City College of New York - New York City
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College of the City of New York (CCNY)

Convent Avenue at 140th Street
New York, N.Y. 10031
http://www1.ccny.cuny.edu




Organ Specifications:
Convent Avenue at 140th Street (since 1908)
North Campus (since 1908)
• Allen Organ Company electronic – Great Hall
► IV/63 Ernest M. Skinner Company, Op. 135 (1906) – Great Hall
South Campus (since 1953)
• II/20 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 278 (1889) – Aronow Auditorium
Lexington Avenue at 23rd Street (since 1849) – now Baruch College
IV/23 M.P. Möller, Op. 6211 (1936) – Pauline Edwards Theatre
• Unknown – Chapel
           
What is now commonly known as "City College of New York" was founded in 1847 as the New York Free Academy. This institution of higher education evolved from the old "Public School Society," a voluntary association of citizens that was started in 1804 to provide a system of grammar school instruction in the city. The schools of the Society, intended originally as charity-schools for the poor, became known for their excellent education, and soon wealthy families sought admittance for their children. In time, city residents were glad to support the schools through public taxation. As early as 1826 there were proposals for a Latin school, a High school, and a Normal school; however, it was not until after the organization of the Board of Education, successor to the Public School Society, that definite steps were taken to establish a free school of higher education. On July 27, 1846, Townsend Harris made the motion to appoint a committee that would report on a plan which took final shape, and in June 1847, the people of New York voted to establish the New York Free Academy, a combination high school and college.

Free Academy of New York (1900, CCNY Archives)  
Free Academy Building (1900)  
Property was acquired on Lexington Avenue at 23rd Street at a cost of $37,000, and construction of a building costing $48,000 began in November 1847. As built, the four-story brick structure was faced with stucco painted to resemble stone, and had "curious buttresses and corner turrets." The entire top floor was the "chapel," described as "an impressive pillared room, with nave and aisles and great windows at either end." Each of the lower floors was divided lengthwise by a main hall and a stairway hall crosswise, creating four sections that contained two or three spacious lecture rooms. On the first floor were the president's and faculty rooms, the library, the chemistry lecture-room, and the laboratory. The basement provided space for the janitor's rooms, storerooms, and workshops for the mechanical course. On January 15, 1849, the completed building was opened when 143 boys of the first class of the Free Academy, plus representatives of the public and Ward schools of New York, assembled in the chapel. Due to an increasing number of students, the spacious lecture rooms were soon divided into smaller classrooms. In 1870, a second building was erected to provide additional recitation rooms, a gathering place for the lower classes, and a natural history hall. The main building was later extended to accomodate a better laboratory.

In 1866, the name of the school was officially changed to the College of the City of New York, although it did not affect the combination of high school and college.

City College of New York (print by H.M. Pettit, 1903, NYPL)  
College of the City of New York Plan (1903)
 
Main Building - City College of New York (1907, MCNY)  
Main Building (1907)
 
By the end of the 19th century, City College was overcrowded and had no room to expanded. In 1897, the city purchased 35 acres of land for a new campus along Convent Avenue between 131st and 141st Street. A competition for the design of the original buildings was won by George B. Post & Sons, and construction began on the neo-Collegiate Gothic complex that would cost $6,500,000. The official opening took place on May 14, 1908, with the Seventh Regiment Band playing an overture before the ceremony commenced. Distinguished guests included Mrs. Grover Cleveland, standing in for her husband, who pressed an electric button which rang the tower bell to signal the opening. Mark Twain was the featured speaker of the day, and was joined by many other dignitaries on the dais that morning.

  Great Hall - City College of New York (Wurts Bros., 1907)
 
Great Hall (1907)
The Main Building, now called Shepard Hall, was built between 1902-07; its centerpiece is the Great Hall, a cathedral-like space which seats over 1500 on the main floor and in two balconies. The Great Hall is 185 feet long, 89 feet wide and 63 feet high. Numerous historic events have taken place in the Great Hall, including convocations, conferences, addresses and appearances by leading figures such as Presidents William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as Albert Einstein and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt.

City College retained its old location at 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue for business and some civics classes and became known as the "Downtown Campus." In 1919, the site was established as the City College School of Business and Civic Administration. The old 1847 Free Academy building was razed in 1926 to make room for a new building. Classes were temporarily moved to the Grand Central Palace on Lexington Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets. On December 4, 1928, the cornerstone was laid for the lower eight floors, built at a cost $1.5 million, and this portion was dedicated by Mayor Walker and college officials on October 16, 1929. The upper eight floors were added the next year and dedicated Five more stories were added to the building the next year. By 1935, the School of Business had an enrollment of more than 1,700 students in the day session alone, most of whom were Jewish and Italian immigrants who could not afford to attend private universities. The School of Business was renamed the Baruch School in 1958 in honor of alumnus Bernard M. Baruch, a statesman and financier. In 1961, the New York State Education Law established the City University of New York (CUNY) system and, in 1968, Baruch College became a senior college in the City University system. In 2001, Baruch College opened its new Vertical Campus, a 17-story building costing $327 million.

