1936—The Triborough Bridge, connecting the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens opens (part of it is shown). It is renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in 2008. Robert Moses leads the construction of this and many other major transportation infrastructure projects in and near New York City. Known as the “Master Builder,” but also for his lack of interest in improving public transportation and minimizing the negative impact his projects had on the affected neighborhoods. Moses earned a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.
Pioneering photoelastic properties apparatus—by Prof. Raymond D. Mindlin, likely late 1930’s.
1936—Milk truck, Greenwich Village. Horse-drawn wagons linger into the mid-1960s.
Mechanical engineering laboratory during this period.
Riverside Drive viaduct in 1937. It was first built in 1900. It is now one of the boundaries of the new Manhattanville campus.
The Cotton Club in 1937 after its reopening in midtown, with Cab Calloway (upper left), and at its earlier Harlem location c. 1930 (right).
The March 31, 1938 Spectator reports plans by Dean Joseph Barker for a “real” Engineering center on campus, with four new structures, to help with the School’s most pressing need: new laboratory space.
SEAS 75th Anniversary. From The Spectator, November 10, 1939.
1939—Invitation to the SEAS 75th Anniversary Dinner.
1939—Unveiling of a commemoration plaque from the SEAS 75th Anniversary Program.
1939-1940—New York World’s Fair.
Ads in the Spectator, on November 10, 1939, during the SEAS 75th Anniversary Year, reflecting student life.
Summer in the City, Coney Island: Nathan’s Hot Dog Stand, 1939 (right); “Coney Island Beach” by Weegee, 1940 (left).
1939—Neutron expert Prof. (and later Dean) John R. Dunning is on the first team to achieve managed nuclear fission in the United States and makes important advances in gaseous diffusion to separate uranium isotopes for the Manhattan Project. Shown: an excerpt from the 1966 Columbia Engineer yearbook.
1940—The Empire State Building, along with another New York icon; the Horn and Hardart “Automat”, New York’s original restaurant chain, which first opened on July 2, 1912 and closed in 1991.
The Feb. 24, 1941 Spectator reports that Engineering is preparing for an accelerated program, with classes for 11 months each year, because of expected defense industry and armed services needs for World War II.
As reported by the Feb. 11, 1942 Spectator, Dean Barker assures parents that the wartime accelerated academic program will not unduly strain students.
The March 6, 1942 Spectator reports on war projects by the faculty during WWII. Many students also serve.
Slide rules being advertised for purchase in the days before calculators. Left: ad from the 1942 Columbia Engineer yearbook; right: slide rules from after 1942.
At Camp Columbia, the existing wooden water tower is replaced with a stone tower in 1942 as a gift from the Class of 1906. The aerial map of Camp Columbia is from 1934. Camp Columbia started in Connecticut in 1885 to instruct students on surveying during the summer. After declining interest, it closed in 1966.
1943—Gloria Brooks Reinish is the first women admitted to Columbia SEAS. The 17-year old transfer student from Cooper Union graduated with a BS in EE in 1945. Reinish worked for Bell Labs and Sperry Gyroscope and received her doctorate in bioengineering (from SEAS, EngScD 1974). She later became a professor and department chair at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Right: Reinish in 2010.
The August 27, 1943 Spectator reports on Engineering plans after WWII. The war continues for two more years.
Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic Assistant Conductor, makes his major conducting debut on November 14, 1943 in Carnegie Hall. He becomes the Music Director of the New York City Symphony Orchestra from 1945 to 1947 (shown, left in 1945). He was the Music Director of the New York Philharmonic from 1958 to 1969. His legendary career also included: presenting 53 Young People’s Concerts with the Philharmonic from 1958 to 1972 (right); writing the music for West Side Story.