Researcher Profile | Andrea Kmetz-Sheehy

We see you every day, handing you a lockers key as you walk in each morning, and receiving it back toward the end of the day. Most often you’re hunkered down over a particular archive, getting to understand a portion of one of our archives better than anyone who works in the RBML.
We await the longer scholarly projects that you’re developing from this research but in the nearer term we thought it would be interesting to give a preview of your work.
In this brief interview, Classical Studies master’s degree student Andrea Kmetz-Sheehy shares with us her research into Roman provincial coins. She’s been a steady presence here in the RBML reading room since last year, which makes learning about her research even more illuminating. Thank you for sharing, Andrea!
Roman coins with man's head wearing wreath and woman with animals

The close up image of the example coin with the nomenclature and descriptions as provided in reference sources available today, and often also at the time of Olcott. | Coin Image credit: Emma Pratt, American Numismatic Society on behalf of the RBML

Where are you visiting us from?

I’m in my second year of the Master’s Program in Classical Studies at Columbia.

What is your research project?

My thesis project is the cataloguing of the Roman provincial coins of the Olcott Roman Coin Collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Butler Library.  The objective is to create a catalogue for publication of the provincial coin subset in the Olcott Collection. Continue reading

Columbia Professor key to climate science, dies at 87

Professor Emeritus Wallace Broecker, a noted climate scientist with Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, died 18 February 2019 at the age of 87. His scientific contributions are being touted in major news sources, notably his landmark paper on increased carbon dioxide levels as a predictor of rises in global temperatures, which gave us “global warming” as a popular descriptor.

Located in the oral history archives is an interview with Prof. Broecker from 1997. The interview is wide-ranging, but a through line is Professor Broecker’s conviction that one must stand up for the science.

quote by Broecker

Search: Oral history interview with Wallace S. Broecker, 1997

The transcript is available for review in the RBML readings rooms. Or, as the Lamont-Doherty Observatory oral history collection is also available online, you can read the transcripts via the American Institute of Physics website.

New and Updated Collections | January/February 2019

rows of archival boxes in a white room

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Head Archivist Kevin Schlottmann shares collections newly opened or updated by RBML archivists.

Now available

Al Jaffee Papers
Al Jaffee (born March 13, 1921) is a comic artist best known for
creating MAD magazine’s iconic Fold-In feature. The collection
contains extensive original artwork, including sketches, tracings, and
proofs documenting Jaffee’s creative process. Publishing and
commission contracts, correspondence, clippings, and a small amount of
programs and ephemera from fan conventions and other public
appearances are also included.

Columbia College Records
This collection is composed of the general files of Columbia
College’s Dean’s Office and the correspondence of Columbia College
administrative officers during the years 1892 through 2019. A review
of this collection allows researchers to gain insights into the
interaction of Columbia College faculty and administrators with
students, fellow faculty members, parents of students, and
administrators of other colleges. Continue reading

Talk | Iliazd as transnational artist

7 March 2019 | 4pm | Room 523 Butler Library

We’re mark the opening of the exhibition “Ilia Zdanevich: The Tbilisi Years” with a symposium considering Zdanevich as a transnational artist.

In her keynote lecture, “Zdanevich in Paris, 1923: Zaum, Ledentu, and the Eclipse of the Early Avant-Garde,” Johanna Drucker, Breslauer Professor of Information Studies at UCLA, will address Zdanevich’s enthusiasm for promoting the work of Tbilisi’s 41° in Paris and his rapid disillusionment in the face of Dada squabbles and the birth of Surrealism.

François Mairé, President of the Iliazd-Club, will offer “From Ilia Zdanevich to Iliazd: A Life in Images between Tbilisi and Paris,” followed by Boris Fridman, curator of the recent major exhibition on Iliazd at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, on “Collecting and Displaying Iliazd.”

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Talks & Workshops | Oral History and the Future: Archives and Embodied Memory

The Oral History Master of Arts Program is pleased to announce the spring portion of its 2018-2019 workshop series: Oral History and the Future: Archives and Embodied Memory

Oral history is a conversation about the past that takes place in the present and is oriented towards the future. How is this future orientation made real?

Oral history as a research practice, particularly in the United States, has been defined by a focus on recording and archiving in institutional repositories. But people can be archives too, and oral history-telling practices more broadly often depend on embodied memory, on person-to-person transmission. And because people have been formally recording and archiving oral histories for over seventy years, we are now living in the futures imagined by earlier generations of oral historians.

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Summer Institute in Oral History announced

The Columbia Center for Oral History Research’s 2019 Summer Institute in Oral History will focus on the challenges we face in documenting the political present when secrecy and distortions of truth threaten the most vulnerable in open societies.

What role does public memory and the search for meaning play in rescuing and preserving the stories that we most need to hear?

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Book History Colloquium: Old Books as Digital Objects

13 February 2019 | 6pm | Room 522 Butler Library

early english manuscript

Photo courtesy

We are used to reading texts with our eyes—reading the words and images for their content (in fact, this is so obvious it’s odd to describe it). But we also read texts with our fingers—the feel of the materials, the act of navigating through a codex or scroll, and the feel of the weight shifting or paper folding as we move through the content all contribute to our understanding of the work we’re reading.

The guest speaker for this event is Dr. Sarah Werner, independent scholar, editor of the blog Wynken de Worde books, early modern culture, post-modern readers and the author of the forthcoming Studying Early Printed Books 1450-1800: A Practical Guide.

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A King’s College/Columbia founder’s contributions to Hebrew Studies


Judaica Librarian Michelle Chesner keeps you updated about new acquisitions, collection finds and exhibitions in Jewish Studies at Columbia. In this post she shares some revelations about  Revered Samuel Johnson’s connection to the study of Hebrew. Samuel Johnson was the founder of King’s College (renamed Columbia after the American Revolution), and its sole faculty member until 1757.

Title page of Samuel Johnson’s grammar text

Newly Available | All issues of alumni magazine, Columbia College Today (CCT)

All issues of the College’s alumni magazine, Columbia College Today (CCT) from its inception in 1954 through the Summer 2016 issue have been uploaded to the Internet Archive.

University Archives worked collaboratively with CCT’s staff to generate a full index to all issues of this publication from November 1954 through Fall 2018, which allows for directed searching of this incredibly useful content.

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