Ask Alma's Owl

In 1939, an Austrian rare book dealer put out a sale catalog that listed books on medicine, science and sexuality from the library of “a famous Viennese scientific explorer.”
W. Somerset Maugham
W. Somerset Maugham, whose well-known works include Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence and The Razor’s Edge, visited Columbia in November 1950 at the invitation of philosophy professor Irwin Edman (CC'1917, Ph.D.’20), a longtime friend.
Telegram Winston Churchill to Fackenthal Columbia University
In 1946, Columbia conferred an honorary degree on Winston Churchill, who had been prime minister of Great Britain when that nation was among the last holdouts to Nazi domination of Europe.
I study chemistry in the Chandler Building. Can you tell me what its namesake, Charles Chandler did for New York? —A Healthy Chemist
Martin Luther King Jr. in the Columbia Spectator
Image courtesy Columbia University Archives
On October 27, 1961, Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a group of students, faculty and members of the community at the McMillan Theatre (now the Miller Theatre) at the invitation of The Columbia Owl, a then-weekly publication of the School of General Studies.
Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Campaign Button

Dear Alma,

Nicholas Murray Butler was active in Republican politics while he was Columbia’s president. Did he ever run for elective office?

— Political Player

Dear Alma,

This year is the centennial of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Given how famous our physics department became, did he ever come to Columbia to talk about it?

Alexander Hamilton portrait

Dear Alma,
I'm going to see the musical
Hamilton if I can score a ticket. Can you tell me about young Alexander Hamilton’s connection to Columbia?

Charles Anthon Columbia University
Charles Anthon (CC’1815, LLD’1831) was a major American figure in the field of classics during the 19th century although his reputation has since receded into history. Learn more about why a professorship is named after him.
Photo from Wikimedia commons
How did Columbia wrestler Nat Pendleton (CC’1916) score parts in both the 1920 Olympics and the Marx Brothers movie Horse Feathers?