Note on Barnard Beginnings

               Barnard Beginnings: the First Quarter Century, 1889 – 1914

Middle-class American women achieving outside-the-household roles in education of girls and young ladies;
Women in abolition movement…
Largely excluded from professions – midwives/nurses ..

NYC Higher Educational Scene in 1880s

Columbia College  — It and affiliated schools closed to women
Law School
School of Mines
School of Political Science

College of Physicians and Surgeons – ditto

[New York University – its professional schools opens to women on co-educational basis in 1890s]

Beyond
1860s-80s — Founding of several women’s colleges in US; opening of women’s college at Cambridge (Girton);  Cornell/BU/Syracuse/state universities

Harvard – 1879 – Created an “Annex” (later, Radcliffe College) where Harvard instructors walked to offer instruction to enrolled women; way of avoiding co-education but also responsive to community pressure to provide women with higher educational opportunities ….

1884 — Brearley School in NYC  [girls college-preparatory school]

The Columbia situation;
Requests in 1870s for admission to law school; to attend science courses in S/Mines
President Barnard supportive – Alabama/Ole Miss co-ed earlier —
1879-1881 – 3 annual reports making the case for full co-education at Columbia
opposed by trustees, most faculty  (John W. Burgess) , most students (Nicholas Murray Butler)
Burgess crack in 1930s: Barnard plan “would make the College a female seminary, and a Hebrew female seminary, in the character of the student body, at that.”

Exceptional case of Winifred Edgerton – Wellesley 1882 graduate; TC communicant; CC trustee Morgan Dix her “rabbi”; to receive segregated instruction from astronomy instructor John Krum Rees — 1886 PhD in astronomy; next Columbia woman PhD a decade later

1883 – “Collegiate Course for Women” – instructional program after hours and off campus
7 years – 99 women; four degrees

Annie Nathan/colonial NYC Jewish family; ties to Gershon Seixas,, the sole Jewish trustee  – 18-year-old admittee – married instead – Not monied in the way of Matthew Vassar/Sophia Smith/the Durants

Annie Nathan Meyer
– Takes up the cause of women’s higher education; secures support of prominent women, some ministers (Arthur Brooks) and heads of families with daughters of college-age
article writing/petitions to trustees….
CC trustees see an affiliated college insured CC would stay all-male; Meyer OK with this if not financially responsible; FAPB would not have been
April 1 – CU trustees OK for “Barnard College” – FAPB on his death bed (d. three weeks later)

Lease a brownstone at 343 Madison/44th – 5 blocks south of CC campus

Barnard Board – 22 members; ½ women (ANMeyer, Ella Weed; several wives of rich husbands 9Laura Rockefeller); a couple educators); mostly Episcopalian (Rev. Arthur Brooks, Church of the Incarnation) but at least two Jewish trustees (Jacob Schiff, ANM) , a Catholic, Dutch Reformed, Presbyterians (George Plimpton) – several estate lawyers…..
1898 — Board provides for upwards of 6 alumnae-elected members for 6-year terms
Some coming and going over first decade; board finding difficult the raising money for move to Morningside

Finances – Tuition ($150 a year) revenue insufficient to cover expenses and planned expenditures following Columbia’s announced plans to move to Morningside Heights – land and building needed
George Plimpton succeeds Jacob Schiff as Treasurer in 1894 à 1936
Principal donors –
1892 — Mary E. Brinckerhoff — $100,000 for Brinckerhoff  (east wing of Milbank)
1895 – Elizabeth Milbank Anderson — $100,000 –1897 – Mrs Josiah Fiske – $140,000 (west wing of Milbank)
1903 – Mrs. Anderson, another $1,000,000  for 116th-118th blocks
1916 – Jacob Schiff gives $500,ooo for “Students Hall” (now Barnard Hall)
Other early prominent donors: J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, estate of Daniel Fayerweather, Horace Carpentier, John S. Kennedy)

Administration
Ella Weed, 1889-1894 died
Emily James Smith, first “Dean,” 1894-1900 – resigned when pregnant
Laura Gill, 2nd dean, 1901-1906, resigns under fire from CU
William T. Brewster, interim dean, 1907-11; then provost (to 1928)
Virginia C. Gildersleeve, 3rd dean, 1911-1947 [ BC 1899; CU PhD 1908];

