamin Cardozo Papers

Born in New York, Cardozo attended Columbia College, graduating in 1889, and Law School but left without taking a law degree. He served as counsel to other lawyers, and soon gained a reputation as a "lawyer's lawyer." He was elected to the New York State Supreme Court in 1913, then a year later to the New York State Court of Appeals, becoming Chief Judge of the court in 1927.

Especially in commercial law, Cardozo's opinions carried great weight in New York and throughout the country. His decision in the landmark case of McPherson v. Buick Motor Co. (1916) changed the very nature of product liability law, making manufacturers directly liable to the consumer.

Cardozo argued that rules of law should be judged not by their antiquity or logic but by the extent to which they contributed to society's welfare. He was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Hoover in 1932 to succeed Oliver Wendell Holmes. Joining the liberal block headed by Justices Louis D. Brandeis and Harlan Fiske Stone, he voted to uphold much of the early New Deal legislation. In his six terms he showed promise of becoming one of the Court's great justices, but died before he could leave a significant corpus of opinions. His papers held by the Rare Book and Manuscript Library include his senior thesis, shown here, as well as his lecture notes kept as a student at Columbia, and his commonplace books.

Gift of the Estate of Benjamin N. Cardozo, 1938


Itō, Hirobumi (1841 – 1909)

Teikoku kenpō, Kōshitsu tenpan gige [Commentaries on the Constitution of the Empire of Japan and Imperial ordinance]

Tokyo: Kokka Gakkai, 1889

Law Library, Toshiba Library for Japanese Legal Research

The Constitution of the Empire of Japan, Japan's first constitution, was promulgated in 1889, after two decades of careful studies on the constitutions of the United States and Europe, in particular that of Germany. With this constitution Japan was to set forth the foundation of a modern state. However, the articles concerning the emperor and the state were still deeply rooted in Japan's old Shinto tradition. The Emperor is sacred and inviolable (Article III). The Emperor is the head of the Empire, combining in himself the rights of sovereignty, and exercises them, according to the provisions of the present Constitution. @ (Article IV). Hirobumi Itō , who became the first prime minister of Japan in 1885, played a leading role towards the adoption of this monarchism. In this commentary wrote Itō, AThe Sacred Throne of Japan is inherited from Imperial Ancestors, and it to be bequeathed to posterity ; in it resides the power to reign over and govern the State (Itō, Miyoji, tr. Commentaries on the Constitution of the Empire of Japan). After the promulgation of the constitution, Kotarō Kaneko, a graduate of Harvard Law School and one of the draftsmen of the constitution, visited with the translated edition prominent legal scholars in Europe and the United States, including Oliver Wendell Holmes, then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. The reactions were generally positive and approving. The Toshiba Library also houses the translated edition.

Gift of the Family of Justice Jiro Tanaka, 1982


Yatsuka Hozumi (1860 – 1912)

Kenpō Teiyō [Outline of the Constitution]

Tokyo: Yuhikaku, 1911

Law Library, Toshiba Library for Japanese Legal Research

"[T]he Emperor is the state." (p. 79, v. 1). This often-cited line eloquently summarizes Hozumi's view of the state. According to him there are two forms of state (kokutai), monarchical and democratic, depending on the bearer of sovereignty, and two forms of government (seitai), absolute and constitutional. The kokutai is eternal while the seitai is not. "In a society," he claimed, "there is from the start a heaven-sent leader." Within that framework, Japan's millenary imperial lineage constituted the "unbroken monarchical state. Hozumi's conservative views conformed to the intent of the constitution =s authors, and helped him reach an influential position in academia as well as in the government. As with most prominent scholars of the time, Yatsuka Hozumi studied law in Germany for several years. Upon his return to Japan, he taught at the Imperial University of Tokyo from 1889 until his death in 1912. Kenpō Teiyō is considered his most important work. The book displayed is the second edition of the original published in 1910.

Gift of the Family of Justice Jiro Tanaka, 1982


Tatsukichi Minobe (1873 – 1948)

Kenpō satsuyō [Principles of the Constitution]

Tokyo: Yuhikaku, 1932

Law Library, Toshiba Library for Japanese Legal Research

Today Tatsukichi Minobe is one of the most respected legal scholars in the history of Japan. Educated in Germany, he represented the liberal constitutional views against views of his senior colleague at the Imperial University of Tokyo, Yatsuka Hozumi and his successor, Shinkinchi Uesugi. Minobe did not espouse the divinity of the emperor. He argued that the sovereignty resided in the state, of which the emperor is an organ (kikan). Though Minobe was not the first nor the only one to challenge Hozumi =s theory, his Aemperor-organ theory @ was severely attacked when the military power ascended in the 1930's. As a result, his publications on constitutional law including Kenpō satsuyō were banned from the public in 1935. After World War II, however, his views gained much popularity. This is the fifth revised edition of KenpōSatsuyō, originally published in 1923.

Gift of the Family of Justice Jiro Tanaka, 1982


Dwight's retirement folio

Manuscript folio, Dempsey & Carroll, New York, 1891

Law Library, Special Collections

This hand-colored memento was presented to Theodore W. Dwight (1822-1892) upon his retirement as the first Dean of Columbia College School of Law. In 1858, Dwight had been called from the Law Department of Hamilton College in Clinton, New York by the Law Committee of Columbia's trustees to organize a department of law and jurisprudence at Columbia. As Professor of Municipal Law, Dwight directed the instruction and oversaw the expansion of the school for 33 years. At the School's first commencement in 1860, twenty-seven men were graduated. When Dwight retired in 1891, the graduating class had grown to 230 members. Students of the classes of 1891 and 1892 commissioned this book of remembrance, richly illustrated with colored vignettes and borders. Members of these classes, including Benjamin N. Cardozo, signed the folio, which shows the Law School building, then located at Madison Avenue and 49th Street.

George Welwood Murray Fund, 2001


Edmonston Studio

Harlan Fiske Stone with his law clerks

Photograph, 26 x 35 cm., Washington, D.C., 1938

Law Library, Special Collections, Stone Collection

Harlan Fiske Stone was dean of Columbia Law School from 1910 to 1924 before his appointment, first to be Attorney General of the U.S., then to the U.S. Supreme Court. Every year on the Court, Justice Stone held a dinner for his current and former law clerks, many of them graduates of Columbia Law School. Pictured in row 1: Oliver Merrill, Milton Handler, Robert Cogswell, Justice Stone, Alfred McCormack, Francis Downey, Adrian Leiby; in row 2: Warner Gardner, Howard Westwood, Herbert Wechsler, Alexis Coudert, Thomas Harris, Walter Gellhorn, Louis Lusky, Harold Leventhal, Wilbur Friedman, and Allison Dunham.

Gift of Harlan Fiske Stone


Faried Adams

R. v. Adams and others. South African Mass Treason Trial

Pretoria: Special Criminal Court in Pretoria, 1959-1960

Law Library, Special Collections

In the long struggle to end apartheid in South Africa, this trial of 156 people accused of conspiring to overthrow the state by violence brought the world's attention to racial and political discrimination in South Africa. The accused were a cross section of South African society: Africans, Indians, Europeans from many professions and occupations: students, doctors, lawyers, skilled and unskilled laborers, shopkeepers, teachers, and tribal chiefs. Many were members of the African National Congress (A.N.C.) which had been a motivating force for the adoption of the Freedom Charter by the Congress of the People in 1955. Among the accused was Nelson Mandela, who, with his law partner Oliver Tambo, had opened the first African legal practice in Johannesburg in 1952. Mandela's testimony is preserved in this transcript, containing his views on non-violence and on the Freedom Charter. After a lengthy trial, the defendants were all acquitted, but this trial was only the beginning of the movement to establish equality before the law in South Africa.

Gift of Thomas G. Karis, 1986



Homer (fl. 9th or 8th century BCE?)

Iliad [Book 2.433-452]

Papyrus fragment, Greek: Ist Century BCE – early Ist Century CE

Col. inv. 517b, P. Col. VIII 196



Homer (fl. 9th or 8th century B.C.E.?)

Odyssey [Book 12.384-390]

Papyrus fragment, Greek: IIIrd Century – IInd Century BCE

Col. inv. 201c1, P. Col. VIII 200


The Rare Book and Manuscript Library houses Columbia's extraordinary collection of 2000 papyri fragments. The fragment to the right from the Odyssey is Columbia's earliest Homeric fragment, dating from between the third century to the second century BCE.

Most papyrus finds are non-literary texts, but among the literary pieces, Homer is the most frequently represented author. Fragments of the Odyssey are much less common than those of the Iliad, being outnumbered four to one. The fragment from the Iliad was purchased by Columbia in 1930, and that from the Odyssey was purchased in 1924.

