Millicent McIntosh — A Biographical Note

Note on Millicent McIntosh

Millicent Carey McIntosh (b. Baltimore, 1898- family Friends – 4 brothers and younger sister
mother in first Bryn Mawr graduating class; interested in prison reform; sister of M.Carey Thomas,
president of Bryn Mawr College (1894-1920s)
Attended Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore [Edith Hamilton on faculty]
Bryn Mawr – 1915-1919 – graduated 3rd in her class (MCT disappointed)
YWCA work in England and US
1923-26 – PhD studies at Johns Hopkins à medieval drama
1926-1930 – Assistant professor at Bryn Mawr à no administrative opening at BM
1930 (age 32) to Brearley as headmistress
1932 – married Rusty McIntosh, NYC pediatrician (age 37)
MCM on MCM: “I’m not, by nature, a scholar. I have a good scholarly background,
but that’s quite different.”
Saw herself in the M. Carey Thomas (her aunt on her mother’s side) tradition (also VCG): her job to educate women for professional pursuits.

Her selection
VCG had tried to retire at 65 (1942) but NMB would not allow her to.
Search committee in 1946 – wanted a married woman who knew NYC – and wouldn’t travel
VCG had wanted Elizabeth Reynard – MCM: “Not one iota of ability as an administrator.”
Key trustees in decision – Helen Rogers Reid and Mrs. Eugene Meyer

MCM installed as 4th dean – October 1947
Renamed president 7/53 – at insistence of Ford Fondation and board – VCG opposed to change

Some faculty begrudged her years as a school mistress — Hugh Wiley Puckett particularly
“faculty highly academic and interested in specialized learning.”

Puckett – 30 years under Braun in German Department; “He had never been anywhere except Columbia. He had graduated from Columbia, he was a Columbia PhD, he had all his teaching career at Barnard.” [also had a Barnard daughter]
Dean of faculty Tom Peardon – “regarded anything new with a jaundiced eye.”
Faculty thought student advising beneath them – begrudged hiring a psychiatrist…
COI – protective of its claim to be responsible for the curriculum à Peardon curriculum committee
1947 Faculty – paid less than CU
full time faculty– 85; part-time 35
1948-49 – “cutting down faculty because we were so broke.”

“One of the things I saw was that young women were being kept on as department assistants, without any hope of promotion or future or anything else. They liked their jobs, and they worked along with starvation wages…. They were kept on simply because the heads of departments didn’t want to tell them they had to leave.”

Had installed an up-or-out policy before CU did (about 1954)

Some resignations in her presidency; toward the end, lost faculty due to “the huge expansion of state universities and the enormous amount of money they are spending to get good people.”
Robert Lekachman will get double his salary [at Stonybrrok]
Aubrey Gorbman in 1962
English professor Marcus Klein]to Buffalo “with a big, fat state university salary”
MCM pushed for an elected President’s Advisory Committee of Full professors – Faculty resisted.
MCM got faculty help from Florence D. Lowther/Raymond Saulnier/Henry Sharp – Committee on Administrative Reorganization

MCM on faculty – “the kinds of traditions that I had, as a person, and the experience I’d had running a rather obstinate and contrary faculty of conservative schoolteachers were a great help to me, partly because I didn’t pay much attention to their complaints.”

MCM introduced $500 biennial increases – “this little pittance of an increase”

Trustees told her Barnard had no financial problems – completely sincere…
Mrs. Meyer didn’t know College needed $10 million
Unattended plant deterioration back to the 1930s
1947-48 deficit — $136,000 – prompted by new union contracts with TWU with 18-25% increases

1948 – “We were cutting down because we were so broke.” Turned astronomy and Portuguese over to CU
1947-55 – ‘A period of , literally, revolution…cataclysmic… For a long time were weren’t even sure we would survive, except as a small unit of Columbia.”
1949 – Launch Development Fund Campaign
Mrs. Frank Altschul chair; Jean Palmer as administrative development officer
Crucial importance of $1 million Rockefeller grant – income could be used for general purposes until committed to new building on Rockefeller-provided land –gift in Standard Oil stock that had dividend of $90 K — allowed College to balance 49-50 budget.
Personally solicited from JDRJr. By MCM with daughter in tow.
1949 – “If we hadn’t gotten that gift the College might have had to reduce its whole scale of operation.”
“We had the wolf at the door.” NY Trust no longer willing to loan BC money to cover annual deficits

1951 — McIntosh professorship – allowed BC’s top salary of $10,000 per year [chair from Mrs. Frank [Helen Goodheeart] Altschul – initially $300 K – later $500 K]

1951 – Establishment of the Barnard Fund – by 1956 had raised $2,370,000

1953 – Sale of Riverside property to JDR Jr — $510,000
1955 – Ford Foundation Faculty Salary Grant
1965 – Ford Foundation $2,500,000 if 3/1 match by 6/30/69


On her inauguration: “We are blessed with a student body as varied and as interesting as New York itself.”
Commuting students – from a lower economic bracket
“We’ve always drawn from the lower economic groups.”

