Frances Hamermesh, BC ’65

Interview Transcript
Frances Hamermesh BC ’65
[Husband of Daniel Hamermesh, Senior Scholar in Economics Dept]
September 27, 2017
Interview in LeFrak 213, Barnard College

 

FM grew up in Newton,  Mass.

Location of Barnard attractive – wanted change from Boston area; wanted a city school
Newton High School – looked at Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr
Early decision – a couple of other Newton HS came to Barnard
Might not have gotten into Radcliffe

Barnard was known to Newton HSchool counselors – considered with other SSisters

Came as dormitory student – 8th floor of Brooks – a triple under the eaves/quite spacious
Parents not college graduates
One roommate left after a semester – wealthy and not adhering to dorm rules
Other roommate pretty naïve Vermonter – stayed on to graduate

2nd year roommate left for GS and boyfriend
FH lived in newly opened Reid in 1962/2nd year

Sufficiency of social interaction with Columbia men _”We thought we were better than Columbia men”

McIntosh president FH’s first year – impressive, inspiring, engaged
Rosemary Park inauguration in Riverside Church in FH’s sophomore year
No impression of Rosemary Park

Majored in American Studies
Basil Rauch – adviser
Annette  Baxter
In gov’t, Phoebe Morison; in art history, Barbara Novak
Morrison “revered” as a teacher
Serge Gavronsky/Tatiana Greene/Peter  Juviler …
European historian with a “K”?

Wanted to be a journalist
Commuters in charge of the Barnard Bulletin
Commuters vs dorm students

Parents assumed FH would go into teaching. What she did
MAT Program at Yale
Teaching in Ct. public schools
Later in Michigan too high on pay scale

Faculty-student relations – pretty limited to office hours; Annette more approachable

Not much campus protests – still panty raids…
Malcolm X at Bard in ‘65

Career opportunities not yet opening up
Lots of Class going to graduate school; some to law school and strong contingent of pre-meds

Rumors in dorms about women in lesbian relationships

Princeton in ’69 – women handling tea and lunch
FM and DH know Nancy Weiss – married to an economist/Makiel
BMc and Nancy at Cornell in summer ‘67

FM reconnected with Barnard in London; but had dealings with Elspeth Davies Rostow at Texas;

Her husband was the economist Walt Rostow, adviser to LBJ

616 opened our sophomore year  (1962) – helped integration of NYers and dormers
Socially conservatives like FH stayed in dorms; more adventuresome to 616….

Any  thoughts on Barnard’s history?
Barnard as a place where women encouraged to venture into new things
Barnard more a city women’s college than a “country college” of the Sister sort

FH on Millicent McIntosh – “You can do anything you want”
“Never be on the subway without a book in your hand.”

Interview lasted  55 minutes.
Bob McCaughey
Transcribed October 5, 2017
ram31@columbia.edu