7. Those Were the Days: The McIntosh Era

7/13/2016 Preliminary Draft     — about right length as is.
Needs more on era’s students and alums.


                                                                                  Chapter 7.
Those Were the Days? The McIntosh Era

How poor and miserable we were.
How seldom together!
And yet after so long one thinks:
In those days everything was better.
— Randall Jarrell

The McIntosh Era, I (1947-55)
“Mrs. Mac”
Finances – Wolf at the Door
Students as varied and
Faculty in Play
Barnard and McCarthyism

The McIntosh Era, II (1956-1962)
In Those Days
Post-55 finances
Students in the Age of Conformity
The Era of the Packed Suitcase
And Benign Neglect
The Rosemary Park Addendum (1962-1967)

Coda: American Higher Education’s “Golden Age” Revisited
In retrospect, the twenty years following the end of World War Two was a period at Barnard  of unusual easy rapport (though a while in achieving) among faculty, students, trustees  and administrators, though a while in achieving. This could be credited in part to the consensual national mood. But also to attentive leadership and to a Columbia policy of  benign neglect. All three ended when the protracted and quiet 1950s ended sometime in the early 1960s.

                                                                          “Mrs. Mac”

Upon President Butler’s exacted retirement at age 83 in 1945, Dean Gildersleeve  proceeded with securing her own release. The Barnard trustees resumed the task of finding a successor. One local possibility was Millicent Carey McIntosh, in 1946 the 49-year-old headmistress of the Brearley School. She had  been approached by trustee Helen Rogers Reid back in 1942 when Gildersleeve first broached the subject of retiring, but expressed no interest in the job. When approached again in 1946, this time by Mrs. Reid in the company of Mrs. Eugene Meyer (Agnes Ernst, BC 1909) McIntosh now having been at Brearley for 16 years, she again expressed an initial disinclination to switch jobs. After talking with her husband (“You might regret not having taken this job for the rest of your life”), she reconsidered.

A native of Baltimore, Millicent came from that  city’s civic-minded Quaker gentry. Her father was a manufacturer and her mother a member of Bryn Mawr College’s first graduating class (1889), and a mother of six children and never professionally employed,  pursued a lifelong interest in prison reform and civic activism. Millicent attended the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, where she learned Greek from the noted classicist Edith Hamilton, before proceeding on to  Bryn Mawr College, where her mother’s sister,  M. Carey Thomas, was president. Upon graduation in 1920, disappointing her aunt by ranking only third in her class, and following a stint of social work in England, she returned to Baltimore in 1923 to the Johns Hopkins University. There  she earned a PhD in English in 1926.

She then returned to Bryn Mawr as an assistant professor of English. (Her aunt had  retired  four years earlier but remained a presence.) In addition to teaching, she took on administrative responsibilities and found them to her liking. “I’m not, by nature, a scholar,” she later acknowledged. “I have a good scholarly background, but that’s quite different.” Three  years into her appointment and with no top administrative post likely to open up, she agreed to talk with the trustees of the Brearley School, New York City’s most academically demanding and socially exclusive of its independent girls’ schools, about their vacant headmistress’s position.  They hired her. Two years into the job, the then 33-year-old Millicent announced her pending marriage.

Her 37-yer-old husband-to-be was Dr. Rustin McIntosh, an up-and-coming pediatrician and administrator at New York Babies Hospital. Once married, they proceeded in rapid order to produce four boys, two of them twins, and a girl. The youngest, their only daughter, Alice, was seven when the Barnard search committee, in the persons of   trustee Mrs. Reid, Mrs. Meyer and Professor of German Hugh Wiley Puckett, came calling. McIntosh’s  academic credentials, administrative experience, familiarity  with New York’s wealthy, and not least, her domestic situation as a wife and mother, all commended her  to the two trustees on the search committee.  They wanted a married woman, having grown weary of complaints from parents about Miss Gildersleeve’s  jaundiced view of the marital state, and someone likely for family reasons to stay in town.

Some faculty, including Puckett, were less impressed, holding her years as head of a school, even one as academically demanding  as  Brearley, as disqualifying. Meanwhile, Miss Gildersleeve continued to press for Elizabeth Reynard. In the end, the committee chose McIntosh,  the board concurred and disappointed faculty took to their tents to await developments.


“Wolf at the Door”

It was cataclysmic from about 1947 to about 1955. For a long time we  weren’t
even sure we would survive, except as a small unit of Columbia University.
                                                                                                   — Millicent McIntosh, 1966

Calling on Miss Gildersleeve after her election but before her installation,  Dean-elect McIntosh heard for the first time the true state Barnard’s financial affairs. It needed, Gildersleeve informed her,  an immediate infusion of $10 million. A  labor contract with its newly unionized facilities staff, repairs to buildings whose maintenance had been deferred by the Depression and war, the need for a third dormitory,  and the imperative  to raise faculty salaries or risk losing the College’s best young teachers: all required immediate attention.


