The New International Encyclopædia/Columbia University

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. One of the oldest educational institutions in the United States, situated in New York City. The first step toward its foundation was the authorization in 1746 by the Colonial Assembly of public lotteries for the establishment of a college in the Province of New York. The proceeds, amounting in 1751 to £3443 18s., were vested in a board of ten trustees, of whom seven were members of the Church of England. The preponderating English influence thus represented, and the application of the trustees for a royal charter, excited much opposition in New York, where it was thought that the college should be entirely an American institution. Nevertheless, a charter for ‘King's College’ was obtained from George II. in 1754, and the management of this college was vested in a corporation composed of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Governor of the Province, and other Crown officers ex officio, the rector of Trinity Church, the ministers of the Dutch Reformed churches, and twenty-four gentlemen of New York. In the following year Trinity Church conveyed a considerable plot of land to the college on condition that its presidents should always be members of the Church of England, and that the Church Liturgy should be read in the college mornings and evenings. Dr. Samuel Johnson, of Connecticut, was installed as the first president; and in 1756 the erection of a college building was begun near what is now West Broadway and Murray Street. In 1764 Dr. Johnson was succeeded by the Rev. Myles Cooper. Under President Cooper the college prospered, and a medical department was founded in 1767; but President Cooper was a Royalist, and, becoming involved in 1774 in a political controversy with Alexander Hamilton, then still an undergraduate, was presently mobbed at his house, and soon after sailed for England. In 1776 the college buildings were seized by the Committee of Safety for hospital purposes, and the college exercises were practically suspended until 1784, when the institution reopened as Columbia College, under a State charter, vesting its control largely in political officers. This, however, proved unsatisfactory; and in 1787 a new charter was granted similar to the original one except as to the denominational clause, and the management of the institution was vested in a self-perpetuating board of twenty-four trustees. About this time the income of the college was £1330, while its faculty numbered six, three giving instruction in medicine and three in the arts. New life was given to the institution in 1792 by a grant from the State of £7900 outright and of £750 for seven years. The faculty was enlarged, and Mr. James Kent, afterwards the famous Chancellor Kent, was elected to a professorship of law. But the State refused further funds in 1799, and the college suffered seriously in consequence. In 1813 the medical school was incorporated with the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

In 1814 the Legislature granted the college a strip of land known as the Hosack Botanical Garden, extending from Forty-seventh to Fifty-first Street, and from Fifth Avenue to nearly Sixth Avenue, as a reimbursement for lands in New Hampshire belonging to the college which were ceded by the State on the settlement of the New Hampshire grants. For many years this property yielded no income; but at present it is an important source of revenue. In 1823 Professor Kent was reappointed to the chair of law and delivered his famous lectures, which were, in 1826, published as Kent's Commentaries. In 1830 the contemplated establishment of a rival institution in the city of New York spurred on the board of trustees to new activity. The full course was enlarged, and scientific and literary courses were instituted, designed for special students. In this Columbia would seem to have anticipated its future development as a university. But the time for such a project was not ripe, and the special courses were discontinued in 1843, though their major subjects were continued in its full course. In 1857, owing to the rapid growth of the city, the college was removed to the site bounded by Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Streets and Madison and Fourth Avenues, and a postgraduate course, combining all the features of a university, was projected as part of a general plan of expansion. In 1858 a law school was established. Beginning with 35 students, it had an attendance of 171 in 1864. In 1860 a nominal union was effected with the College of Physicians and Surgeons. To meet the increasing need of mining and other engineers, Columbia College established, in 1864, the School of Mines and Metallurgy.

Dr. Frederick A. P. Barnard succeeded President King in 1864 and a new era of progress began. Dr. Barnard was a friend of classical learning, but he held that a system of education not supported by popular sanction can never be made an efficient instrument of culture; and when the attendance at the college fell to 116 in 1872, the fact was attributed by him to the rigidity of the college curriculum. In 1880 the School of Political Science was established, and in 1881 a department of architecture was instituted in the School of Mines. In 1883 a course of study under the general supervision of the college faculty was designed for women, and in 1887 women were authorized to receive the degree of B.A., but this practice was discontinued on the establishment of Barnard College (q.v.) for women in 1889. When President Barnard entered upon his duties as president, Columbia College consisted of the college, an inchoate School of Mines, the Law School, and a nominally associated Medical School. Twenty-five years later, at the close of President Barnard's administration, Columbia College comprised the college, the School of Law, the School of Political Science, and the School of Mines and Metallurgy, including the Schools of Civil and Sanitary Engineering, Applied Chemistry, and Architecture The university had increased greatly in size, and the elective system had been largely introduced.

Upon President Barnard's death, in 1889, the Hon. Seth Low was elected as his successor. He found several flourishing but loosely connected schools, whose work he correlated, reorganized, and consolidated. In 1891 the College of Physicians and Surgeons surrendered its charter and became an integral part of Columbia College. In 1890 the School of Philosophy was established, taking charge of the advanced work in philosophy, psychology, education, ancient and modern languages and literature. In 1892 departments of mathematics, mechanics, physics, mineralogy, chemistry, etc., combined to form the School of Pure Science. The several schools of engineering were in 1896 organized into the School of Applied Sciences. In the same year the name ‘Columbia University’ was adopted to designate the institution as a whole, and the name ‘Columbia College’ was restricted to the undergraduate department. In 1898, Teachers College (q.v.) became affiliated with Columbia, and in 1900 Barnard College became a part of the university. On President Low's resignation in 1901, Professor Nicholas Murray Butler was elected to succeed him.