Early 1950s? — MCM lost in dispute with Barnard Bulletin “on the cause of kosher food.”
1947-48 — non-residents twice the number of residents
1940 – 715 commuters
1948 – 871 commuters
“Barnard has never been a fashionable college.”
Reid Hall opened in 1961
1947-48 students by homes:
NY – 738 of 1199
NJ 126; Ct. 52; Mass. 39; Pa – 39


Student rebelliousness in 1966 —
MCM: “A good thing…. I think the faculty have this coming to them, because they’ve removed themselves from contact with the students.
Last time it revised was in 1920s – Not a big interest of VCG
New curriculum installed 1950 à 120 points
MCM big on pushing Education Program in face of faculty opp’n – introduced in Spring 1951
BC faculty hostile to CC’s core courses

1949 — $500,000 gift of Mrs. Lamont brings Religion Department into being -> Ursula Niebuhr

MCM big on cooperating on curriculum with CC and having close departmental relation
Only joint department in 1947 – Music

Later on — Religion/Classics [John Day]/Physics/Italian
Music — Joline Professorship – Douglas Moore at BC 1928-46; then moved over to CU; Otto Leunig to BC – then Hubert Doris in 1950s
1952 – Relaunch of American Civilization Program with $75 K Carnegie Foundation grant for 5 years – Basil Rauch, director
1952 – Drama program added to English Department


1949 – Eugene and Agnes Meyer give $50,000 for the Barnard Annex – opened 5/5/1949

1955 — Library Development Campaign launched – Iphigene Sulzberger as chair

Lehman Hall/Wollman Library groundbreaking 4/28/58
Wollman Fdn — $750,000
Mrs. Arthur Lehman (Adele Lewisohn BC 1903) — $750,000
Helen Altschul — $101,500
Iphigene Sulzberger and NY Times — $75,000

Money for Reid Hall committed 12/57 from Mrs. Ogden R. reid (Mary Louise Stewart, BC 1946)
Reid Hall opened in 1961

1960 – BC buys 616 Broadway – form for 150 residents

May 1962 — Groundbreaking for [McIntosh] Student Center
1965 – BC acquires 620 116th Street – 200 residents
1966 – Acquires Bryn Mawr Building on 121st and Amsterdam – 330 residentsn
Science Tower funding:
Mrs. Frank Altschul — $750,000
Milbank Memorial Fund — $750,000
Barnard to raise $1,000,000 by 6/30/67


On BC/CU Relations
Q.: “The relationship with Columbia is a very complicated one?”
A: “Very. It’s something that is impossible to explain to anyone, and it’s one of the most interesting things about the job.”
Weekly deans meetings with deans of the graduate faculties – Pegram/Krout/Barzun
–MCM would discuss any proposed promotion

MCM on Eisenhower – “exceedingly kind to me, very pleasant and nice and understanding. But his academic work was nil. He once told me that he very much resented just being a public relations person.”
BC faculty not supportive; “not pleased at all”; neither was CC dean Chamberlain (a CC isolationist)/Palfrey in 1958 more cooperative better


MCM : “No exchange of fees on any of this.”

On Grayson Kirk – “I’m one of Mr. Kirk’s greatest admirers. I think that he’s made an excellent president for the University. He’s a professor’s president.”

MCM: “In fact, I think Mr. Kirk thinks we should give up our separate identity and be merged with CC.”
Interviewer: “How would you feel about that?’
MCM: “very strongly against it.”
Lucius Beers had been on board since 1920; chair 1937-47
Mrs. Ogden (Helen Rogers, BC 1903) Reid new chair; had been on board since 1914; first woman in position; retired in 1957; Samuel R. Milbank, chr (1956-19678
1949 – Change rules to make for term appointments for 21 trustees; 4 alumnae trustees


MCM Staffing
Inherited a Controller /Business Manager — Joseph J. Swann  — in his 70s; apptd 1927
Forrest L. Abbott as controller 3/1/1953
Inherited   an Associate Dean of the Faculty – Louise Gregory/biology à d. 1948 à Lowther
Tom Peardon made Dean of faculty (retired in 1959; Henry Boorse new dean
Inherited Admissions Secretary Mary V. Libby (Mrs. Raymond Browne) – 1920-46
Jean Palmer – Bryn Mawr/WAVES as Admissions Director à Development
Helen M. McCann as Admissions Director 7/1/1953


Created office of Dean of the Faculty à Florence D. Lowther
1948 — Lorna McGuire named student advisor
1953 – Helen Phelps Bailey as Dean of Studies – replaces McGuire
Margaret Whitney to BC in 1948 as Director of Development
Whitney replaces Helen Erskine, VCG’s loyal Director of Public Relations

MCM’s departure
Husband retired in 1960; she wanted to , too, but Mrs. Reid kept her on until 1962 (6/30/62) and replacement identified


On Rosemary Park

Comes from presidency of Connecticut College – installed 11/15/1962
[interviewer suggested she was in trouble (in 1966)]
Recommended by MCM and endorsed by VCG (“in her tradition”]
RPark – Gets on well with CU; losing faculty to state universities; “Some of these losses I think she could have avoided if she had spent more time getting to know her faculty.”

“cool and aloof – unsettled by aggressive BC students — “dirty, beatnik, unpleasant”
BC’s best students – “They’re just alien to her”

Sources: Blending her 1965-66 Oral History Interviews, 1965-66 and her Annual Reports
Last updated: March 28, 2015
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