None of the trustees  during the search process  had indicated anything near as dire as the situation Gildersleeve  described. McIntosh later concluded  that the trustees  likely did not know  because Gildersleeve and her chief financial officer, Joseph J. Swann, a retired naval officer by then well  into his seventies,  had spared them the bad news. The $1,400,000 operating budget Dean McIntosh inherited in the fall of 1947 included a planned deficit of $135,000. “Had I known the true state of affairs at Barnard when offered the position as its dean,” she later reminisced, “I might well have stayed at Brearley.”

Part of the financial problem turned on the college’s aging physical plant. In 1947, then in its 59th  year of year of operation and 50th year on Morningside, the plant consisted of  a 4 1/acre campus bisected north and south by 119th Street, about  a quarter of it occupied by four substantial buildings:

— Milbank Hall (1897), four stories ,facing inward and south, its back to 120th St., with the
Brinckerhoff wing (1897) on the east facing west with its back to Broadway with the Fiske wing
(1898) on the west facing east with its back to Claremont Ave, and;  it housed   administrative
offices, faculty offices and classrooms;


— Brooks Hall (1907), eleven stories, facing inward and north with its back to 116th Street; it served
as a dormitory for 100 residents ;

— Barnard Hall, (1916, four stories, ) facing outward and  east across Broadway to Columbia at
what would have been  117th St;  it served as a students center as well as an academic space for
athletics,  faculty offices, classrooms and the Ella Weed Library;

— Hewitt  Hall (1926), perpendicularly attached to the northeast corner Brooks, facing inward and
east with its back to Claremont Ave; it served as Barnard’s second dormitory for 250 students.

The College also owned the vacant corner lot across Claremont from Milbank Hall on the southwest corner of 120th and Riverside Drive. The most recent addition to its building stock dated back more than two decades. All four buildings were in need of repair, with the oldest, the 50-year-old Milbank Hall, requiring a major renovation. The land not taken up by buildings consisted of four tennis courts,  open space and an overgrown section referred to as “the Jungle.” [Holly House in upper Westchester.]

Meanwhile, the wider Morningside neighborhood was showing its age, with many of the its once handsome pre-WW I apartment buildings along Riverside Drive over to Morningside River  and on the cross streets between 96th and 125th Streets being  cut up into ever smaller units until some that had fallen into such disrepair as to be rentable only  as SROs (“single room occupancies”).  Some were simply abandoned by landlords unable to pay the taxes on them.  Some then became occupied by           and were put to various illegal uses, the sale of drugs among them. Efforts to arrest the neighborhood’s decline would become a prime consideration for all its institutional landlords, not least Columbia University to Barnard’s immediate east and to its immediate northwest, the Rockefeller-funded Riverside Church and International House.  Both made extensive defensive investments in residential and commercial real estate, hoping thereby to slow if not reverse the neighborhood’s deterioration.

   That trustee Mrs. Eugene  Meyer Agnes Ernst, BV 1909), a savvy businesswoman, publisher  of the Washington Post and a member of the dean search committee, was uninformed as to the state of Barnard’s finances in 1946 speaks to the board’s at-a-distance  involvement in the College’s management during the later years of Gildersleeve’s deanship.


[Trustee composition in 1947]

[Brief description of the board’s composition
by gender
links to Barnard
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;ANM exempted ]

In 1947 it included three Jewish members: Annie Nathan Meyer; Sara Straus Hess; Iphigene Sulzberger;  Mrs. Meyer’s husband, Eugene,  was also Jewish.



Once apprised of the situation, the new dean quickly secured the approval of the Barnard board of trustees to launch “Operation Bootstraps,” a development  campaign to raise $2,000,000. In this effort she had the active collaboration of Mrs. Ogden  (Helen Rogers, BC ’03) Reid, who became Barnard’s first female trustee chair in 1947, and Mrs. Frank (Helen Goodheart ’07) Altschul, a now active alumna  who was elected to the board in 1951. Both became major contributors to the campaign and encouraged others on the board, not heretofore distinguished by its benefactions, to do likewise.  A development officer was hired, Jean Palmer, a fundraising pamphlet produced, and  Mrs. McIntosh, Reid and Altschul enthusiastically took to the mendicant trail. By 1950 the campaign had secured $1,700,000 in gifts from 1400 donors.  The contrast with the half-hearted fundraising efforts of the Gildersleeve years and the willingness of previously resistant Jewish alumnae to support the College did not go unnoted.