 

Barnard instructional staff (not “Faculty” until 1900)
7 instructors borrowed from CC – Greek/Latin/English/Math to cover first-year program
Subsequent additions
1890 – Emily Gregory – Zurich PhD botanist
1895 – 3 professorships underwritten by CU president Low – Math/Economics/History
1900 – 30 members of instructional staff; most still drawn from Columbia but some
permanently constituting the Faculty of Barnard College

Students
Steady growth in enrollments from a starting group  in 1889-90 of 14 regular students and 22 “ specials” (taking specific courses not for a degree) to regular enrollments approaching 600 in 1913-1914, with “specials” taking science courses peaking in 1903-04 with 170, and declining thereafter.

Enrlmts.

Specials

Total

1889-90

14

22

36

1890-91

19

34

53

1891-92

30

32

62

1892-93

51

37

88

1893-94

59

47

106

1894-95

71

48

119

1895-96

81

66

147

1896-97

85

118

203

1897-98

111

123

234

1898-99

131

148

279

1899-00

171

162

333

1900-01

223

161

384

1901-02

269

162

431

1902-03

294

151

445

1903-04

330

170

500

1904-05

339

27

366

1905-06

367

23

390

1906-07

391

28

419

1907-08

405

48

453

1908-09

451

47

498

1909-10

481

54

535

1910-11

497

50

547

1911-12

584

56

640

1912-13

569

49

618

1913-14

628

56

684

 

 

Degrees – Equally steady upward trend from first graduating class of 8 in 1893 to graduating classes in the low 100s in the 190-14 period.

AB

BS

Degrees

Degrees

1893

8

1894

7

1895

8

1896

18

1897

22

1898

22

1899

21

1900

39

1901

50

1902

50

1903

47

1904

79

1905

83

1906

75

1907

76

1908

97

1909

98

1910

88

2

1911

103

1912

114

4

1913

136

3

1914

113

7

 

Curriculum
Began similar to Columbia College, with many required courses, but began offering more electives and more possibilities for focusing on (majoring in) a given subject than was the case in the College. Would not follow Columbia’s lead in developing a core curriculum in the 1920s but departmental specializations. Early on Greek and soon thereafter Latin dropped as entrance requirements or as part of required curriculum; opened up the prospect of public high school graduates being admitted without additional tutorial preparation.

Extra-Curriculum
Somewhat circumscribed by most students living at home and commuting. Fiske serves as dormitory for residential students until Brooks Hall opened in 1907.
Yearbook
1902 — Barnard Bulletin
1903 — Greek Games – sophomores vs. freshmen in athletic contests
Sororities – proscribed in 1913

 

                                                       25 Years On – Barnard in 1914

Plant – 4-city block campus (116th to 120th/Broadway to Claremont; Milbank/Fiske/Brinckerhoff Hall and Brooks Hall; Students’ Hall in the offing

Student body of 400-500 students; 2/3s of them commuting; most from metropolitan NY; substantial portion Jewish (25%?), a matter of institutional concern

Faculty – Consisted of xx Barnard-based professors and an equal number of  instructional faculty hired by Barnard;  some Columbia-based faculty retain membership on Barnard faculty and provide instructional and administrative services. Men constitute a majority of the upper ranks of the faculty, but not a majority of the instructional staff. Faculty organized in 16-18 departments. Hiring done by Barnard departments with involvement of CU counterpart departments . Most faculty with some part of their education at Columbia.

Finances – More stable than in early years, but still characterized by a very modest endowment and a substantial reliance upon tuition and fundraising to cover expenses. George A. Plimpton midway through his extended term as devoted and treasurer and chief fundraiser.

Leadership – Virginia Gildersleeve at start of long and effective deanship;  maintains good relations with CU’s President Butler throughout her long deanship; successfully presses for admission of Barnard students to Columbia’s medical and law schools.

Relations with Columbia – Stable and  mutually respectful.

Last revised: February 26, 2014
ram31@columbia.edu

 

 

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