The South Campus was added in 1953 when the city purchased the former Convent of the Sacred Heart, located adjacent to the North Campus.

In 1953, the City College is now the City College North Campus of the City University of New York (CUNY). In 1981, the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the North Campus Quadrangle buildings, and the College Gates. The Quadrangle buildings were placed on the State and National Register of Historic Places in 1984. A major restoration of the buildings was undertaken in the 1990s.
         
  Skinner Organ, Op. 135 (1906) in the Great Hall, City College of New York - New York City
   
  Console of Skinner Organ, Op. 135 (1906) in the Great Hall, City College of New York - New York City
   
  Console of Skinner Organ, Op. 135 (1906) in the Great Hall, City College of New York - New York City
The Ernest M. Skinner Company
Boston, Mass. – Opus 135 (1906)
Electro-pneumatic action
4 manuals, 82 stops, 63 ranks
All-electric movable console




Among the many organs that were built by Ernest Skinner for academic institutions was the large four-manual instrument for the Great Hall at City College of New York. The exceptionally detailed 30-page contract (June 20, 1906) states that "The Skinner Organ Company" would built the organ for a consideration of $25,000. Included in the contract were provisions to purchase seven additional stops, as follows:

  Pedal 32' Contra Bourdon (12-pipe ext.)
$  500
  Pedal 32' Bombarde (12-pipe ext.)
1600
  Great 16' Trumpet
550
  Great 4' Clarion
200
  Choir 8' Geigen Principal
300
  Solo 8' Gross Gamba (or Dulcet)
300
  Solo 8' Tuba Mirabilis
300








Interestingly, the Board of Trustees approved only the addition of the Pedal 32' Bombarde at its meeting on December 31, 1907. This organ contained the first two-rank Dulcet, which Skinner described as having a "very slender scale, and ethereal quality of tone" [which] "impart warmth and the shimmering silvery effect peculiar to this stop." Skinner also included a Tuba Mirabilis in the Solo division, an extraordinarily loud and brilliant stop of the trumpet family and voiced on high wind pressure. The organ was installed in two chambers, one on each side at the front of the hall, and was controlled by a movable, four-manual "bat-wing" console. Numerous alterations and additions were made by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. throughout the 1930s. This organ was removed in the 1960s.

Samuel Baldwin, Organist  
Samuel A. Baldwin
 
In February 1907, Samuel A. Baldwin (1862-1949), organist of Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn, was appointed Associate Professor of Music at City College. Prof. Baldwin organized varied music courses, and was responsible for the choral programs and organ recitals in the Great Hall. On May 20, 1923, Baldwin was officially honored by the City of New York for arranging the musical festival for the city's jubilee celebration and to mark the completion of 900 recitals he had given in the Great Hall. Baldwin received a flag of the City of New York, presented by Supreme Court Justice Charles L. Guy, on behalf of Mayor Hylan, and a gold medal, presented by Dr. William C. Carl, Director of the Guilmant School. The gold medal was established and endowed as an annual prize by Philip Berolzheimer, the City Chamberlain. By the time he retired from City College in 1932, Baldwin had played a grand total of 1,362 organ recitals on the Skinner organ.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes (6" wind)
16
  Diapason
61
8
  Erzähler
61
16
  Bourdon
61
4
  Octave
61
8
  First Diapason
61
4
  Flute
61
8
  Second Diapason
61
2
  Fifteenth
61
8
  Third Diapason
61
16
  Tuba
SO
8
  Gross Floete
61
8
  Trumpet
61
8
  Gamba
61
8
  Tuba
SO
8
  Gedackt
61
4
  Tuba
SO

 

     

 

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed (6" wind)
16
  Bourdon
61
4
  Flute
61
8
  First Diapason (10" w.p.)
61
4
  Salicet
61
8
  Second Diapason
61
2
  Flautino
61
8
  Gross Floete
61
    Cornet III ranks
183
8
  Gedackt
61
16
  Trumpet (10" w.p.)
61
8
  Spitz Floete
61
8
  Cornopean (10" w.p.)
61
8
  Viol d'Orchestre
61
8
  Horn (10" w.p.)
61
8
  Voix Celestes
61
8
  Oboe
61
8
  Salicional
61
8
  Vox Humana
61
8
  Aeoline
61
4
  Clarion (10" w.p.)
61
4
  Octave
61
    Tremolo  
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed (6" wind)
16
  Dulciana
61
4
  Flute
61
8
  Diapason
61
4
  Violino
61
8
  Gamba
61
2
  Piccolo
61
8
  Concert Flute
61
16
  Fagotto
61
8
  Quintadena
61
8
  Clarinet
61
8
  Dulciana
61
8
  Orchestral Oboe
61
8
  Unda Maris
61
    Tremolo  
               
