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Records of the Office of the Chancellor

Call Number



1827-1890, inclusive


New York University. Office of the Chancellor


7 Linear Feet 7.0 linear feet

Language of Materials

Materials are in English

Historical Note

This collection includes materials from the office of the chancellor, the highest administrative office at New York University at the time, dating from the founding of the unversity.


This collection is arranged chronologically.

This collection is organized as one series.

Scope and Content Note

The records include correspondence concerning the founding of the University with outlines of founding principles, reports on the different plans necessary for organization, subscription book and lists, charter and act of incorporation, council minutes, reports of the University Committees, address to the citizens of New York concerning the University's relationship to Columbia College, convention addresses, inaugural address of Chancellor James M. Mathews, invitations to meetings and conventions, bills and receipts, 1827-1831. Correspondents include John Delafield, Albert Gallatin, Thomas H. Gallaudet, Moran Lewis, Francis Lieber, James M. Mathews, Myndert Van Schaik, and Jonathan M. Wainwright.

Also included is material about the original University building at Washington Square constructed in 1835, with the deed of sale for Washington Square property, requests for work on the building, minutes of the Building Committee, estimates for construction, specifications and descriptions, laying of the cornerstone, and bills and receipts,1833-1836. Correspondents include John Delafield, Seth Geer, Valentine Mott, Dr W. B. Sprague, Samuel Thomson, and the architectural firm of Town, Davis & Dakin.

University financial records include subscription lists, loan and mortgage agreements, fire insurance policies, resolutions about a system of finance for the University, library fees, graduation fees, reports on scholarships, scholarship forms, lists of paying students, professorial endowments, professorial salaries, commencement expenses, bank book, reports and published statements of the Finance Committee, correspondence from the firm of Ward & Ogden concerning the rental of floors in University Building to merchants, estimates for renovations and alterations to University Building, Alumni endowment fund record, payment of salaries in funded coupons, and bills and receipts, 1830-1882.

In addition, the records contain the Chancellor's annual reports to the Council, reports to Regents of the University of the State of New York, committee reports, departmental reports, report of Committee on Elections, reports of honorary degrees, Council minutes, grade sheets, merit book, degrees granted with lists of recipients, resolutions by alumni, applications and testimonials about German professorships, newspaper articles about the University, and printed material issued by the University, 1830-1888.

Of particular interest in the records are the following: an original subscription book; a letter from Gallatin to Delafield (Jan. 10, 1831) expressing his views on the University; a letter from James Milnor discussing the "religious dimension" of the University (Feb. 10, 1835); Benjamin F. Butler and James M. Mathews correspondence concerning the founding of the law school in 1835; Charles Butler correspondence with Mathews from Albany concerning state propriation; letters from Samuel F. B. Morse complaining about conditions in University Building (Feb. and April, 1836); a report concerning the establishment of the Medical faculty (January 1837); letters and reports about the faculty controversy of 1838; tenants agreements for the University building (Oct. 1, 1849); a petition requesting the dismissal of Professor George Anthon (March 1851); rules of order and discipline, 1853; commencement costs for the class of 1854 (March 6, 1854); letter concerning Morse's telegraphic invention (Oct. 4, 1854); printed list of professors and instructors for 1857-1858; a plan for the reorganiztion of the Law School in 1858; an annotated catalog of the University for 1859-1860 from Chancellor Isaac Ferris' desk; letter from Regents regarding military organization during the Civil War (1862); class cards for the Medical School, 1864-1865; Benjamin Abbott's views on legal instruction at the University (Jul. 8, 1864); proposed course of Law study and reorganization of the Law faculty (Aug. 3, 1864); John W. Draper's report on the Medical School fire (May 25, 1866); a letter from George Comfort to Chancellor Ferris about scholarly societies (Jun. 1, 1868); a letter from John Draper to Howard Crosby about a meeting to discuss the reorganization of the University, July 22, 1870; a plan for the Departments of Science and Arts, June 22, 1871; lecture notices for free education programs, 1871-1872; correspondence with the Royal College of Surgeons, April and June 1876; and printed material of the Council, faculty, and administration pertaining to the "Crisis of 1881."

Additional correspondents include Henry Martyn Baird, Benjamin F. Butler, Charles Butler, Thomas Clarke, Howard Crosby, Henry E. Davies, Henry Draper, John W. Draper, Isaac Ferris, Theodore Frelinghuysen, Alfred H. Guernsey, John Hall, Joseph Henry, David R. Jaques, M. K. Jesup, John Taylor Johnston, Elias Loomis, Benjamin N. Martin, William R. Martin, Cyrus Mason, James McCosh, John Mulligan, William C. Noyes, James Parton, Noah Porter, Whitelaw Reid, T. Addison Richards, James Tallmadge, Henry P. Tappan, John Torrey, Henry Tuckerman, W. S. Tyler, and Henry Vethake.

Access Restrictions

Institutional records of New York University are closed for a period of 20 years from the date of their creation (the date on which each document was written). Board of Trustees records are similarly closed for 35 years from the date of creation. The opening date for files spanning several years will be 20 years from the most recent date. Access will be given to material already 20 years old contained within a collection that is not yet open when such material can be isolated from the rest of the collection.

Materials related to personnel, faculty grievances, job searches and all files with information that falls under the University's Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) policy are permanently restricted.

Use Restrictions

Some materials may be restricted. Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the:
New York University Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2641
Fax: (212) 995-4225

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form: Identification of item, date (if known); Records of the Office of the Chancellor; RG 3.0.1; box number; folder number; New York University Archives, New York University Libraries.

Related Material at the New York University Archives

Reproduction of ALS, from T. Dwight to Thomas H. Gallaudet, dated: February 1, 1831. Located in Thomas H. Gallaudet biographical file. Reproduction courtesy of Kenneth S. Rothschild.

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 17:51:52 -0400.
Language: Description is in English.

Revisions to this Guide

January 2023: Updated by Anna Björnsson McCormick to reflect the rehousing of materials

Edition of this Guide

This version was derived from chancrec01ES.xml


New York University Archives
New York University Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012