Brief Barnard Bibliography

A Brief Secondary Bibliography for Barnard History

Robert A. McCaughey, A College of Her Own: The History of Barnard (New York: Columbia University Press, 2020)

Authorized Histories
Alice Duer Miller, Barnard College: The First Fifty Years (New York: Columbia University Press, 1939)
Marian Churchill White, A History of Barnard College (New York:  Columbia University Press, 1954)
Marjorie Dobkin, Barnard College: The McIntosh Era (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964)

Autobiographical Accounts
Annie Nathan Meyer, Barnard Beginnings (1935)

Annie Nathan Meyer, It’s Been Fun (1951)

Virginia Gildersleeve, Many a Good Crusade (1954)

Biographical Accounts
Lynn D. Gordon, “Annie Nathan Meyer and Barnard College: Mission and Identity in Women’s Higher Education, 1889-1950,” History of Education Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Winter, 1986), pp. 503-522

Susan Dryfoos, Iphigene: Memoirs of Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger (1981)  [BC ’14; trustee]

Gertrude Hirst, From a Yorkshire Town to Morningside Heights (1957)– Faculty 1900s-40s

Margaret Mead, Blackberry Winter: My Early Years (1972)  [student in 1920s]

Joseph G. Brennan, The Education of a Prejudiced Man (1977) [faculty in 1950s-70s]

Related Histories
Robert A. McCaughey, Stand, Columbia : A History of Columbia University in the City of          New York, 1754-2004  (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003)

Rosalind Rosenberg, Changing the Subject : How the Women of Columbia Changed the Way We Talk about Sex and Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004)

Paul Cronin, ed., A Time to Stir: Columbia ’68 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016)

Robert A. McCaughey, “Still Here: Change and Persistence in the Place of the Liberal Arts in American Higher Education,” Andrew W. Mellon Research report, January, 2019

Other Seven Sisters Accounts
Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz,  M. Cary Thomas


Laurel T. Ulrich, ed., Yards and Gates: Gender in Harvard and Radcliffe History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004)

Sarah Gordon, “Smith College Students: The First Ten Classes,” History of Education Quarterly, 15, 147-167.

J. M. Faragher and Florence Howe, eds., Women and Higher Education in American History (1983)    [Mt. Holyoke 150th]

Roberta Frankfurt, College Women: Domesticity and Career in Turn-of-the-Century America (1977)      [compares early Wellesley graduates with early Bryn Mawr graduates]

Lynn Gordon, Gender and Higher Education in the Progressive Era (1990)

Barnard Senior Theses
Alison  L. Joseph (BC 2001), “Vested with Power: The Creation of Barnard College and the
Fate of Affiliated Women’s Colleges, 1889 -1900,” American Studies Senior Thesis
(Barnard College, 2001)

Lauren Gorab, “A Family Affair: Barnard College and the Nexus of Trustee Ties,”  American History Senior Thesis, April 2014

Maya Garfinkel, BC 2019, “The Ideal Home for the Embryonic New Woman: Barnard College and the Housing Imperative,” Barnard College Senior Thesis in History, Spring 2019.

Miriam Lichtenberg, “‘An American, Not a Jew:’ A History of the Jewish Women of Barnard,”
American History Senior Thesis, April 2019

Spatial Histories

Helen L. Horowitz, Alma Mater: Design and Experience In Women’s Colleges from their Nineteenth-  Century Beginnings to the 1930s (New York: Knopf, 1984)

Andrew Dolkart, Morningside Heights: History of Its Architecture & Development (New York: Columbia University Press,  1998)

Susie J. Pak, Gentlemen Bankers: The World of J. P. Morgan (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013) [Manhattan’s East Side  in late 19th-century)

Last updated: August, 2019
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2 thoughts on “Brief Barnard Bibliography

  1. A cultural historian, Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz’s book Alma Mater examines how ideas of womanhood and single-sex education interface with physical infrastructure on women’s college campuses. Alma Mater is divided into four sections, addressing the establishment, student life experience, infrastructural design, and the post-war college at the Seven Sisters schools. Leftkowtiz Horowitz’s book drives at questions including: how did the founders of women’s colleges grapple with questions of student autonomy? To what extent should the administration concern itself with the social development of the female student? How did shifting expectations of what constitutes womanhood and the single-sex college experience become mapped onto the built environment (68)? For Lefkowitz Horowitz, much of these answers lie in women’s colleges’ turn toward building the on-campus residence hall (242).

