In 1996 Columbia’s Department of Music celebrated its centennial with a series of events, including concerts, a symposium, and an exhibit in the Rotunda of Low Library. The exhibit displayed many documents, objects, and photographs reflecting the department’s distinguished history. Mary Monroe (Ph.D. ’94) prepared a detailed catalogue of the exhibit, and in 2012 Jennifer Lee, the Curator of the Performing Arts Collection in Columbia’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, oversaw a digitization of the catalogue.
The online version, with its images and commentary, presents better than any verbal narrative could the rich past and present of Columbia’s Music Department. The website is a fine example of what has been called “material history,” which explores a culture, a place, or an institution mainly through its objects, though in this case there are of course many people—professors, students, and administrators—that are an essential part of the story.
We invite you to explore the history of the Department through the centennial website: