- 19th Century Items
- Columbia University Morningside Heights Campus Dedication Invitation 1896
Original invitation to the Columbia University Morningside Heights campus dedication ceremony. Heavy card stock measuring 5 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches. The script on the card reads "Columbia University Dedication of the New Site Morningside Heights. Saturday the second of May 1896 at three o'clock. This card should be presented at the entrance on 116th Street between the Boulevard and Amsterdam Avenue. Grand Stand Section." Very minor soiling, otherwise in quite good condition. This historic document celebrates the "new" Columbia campus, which is located in upper Manhattan between 114th and 120th Streets and Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway. Note that the invitation calls Broadway "The Boulevard," which is the name the famous thoroughfare had above Columbus Circle prior to 1899. Columbia is the fifth oldest college/university in the United States. The current campus at Morningside Heights is their fourth home. Their first was in a schoolhouse in the Financial District in 1754. After the Revolutionary War the college moved to Park Place near City Hall and remained there until 1857, at which time they moved to Midtown Manhattan (49th Street and Madison Avenue). After fourty year they moved to their sprawling new campus in Upper Manhattan, which was designed by the pre-eminent architectural firm at the turn of the century, McKim, Mead & White. The ceremony was an important one for the Ivy League University, as the New York Times described it, "The University's Grounds Dedicated With Great Ceremony. With fitting pomp and elaborate ceremony, the new site of Columbia University, on Morningside Heights, was dedicated yesterday before an assemblage of deans, doctors, professors, students, and distinguished guests, among whom were Governor Morton, Mayor Strong, General E.A. McAlpin, President Seth Low of the University, ex-mayor Abram M. Hewitt, President Eliot of Harvard, President Brown of Lehigh University, Speaker Hamilton Fish of the State Assembly, and a host of other notables. All day long the site was the scene of unusual activity. Learned professors wearing mortarboards and flowing gowns jostled students, clergy and guests from all over the state. Bands of music played on every side. Sherry's waiters flew about with soup tureens and ice cream." Cornerstones were laid for two building that Saturday morning: the Physics Building and Schermerhorn Hall. A historic and rare nineteenth-century document from one of the countries most important institutions of higher learning.