(Iliad) Purchased from M. Nahman through H. I. Bell, 1930

(Odyssey) Purchased from Dr. Askren through H. I. Bell, 1924


La Mort le roi Artu

Manuscript on palimpsested parchment and paper

Northeastern Italy, 14th century

Western MS 24

This Arthurian romance is an amalgam of contradictions, proof of the divide between today's world and the world that produced the manuscript. Its 19th-century owner was the famous bibliophile, Baron Horace Landau, a representative of the Rothschild banking house in various cities across Europe. It must have been Landau who had the book bound by one of the foremost Florentine binders, G. Berti, in a sumptuous purple morocco binding with inlays of gilt-patterned green morocco at the corners, and gilt dentelle on the turn-ins. Clearly, the codex was highly valued by its aristocratic owner. But in its day, the book was a casual way to pass the time: a fairy tale, in the vernacular, partially copied on cheap second-hand parchment (the underlying text seems to be a notarial register from the province of Vicenza), and partially copied on poorly sized paper; even the effort to provide good penwork initials petered out after the first four gatherings. The book provoked confusion in today's scholars, as well: it was registered as French in origin, according to the too-simple logic that its language declared its place of birth.

Bequest of Prof. Roger Sherman Loomis, 1968


Homer (fl. 9th or 8th century BCE?)

Ilias; Ulyssea; Batrachomyomachia; Hymni xxxii

Venice: Aldus and Andreae Asulanus, 1517

RBML, Plimpton Collection

The two volumes of this heavily annotated copy of Homer's works in Greek belonged to Philip Melancthon, the chief figure in the Lutheran Reformation after Martin Luther. Melancthon used it in his lectures to his pupils in 1518 in Wittenberg and presented it to Martin Luther, who may also have made some of the annotations. Melancthon began teaching at the University of Wittenberg in 1518, and it was there that he met Luther and formed with him a warm personal relationship, which, but for the years 1522-1527, lasted until Luther's death. Melancthon taught Greek and Latin literature and was a popular lecturer, frequently drawing more students than the much admired Luther.

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton, 1936


Edmund Spenser (1552? – 1599)

Colin Clouts Come Home Again

London: Printed for William Ponsonbie, 1595

RBML, Samuels Collection

This pristine copy of Edmund Spenser's allegorical poem Colin Clouts Come Home Again, once owned by the poet Frederick Locker-Lampson, came to Columbia with the library of Jack Harris Samuels. Samuels received his Masters in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia in 1940, and from then until his sudden death in 1966 amassed a library of nearly three thousand first editions covering over four centuries of English and American literature.

Bequest of Mollie Harris Samuels, from the Library of Jack Harris Samuels, 1970


Valerius Maximus (fl. 20 CE)

Facta et dicta memorabilia

Manuscript in Castilian, on paper, Spain, middle of the 15th century

RBML, Lodge MS 13

Rarely in recounting the story of a medieval translation are we allowed a glimpse of its people and its movements, such as we have here. Valerius Maximus composed a gossipy, moralizing book, full of instructive examples, arranged by a particular vice or virtue, such as Anger, Cruelty, Bravery, Gratitude. His Latin was translated twice into Catalan, and, at the end of the fourteenth century, one of the Catalan translations was turned to Castilian. The Catalan writer's name is well known—Antoni de Canals—, but only the present manuscript and one in Seville contain the name of the man who brought the text from Catalan to Castilian: Juan Alfonso de Zamora, a Castilian emissary to the court of Aragon in Barcelona. In the early 1420s Juan Alfonso dispatched his newly finished work to Don Fernando Díaz, archdeacon of Niebla and Algeciras, who apparently corrected the language, but also seems to have been responsible for adding a gloss. The Archdeacon's gloss—based on the Latin commentary of one Brother Lucas—sometimes is written out separately from the text), and sometimes is incorporated into the text. Facta et dicta memorabilia is bound with bevelled wooden boards in contemporary blind stamped brown morocco; there are remains of green cloth on the fore edge strap closing to a clasp on the lower board; the spine, however, is repaired.

Purchased with funds bequeathed by Gonzalez Lodge, 1958


John Milton (1608 – 1674)


Manuscript, 54 leaves, after 1659


This letterbook comprises a series of transcripts of 156 Letters of State by Milton, mainly in Latin, but including ten in English known from no other source. There are also other writings by him, including a draft entitled "Proposal of certain expedients for ye preventing of a civill war now feard, and ye settling of a firm government," as well as treatises, apparently by other authors, probably used by Milton in his official work as Latin secretary to Cromwell. The "Proposal" was unknown until the letterbook was purchased for Columbia by Nicholas Murray Butler in 1921. The transcripts of letters are almost certainly in the hand of the amanuensis who signed the Paradise Lost contract; Milton had been blind since 1652. The manuscript belonged to the great English collector, Sir Thomas Phillipps, as well as to Bernard Gardiner, Warden of All Soul's College and keeper of the Archives of Oxford University who, in 1703, kept his accounts and other records in the back of the volume.


Phyllis Wheatley (1753 – 1784)

Poems on various subjects, religious and moral

London: Printed; Philadelphia: Re-printed, Joseph Crukshank, 1786


This is the first American edition of the first book of poems by an African-American and the first substantial work by an African-American to be published in this country. Although the English edition is common, there are only seven known copies of the American edition.

Purchased on the Charles W. Mixer Fund, 1983


Hornbook mould

Wood, England?, 18th century?

RBML, Plimpton Hornbook No. 6

George Arthur Plimpton (1855 – 1936) used a hornbook image on his bookplate, and he collected hornbooks, such as this one that could have been used to make such delightful things as gingerbread hornbooks. It was the perfect emblem for his collecting interests. Education through books was also his profession, he having joined the text book publishing firm of Ginn & Company in 1881, and serving as its chairman from 1914 until 1931.

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton, 1936


Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769 – 1830)

Portait of George Gordon, Lord Byron

Oil on canvas mounted on composition board, (11 ¾ x 10 inches)

Office of Art Properties

Sir Thomas Lawrence was the finest portrait painters of his generation in Europe and the last English inheritor of the legacy of van Dyck. The dress and accessories of Lawrence's sitters were chosen, as were his settings, with particular regard to the age and concerns of the sitter. Lawrence himself dictated the colour and texture of the material and he responded to the challenge of depicting it with an enthusiasm rarely found among earlier English portrait painters, such as Reynolds, who delegated such chores to drapery painters. In this portrait of Lord Byron (1788 – 1824), the poet is shown in his dashing youth, capable of swimming the Hellespont (today the Dardanelles), as he did in 1810.

The painting is one of more than 60 portraits of English authors given to Columbia by Dr. Calvin H. Plimpton, who had been president of Amherst College and of the American University of Beirut. The collection had been assembled by his father, George Arthur Plimpton, the noted publisher of text books. Both father and son delighted in quizzing visitors about the identity of the sitters. Dr. Plimpton remarked that having a "visual impression...of these authors...increases our enjoyment and even understanding of their writings."

Gift of Dr. Calvin H. Plimpton and his mother Anne Hastings
Plimpton to the George A. Plimpton Collection (RBML)


Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797 – 1851)

Frankenstein, or, the modern Prometheus

London: Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, 1818

RBML, Samuels Collection

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was the daughter of William Godwin, a political theorist, novelist and publisher, and Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women. In 1814, she and Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was already married, fell in love and fled to Europe. During the summer of 1816, while visiting Lord Byron at his villa on Lake Geneva, Byron challenged each of his guests to write a ghost story. In response, Mary began writing what became Frankenstein, in rivalry with Byron's fragmentary "Vampyre." In December of that year, Mary and Percy were married, two weeks after his first wife committed suicide by drowning. Rescuers had taken Harriet Shelley's body to the receiving station of the London Society, where various methods, including artificial respiration and electric shock, were tried, but to no avail.

Frankenstein was inspired by the science of the day, including the work of the Italian physician Luigi Galvani, who investigated the electrical properties of living and dead matter. As Mary Shelley wrote of her talks with Byron and Percy Shelley, "Perhaps a corpse would be reanimated; galvanism had given token of such things."

Bequest of Mollie Harris Samuels, from the Library of Jack Harris Samuels, 1970


Alexandra Vereshchagina (1810 – 1873)

Autograph album

Mixed media, ca. 1830

RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Lermontov Collection

A set of three Russian salon albums filled with autograph poems and original drawings, some of which can be attributed to a famous poet Mikhail Iurievich Lermontov, author of a well-known novel A Hero of Our Time. According to the Russian tradition those albums were passed on from one generation to another. Two of these albums belonged to the Vereshchagin family, Lermontov's closest friends during his Moscow years. The third album belonged to Varvara Lopukhina, a portrait of whom is included in this volume. Apparently, Lermontov met Varvara Lopukhina around 1827 and fell in love with her. Unfortunately, she didn't share his feelings. Hurt by her "betrayal" (she married Mr. Bakhmeteff in 1835), he later portrayed her in Princess Ligovskaia and other novels as a weak and deceitful lady.

