Prepare for your visit

Review our online finding aids to identify which materials you are interested in.

Finding aids are descriptions of the manuscript and archival material that the Archives holds. These guides provide a summary of each collection, information about the individuals or organizations documented, a description of the types of content included (i.e. correspondence, pictures, scrapbooks, etc), and a box and folder list. Because our stacks are closed to the public we will need to determine the boxes you are interested in before you can view any material. Some material may be stored offsite and will require 1-2 days of retrieval time. 

Our finding aids can be found at Collections. Finding aids can also be discovered in CLIO, Columbia University Library's catalog.

Call or email us to discuss your research topic.

Ph: (212) 305-7931

By calling ahead staff will be able to prepare materials in advance of your visit and make you aware of other relevant material. Also many requests, especially genealogical requests, can be answered by staff through email or letter. 

University administrators and staff members needing information or records from the Columbia University Medical Center Archives should also call first with their request. We will try to locate the information or documents first before asking you to make a visit

Review our reading room rules and reproduction fees.

Because of the rare, fragile or unique nature of the materials in Archives & Special Collections special rules must be followed to ensure that our holdings will be preserved for the use of future generations. First-time visitors must read and sign our Researcher Registration Form before being allowed to access to our holdings.

  • Researchers must be 16 years of age or older; children under 16 may accompany the researcher but must be supervised by the researcher at all times.
  • All coats and bags must be checked.
  • Be prepared to present photo identification.
  • Materials must be retrieved by a staff member and must be used only in Archives & Special Collections' Geraldine McAlpin Webster Reading Room.
  • Only pencils are permitted.
  • Materials may only be photocopied by a staff member and there may be applicable fees. We reserve the right to refuse photocopying if it might damage the material, overburden staff or violate U.S. Copyright Law.
  • Photography without flash is permitted; we ask patrons to keep a log of what they photograph.
  • Archives & Special Collections reserves the right to inspect patrons' research materials upon leaving the reading room.
  • Permission to publish or reproduce materials in Archives & Special Collections must be applied for separately and may be subject to applicable fees.

Visit us on the Lower Level 1 of the Hammer Health Sciences Building.

For more information on getting to the Archives & Special Collections refer to our Directions and hours information.