The Meyers’  gift of $50,000 in 1949 to build an Annex to Barnard Hall was an indication of changes. First, it was the first  major gift by a trustee in three decades and marked the  beginning of a wave of gift-giving by serving trustees, a which culminated in the 1960s. (That Eugene Meyer, whose parents were Alsatian Jews, may also have signaled to Barnard Jewish alumnae and  the wider Jewish community that Dean Gildersleeve had left the building.)But second, theirs was a construction gift not designed to increase Barnard’s attractiveness to potential residential students from outside the region but to improve the on-campus lives of Barnard’s commuting students by providing them with a social space of their own.


By far the largest single gift of the “Bootstraps” campaign, $1,000,000,  came from John D. Rockefeller, Jr.. The “ask” had been by Mrs. McIntosh, which involved several detailed discussions with Rockefeller Foundation officials  before a personal visit was scheduled. When that day came the dean brought along her then seven-year old daughter Alice was home from the Putney School in Vermont.  When Rockefeller spotted her in the waiting room and was introduced, he and Alice immediately fell into a detailed discussion of machinery used to milk cows. “He’s very much like a farmer,” Alice said after the visit, without knowing that in the course of it,  “the farmer” in question had just doubled his intended gift of $500,000 to a cool million.

The Rockefeller gift came in Standard Oil bonds, which provided an annual yield of 9%, or $90,000, which could be used immediately to cover the anticipated shortfall in other operating income and to balance the budget. With no matching requirement, it was singularly responsive to the College’s immediate needs. McIntosh later called it for Barnard, “one of the most strategic gifts that was ever made.”  Part of the Rockefeller gift helped pay for the 1953 renovation of Milbank Hall, including its  Brinckerhoff Theatre (then renamed the Minor Latham Theatre).


In 1953, John D. Rockefeller Jr.  pressed Barnard to sell the Riverside and 120th St. lot back to him for $510,000 so that the Rockefeller-financed  Interchurch Center building could be constructed on it. A few faculty were heard to complain about the terms of the buyback, but not McIntosh.  “Some people felt very bitterly about it,” she recalled in 1966, “But I didn’t feel bitterly, because I knew he had really saved us.”

In 1951 two developments occurred that bespoke Barnard’s belated entry into the era of 20th– century fundraising. The first was a gift of $300,000 (later raised to $500,000) from Mrs Frank Altschul (Helen Goodheart, BC 19xx) to underwrite Barnard’s first endowed chair, the Millicent McIntosh professorship in English. The first chair holder was David Robertson, with the terms of the gift allowing Barnard to pay him what was then the highest faculty salary of $10,000 ($92,000 in 2016). The second development was to establish the Barnard Fund, an annual appeal to Alumnae that by 1956 had raised $2,370,000.

It was the imperative of fundraising – as McIntosh discovered in 1953 when seeking funding from the Ford Foundation —  that led  the Barnard trustees to seek agreement from the Columbia trustees to change the title of head of college from “Dean” to “President.” The former title, Ford officials told her, normally applied to the head of a school within a university and put in question Barnard’s institutional autonomy,   and thus its claims to funding consideration as distinct  from those of Columbia, whereas “president”  bespoke the head of a free-standing college. The Columbia trustees and their newly inaugurated President Grayson Kirk  promptly acceded to the request. Dean emerita Gildersleeve opposed the name change as minimizing Barnard’s ties to Columbia, but to no avail. On June 30, 1953, “Mrs. Mac” became the last dean to be head of Barnard College, and a day later its first president. Two years later Barnard received its share of the Ford Foundation Faculty support Gift of $500,000,000 as one of the xxx hundred free-standing private colleges.

By the mid-1950s Barnard had developed a modern fundraising apparatus, with its president effective in her dealings with her wealthy and newly generous trustees and with the major foundations.  The wolf, for the moment at least, was no longer at the door.

Inherited Admissions Secretary Mary V. Libby 9Mrs. Raymond Browne) – 1920-46
Jean Palmer – Bryn Mawr/WAVES as Admissions Director  Development
Helen M. McCann as Admissions Director 7/1/1953


Created office of Dean of the Faculty  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

                                         “Students as Varied and Interesting as New York Itself”


For all Gildersleeve’s efforts to nationalize the student body during the deanship, that which she handed over to her successor in 1947 retained a distinctly local character. It  consisted of just under 1200 women, most of them New York residents.  More than half  commuted to campus, half of them  from one of the boroughs, with the others trekking in from surrounding towns within a 30-mile radius of Morningside Heights.


