Archival Collections
Columbia University Archives

Council for Research in the Social Sciences records, 1922-1970 bulk 1925-1968 

Council for Research in the Social Sciences
Phys. Desc: 
8 linear feet (8 linear feet 19 archival document boxes)
Call Number: 
Columbia University Archives
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Biographical Note

The Council for Research in the Social Sciences was created on February 17, 1925, by a resolution of the University Council. Up to that time the University had no bureau or committee for the encouragement and financial support of social science research. To be sure, the Dean of the Graduate Faculties had at his command a modest annual 'Dean's Fund' from which he gave financial assistance to individuals in the social science departments in furtherance of a few research projects. A more elaborate organization was required for the administration of the far larger fund that was urgently needed. The immediate occasion for the Council of this nature was a promise from the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial of an annual ten-year grant for social science research. Accordingly, the University Council by resolution created the Council for Research with a membership of fourteen, and authorized it to act as an agent of the University in furthering cooperative research in the social sciences, in assisting the researches of individuals and groups and, which the approval of the President, in making allotments for research from such funds as might be appropriated to or secured by it” (Report on the Work of the Columbia University Council for Research in the Social Sciences, p. 1). Scholars represented in this collection include Professor of Anthopology Franz Boas, Charles Wagley, and Ruth Benedict, Professor of Economics James Angell, Professor of History Allan Nevins, Richard Hofstadter, Henry S. Commager, Henry Graff, Jacques Barzun and Frank Tannenbaum, Professors of Law Milton Handler, Karl Llewellyn, Carl Swisher and Jack Greenberg, Professors of Sociology C. Wright Mills, Seymour Martin Lipset and Paul Lazarsfeld, Professor of Political Science Peter Gay, Professor of Asian Humanities William T. De Bary, Professor of Government Richard Neustadt. The first Research Council consisted of nine members: Professors Franz Boas, James Bonbright, John Coss, Carlton Hayes, Howard Lee McBain, C. Wright Mills, William Ogburn, A.T. Poffenberger, Robert Haig, Jervey, and Deans Mitchell, Fredrick Woodbridge, William Darrach, James Earl Russell. Between the councils active years between 1925 to 1968, council Chairmen have included Fredrick Woodbridge, Howard Lee McBain, G.B. Pegram, Carl Shoup, and William Vickrey. Notable projects sponsored by the Council have included Franz Boas' “Heredity and Environment” Ruth Benedict's “Acculturation” Allan Nevins' “Collected Letters of Grover Cleveland” and Peter Gay's “Voltaires Philosophical Dictionary.”.

Scope and Contents

The records are comprised primarily of correspondence between Council Chairs, members, and researchers, meeting minutes and agendas, project proposals and correspondence, and reports to and from the Council for Research in the Social Sciences.