ICYMI: 2018 News from RBML

We’re proud to say that it’s been a big year for RBML with new staff additions, new collections opened, records updated for better access and fine-tuning operations to make the collections needed for your teaching and research available.

Here are just a few of the highlights.

New head of archives Kevin Schlottman and the RBML’s team of crack archivists opened many new collections for researcher use and updated descriptions to make them accessible. You can see what’s available every month by signing up for notifications on our homepage.

In Jewish Studies, a gift of about 200 items, including handwritten materials from the 14th to the 20th centuries, filled in existing gaps in the Judaica collections.

The RBML and Columbia’s Preservation and Digital Conversion Division were pleased to be awarded a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grant to preserve broadcaster Bob Fass’ recordings from the 1960s and ’70s. We, along with select peer institutions, also received a CLIR grant to digitize Islamic manuscripts and paintings dating from 1000 to 1900.

Joining the collected papers and ephemera of Dance Theatre of Harlem founder Arthur Mitchell, an 8-foot long, handcrafted puzzle now has a home here in the RBML. The handmade puzzle marks milestones in DTH’s history and the many illustrious artists, dancers and choreographers who contributed to the organization’s long-term success.

A hallmark of 2018 included the many events around the 50th anniversary of the Columbia ’68 student protests. In addition to a well-attended conference, 50 Years After the Revolution, University Archives curated a Twitter feed following the events of the student protests in real-time. Seeing the archival materials and following along as events unfolded was like being on campus with the students and faculty…without the sit-ins…or lockouts… or arrests.

We’re always interested in which materials our researchers are using and how the archives are contributing to projects. To that end, we have a Researcher Profile Q&A periodically to give us insights into what’s happening in our reading room.

In oral history, we were proud to present new collections for researchers (e.g. Black Journalists, Physicians and AIDS).

We have a number of exhibition spaces to showcase our collections including our Kempner Gallery, the Chang Octagon Gallery and a set of display cases in our front desk area. Stop by in 2019 to view new curatorial takes on our collections, including a forthcoming exhibit about the Albert Field Collection of Playing Cards.

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library and the University will be closed from 24 December 2018 – 1 January 2019. Take a break! Read some fiction! Enjoy being with friends and family and friends who are family! We’ll see you in the new year.