The Columbian

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The Columbian is the official yearbook of Columbia College and SEAS. The book is produced over the course of the academic year by the staff of the Columbian. The staff members of the Columbian are CC or SEAS undergraduates who join the yearbook staff, which functions much like any other student organization. However, the Columbian does not fall under any of the five governing boards at Columbia, and instead reports directly to Student Development and Activities (SDA).

Previous volumes of the Columbian are available for viewing in the Columbiana Collection of the University Archives in Butler Library, and in the Columbia Alumni Center on W. 113th Street.


The book is published annually by Josten's of Pennsylvania. The book usually consists of roughly 350 to 400 pages, including portraits of the graduating class (or at least those who opt to sit for a portrait in the fall of their senior year), along with names and majors. The book traditionally measured nine by twelve inches and is bound in a hardcover, but in 2012 the book was downsized to eight by ten inches. The cover art of the book varies from volume to volume at the discretion of the editor-in-chief and staff.


The Columbian traces its roots back to 1848, the first year a something that resembled a "College Annual" was published at Columbia. In 1848 the senior class published an Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Columbia College including a list of graduates, members of the societies on campus, and overall enrollment at the College. It was inspired by a similarly titled offering by Stephen R. Weeks, a janitor, proctor, and assistant librarian. Subsequent senior classes continued to publish the Catalogue while adding additional material each year until 1857, when the publication got carried away and published an extravagant edition in six (6!) colors. This so horrified the Trustees that they took over the publication of the Catalogue from thence forward. Publication of the Catalogue in more austere form continued until 1878 when its functions were split between the Handbook of Information and Annual Register of the Officers and Students of Columbia College. The Handbook eventually became the Columbia College Catalogue and then the Columbia University Catalogue.

In 1864, the junior class, driven in part by competition amongst the fraternities, once again took up the cause of an annual student publication listing fraternity and society memberships, and commentary on the events of the past year. The first publication was put out by the class of 1865 in the spring of 1864 and titled The Columbian. From 1865-1889 the name of the publication would be changed to The Columbiad. In 1868, a conflict between Delta Phi and Psi Upsilon resulted in Delta Phi publishing a renegade unofficial issue in parallel. From 1878-1889, the School of Mines broke off from the Columbiad after having joined it in order to publish its own annual, The Miner. The later issues of the Columbiad developed a reputation for excellent illustrations. When the engineers decided to team up with the arts and science students again in 1890, the merged book was once again titled The Columbian. Somewhere in the 1940s, Engineering decided to once again go its own way and created The Columbia Engineer as its annual. When the Division of Student Affairs was created in 1998, the two books were rejoined as the Columbian and have remained together ever since.

The Columbian has been continuously published in some form since its original publication. However, students failed to produce a yearbook for the Class of 2000. Student Development and Activities took over naming the editorial staff and ensuring the book's production as a "senior project" similar to Senior Fund after that little debacle.[1] In 2006 the staff became open to all undergraduates in CC and SEAS.


Old versions of The Columbiad

External links

Columbian Homepage