Purchased from the von Hugel Family, 1935


William Pratt (1822 – 1893)

Daguerreotype portrait of Edgar Allan Poe

Daguerreotype photograph, (10 x 7.5 cm.), Pratt's Gallery, Richmond, Virginia, September 1849


William Pratt opened the Virginia Sky Light Daguerrean Gallery in Richmond in 1846, seven years after the daguerreotype was introduced into the United States. As Pratt related the history of this portrait to the St. Louis writer Thomas Dimmock, Poe had never fulfilled a promise he had once made to pose for Pratt until writer and photographer encountered one another on the street in front of the latter's shop in mid-September 1849. Poe, arguing that he was not suitably dressed, was coaxed upstairs and photographed. The image shows a man, as disheveled as he claimed to be, with a haggard face which betrays the steep decline in his emotional and physical condition; Poe died in Baltimore three weeks later. The enterprising Pratt held a patent on a daguerreotype coloring process, used to impart the faint flesh tone to Poe's face and hand.

Bequest of Mrs. Alexander McMillen Welch (Fannie Fredericka Dyckman Welch), 1951


Harper & Brothers

Contract between Herman Melville and Harper & Brothers for "The Whale," [ Moby Dick]

Manuscript, 2 pages, signed by Allan Melville for Herman Melville, New York, September 12, 1851

RBML, Harper & Brothers Papers

The records of Harper & Brothers, dating from 1817 to 1929, along with the pre-1974 records of its successor, Harper & Row, came to Columbia in 1975. Included in the archive are contracts, ledger books, copyright records, correspondence and publishing records of some 240 American and British authors. Also in the gift was Harper & Brothers own archive of 2,700 of their publications. In addition to this contract for "The Whale," the Harper & Brothers Papers also contains contracts for Herman Melville's Mardi, Omoo, Pierre Redburn, Typee, and White-jacket. Mardi, Omoo and Typee are signed by Melville; the others are signed by his brother Allan Melville.

Gift of Harper & Row, 1975, 1989, 1990


Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892)

Leaves of Grass

Brooklyn, New York: 1855


The Moncure D. Conway copy of the first edition, first issue, of Leaves of Grass is autographed by Whitman on the title-page. Laid into the volume is the holograph letter from Whitman to Conway, July 21, 1870, stating that "a verbatim copy of Emerson's note" is being sent. The note referred to, copied entirely in Whitman's handwriting, also accompanies the volume; it is Emerson's well-known letter of July 21, 1855, in which he praises Leaves of Grass in the highest terms and greets Whitman "at the beginning of a great career." Moncure D. Conway (1832 –1907), a Virginian by birth, gave up the ministry because of his anti-slavery pronouncements. He did his most important work as an editor in Boston, where he conducted The Dial and The Commonwealth.

Gift of Solton and Julia Engel, 1957


Stephen Crane (1871 – 1900)

Maggie, a Girl of the Streets, a story of New York, by Johnston Smith

New York: 1893


Stephen Crane was born in Newark, New Jersey, on November 1, 1871, as the 14th child of a Methodist minister. He started to write stories at the age of eight and at sixteen he was writing articles for the New York Tribune. Crane studied at Lafayette College and Syracuse University. After his mother's death in 1890 - his father had died earlier - Crane moved to New York, where he lived a bohemian life, and worked as a free-lance writer and journalist. While supporting himself by his writings, he lived among the poor in the Bowery slums to research his first novel.

Crane's first novel, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets, is the tale of a pretty, young slum girl driven to brutal excesses by poverty and loneliness. Crane had to print the book at his own expense, borrowing the money from his brother. The novel's sordid subject, its air of relentless objectivity, and its sense of fatalism have led some historians to claim it as the first American naturalistic novel, a claim supported somewhat by Crane's statement that he intended it "to show that environment is a tremendous thing in the world and frequently shapes lives regardless." The novel is original in its conception, and remarkable in both the brilliance of its method and the vitality of its language. Stephen Crane died of tuberculosis at the age of 28.

Gift of the heirs of Wilbur F. Crane and from the libraries of Jonathan Townley Crane and Wilbur Crane


Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860 – 1935)

The Yellow Wall Paper

Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1899

Barnard College, Overbury Collection

Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote "The Yellow Wall-Paper" as an article that first appeared in the New England Magazine in January, 1892, and was reprinted in this separate edition seven years later. It tells a largely autobiographical story of a woman who has a nervous breakdown after childbirth, is confined by her physician and husband in order that she have complete rest, is driven mad by hallucinations of a woman imprisoned behind the wallpaper in her room, and who frees herself by tearing down the paper.

After attending the International Socialist and Labor Congress in England in 1896 as one of the few female speakers, Gilman returned to the United States and published Women and Economics, reviewed by the Nation as "the most significant utterance on the subject since Mill's Subjection of Women." Her argument did not blame men, but pointed to a gradual change in society from a time when the sexes were equal to a time when women had become economic slaves. Despite recognition of her theories in the early years of the 20th century, she was largely forgotten until Women and Economics was republished in 1966, placing her in the line of important people in the history of women's rights.

Bequest of Bertha Van Riper Overbury, 1963


Siegfried Sassoon (1886 – 1967)

Notes and rough drafts

Autograph manuscript, 77 pages, 1906

RBML, Siegfried Sassoon Papers

Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves and Edmund Blunden were the surviving British poets of World War I, among the much longer list of those, such as Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg, who were killed. In addition to the manuscript drafts and typescripts of two volumes of Sassoon's autobiography, The Old Century and Seven More Years (1938) and The Weald of Youth (1942), Columbia owns thirteen volumes of his early notebooks. These contain drafts of over two hundred poems for the period 1894 until 1909, from age eight to twenty-two. This volume contains four of the poems that appeared in his first book, Poems, 1906.


Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946)

Tender Buttons, Objects, Food, Rooms

New York: Claire Marie, 1914

Barnard College, Overbury Collection

Tender Buttons , Gertrude Stein's fragmented rendering of familiar objects recreated in the cubist mode, was her first independently published work, following her self-published Three Lives (1909) and Portrait of Mabel Dodge at the Villa Curonia (1912). Carl Van Vechten, Stein's loyal supporter from the time of their first meeting in 1913 until his death in 1964, had recommended that she offer Tender Buttons to his friend Donald Evans. He had just started his own press, named for Claire-Marie Burke, and issued the following in an advertising brochure: "Claire Marie believes there are in America seven hundred civilized people. Claire Marie publishes books for civilized people only. Claire Marie's aim, it follows from the premises, is not even secondarily commercial."

Bequest of Bertha Van Riper Overbury, 1963


Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941)

Two Stories

London: The Hogarth Press, 1917

Virginia Woolf, novelist, critic, and essayist was born on January 25, 1882, the daughter of Julie Duckworth and Sir Leslie Stephen. In 1912 she married political theorist Leonard Woolf. Her first novel The Voyage Out was well received. Throughout her life she had suffered from deep depression and debilitating headaches. In 1913 she attempted suicide. Partly for therapeutic reasons she and Leonard Woolf bought a hand press and taught themselves typesetting. From this they set up The Hogarth Press in 1917, which was run from their home, Hogarth House, in Richmond, south west London. The first publication was Two Stories with a story from each of them, The Mark on the Wall by Virginia and Three Jews by Leonard. The Hogarth Press published work by other modern writers including Katherine Mansfield, T. S. Eliot, Maxim Gorky, Christopher Isherwood, Robert Graves, and E. M. Forster. Virginia Woolf is considered to be among the most important English novelists.


Manfred B. Lee (1905 – 1971) and Frederic Dannay (1905 – 1982)

The Roman Hat Mystery: A Problem in Deduction

Typescript, carbon, with autograph manuscript notes in pencil by
Frederic Dannay, 292 pages, [1929]

"Ellery Queen" was "born" in 1928 when the two Brooklyn-born cousins, Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, themselves both born in 1905, decided to enter a mystery-novel contest sponsored by McClures magazine. The rules required that entries be submitted under a pseudonym and the cousins, believing that readers would remember an author if the name also appeared throughout the book, chose Ellery Queen because it seemed unusual and memorable to them. Dannay and Lee were familiar with chosing pseudonyms; they had each changed their names, from Daniel Nathan and Manford Lepofsky, as young men. Just before Dannay and Lee were awarded first prize for their submission, McClures went bankrupt, but the story, The Roman Hat Mystery, was published in 1929 by the Frederick A. Stokes Company, thus launching the career of Ellery Queen. The creation of a detective who was also a writer of mystery stories proved to be extremely popular, and Ellery Queen eventually amassed a reported 120 million readers.

The typescript of The Roman Hat Mystery is inscribed on the title page by Dannay: "This is the only carbon-copy of the original typescript of ‘The Roman Hat Mystery' still in existance. The original typescript, and all other carbon copies, were destroyed. – Ellery Queen 12/22/41." It and the majority of Columbia's Ellery Queen papers were given by Frederic Dannay's sons, Richard and Douglas. Their gift also included the files of Ellery Queens Mystery Magazine, containing some 4,600 manuscripts submitted to the magazine over a period of 40 years, nearly all with Dannay's manuscript corrections.

