The Maison Française was established by Columbia president Nicholas Murray Butler in 1913 as a “center for the study of French civilization and French literature” — the first French cultural institute on an American campus. That inaugural year, Butler, a man of grand gesture and grander influence, brought the French philosopher Henri Bergson to Morningside Heights as a visiting professor. More recently, the Maison has hosted Shoah filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, writer and professor emerita Maryse Condé, economist Thomas Piketty, and philosopher Jacques Rancière.
Now, in 2013, the Maison Française is toasting its centenary with events throughout the year, starting with an exhibit in Buell Hall, on view through October 30. Curated by Maison Française director Shanny Peer, and jointly organized by the Maison Française and the Rare Book and Manuscript Division of Columbia Libraries, the exhibit includes documents, program materials, audio recordings, and photographs of distinguished thinkers, artists, and vedettes de cinéma.
Buell Hall, where la Maison Francaise is based, was formerly known as the Macy Villa of the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum (1821-1892). Built in 1885, it was the last building to be constructed for the asylum, and it was intended for wealthy male patients
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Maison Française at Columbia University
Buell Hall, 2nd floor
515 West 116th Street, MC 4990
New York, NY 10027