Social Origins of Barnard Students

The Social Origins of Barnard Students

To be considered in five 25-year cohorts: [N = 40,000?]
1889-1913; 1500 students

1914-1939; 4500 students — Effort in concert with Columbia to become a national inst’n;
reduce % of New Yorkers; limits on Jewish applicants
First black student – Zora Neale Hurston (1926-28); quota of 2 blacks
thereafter? (Dorothy Height rejected in 1930)

1940-1964;      7,500 students – lifted limits on Jewish applicants
1965-1989;    12,500 — Effort to include more inclusive of blacks and Hispanics;
increase # of foreign students
1990-2017      15,000 —

1889-1913 – First generation
All young women; all white;
almost all residents (90%) of the consolidated NYC , or Westchester, northeastern New Jersey or western Connecticut
only about 1/3rd resident students – these more geographically dispersed; less likely Jewish; richer
Mix of public high school graduates and NYC privates (Brearley, Spence)

NYC in 1910 – 4,700,000 (1,900,000 in Manhattan); 98% white; 40% foreign-born

By ethnicity/religion:
White Christians
1. Knickerbockers – Old-family Americans of Dutch, English or French (Huguenot) lineage;
Mainline Protestants — Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists,
Dutch Reformed, Unitarians

2. Other Protestants — Methodists, Baptists, Quakers, Evangelicals

3. Roman Catholics – Older German and French Catholic; newer Irish, Italian, Polish

Three generationally distinct Jewish communities:
4. “Grandees” — Sephardic Jews – with American ties back to the Revolution
the Lazaruses, Nathans, Cardozos….
5. “Our Crowd” — German Jews who came to US in mid-19th century; German-speaking;
commercially prominent families – in banking, retail, newspapers
the Altschuls, Lehmans, Schiffs, Lewisohns, Seligmans, Guggenheims, Sulzbergers…
6. Eastern European Jews who came to the US in 1880s onward; Yiddish-speaking;
economically less secure and culturally more “alien” to American standing order than
the more assimilationist German Jews
7. Students from outside Europe and neither Christian nor Jewish

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