Author Archives: Kimberly Springer

About Kimberly Springer

Curator of Oral History Center for Oral History Archives Rare Book & Manuscript Library Columbia University

Event | Dance Theatre of Harlem Dancers’ Panel

Saturday February 24, 2018, 1pm, Lenfest Center for the Arts

Dance Theatre of Harlem company members in front of Church of the Master, 1969. Photograph by Marbeth, New York.

Dance Theatre of Harlem company members in front of Church of the Master, 1969. Photograph by Marbeth, New York.


An afternoon of conversation with longtime members of the Dance Theatre of Harlem — Marcia Sells, Theara Ward, and Robert Garland.

Hear about their experiences working with dance visionary Arthur Mitchell, the ballets they danced and the countries they toured, and how social justice infused the company’s identity from the start.

A John Jay Papers milestone on President’s Day

We’re celebrating the release of volume five of The Selected Papers of John Jay1788-1794 (Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press, 2017).

Jay Papers editor Robb Haberman says, “It opens with the ratification of the Constitution, and covers Jay’s role in the forming of the new government as acting Secretary of State prior to Jefferson’s taking office and as first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.”

Also explored are his gubernatorial campaign of 1792, the Genet Affair, and the events leading to the negotiation of the Jay Treaty with Great Britain.

In our six degrees of separation game, speaking of George Washington and President’s Day, pop over to the Papers of George Washington Newsletter to Robb’s article on the friendship between Jay and Washington. It’s a bromance “forged in war” and a lot more apt for the day than buying a mattress.

Event | Shannon Mattern on the meaning of book storage furniture in our reading lives

Thursday, 22 February 2018, 6pm Room 523 in Butler Library

On Thursday, February 22, the RBML and Karla Nielsen, Curator of Literature and Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature, hosts Shannon Mattern, Associate Professor of Media Studies at The New School.

Professor Mattern will present on the long history of the bookshelf, “Cabinet Logics: An Intellectual History of Book Furniture.” Prof. Mattern will survey the furniture we design and build to make, store, support, organize, and preserve our bibliographic objects, focusing on how these structures inform the way human bodies relate to those media, and embody certain assumptions about what and how we know things through these objects.

Inside the under construction reading room in the new Wiener Library @ Russell Square in Camden Town, London, UK

Photo credit: Peter Alfred Hess | Flickr: peterhess

Professor Mattern’s talk will be followed by a Q & A. The event is free and open to the public but registration is recommended. 

Many dogs win “Best in RBML Collections”

For some, the most important, star-studded event for this time of year isn’t the Winter Olympic Games. And it’s not the Oscars.

This past weekend the Westminster Kennel Club held its annual dog show and declared a very puffy Bichon Frise “Best in Show.”

Right about here would be a great place for a dog-related pun, but surely you just want to know that we have photos of dogs in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s collection, right? Here’s a sampling.

Why not browse some of the titles held in our rare book and manuscript collection?

– Curated by Tara Craig, Head of Public Services

Event | Oral history and art history meet with new project on Rauschenberg

February 15, 2018, 6:00 – 7:30 pm, Knox Hall 509, Columbia University

The Columbia Center for Oral History Archives is anticipating the arrival of oral histories conducted about artist Robert Rauschenberg.

For a sneak preview of the project, conducted by the Center for Oral History Research and INCITE, join us for this seminar detailing, “an oral biography of…first-hand accounts of [Rauschenberg’s] life, work, and legacy,” as well as, “the spirit of the larger art world that he inhabited throughout his life.”

Photo credit: Redhood52993 | Flickr | @sean-mullins

This event is FREE and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. No registration is required, but RSVPs on the CCOHR’s event Facebook page (to be posted) are appreciated to gauge attendance.


Are you following @1968CU on Twitter?

The Low Down spoke with RBML curator Jocelyn Wilk about her thinking behind @1968CU, the University Archive’s new Twitter feed documenting the 1968 protests that shook Columbia’s campus.

Civil rights leader Bayard Rustin on the class conscious roots of SNCC

Since the 1990s, with social historians looking back on how we’ve told the history of the Civil Rights Movement, Bayard Rustin has come to the fore as a central leader in the movement. Specifically, for decades, he was the unsung hero behind the conceptualization of the 1963 March on Washington. But more than that, this civil rights strategist’s life was intersectional before intersectional identities were theorized in academia’s scholarship.

Bayard Rustin gif telling about his civil rights activism.

A Black History Month salute to Bayard Rustin through oral history. Gif credit: Sundance DocNow/@FOXADHD via Giphy

In this wide-ranging oral history from our collection, Rustin sat down with an interviewer in 1987 and shared his reflections on everything from trade unionism to the seeds of Black politics in Garveyism to the struggles of the day, such as bringing down the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Here’s a clip of Rustin’s thinking on how the emergence of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) reflected shifts in African-Americans’ class consciousness.


You can hear more from Rustin and others on the civil rights by searching our Oral History Portal or stopping in to the Columbia Center for Oral History Archives at Columbia University.

Event | Roger Chartier on textual mobility

Wednesday, 7 February 2018, 6pm, Room 523 in Butler Library

Moliere's Le Festin de pierre (known as Don Juan)

Le Festin de pierre (known as Don Juan)

On Wednesday, February 7, the RBML and Karla Nielsen, Curator of Literature and Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature, hosts Roger Chartier, Professor in the Collège de France and Annenberg Visiting Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.

Professor Chartier will use Molière’s play, Le Festin de pierre (known as Don Juan), to model a type of book historical inquiry that focuses on textual mobility.

The talk follows the play from its first attribution to Molière, looping in its first performance and first appearances in print, moves on to early translations, adaptations, and editions of the work, and concludes with the reception of the work by early readers and viewers.

Professor Chartier’s talk will be followed by a Q & A. The event is free and open to the public but registration is recommended. 


Conference | New Perspectives on 1968: 50 Years After “The Revolution”

April 27-28, Weekend Conference, Faculty House

black protestors anti-gym development by columbia university

From Morningside Heights to Mexico City, Czechoslovakia to China, Paris to Tokyo, the yearlong crises of 1968 linked world communities in a unique and epochal series of dramatic confrontations. The repercussions are still being felt.

A two-day interdisciplinary conference will discuss critical new conversations on the legacy and continued relevance of the global upheavals of 1968. The conference will feature scholars, activists, and current students, focusing on a series of major questions related to the events of 1968, including the Media, Black Freedom Struggles, Historical Memory and Archives, and New Media and Social Movements.

student demands flyer

University Protest and Activism Collection, 1958-1999 [Bulk Dates: 1968-1972]
Collection number: UA#007

Co-sponsored by the Lehman Center for American History, and the Columbia University History Department. All events are free and open to the public. Registration is required; please search for event title or “RBML” on the Columbia University Events page.