Solo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed (10" wind)
8
  Stentorphone
61
4
  Flute
CH
8
  Philomela
61
16
  Tuba (15" w.p.)
12
8
  Gamba
CH
16
  Fagotto
CH
8
  Dulcet II ranks
122
8
  Tuba Mirabilis (25" w.p.)
61
8
  Concert Flute
CH
8
  Tuba (15" w.p.)
61
8
  Quintadena
CH
8
  Orchestral Oboe
CH
8
  Dulciana
CH
8
  Clarinet
CH
4
  Flute
61
4
  Tuba (15" w.p.)
12

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes (6" wind)
32
  Diapason (10" w.p.)
12
8
  Cello
SW
16
  First Diapason (10" w.p.)
32
8
  Flute [1st Diap.]
12
16
  Second Diapason
32
8
  Gedackt [Bourdon]
12
16
  Violone
32
4
  Flute
32
16
  Bourdon
32
32
  Bombarde (25" w.p.)
12
16
  Dulciana
32
16
  Ophecleide (25" w.p.)
32
16
  Gedackt
SW
16
  Trombone
SO
10 2/3
  Quint [from Bourdon]
8
  Tromba (25" w.p.)
12
               
Couplers
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Solo to Swell 8'
    Great to Pedal 8'   Swell to Choir 8'
    Choir to Pedal 8', 4'   Solo to Choir 8'
    Solo to Pedal 8', 4'   Choir to Solo 8'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   Swell to Swell 16', 4'
    Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'   Choir to Choir 16', 4'
    Solo to Great 16', 8', 4'   Solo to Solo 16', 4'
    Great to Swell 8'      
               
Adjustable Combinations (not moving the drawknobs)
   
Thumb Pistons:
Full Organ & couplers Pistons 1-2-3-4 & Release (to left of Great pistons)
Great & Pedal & suitable couplers Pistons 1-2-3-4-5 & Release
Swell & Pedal & suitable couplers Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 & Release
Choir & Pedal & suitable couplers Pistons 1-2-3-4 & Release
Solo & Pedal & suitable couplers Pistons 1-2-3-4 & Release
Pedal Pistons 1-2-3 & Release (to left of Swell pistons)
 
Pedals duplicating manual pistons:
Great Pedals 1-2-3-4-5
Swell Pedals 1-2-3-4-5-6
Choir Pedals 1-2-3-4
General Release  
     
Mechanicals
    Swell expression Pedal   Sforzando Pedal
    Choir expression Pedal   Great to Pedal Reversible
    Solo expression pedal   Swell to Pedal Reversible
    Crescendo Pedal   Indicator lights for combinations
         
Aronow Auditorium
South Campus

J.H. & C.S. Odell
New York City – Opus 278 (1889)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 20 stops


The chapel of the College of the Sacred Heart had an organ built in 1889 by J.H. & C.S. Odell of New York City. This space became Aronow Auditorium after Sacred Heart moved to Purchase, N.Y., and their buildings are known as the "South Campus" of City College.

Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
         
Mason Hall of Baruch College (CUNY) - New York City
Mason Hall showing Organ Grilles
Pauline Edwards Theatre (later Mason Hall)
The Field Building, 17 Lexington Avenue:

M.P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 6211 (1936); reb. Op. 1054 (1910)
Electro-pneumatic action
4 manuals, 33 stops, 23 ranks







In the Depression year of 1936, Dave Hennen Morris, former US Ambassador to Belgium, donated his M.P. Möller residence organ to City College. The Factory Specifications (Dec. 12, 1936) show that Möller rebuilt and moved their Op. 1054, originally built in 1910 for the Dave Hennen Morris Residence in Manhattan, to the Pauline Edwards Theatre (later known as Mason Hall) in the "Field Building" at 17 Lexington Avenue. Möller reused the old pipes, replacing some of the super octave (notes 62-73) pipes, and added a new Pedal 16' Open Diapason (wood) plus a 12-pipe 16' extension of the 8' Harmonic Tuba. Möller also provided a new detached, four-manual drawknob console. The fate of this organ is unknown.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed (4" pressure)
8
  Open Diapason
73
    Great 16'  
8
  Doppel Flute
73
   
Great 8' (Unison)
8
  Gemshorn
73
    Great 16'  
4
  Octave
73
    2 extra knobs  
   
Chimes
21 Tubular Bells
       
 
     
 
     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed (5" pressure)
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt [unit]
97
8
  Harmonic Tuba
73
8
  Geigen Diapason
73
8
  Orchestral Oboe
73
8
  Gedeckt [ext.]
8
  Vox Humana
61
8
  Viole d'Orchestre
73
    Tremolo  
8
  Viole Celeste [TC]
61
    Swell 16'  
8
  Aeoline
73
    Swell 8' (Unison)  
4
  Flute d'Amour [ext.]
    Swell 4'  
2 2/3
  Nazard [ext.]
    2 extra knobs  
2
  Flautina [ext.]
       