Gift of Richard and Douglas Dannay, 1985 & 1987


Hart Crane (1899 – 1932)

The Bridge

Typescript with autograph corrections, 99 pages, ca. April-September 1929

RBML, Hart Crane Papers

Hart Crane began work on The Bridge, his most ambitious work, in the early 1920s. Obsessed by what he called America's postwar vertigo, he envisioned the work as an epic "synthesis of America and its structural identity." The Bridge was first published by Harry and Caresse Crosby at their Black Sun Press in Paris in 1930. This working typescript for their edition contains notes and corrections in the hands of the Crosbys, as well as that of the author. Among its nearly two thousand items, the Hart Crane Collection contains two complete typescript versions of the poem and the extant drafts of the individual pieces which make up the larger work, as well as the letters of agreement with Horace Liveright for the American publication of both White Buildings and The Bridge.

Purchased on the Frederic Bancroft Fund


Alexei Remizov (1877 – 1957)

Deed (Gramota)

Ink and gouache on paper, 20 x 26 cm., Paris, April 24, 1932

RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Nikolai Vasilievich Zaretskii Papers

Russian modernist writer, Alexei Mikhailovich Remizov, didn't belong to any particular movement. During his long and prolific literary career (1902-1957) he always experimented with old and often forgotten Russian words and expressions trying to revitalize the language. As a true Modernist, Remizov cultivated paradox and myth in life and writing. In 1908 he created a secret literary society "The Great Free Order of the Apes" (with its acronym Obezvelvolpal) ruled by the King Asyka. Remizov himself was a permanent Scribe of the Order and later invented its own Charter and personally designed hundreds of Deeds (Gramotas). In his designs he often used the Glagolitic letters (Old Slavonic alphabet). His literary game, started as a pure joke, later became a favorite entertainment for many famous Russian intellectuals such as Ivan Bunin, Nikolai Berdiaev, Vasilii Rozanov, Lev Shestov, Alexei Tolstoy and others.

Purchased from Nikolai Vasilievich Zaretskii, 1954-1957


René Bouchet

Portrait of Bennett Cerf

Charcoal on paper, [size]

RBML, Bennett Cerf Papers

Bennett Cerf was born in 1898 in Manhattan and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in journalism. In 1925 he acquired the Modern Library with Donald Klopfer, providing the foundation for Random House Publishing. "I've got the name for our publishing operation. We just said we would publish a few books on the side at random. Let call it Random House." Two years later the Random House colophon made its debut. Cerf was part of the vanguard of young New York publishers who revolutionized the business in the 1920's and 30's. He died in 1971.

Gift of Phyllis Cerf Wagner and the Cerf Foundation, 1975 – 1984


James Joyce (1882 – 1941)


Paris: Shakespeare and Co., 1930

RBML, Book Arts Collection

This copy of the eleventh printing of James Joyce's Ulysses was imported by Random House and seized as pornographic by United States Customs in New York on May 8, 1933. The District Attorney marked the objectionable passages, such as the heavily marked pages in the Ithaca episode, to prepare the government's case for use in the now famous court proceedings. In his decision, made on December 6, 1933, Judge John M. Woolsey recognized that the intent of the work was not pornographic, and that the test for obscenity could not be the presence of isolated obscene passages, but the effect of the work in its entirety. The result of the decision was to permit Random House to publish Ulysses, on January 25, 1934, without legal risks; and the long range consequence was the eventual publication in the United States of other controversial works by authors such as D. H. Lawrence and Henry Miller.

Gift of Bennett Cerf, 1935


Vladimir Nabokov (1899 – 1977)

Untitled Poem, Album

Paris, February 1937

RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Sergei Viktorovich Potresov Papers

This autograph album covers the years 1906-1913 and 1917-1948, respectively, and has entries by Konstantin Balmont, Ivan Bilibin, Ivan Bunin, Vladimir Nabokov, and Maximilian Voloshin among others. It has been assumed that the initiator and keeper of the album was Sergei Potresov, Russian émigré writer and critic who used the pseudonym of Sergei Iablonovskii. Most of the epigrams, poems, drawings, and designs in the album are on white standard pages. Some drawings and other entries have been glued onto the pages of the album.

Nabokov's untitled poem was written in 1935 in Berlin and was first published in Paris in 1952. Right above his entry Nabokov wrote "My dear Sergei Viktorovich, I can't recall any of my poems about Blok, so I decided to include my favorite poem."

Purchased from Maria A. Berman, 1960


Rockwell Kent (1882 – 1971)

Ceramic cup, saucer, plate from the "Moby Dick"

From ceramic dinnerware set, Vernon Kilns, Los Angeles, 1939

RBML, Rockwell Kent Collection

Kent produced three patterns for dinnerware manufacture between 1938 and 1940; the "Moby Dick" pattern uses designs of whaling ships and whales different from the Kent drawings in the famous edition of the Melville novel published in 1930. Shown here are two of twelve pieces in the set.

Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Alfred C. Berol, Dan Burne Jones, Corliss Lamont, and Mrs. Arthur Hays Sulzberger, 1971


Cornell Woolrich (1903 – 1968)

Night Has a Thousand Eyes

Typed manuscript, carbon, with autograph corrections, 372 pages, ca. 1945

RBML, Cornell Woolrich Papers

Cornell George Hopley-Woolrich was born in New York City on 4 December 1903, the son of Genaro Hopley-Woolrich, a civil engineer and Claire Attalie Tarler. After his parents divorced, Woolrich spent his early years with his father traveling through Mexico and Central America, before moving back to New York City at the age of twelve to live with his mother. He attended Columbia University intermittently between 1921 and 1926 but never graduated.

Of all his major novels, Night Has a Thousand Eyes, published in 1945 under the new pseudonym George Hopley, is the one most dominated by death and fate, and in it Woolrich depicts the terror that is generated by knowing the exact moment and nature of one's death. By the mid 1940s Woolrich was regarded as the premier American suspense writer. After a stroke rendered him unconscious, he died on 25 September 1968, less than two and a half months short of his sixty-fifth birthday. He left his estate of some $850,000 to Columbia University to establish a scholarship fund for journalism in his mother's memory. He also left his papers and his copyrights to the Columbia University Libraries.

Bequest of Cornell Woolrich, 1968


Gwendolyn Brooks (1917 – 2000)

Annie Allen

New York: Harper, 1949

RBML, Pulitzer Prize Papers

Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize. This is the copy that was sent to the Pulitzer Prize Committee. She was awarded the 1950 poetry prize for this book, a verse narrative pairing the mythic imagery of a young woman's hopes and dreams with the realities of her life as a black woman.

Gift of the Pulitzer Prize Committee, 1950


Ralph Ellison (1914 – 1994)

Working notes and outline for Invisible Man

Typed manuscript, 9 pages, 1952

RBML, Random House Papers

Invisible Man is one of the great novels of American literature and perhaps the most profound sociological exploration of African-American culture ever written in novel form. In this hand-corrected typescript submitted to Random House, Ellison discusses the concept of invisibility as applied to the novel as follows: "First a couple of underlying assumptions: "Invisibility", as our rather strange character comes in the end to conceive it, springs from two basic facts of American life: From the conditioning which often makes the white American interpret cultural, physical, or psychological differences as signs of racial inferiority" and "the great formlessness of Negro life wherein all values are in flux." In these working notes Ellison discusses the predicament of the Negro in American life, a person who must act logically in a predicament which is not logical. Life for the Negro in the world and word of Ellison is either tragic, absurd, or both.

Gift of Random House, Inc., 1970


Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961)

Autograph letter, signed to Daniel Longwell

San Francisco de Paula, Cuba, 3 pages, July 6, 1952

RBML, Daniel Longwell Papers

Daniel Longwell (1899 - 1968) began his distinguished career as an editor at Doubleday, supervising the publication of books by Edna Ferber, Ellen Glasgow and other writers. In 1934, he joined the staff of Time, Inc., becoming one of the founding editors of Life magazine, and serving as chairman of its board of editors from 1946 until his retirement in 1954. In this letter, written from the Finca Vigia, his beloved house in Cuba, Hemingway tells Longwell how important it is for him to have The Old Man and the Sea published in Life where people who could not afford to buy the book would be able to read it, adding, "That makes me much happier than to have a Noble prize." The work appeared in the issue of September 1, 1952. Hemingway would receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, "for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style."

Gift of Mrs. Daniel Longwell, 1969


Allen Ginsberg (1926 – 1997)

Howl (for Carl Solomon)

Typescript with autograph corrections, 7 pages, January 1956

RBML, Carr Papers

Ginsberg graduated from Columbia College in 1948, traveled widely, and held a number of jobs, ranging from floor-mopper in a cafeteria to market researcher, before writing Howl, now recognized by many as the most significant of the Beat Generation poems. Ginsberg enclosed this typescript in a letter to Lucien Carr, in which he called attention to the "new style, long lines, strophes." Howl is a violent lament of the destruction by society of the poet's generation, and both the style and content clearly demonstrate that the poem follows in the tradition of Walt Whitman. The first edition, preceding Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights Books publication, was mimeographed, and Ginsberg sent a copy to his former English professor Mark Van Doren, now in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library's Van Doren Papers.