    From their beginnings as urban annexes to prestigious men’s universities, Lefkowitz Horowitz compares the campus design at Radcliffe and Barnard to argue that both colleges altered their physical layout to accommodate expectations of a changing women’s college at the beginning of the twentieth century(142). While a sense of “discretion” characterized the physical infrastructure and discussions surrounding Radcliffe in the late nineteenth century — era publications emphatically claimed that the Annex bore no intention to assimilate to Harvard’s “college life” or physical layout — Radcliffe increasingly drew from other women’s colleges to shape its campus layout (242). Specifically, the college constructed student residence halls, as living on campus came to stand for a constitutive part of the women’s college experience, as well as the expectation that students be affordable some degree of autonomy at school (244). Lefkowitz Horowitz argues that Barnard also patterned its campus with respect to Bryn Mawr and Vasaar’s incorporation of residence halls. For Lefkowitz Horowitz, the construction of Hewitt and Brooks halls “signalled Barnard’s full commitment to joining the ranks of the women’s colleges” (260). Constructing on-campus residence halls held immediate implications for Barnard: it shifted Barnard’s student demographics by attaching more Protestant students from outside New York City, the administration began to grapple with questions of how to handle the “independent woman,” and it firmly aligned itself with other women’s colleges that promoted the communal life among students (xxiv, 248).

    While Alma Mater charts the distinctive histories of the Seven Sisters, Lefkowitz Horowitz is emphatic that their college histories are deeply intertwined. Beyond the similarities between some of the architectural and infrastructural decisions at the Seven Sisters, Lefkowitz Horowitz argues that the administrative and trustee leadership at women’s college were in constant dialogue with one another (xxii). Faculty and college administrators circulated freely throughout the women’s college system, often bringing their own practices and policy orientations to their new position. In Barnard’s case, when Ella Weed died in 1894, Barnard recruited Emily James Smith, a member of Bryn Mawr’s first class, as dean of the college. (136-137).

    Additionally, presidents and deans of women’s colleges consulted one another freely when policy questions arose, which would shape their own decision-making (xxiv). Alma Mater, however, does not address how this knowledge-sharing among administrators and faculty members of women’s colleges questions how inclusive Barnard’s beginning leadership and policy-making truly was. Rather, this practice hints that administrators may have been drawing from a convenient knowledge base, which ultimately would have implications in terms of how these colleges were shaped and governed. This question opens up a rich line for future inquiry.

    In the two chapters that Alma Mater dedicates toward Barnard’s history, Lefkowitz Horowitz touches lightly on internal conflicts and tensions in the college’s social history. Tracing the question of “for whom Barnard was intended,” Lefkowitz Horowitz provides some relief: she charts the way that Barnard’s on-campus sororities in the late nineteenth century precluded lower income, non-Christian students from participating in a constitutive part of student social life (256). Arranging expensive county house parties and vacations, Barnard’s sororities exhibited their own internal dynamics among students of wealth, while also remaining out of reach for lower-income Jewish students(258). And yet, Lefkowitz Horowitz resists a unidimensional narrative of exclusion; Jewish students were active members of the popular Christian Association and any student, regardless of religious affiliation, were allowed to become associate members (258).

    Taken together, Alma Mater drives at important questions in Barnard’s history, as well as highlights historical gaps that deserve critical attention, including: in the coming years, how would Barnard grapple with its shared history with the other Seven Sisters? In what ways would Barnard’s identity depart from the Seven Sisters?

    1. Jenna,

      Your task should be easier at the data-gathering end than I thought, in view of my having collected a good many of the Class of 1925 entering addresses. These also on the blog under “students”.

      Good luck.


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