 
     
 
     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed (5" pressure)
8
  Concert Flute
73
   
Harp
37 Bars
8
  Dulciana
73
    Choir 16'  
8
  Unda Maris [TC]
61
    Choir 8' (Unison)
4
  Harmonic Flute
73
    Choir 4'  
8
  Clarinet
73
    2 extra knobs  
    Tremolo          
               
Echo Organ (Manual IV) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Quintadena
73
    Tremolo  
8
  Viole Aetheria
73
    Echo 16'  
4
  Flute
73
    Echo 4'  
8
  Vox Humana
73
    2 extra knobs  
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes (5" pressure)
16
  Open Diapason [new]
44
8
  Flute [ext.]
16
  Bourdon
44
8
  Gedeckt
SW
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
SW
16
  Trombone [1-12 new, ext. SW]
12
8
  Octave [ext.]
8
  Tuba
SW
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal 8', 4'   Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'
    Choir to Pedal 8'   Echo to Great 8', 4'
    Echo to Pedal 8'   Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 ON & OFF Pistons for Pedal
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4 ON & OFF Pistons for Pedal
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4 ON & OFF Pistons for Pedal
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6  
Entire Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6  
  General Cancel  
               
Accessories
    Balanced Swell Expression Pedal   Sforzando Pedal and Piston
    Balanced Choir Expression Pedal   Great to Pedal Reversible
    Balanced Echo Expression Pedal    
    Balanced Crescendo Pedal   Present Welte player to be installed
         
Chapel of the Free Academy - New York City
Chapel of the Free Academy
Organ in Chapel of the Free Academy on 23rd Street:

Unknown






It seems likely that there was an organ in the Chapel of the Free Academy on 23rd Street, shown in the c.1895 illustration at right. To date, research has not discovered documentation of an organ.
           
Sources:
     Aeolian-Skinner Archives web site: http://aeolian-skinner.110mb.com/
     The American Organist (Feb. 1918).
     "Baldwin, Organist, Is Honored by City," The New York Times (May 21, 1923).
     Baruch College (CUNY) web site: baruch.cuny.edu
     Bowker, R.R. The College of the City of New York 1847–1895. Reprinted from The University Magazine by the college: 1895.
     "City Board Votes to Take Manhattanville College Site," The New York Times (June 30, 1950).
     "City College Will Lose Its Old Home Tomorrow," The New York Times (Oct. 31, 1926).
     "Cornerstone Laid at City College," The New York Times (Dec. 5, 1928).
     Dolkart, Andrew S. and Matthew A. Postal. Guide to New York City Landmarks (Third Edition). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2004.
     Holden, Dorothy. The Life and Work of Ernest M. Skinner. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1987. Specifications of Ernest M. Skinner Co. Organ, Op. 135 (1906).
     Kinzey, Allen, and Sand Lawn, comps. E.M. Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner Opus List. New Rev. Ed. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1997.
     "Mayor Dedicates City College Unit," The New York Times (Oct. 17, 1929).
     "Prof. S. A. Baldwin, 'City Organist,' 87," The New York Times (Sep. 16, 1949).
     Rudy, Willis. The College of the City of New York: A History, 1847-1947. New York: Arno Press, 1977.
     "Stop, Open and Reed – a Periodical Presentation of Pipe Organ Progress". Boston: Skinner Organ Company, 1922-1927.
     Trupiano, Larry. Factory Agreement (Jan. 31, 1908) for addition of Pedal 32' Bombarde.
     Trupiano, Larry. Factory Contract and Specifications (June 20, 1906) of Ernest M. Skinner Co. organ, Op. 135 (1906).
     Trupiano, Larry. Factory Specifications (Dec. 12, 1936) of M.P. Möller organ, Op. 6211.
     Trupiano, Larry. Miscellaneous CCNY Orders (1930s) for the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co.

Illustrations:
     The American Organist (Feb. 1918). Skinner organ console. Courtesy Jonathan Bowen.
     Baruch College (CUNY) web site. Mason Hall interior.
     Bowker, R.R. The College of the City of New York 1847–1895. Chapel interior.
     College of the City of New York Archives. Free Academy building (1900).
     Miller, George Laing. The Recent Revolution in Organ Building Being an Account of Modern Developments. New York: The Charles Francis Press, 1913. Skinner organ console (side view).
     Pettit, H.M. Print of College of the City of New York Campus (1903). NYPL Digital Collection.
     "The Skinner Organ," booklet by Ernest M. Skinner Company: Skinner organ case. Courtesy John Rust.