Dawn Powell (1896 – 1965)

Charts & Casts & Notes for Golden Spur

Autograph manuscript, on folder paper, March 1958

RBML, Dawn Powell Papers

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library is the principle repository of the papers of novelist and playwright, Dawn Powell, the gift of Elizabeth T. Page and the ongoing gift of Tim Page. Among the papers are drafts and working notes for her novel The Golden Spur. These include this chart that she began in March, 1958, showing how she kept track of characters, places, spots and episodes for the work, such as: "Cassie Bender, gallery. Would have had a tea-room in another age," and under "Spots:" "Hotel Le Grand. Golden Spur Cafe. Supermarket. Wash. Sq. Park."

Born in Mount Gilead, Ohio in 1896, Dawn Powell ran away from an abusive stepmother when she was thirteen and settled with her unconventional aunt in nearby Shelby, Ohio. "Auntie May," a divorcée, owned a home near the railroad depot, made lively by Powell's cousins, Auntie's lover, and passing strangers who stopped for meals. Encouraged by her aunt to further her education, Powell begged a scholarship to Lake Erie College for Women. There she wrote and performed in plays and edited the Lake Erie Record, a campus quarterly, which often contained her playful yet pessimistic stories. In 1918, Powell moved to New York City. She married Joseph Gousha, Jr., a Pennsylvania-born poet turned ad man, and the couple had a son, Jojo. They settled in Greenwich Village. Powell loved her bohemian neighborhood and the Manhattan nightlife that she spent alongside friends John Dos Passos, Edmund Wilson, E. E. Cummings, and others from the literary scene.

Powell set her fiction in the small Ohio towns of her youth and later, most successfully, in familiar New York neighborhoods and cafés. Though dogged by Gousha's drinking, Jojo's probable autism, financial strain, and her own struggles with alcohol, illness, and depression, Dawn Powell managed to write sixteen novels, nine plays, and numerous short stories and reviews. She died in 1965. Powell's wicked sense of humor, keen ear for dialogue and human sense of pathos pervade her barbed, shrewd fiction about mid-century Americans in Manhattan and Ohio. Her remarkable diaries, published in 1995, were hailed by the New York Times as "one of the outstanding literary finds of the last quarter century." Columbia University's holdings include her personal and professional correspondence, drafts of her plays and novels and her diaries.

Gift of Tim Page, 2002



René Descartes (1596 – 1650)

Renati Des-Cartes Musicae compendium

Utrecht: Gesberti a Zÿll, & Theodori ab Ackersdÿck, 1650

Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library

The Compendium is both a treatise on music and a study in methodology. In it Descartes shows himself to be a link between the musical humanists of the 16th century – he was influenced particularly by Zarlino, whom he cited – and the scientists of the 17th. The work is noteworthy as an early experiment in the application of an empirical, deductive, scientific approach to the study of sensory perception and as being among the earliest attempts to define the dual relationship between the physical and psychological phenomena in music.

Descartes divided music into three basic component parts, each of which can be isolated for study: the mathematical-physical aspect of sound, the nature of sensory perception and the ultimate effect of such perception on the individual listener. He considered the first of these to lend itself to pure scientific investigation, since it is independent of personal interpretation. He characterized the process of sensory perception as being autonomous, self-regulating and measurable. This is the realm where practical aspects of music are dealt with (e.g. rules for counterpoint) and to which the great bulk of the Compendium is devoted. To Descartes the impact of sound on a listener's emotions or ‘soul' is a subjective, irrational element and therefore incapable of being scientifically measured. He described it as a psychological-physiological phenomenon that clearly belongs to the areas of aesthetics and metaphysics, of which he was to develop the principles later in his philosophical writings. The distinction he made in the Compendium, between sound as a physical phenomenon and sound as understood by the human conscience, permitted him to pass from a rationalist concept of aesthetics to a sensualist one in his later work. This concept was influential in the development of a philosophy for the affections in music in late 17th-century Germany, especially through his treatise Les Passions de l'âme (Amsterdam, 1649/R).

Purchase, 1901


Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695)

Orpheus Britannicus. A collection of all the choicest songs…The Second Book, which renders the First Compleat

London: William Pearson for Henry Playford, 1702

Gabe M. Weiner Music & Arts Library

Henry Purcell was one of the greatest English composers, flourishing in the period that followed the Restoration of the monarchy after the Puritan Commonwealth period. Purcell spent much of his short life in the service of the Chapel Royal as a composer, organist and singer. With considerable gifts as a composer, he wrote extensively for the stage, particularly in a hybrid musico-dramatic form of the time, for the church and for popular entertainment, a master of English word-setting and of contemporary compositional techniques for instruments and voices. He died in 1695, a year after composing funeral music for Queen Mary.

Purcell wrote only one full opera, Dido and Aeneas, with a libretto by Nahum Tate. He provided a number of verse anthems and full anthems for the liturgy of the Church of England, as well as settings of the Morning and Evening Service, the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, Te Deum and Jubilate. Purcell's secular vocal music includes a number of Odes for the feast of St. Cecilia, patron saint of music and a number of Welcome Songs and other celebrations of royal occasions. He wrote a considerable quantity of solo songs, in addition to the songs included in his work for the theater.

Gift of Mrs. Elaine Schenker, 1960


The Beggar's Opera

Playing Cards, England, ca. 1730

RBML, Albert Field Collection of Playing Cards

The Field Collection, one of the most comprehensive collections of playing cards in the world, consists of close to 6,000 packs. Included in the collection are tarot packs; miniature packs; packs depicting generals, presidents, and sports figures; and transformation packs, where suit signs change into human heads, butterflies, bees, birds, or fish. The collection also contains depictions of historic events, representing changes in social customs, political context, and design. A sequence of packs from early 20th-century Russia, for example, shows increasingly vicious images of the imperial court. The deck of cards shown here contains the words and music for the songs in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, first performed in London on January 29, 1728.

Albert Field, who performed as a magician during his early years, incorporated card tricks into his magic acts, and collected cards from the countries he toured. Field received a B.A. in English Literature from Columbia University, and an M.A. from Harvard, and then taught English and science in New York City high schools. Field met Salvador Dali in the early 1940s, and was chosen by the artist to be his official archivist in 1955. Field proceeded to catalogue thousands of Dali works and fakes, eventually becoming the foremost authority in the field.

Bequest of Albert Field, 2003


Leonard Euler (1707 – 1783)

Tentamen novae theoriae musicae

St. Petersburg: Typographia Academiae Scientiarum, 1739

Gabe M. Weiner Music & Arts Library

Swiss mathematician, and scientist, Leonard Euler's residency in Russia coincided with the grand cultural vision of Catherine the Great and her determination to Europeonize Russia. Under Catherine's patronage science, the arts and trade flourished. Catherine is credited with luring Euler back to St. Peterburg during the Enlightenment. He was one of the first mathematicians to apply calculus to physics, and is considered to be one of the most prolific mathematicians of all time. He was the perfector of integral calculus, the inventor of calculus using sines, and is particularly renowned for his study of motion.

Euler presented a developed theory of consonance, based upon an explicit, mathematical rule for determining the ‘simplicity' of a set of frequencies such as those making up a chord. He derived his rule from ideas of the ancients, Ptolemy in particular. It could not take account of difference tones and summation tones, for they had not yet been reported, but it permitted Euler to determine by routine calculations the most complete systems of scales or modes ever published. The last chapter of this work sketches a theory of modulation. Euler thus began to construct a mathematical theory of the consonance of a progression of chords.

From Dr. Anderson's Collection, Given by the Alumni



Manuscript on paper, Austro-Hungarian Empire, 1766

Gabe M. Weiner Music & Arts Library

Three slim volumes, of an original four, contain the musical compositions for the Divine Office at vespers; the music was so well known that only its opening bars were recorded, since the short cue would be sufficient to the singers. It is possible that this vesperal was produced for use in a church of the Theatine order: their founder, St. Cajetan, is honored here with arrangements for his feast (7 August). The only other unusual saint so fêted is St. Leopold (15 November), who was Markgrave of Austria in the 15th century. Austrian ownership is proven by the elaborate achievement of arms on folio 2 in each of the three volumes: the double-headed displayed eagle, wearing the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, grasping the two swords and orb in his claws, carries emblazoned on his chest, the twenty-two coats of arms of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On the same leaf is the signature of one Johann Hermann, qualifying himself as "Music." (for "musicista"?), and the date, 1766. It would have been a worthy accomplishment to have copied out by hand all of these texts and music, and to have done so with such consistent elegance.

