Grant Will Create User Guides for Archives

The Columbia University Archives and Records Management Program was recently awarded a grant by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to organize, describe, and create guides to the Central Files Collection, the core collection of institutional records. The project began this month and will continue for two years.

The collection contains the office records of various senior administrators, such as the President, the Provost, the Secretary and the Treasurer. The records also include correspondence between these administrators and other administrators, faculty members, trustees, scholars, educators and philanthropists, as well as civic, political, business, and cultural leaders. Records included in the present project date from 1890 through 1970.

Rhea E. Pliakas, manager of University records, said "Records in Central Files are particularly significant for documenting Columbia s history and providing insight into higher education, the metropolitan community and the nation." Records include the development of Columbia from a college to a University, Columbia s activities during both world wars, the development of academic and professional disciplines and the creation of the core curriculum. Pliakas said that the collection had already been used for several scholarly efforts.

Before now, the Central Files Collection has remained largely unknown to researchers on and off Columbia's campus, she said. Also, some portions of the Collection had not been accessible.

Once the funded project is completed, Pliakas says guides and on-line catalogue records will improve access to the materials, making more available for research.

The Archives and Records Management Program reports to University Secretary Corinne H. Rieder, who established and gained support for Columbia's first University Archives. She said, "Columbia has made significant contributions to higher education in the United States. Central Files is an important historical resource which will begin to document and illuminate the University's contributions to higher education as well as in local and national developments."

The project will assist research efforts relating to Columbia's 250th anniversary in 2004, Rieder said.

Columbia University Record -- October 13, 1995 -- Vol. 21, No. 6