ONLINE EXHIBIT– “1968: Columbia in Crisis”


The occupation of five buildings in April 1968 marked a sea change in the relationships among Columbia University administration, its faculty, its student body, and its neighbors.  Featuring documents, photographs, and audio from the University Archives, 1968: Columbia in Crisis examines the causes, actions, and aftermath of a protest that captivated the campus, the nation, and the world.

This online exhibition is based upon a physical exhibition of the same name which was on display in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library from March 17 to August 1, 2008.

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is Columbia’s principal repository for primary source collections.  The range of collections in RBML span more than 4,000 years and comprise rare printed works, cylinder seals, cuneiform tablets, papyri, and Coptic ostraca; medieval and renaissance manuscripts; as well as art and realia.  Some 500,000 printed books and 14 miles of manuscripts, personal papers, and records form the core of the RBML holdings.  One can find literary manuscripts from the 14th century to the papers of authors Herman Wouk and Erica Jong.  Archives as varied as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Random House, NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International-USA, and the archives of Columbia University are available for research.  The history of printing, graphic arts and the performing arts are strengths of RBML.


The Columbia University Archives preserves the institutional memory of Columbia University from its founding in 1754 to the present-day. Among its holdings are non-current official University records and a wide variety of other materials, including the records of student organizations, materials that pertain to alumni, publications, photographs, scrapbooks, and artifacts.* The University Archives’ holdings are non-circulating, may only be used in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library Reading Room, and are open for research and reference use to all members of the University community and the public.


*The University Archives does not collect records from the University’s Law School, Health Sciences campus, Earth Institute, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Nevis Laboratories, Barnard College, or Teachers College, although information about those divisions and affiliates may be found among the holdings of the University Archives.

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