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About the Ezra Cornell Papers Preface Ezra Cornell referred to himself as a farmer and mechanic who had spent some time working in the telegraph industry. His ambition and imagination, however, were not so prosaic. Skillful work, uncommon tenacity, and fortuitous circumstances resulted in his amassing a fortune. As soon as it became clear that it was a fortune, he promptly rejected conventional practice and sage advice, and directed that those riches be used to found a unique university: a comprehensive and practical institution dedicated to all forms of intellectual endeavor.

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The Notable New Yorkers Web site offers audio recordings and transcripts of interviews with ten influential New Yorkers, drawn from the collections of the Oral History Research Office of the Columbia University Libraries . These interviews, conducted by the Office between 1955 and 2001, open an imaginative portal into twentieth-century New York City and the ways in which it has deeply affected the culture and history of the United States and the world beyond.

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