Columbia University at present comprises the following schools and colleges: (1) Columbia College. The college confers the degree of B.A. and offers a wide range of subjects, mostly elective. Its students register under any of the university faculties in their fourth year, thus practically shortening the college course, in the case of students who take up professional courses, to three years. In 1902, the date for all the statistics of attendance quoted, the number of students in the college was 492. The college offers 72 scholarships of the value of $150, and a number of prizes. (2) Barnard College. This is an undergraduate school for women, and its management is vested in a separate board of trustees. It offers courses leading to the B.A. degree. Graduates of Barnard College are admitted to the university as candidates for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees; but the professional schools of Columbia University, except Teachers College, are as yet not open to women. Barnard College has an attendance of 339. (3) The School of Law, which offers courses covering a period of three years and leading to the degree of LL.B. On certain specified conditions its students may also earn the LL.M. and A.M. degrees. Twenty scholarships are available for students; its attendance is 400. (4) The College of Physicians and Surgeons. With this are connected Vanderbilt Clinic, one of the finest hospitals in the world, and the Sloane Maternity Hospital. It confers the M.D. degree, and under special conditions its students also may earn the M.A. degree. It has an attendance of 809 students. (5) The Schools of Political Science, Philosophy, and Pure Science. These have charge of the graduate courses in the departments of mathematics, natural sciences, public law, history, literature, philology, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and education. Their courses lead to the A.M. and Ph.D. degrees. The student registration is 508. (6) The School of Applied Science, which is composed of the schools of Chemistry, Mines and Engineering, and offers courses covering periods of four years, leading to the degrees of E.M., Met.E., B.S., C.E., E.E., and Mech.E., also graduate courses leading to the A.M. and Ph.D. The total attendance is 626. (7) The courses in fine arts, comprising the course in architecture, leading to the degree of B.S., and the courses in music, were placed in 1902 under the administrative control of the president of the university. (8) Teachers College, one of the leading schools for the training of teachers in the world, offers courses leading to the B.S. degree and to the several Teachers College diplomas. It is open to men and women on equal terms. It constitutes a separate corporation. It has an attendance of 634 students. (9) The Summer School of the university, designed especially for teachers, was organized in 1900 and has become a permanent feature. The attendance in 1902 was 643.

The government of the university is divided between a board of 24 trustees, of which the President is a member, having charge of the financial affairs of the institution; the University Council, composed of the President, the Dean, and a delegate from each school or college, to whose care are confided the educational interests of the university, subject to the reserved power of control of the trustees and the several faculties in charge of the respective schools. The total valuation of the university properly and endowments is about $20,000,000. The receipts of the university in 1901 were $836,108.56, and the expenses $844,329.85. The library numbers about 315,000 volumes, including the Avery Architectural Library and the famous Phœnix collection, but exclusive of unbound pamphlets. A number of societies make it the depository of their rare collections of books. In 1897 Columbia University removed to its new buildings on Morningside Heights. The principal buildings, grouped around the library, the gift of ex-President Low, are the Havemeyer, Fayerweather, and Schermerhorn Halls, and the Engineering Building and Earl Hall. The gymnasium is part of the building of the Alumni Memorial Hall. Barnard College and Teachers College occupy buildings of their own outside of the campus. Earl Hall represents the religious interests of the university.

Columbia University is intimately connected with many of the educational institutions of New York. Lectures are delivered by Columbia professors at the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and at Cooper Union. Students of botany are permitted to pursue lines of research at the New York Botanical Garden, where courses in special investigation are conducted by Columbia University professors. The university offers free tuition to students in the several theological seminaries in New York and its vicinity, and these institutions reciprocate the privilege. The university also offers 26 fellowships, ranging from $500 to $1300 a year, and 34 graduate scholarships of the value of $150 each. The total number of students attending the university is 3632. Under the auspices of the Columbia University Press, established in 1893, are published a large number of works, monographs, and serial studies, written by professors and post-graduate students, and exhibiting the results of original research in various of the university departments. There are also published the Political Science Quarterly, and the Columbia University Quarterly, formerly the Columbia Bulletin. The presidents of the university have been: Samuel Johnson, D.D. (1754-63); Myles Cooper, S.T.D., LL.D. (1763-76); William S. Johnson, LL.D. (1787-1800); Charles H. Wharton, S.T.D. (1801-11); William Harris, S.T.D. (1811-29); William A. Duer, LL.D. (1829-42); Nathaniel F. Moore, LL.D. (1842-49); Charles King, LL.D. (1849-64); Frederick A. P. Barnard, S.T.D., LL.D. (1864-89); Seth Low, LL.D. (1890-1902); Nicholas Murray Butler, Ph.D., LL.D. (1902—).

Consult: George H. Moore, The Origin and Early History of Columbia College (New York, 1890); John B. Pine, Charter, Acts, and Official Documents of Columbia College (New York, 1895); Brander Matthews, American Universities (New York, 1895); N. F. Moore, An Historical Sketch of Columbia College; J. Howard Van Amringe, Universities and their Sons (Boston, 1898); Circular of Information No. 3, 1900, Bureau of Education (Washington, D. C., 1900).