Gift of John and Johanna Bass, 1962


Whittier Perkins' Yankee Doodle: A Collection of Dancing Tunes, Marches & Song Tunes

Manuscript, 36 leaves, ca. 1778-1788


Known as the "Whittier Perkins" manuscript because of the ownership inscription, this volume, in a contemporary leather binding, contains more than two hundred tunes from the American Revolutionary War era, scored for melodic instrument. Many of the melodies are of English origin, but the spirit of the times is reflected in the titles given to the tunes, such as "The Free Born Americans" and "Washinton's [sic] Health." The most famous piece in the collection is "Yankey doodle," which appears here in its earliest known American form. In addition, the manuscript contains such well-known songs as "The 12 days of Christmas" and "Greensleeves."

Gift of Robert Gorham Davis, 1965


Joseph Mazzinghi (1765 – 1844)

Paul et Virginie: the favorite grand ballet, op. 7 composed by Sigr. Onorati ; the music by Joseph Mazzinghi

London: Printed for G. Goulding, [1795?]

Gabe M. Weiner Music & Arts Library

An English composer of Corsican origin, Mazzinghi was the eldest son of Tommaso Mazzinghi, a London wine merchant and violinist. Apparently at the instigation of both his father and aunt, Mazzinghi commenced lessons with J. C. Bach. He was appointed organist at the Portuguese Chapel in 1775 when only ten years old. He later studied with Sacchini, Anfossi and possibly Bertolini. In 1779 Mazzinghi was apprenticed as copyist and musical assistant to Leopoldo De Michele, chief music copyist at the King's Theatre. Five years later he advanced to the position of harpsichordist and was then engaged as house composer to the King's Theatre (1786 –9). In this position he provided ballet music, directed operas and was responsible for arranging pasticcios. Mazzinghi was a prolific composer for the ballet, having written some two dozen works for the King's Theatre and Pantheon. As was customary,

Mazzinghi was required to arrange existing music for the ballet as well as compose new works. Among Mazzinghi's more successful ballets were those he composed for Noverre during the period 1787 –9. Paul et Virginie was among the more popular ballets after Noverre's departure for France in 1789. Mazzinghi joined the Royal Society of Musicians on 3 June 1787. He may have had a financial interest in the music publishing firm of Goulding, who published most of his music from about 1792. Mazzinghi died on a visit to his son at Downside College, and was buried in the vault of Chelsea Catholic Chapel on 25 January 1844.


Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809)

[Gebote Gottes den Herm] Die X Gebothe Gottes, in Musik gesetzt als Canons von Joseph Hayden (Eigenthum der herausgeber) [The Ten Commandments]

Vienna: Artaria & Comp. [1810?]

Gabe M. Weiner Music & Arts Library

Joseph Haydn was born in 1832 the son of a wheelwright. Throughout his career he composed for his patron, Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy. During this period, Haydn was the director of an ensemble of about twenty musicians, with responsibility for the music and the instruments. Even if his music was not as emotionally intense and radical as that of Beethoven (who was his pupil at one point), or as profound and probing as Mozart's (who was his good friend), Haydn's music shows a very solid structure that was an important part of the Classical Era.

In Haydn's sacred vocal music the aesthetics of through-composition is a matter not only of cyclic integration, but of doctrine and devotion. Many of these works are organized around the conceptual image of salvation, at once personal and communal, achieved at or near the end: a musical realization of the desire for a state of grace. At the time of his death, Haydn was mourned as one of the musical giants of his time. His long career enabled him to produce a vast quantity of works that defined the Viennese Classical style.

Gift of John and Johanna Bass, 1962


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

Wellingtons-Sieg, oder: Die Schlacht bey Vittoria. In Musik gesetzt … 91tes Werk

Vienna: S. A. Steiner & Comp., 1816

Gabe M. Weiner Music & Arts Library, Deposit to RBML, Anton Seidl Papers

This first printing of Beethoven's Wellington's Victory, Opus 91, the "Battle Symphony," was owned by conductor Anton Seidl. Seidl came to prominence as Wagner's principal assistant at the first Beyreuth festival in 1876, and he became a member of the Wagner household. After conducting in Europe, Seidl was invited to conduct German opera at the Metropolitan Opera House. He made his debut on November 23, 1885, conducting Lohengrin. When German opera at the Met was dropped in 1891, he became the conductor of the Philharmonic Society of New York, returning to the Met in 1897. During this time he became a naturalized American citizen, dying suddenly of ptomaine poisoning at the height of his career in 1898.

Gift of the Friends of Anton Seidl, 1905


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

Notes on Mozart's Requiem and sketch for Missa Solemnis

Autograph manuscript, n.d.


This working sheet contains Beethoven's analysis of the Kyrie fugue from Mozart's Requiem on one side and a sketch for his Missa Solemnis on the other. Beethoven invented special symbols for Mozart's use of double counterpoint and compound 4/4 meter, and made frequent use of this meter in his late fugues, especially the Gloria fugue in the Missa Solemnis.

Gift of Roberta M. Welch, 1953


Anton Bruckner (1824 – 1896)

Symphony IV, (Romantic)

Manuscript, with title page and many corrections in the composer's hand, 121 leaves, [1878]

Gabe M. Weiner Music & Arts Library, Deposit to RBML

One of the most innovative figures of the second half of the 19th century, Bruckner is remembered primarily for his symphonies and sacred compositions. His music is rooted in the formal traditions of Beethoven and Schubert and inflected with Wagnerian harmony and orchestration. Until late in his career his reputation rested mainly on his improvisatory skills at the organ. The Fourth Symphony, like the Third, exists in three distinct versions. The first was completed in November 1874 (ed. Nowak, 1974).

In this revision of 1878, Bruckner ‘tightened up' the first two movements, revised the finale and replaced the original scherzo with a new movement. In 1880 Bruckner substantially recomposed the finale. The work, comprising the first three movements of 1878 and the finale of 1880, was given its first performance by the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Hans Richter, on February 20, 1881. After this performance, Bruckner unsuccessfully attempted to get the symphony published. In undertaking the third and final revision, Bruckner was assisted by Ferdinand Löwe and probably by the Schalk brothers.


Edward Alexander MacDowell (1860 – 1908)

Indian Suite, [Suite No. 2, Op. 48]

Autograph manuscript, Boston, ca. 1889-1897

RBML, Edward MacDowell Papers


Columbia University

Silver cup presented to MacDowell by Columbia students, 1904

RBML, Edward MacDowell Papers

A Columbia University committee, after hearing a performance of McDowell's Indian Suite by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on January 23, 1896, decided to recommend MacDowell as the university's first professor of music. The cup is engraved with the names of his students and inscribed, "with the high esteem and affection of his classes at Columbia University."

(Manuscript) Gift of the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, 1969

(Cup) Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Evans, 1972


Gustav Holst (1874 – 1934)

Egdon Heath

Autograph manuscript, August, 1927

Gabe M. Weiner Music & Arts Library, Deposit to RBML

The music of "Egdon Heath," inspired by Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native, is elusive and unpredictable. Its three main elements are set out at the beginning – a pulseless wandering melody, first for double basses and then all the strings, a sad brass processional and restless music for strings and oboe. All three intertwine and transmute, eventually coming to rest with music of desolation, out of which emerges a ghostly dance, the strangest moment in a strange work. After this comes a resolution of sorts, and the ending, though hardly conclusive, gives the impression of an immense journey achieved, even though "Egdon Heath" lasts no more than 12 minutes.


Béla Bartók (1881 – 1945)

Rumanian Folk Music

Autograph manuscript, ca. 1942

RBML, Béla Bartók Papers

Central to Béla Bartók's work as a composer was his work as an ethno-musicologist. With fellow Hungarian composer, Zoltán Kodály, he travelled throughout Eastern Europe and Turkey collecting folk music prior to the devastations of World Wars I and II. Alarmed by the spread of fascism, Bartók emigrated to the United States in 1940. On his arrival, he was commissioned by Columbia to transcribe a large collection of Yugoslav folk music, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University that year. He prepared the manuscripts of his work on Rumanian and Turkish folk music for publication, but was unable to find a publisher. He then donated the material to Columbia along with his tabulation of Serbo-Croatian folk music, held in the Parry Collection at Harvard, that had been published. By 1943 his health was failing and he died from leukemia in New York in 1945. His Rumanian and Turkish manuscripts were later published by his estate.

Gift of Béla Bartók, 1943 and 1944; transferred to RBML from Central Files, 1981


Boris Artzybasheff (1899 – 1965)

Marian Anderson

Painting in tempera and pencil for the cover of Time, December 30, 1946

RBML, Art Collection

During the 1930s, Arturo Toscanini had told the American contralto Marian Anderson, "A voice like yours comes but once in a century." In 1941, when she booked Constitution Hall in Washington, D. C. for a concert, her booking was cancelled by the Daughters of the American Revolution, the owners of the hall. Walter White of the NAACP told Eleanor Roosevelt what had happened, suggesting that the concert could be held out of doors on government property. Mrs. Roosevelt called Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, and the concert was held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before a crowd of 75,000. Despite this triumph, Marian Anderson did not make her Metropolitan Opera debut until 1955, when she was fifty-three, becoming the first African American to sing at the Met.

