Tag Archives: Columbia University

New Book On 1968 Columbia Student Protests


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a time to stirPaul Cronin’s new book, A Time to Stir: Columbia ’68, (Columbia University Press, 2018) reflects upon the 50th anniversary of the Columbia University student uprising and the legacies of the 1960s.

For seven days in April 1968, students occupied five buildings on the campus of Columbia University to protest a planned gymnasium in a nearby Harlem park, links between the university and the Vietnam War, and what they saw as the university’s unresponsive attitude toward their concerns. Continue reading

Peter Feinman On Culture Wars At Columbia University


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Columbia UniversityOn April 5, while doing research, I took a lunch-break and picked up a copy of the Columbia Daily Spectator, the Columbia University undergraduate newspaper. In reading the paper, I came across several articles directly related to history and the current culture wars.

Since I have a sample of only one newspaper, I can’t determine if the contents were typical of the campus news coverage, if it was just a chance day, or some combination of both. In any event, my lunch time reading turned into a fascinating glimpse into the front-lines of the culture war.   Read about it here: History at Columbia University: Report from a Battle Front in the Culture Wars 

American Eden: Botany, Medicine In The Early Republic


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american edenVictoria Johnson’s new book American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garen of the Early Republic (Liveright, 2018) is the untold story of Alexander Hamilton’s ― and Aaron Burr’s ― personal physician, whose dream to build America’s first botanical garden inspired the young Republic.

When Dr. David Hosack tilled what is believed to one of the country’s first botanical gardens in the Manhattan soil more than two hundred years ago, he didn’t just dramatically alter the New York landscape; he left a legacy of advocacy for public health and wide-ranging support for the sciences. Continue reading

Columbia Students Discover the Power of Protest


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Canon John Collins of St. Paul's Cathedral, speaking for nuclear disarmament at protest in London's Trafalgar Square on April 3, 1961The reckless threats of nuclear war flung back and forth between the North Korean and U.S. governments remind me of an event in which I participated back in the fall of 1961, when I was a senior at Columbia College.

At the end of August 1961, the Soviet government had announced that it was withdrawing from the U.S.-Soviet-British moratorium on nuclear weapons testing that had halted such tests for the previous three years while the three governments tried to agree on a test ban treaty. The resumption of Soviet government’s nuclear weapons testing that followed was topped off that October by its explosion in the atmosphere of a 50-megaton hydrogen bomb, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated. Meanwhile, the Kennedy administration, determined not to be outdone in a display of national “strength,” quickly resumed U.S. nuclear testing underground and began to discuss the U.S. resumption of nuclear testing in the atmosphere. Continue reading

Grave Robbing And The Doctors Riot of 1788


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new york hospitalThe origins of this civil disturbance began in early February of 1788 and broke out in mid April of that year. Actually the City’s doctors did not riot as the name implies. However, it had its origins in the illegal procurement of corpses of free blacks and slaves and poor whites by doctors and medical students at an unaccredited surgical training school in lower Manhattan led by Richard Bailey, a Connecticut-born doctor who had studied in London.

Apparently it was expensive and almost impossible for the school to provide corpses for its teaching purposes and the professors and students resorted to stealing them from nearby Trinity Church yard and other local cemeteries including the one for people of color then known the “Negro Burying Ground” Continue reading

Eric Foner Wins 2016 American History Book Prize


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Eric FonerDr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, has announced that historian Eric Foner will be awarded with New-York Historical’s annual American History Book Prize for Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2015). The award recognizes the best book of the year in the field of American history or biography.

Professor Foner will receive a $50,000 cash award, an engraved medal, and the title of American Historian Laureate, which will be presented on April 8, 2016. The ceremony is part of New-York Historical’s Chairman’s Council Weekend with History, a two-day event featuring an array of speakers discussing important historical events that have impacted New York City and the nation. Continue reading

The Amazing Career Of Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler


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nicholas miraculousIn Nicholas Miraculous: The Amazing Career of the Redoubtable Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler (Columbia Univ. Press, 2015), Michael Rosenthal explores the life of Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler (1862–1947).

To some, like Teddy Roosevelt, he was “Nicholas Miraculous,” the fabled educator who had a hand in everything; to others, like Upton Sinclair, he was “the intellectual leader of the American plutocracy,” a champion of “false and cruel ideals.” Ezra Pound branded him “one of the more loathsome figures” of the age. Whether celebrated or despised, Nicholas Murray Butler was undeniably an irresistible force who helped shape American history. Continue reading

A NY Woman Who Belongs On The $20 Bill


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800px-Frances_Perkins_cph.3a04983Recently the Treasury Department has announced its intent to place a prominent woman of historical importance on the U.S. currency. There is no one who is more deserving of this honor than Frances Perkins, a New York woman, who was probably the most significant and important female government official of the 20th century.

As Secretary of Labor throughout President Franklin Roosevelt’s four terms and the first woman ever to hold a cabinet position, Frances Perkins designed most of the New Deal Social Welfare and Labor Policies, such as social security, the minimum wage, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and protections for unions, and reshaped America. Continue reading

Mellon Awards $500k To NY Humanities Council


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UniversityThe Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the New York Council for the Humanities a grant to support and expand their Humanities Centers Initiative to 42 new Public Humanities Fellows over the next three years.

The Humanities Centers Initiative is a collaboration between the Council and seven research universities: New York University, CUNY Graduate Center, Columbia University, SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Buffalo, Cornell University, and Syracuse University. Continue reading