Today in History: Presidential Inaugurations at Teachers College, 1887-2018

| December 6, 2018

Russell_DinnerPresidential inaugurations at Teachers College, Columbia University occur on the average every 11 years, from the appointment of Nicholas Murray Butler, 10th President of Columbia University and first President of Teachers College (formerly known as New York College for the Training of Teachers) in 1887, through to the investiture of Thomas Bailey, our eleventh president, on December 7th, 2018. The longest tenure was held for 28 years by James Earl Russell, while the shortest, for just 4 years by Nicholas Murray Butler.

While a couple of presidents kept meticulous documentation of their inaugurations, the majority did not. There are extensive inauguration resources within the John Fischer collection — everything from plans of the nave in Riverside Church, complete with instructions to marshals, to roughly 100 certificates of congratulations from universities — some as far away as Nigeria. The Hollis Caswell inaugural materials include meeting notes, budget, correspondence, reports, publicity, and more. In exploring the Office of the President collections you’ll find assorted inauguration program booklets, images, news releases, and other miscellaneous documentation that reflect the planning and delivery of some of the most ceremonious days in the history of Teachers College — days that also represent milestones in the history of higher education philosophy and leadership.

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning:

Tips: 20181203_Presidential Inaugurations 1887

Cremin, Lawrence, David A. Shannon and Mary Evelyn Townsend.  A History of Teachers College, Columbia University. New York: Columbia University Press, 1954. e-book

Past Presidents of Teachers College, Teachers College, Columbia University

Pocketknowledge Collections:




Need to keep current, look to the past, teach a topic? The Everett Cafe features daily postings of news from around the world, and also promotes awareness of historical events from an educational context. Be sure to check the news postings on Learning at the Library, where you can delve into history.