Bequest of Boris Artzybasheff, 1965


Douglas Moore (1893 – 1969)

"Augusta's Aria," from The Ballad of Baby Doe

Autograph manuscript, ink and pencil

RBML, Douglas Moore Papers

The Ballad of Baby Doe was commissioned by the Koussevitsky Foundation of the Library of Congress for the 200th anniversity of Columbia University. Completed in 1956, it has become one of the most popular American operas of the modern day. The story is a mixture of romance and frontier rowdiness, a tale of wealth turned into poverty by the change of the silver standard during the William Jennings Bryan era.

Douglas Moore was educated at the Hotchkiss School and Yale University (BA 1915, BM 1917), where he studied composition with Horatio Parker. He began to write songs for social events, developing a gift for writing melodies in a popular style. This skill was reinforced by further songwriting during his World War I service in the US Navy (from 1917); the resulting collection, Songs My Mother Never Taught Me (1921), co-authored with folk-singer John Jacob Niles, brought Moore his first public recognition.

In 1926 Moore was appointed to the faculty of Columbia University, where he became chair of the music department in 1940, remaining in that post until his retirement in 1962. He gradually became one of the most influential figures in American music, both as a teacher and as a director or board member of many organizations, including ASCAP and the National Institute and American Academy of Arts and Letters. Moore's papers include his professional and personal correspondence, original scores and sketches, and production notes, libretti and data concerning his major works.

Gift of Mrs. Douglas Moore & Family, 1971 and 1973; and on-going gifts of Mary Moore Kelleher & Sarah Moore

Theater History, Dramatic Arts


William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies

London: Isaac Jaggard and Ed. Blount, 1623

RBML, Phoenix Collection

As the monumental work of Charlton K. Hinman has shown, from about February until December 1622, three folio books were in the process of being printed at the printing house of William Jaggard: Vincent's Discoverie of Errors, Favyn's Theatre of Honour and Shakespeare's works. All three books are in the RBML collections, along with copies of the other three Shakespeare folios. This copy of the first folio came to Columbia with the library's first rare book collection, that of Stephen Whitney Phoenix.

Bequest of Stephen Whitney Phoenix, 1881


Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751 – 1816)

School for Scandal

Manuscript, 97 pages, late 18th or early 19th century



Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Miniature portrait

RBML, Plimpton Miniatures

Late in the eighteenth century, Sheridan told a publisher who asked for a corrected copy of School for Scandal, that after nineteen years he was still not satisfied with the text. Whether he ever completed a definitive text is not known, but he may have continued to work on the play as late as 1815. This late version, although not complete, shows some significant changes from an earlier one that has long been accepted as the basic text. The manuscript is in five hands: one appears to be either that of John Palmer (1742?-1798), the original performer of Joseph Surface, the hypocritical brother in this popular comedy, or, according to some scholars, that of George Steevens (1736-1800), the commentator on Shakespeare and collaborator with Samuel Johnson.

(Manuscript) Brander Matthews Dramatic Museum & Library Collection

(Portrait) Gift of Mrs. Francis Plimpton, 1987


Frances Anne Kemble (1809 – 1893)

Muslin bodice of the costume worn as Juliet, debut appearance, Covent Garden, London: 5 October 1829

RBML, Dramatic Museum Collection


Frances Anne Kemble (1809 – 1893)

Journal by Frances Anne Butler, with the author's ms. annotations

Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1835

RBML, Dramatic Library

Fanny Kemble was not yet twenty when she made her debut as Juliet at Covent Garden on 5 October 1829, wearing this bodice. The London Times reported: "Upon the whole, we do not remember to have ever seen a more triumphant debut. That Miss Kemble has been well and carefully instructed, as, of course, she would be is clear; but it is no less clear that she possesses qualifications which instructions could not create, although it can bring them to perfection." Some critics thought she was even better than her famous aunt, Sarah Siddons had been at the same age.

In 1832 she traveled to the United States with her father, the actor Charles Kemble, and was an immediate success in New York and during a tour that lasted for two years. She married Pierce Butler in 1834. Butler was a retired actor and Philadelphian who owned a plantation in Georgia. Her diary from this time was published in two volumes in 1835, and in this copy she has made annotations throughout. Visiting Butler's plantation, she was shocked to see the institution of slavery first-hand. Other parts of her diary were published as Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1835, and reissued in New York and London during the American Civil War in order to influence British opinion against slavery and the South.

Brander Matthews Dramatic Museum & Library Collection


Fortune Theatre Model

London: James P. Maginnis, ca. 1912

RBML, Dramatic Museum

In 1599, Philip Henslowe, theater producer, and Edward Alleyn, actor and founder of Dulwich College, contracted with Peter Streete, carpenter, to build a theater north of Aldersgate on Golden (formerly Golding) Lane in London. Streete had been the contractor for the Globe Cheatre that had opened in late 1599. Henslowe paid £520 for the Fortune, opened in 1600, and almost twice as much to have it rebuilt of brick after it burned in 1621.

The working of the Fortune contract was exact enough to enable reconstructions to be made. This one was made by James P. Maginnis of London, under the direction of Walter H. Godfrey, for Columbia professor and theater history pioneer, Brander Matthews. The scale is 3:100. It became part of his Dramatic Museum, a vast collection of books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, recordings, puppets, masks, set models, theater models, and other museum objects, that he began in 1912.

The Fortune Theatre was to be three stories high, on a low wall foundation of brick "underpinning"). An open stage 43 feet by about 27 feet was to be surrounded by galleries, including four "gentlemen's rooms" and other "twopennie rooms." The stage, modeled on that of the Globe in Southwark, would have its pillars "wroughte plasterwise [i.e.strapwork pilasters], with carved proporcions called satiers to be placed and set on the top of every of the same postes." The reconstruction shows how the gallery, the essential feature of the new theatres, was copied from the coaching inns (such as The George Inn, still partly standing in Southwark), which in turn had adapted it from the large house. The Fortune was located only a few blocks away from what is today the Barbican Arts Centre.

Brander Matthews Dramatic Museum & Library Collection


Tennessee Williams (1911 – 1983)

Typed manuscript, annotated, of an early draft of The Eclipse of May 29, 1919 [The Rose Tattoo]

RBML, Tennessee Williams Papers


Black glasses owned by Tennessee Williams at the time of his death

RBML, Tennessee Williams Papers

Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams in Columbus, Mississippi on March 26, 1911, the son of Cornelius C. Williams a shoe salesman and Edwina Dakin the daughter of an Episcopalian minister. Williams received a BA from the University of Iowa in 1938 and, supported by odd jobs, set out immediately to become a writer. He first gained fame with The Glass Menagerie in 1945. The play drew on his family experience, as would much of his subsequent writings--an absent father, an eccentric Southern belle mother, a shy troubled sister, all seen through the eyes of the sensitive artist brother.

The Glass Menagerie was followed by a succession of hits which securely established Williams' reputation as a major American playwright. He won the Pulitzer Prize for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. The Rose Tattoo, shown here in an early draft, received the Tony Award for best play in 1951. The Rare Book and Manuscript Library began collecting Tennessee Williams materials in the 1970s, and by 1990 had acquired a substantial collection of scripts, production material, photographs and correspondence. The largest part of the collection, including the pair of black glasses shown here, was purchased from the Tennessee Williams estate in 1994 and consists primarily of material found in his Key West house following his death.

(Manuscript) Gift of the Friends of the Columbia University Libraries, 1986

(Glasses) Purchased with the Tennessee Williams Estate, 1994


Thomas W. Lamb (1871 – 1942)

Drawing for a proposed new lobby, Audubon Ballroom, New York City

Charcoal and pastel on tracing paper, 1930

Avery Library, Drawings and Archives, Thomas W. Lamb Collection

A Scotsman who emigrated to Canada and then New York, Lamb became one of the leading theater designers in the early 20th century. He designed or renovated theaters for several chains, including Loew's, Fox, and Poli, at sites in New York and around the world. For Manhattan, the archive contains a large number of projects or renovations in Manhattan alone, including the old Madison Square Garden at 8th & 50th St., and the Eltinge, among others. There are theaters for Calcutta, London, Cairo, Toronto, and Johannesburg. This drawing is part of a set of proposals for the renovation of the Audubon Ballroom, a theater Lamb had designed in 1912 and later became famous as the site of the assassination of Malcolm X. The building was redeveloped in 1995 as the Audubon Business and Technology Center by Columbia. Due to the instability of the abandoned structure, only the façade was salvaged and reinstalled.

The collection, containing over 20,000 drawings, was donated by John McNamara in 1982. McNamara, also a theater architect, had been Lamb's associate and then successor. At the time of the donation, McNamara was at work preparing the Winter Garden Theater for a new production called "Cats."

Gift of John McNamara, 1982


Joseph Urban (1872 – 1933)

"Blue Nursery Scene," The Ziegfeld Follies, 1931

Theater set model; gouache, watercolor, and graphite; wooden base with paper board drops supported on metal poles; paper and transparent tissue paper decorations, some supported with wooden bases

RBML, Joseph Urban Papers

Joseph Urban studied architecture at the Akademie der bildenden Künst in his native Vienna. He established himself as an architect as well as a book illustrator, exhibit designer, interior decorator and set designer, often in collaboration with the painter Heinrich Lefler. Urban and Lefler were co-founders of the Hagenbund, an exhibiting society similar to the Secessionists. In 1912 at the age of 40, Urban emigrated to the United States and became the designer for the Boston Opera Company where he introduced the innovations of the New Stagecraft from the European theater.

After the Boston Opera Company went bankrupt in 1914, Urban began designing sets in New York. He designed the Ziegfeld Follies, as well as all other Ziegfeld productions, from 1915 to 1932. In 1917 he began designing for the Metropolitan Opera and continued to do so until his death in 1933, with operas including the first American productions of Puccini's Turandot and Richard Strauss's Egyptian Helen, and the first Metropolitan Opera productions of Verdi's Don Carlos and Richard Strauss's Electra.

From 1921 to 1925 Urban was also the art director for William Randolph Hearst's Cosmopolitan Studios. He had branched out to other artistic endeavors since moving to New York, including designing shop windows, roof gardens and interior decoration. From 1921 to 1922 he introduced the works of Viennese artists to the United States through his Wiener Werkstätte shop. He received his license to practice architecture in the United States in 1926, after which he designed homes, buildings, ballrooms and theaters in New York and elsewhere. Notable examples of his extant architecture are the Paramount Theater Building and Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, and the New School and the Hearst Magazine Building in New York.

Columbia's massive Joseph Urban holdings cover his entire career. Most recently, the Joseph Urban Stage Design Models and Documents project, through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, has made possible the preservation of 240 three-dimensional models created by Urban for New York theaters between 1914-1933, including productions for the Ziegfeld Follies, such as the "Blue Nursery Scene" in 1931, the Metropolitan Opera, and a variety of Broadway theaters. The project has also created digital images of the set models and related stage design documents and drawings that are linked to the online finding aid:

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Urban, 1955


Florine Stettheimer (1871 – 1944)

Maquettes made for costumes and scenery for Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thompson's Four Saints in Three Acts

Wire, crepe paper, thread, feathers, sequins, toile, velvet, cellophane, New York, 1934

RBML, Florine Stettheimer Papers

Artist Florine Stettheimer is best known for her lavish sets and costumes that she designed for the first production of Gertrude Stein's opera Four Saints in Three Acts, with music by Virgil Thompson. Rather than use flat drawings, Stettheimer created these figures using a wide variety of materials, including the newly invented cellophane, seen here on the palm trees, and used extensively for the set itself. Shown here is part of the maquette for Act I of the opera, with the figures for the characters, from left to right: Saint Settlement, The Compere (in black), Saint Teresa I, The Female Dancers (three), Saint Teresa II, Saint Ignatius, and The Commere (in red).

Gift of Joseph Solomon, on behalf of the Estate of Ettie Stettheimer, 1967


Ely Jacques Kahn (1884 – 1972)

Drawing, Dowling Theater, Times Square, New York City

Charcoal and pastel on tracing paper, [1944-47]

Avery Library, Drawings and Archives, Kahn and Jacobs Collection

A 1906 graduate of Columbia College, Kahn spent several years at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris before returning to New York to join the firm of Buchman and Fox. The firm had many connections in the retail and garment industries; department stores were among their clients. Bloomingdale's and Oppenheim-Collins were two of their major patrons. Kahn, along with Raymond Hood and Ralph Walker, was one of the most successful New York architects of the 1920s. His buildings include 2 Park Avenue, the Squibb Building, Bergdorf-Goodman, 120 Wall Street, 525 Seventh Avenue, the Film Center Building, among many others. Because of Kahn's decorative talents, the buildings were also known for their colorful lobbies and elevator cabs and exterior ornament.

Around 1940, Kahn teamed with a younger architect, Robert Allan Jacobs, son of the architect Harry Allan Jacobs, who had just returned from working in Le Corbusier's office in Paris. This project for a post-war theater shows the exuberance and eagerness for a post-war New York City. After years of war-time blackouts, these drawings promised a return to the bright lights and excitement of Times Square. Unfortunately, this project was not built.

The Kahn collection was the gift of Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum, the successor firm to Kahn and Jacobs. Additional personal materials, including scrapbooks, clippings, and photographs, were gifts of Mrs. Ely Jacques Kahn.

Gift of Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum , 1978


Samuel (1899 – 1971) and Bella Cohen Spewack (1899 – 1990)

Kiss Me, Kate, "Script A"

Typescript, with autograph corrections, 1948

RBML, Sam and Bella Spewack Papers


First Tony award for Best Book (Musical), 1949

RBML, Sam and Bella Spewack Papers

The idea for Kiss Me, Kate came from producer Arnold Saint-Subber. In 1935, while working as a stagehand for the Theatre Guild's production of The Taming of the Shrew, he noticed that Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne were involved in a relationship that was almost as tempestuous offstage as it was onstage in their roles as Petruccio and Katherine. With the book written by Sam (Columbia College, Class of 1919) and Bella Spewack, and the music and lyrics written by Cole Porter, with liberal use of Shakespeare's dialogue for the "onstage" musical numbers, Kiss Me, Kate opened on December 30, 1948 at the New Century Theatre and ran for 1070 performances. It won five "Tony" Awards in 1949, the second year of the awards and the first time that musicals were honored separately, including this one given to the Spewacks, and awards for "Best Musical," and "Best Score." The award for "Best Play" was given to Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.

The Spewack Papers contain a large amount of material relating to the creation, production, and performance of their works for stage, screen, radio and television; Bella Spewack's work for various charitable organizations including UNRA; and the manuscripts of novels, short stories and articles written by the Spewacks.

Bequest of Bella C. Spewack, 1990


Judy Garland (1922 – 1969)

"The Judy Garland Story"

Typescript, New York, March 1961

RBML, Random House Papers

This is Random House's copy of Fred F. Finklehoffe's transcription, made in Mexico City, in February 1961, of the tape-recorded interviews that he had made with Judy Garland in London and elsewhere in 1960, for her proposed, but never written autobiography. Playwright, screenwriter, and producer, Fred Finkelhoffe worked on the screenplays for six of Garland's films, including "Strike Up the Band," "Girl Crazy," and "Meet Me In St. Louis." On page one of the transcript she states that, "Contrary [to] many rumors, I was not born in a trunk, but in a lovely white house with a garden, and until I went back to see it again when I was fifteen, always I thought it was the biggest house I'd ever seen."

Gift of Random House, Inc., 1970


Tom Stoppard (b. 1937)

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Mimeographed copy of typescript, signed and inscribed to Carl [Petersen] by the author, New York, ca. 1967

RBML, House of Books Collection

The House of Books opened in New York on October 10, 1930, under proprietors Louis Henry Cohn (1888-1953) and Marguerite Arnold Cohn (1887-1984). It specialized in 20th century British and American first editions and brought the Cohns into contact with many of the major literary figures of the day, including Tom Stoppard. This play was his first major success. It tells the tale of Hamlet from the point-of-view of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare's play.

Bequest of Marguerite A. Cohn, 1984


Robert Wilson

"The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud" A Three Act Dance-Theatre Concert, Brooklyn Academy of Music

Poster, lithograph, "after engraving by William Blake/R. Wilson 70/300," 1969

RBML, Robert Wilson Papers

Robert Wilson was born in Waco, Texas in 1941. He attended the University of Texas, Austin, 1959-1962 and the Pratt Institute, 1962-1965 where he earned a BFA in architecture. By 1968 he had gathered a group of artists that became known as The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds in honor of Wilson's former teacher. Together they worked and performed at 147 Spring Street in lower Manhattan. The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud, along with The King of Spain, were both produced in 1969. His Einstein on the Beach, a collaboration with composer Philip Glass, appeared in 1976,

In the early 1980s, Wilson began working on his multi-national epic, "the CIVIL wars: a tree is best measured when it is down," his most ambitious project to date. Created in collaboration with an international group of artists and planned as the centerpiece of the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival in Los Angeles, the full opera has not been seen in its entirety, but individual parts have been produced in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Columbia's Robert Wilson Papers include correspondence, outlines, scripts, production notes, technical materials, story boards, contracts, posters, programs, announcements, reviews, and other printed materials relating to all aspects of Wilson's theater works, opera, films, artwork and video productions. Also included are the files of the Byrd Hoffman Foundation.

Gift of Robert Wilson and the Byrd Hoffman Foundation, 1988-91