Unlike co-ed or  men’s colleges, women’s colleges did not experience the post-war spike in enrollments that followed on the enactment  of the Post war Adjustment (“the GI Bill)  and demobilization. In 1946 both Columbia College and engineering school took in  their largest classes ever, while the overflow led directly to the creation of  The School of General Studies, which by the late 1940s enrolled upwards of xxxx students. Non-residents outnumbered residents, in  1948 accounting for two-thirds of all enrollments.  Without a new dormitory,  it was thought that Barnard would only become more of a commuter school than it already was.

A few of the commuters did so by choice, but more because the tuition of $xxx represented a strain on family finances, even with a Regents scholarship and some merit-based  financial assistance from the College, while an additional $xxx for room and board would have been prohibitive. Many of the commuters held jobs back in their neighborhoods, while some of the residents were employed on campus or down town. As for latter-day equivalents of the “Social Register girls” Zora Neale Hurston recalled meeting at Barnard in the mid-1920s, they were noticeable mostly in their absence.
Somewhere between a quarter and a third of the Barnard students in 1947 were either Jewish or Catholic, with most of them the first female in their family in their family to attend college.  For most in attendance, their American ancestries seldom extended beyond a generation or two, with many the children of immigrants. Nor had it been able to attract legacies – the daughters of Barnard graduates — in numbers anywhere comparable to those of the other Sister colleges.



Again, despite Gildersleeve’s efforts, Barnard continued to attract very few graduates from either the  private girls schools clustered on the city’s East Side – Brearley, Spence, Nightingale — or the nationally known boarding schools. Upwards of  70% of Barnard students in 1947 had been prepared in public schools, half of them in New York City public high schools.


Thus, McIntosh in 1947 found herself taking  over a college whose student body was markedly different in social composition and family wealth from that of Bryn Mawr, where for eight years she had been a student and teacher, and from that of Brearley, which she led for fifteen years. Her response was not, as Gildersleeve’s had been back in 1911, to set out to make Barnard more like Bryn Mawr and Brearley, but to applaud its  acquired distinctiveness. “We are blessed,” she declared in her inauguration, “with a student body as varied and as interesting as New York itself.”

Her decision to make lemonade with the lemons provided may have been at the outset of her deanship just that — an acceptance of the situation as she found it.   But early on  she came to look upon what distinguished Barnard from wealthier and more socially comfortable schools as institutional strengths. “We have always drawn from the lower economic groups,” she proudly told her interviewer in 1966: “Barnard has never been a fashionable college.”

McIntosh’s understanding  of the economic constraints within which many post-war Barnard  commuting students operated was clearly demonstrated when in 1949 she volunteered  her opinion on    the trustee-determined matter of setting the tuition for the following year. “Let us

[Get quote on keeping tuition below the “country colleges”.]


Where Mrs. Mac’s years at Bryn Mawr  and Brearley did provide guidance was in the area of student services.  Dean Gildersleeve had taken little  interest in her students’ lives beyond the classroom, she being decidedly of the “sink or swim” school of student administration.  Academic advising had remained ad hoc and makeshift well into the 1930s before it first acquired institutional recognition and formal staffing. Similarly, the provision of health services and psychiatric counseling fell outside the realm of College-provided services. All this changed under “Mrs. Mac.” A college physician was appointed in 1948 and in 1953 a member of the French department and Barnard  alumna,  Helen P. Bailey (BC 1933),  became the College’s first Dean of Studies, with responsibilities that extended beyond student academic matters to encompass the extra-curriculum.

MCM Staffing
Inherited a  Controller /Business Manager  — Joseph J. Swann   — in his 70s; apptd 1927
Forrest L. Abbott as controller 3/1/1953
A more significant administrative adjustment followed on McIntosh’s installation and the simultaneous elimination of the University Undergraduate Admissions Committee. The job of recruiting Barnard students, a University-wide function for the last 38 years,  was now back wholly in Barnard’s hands. The new created job of Admissions Director first fell to Jean Palmer, who held it for three years before being put in charge of development (fundraising), and then to Marion Smith, who soon gave way to her assistant, Helen G. McCann (BC 1940), who  became Director of Admissions in 1953  and was to retain that position for 24 years until retiring in 1977.

Barnard’s student recruitment effort in the 1950s faced two challenges not present earlier. The first was common to all colleges and was temporary: a drop in the size of the college-age cohort attributable to the declining birth attending the Great Depression and the war, which would result in a drop in college enrollments throughout the 1950s until the “baby boom” generation reached college-going age beginning in the early 1960s.  Accordingly, Barnard enrollments declined in the immediate post-war years from 1267 in 1946-47 to 1046 in 1951-52. Even with  a growing number of transfers, graduating classes in the same years only once  exceeded 300.  Any modest increases in the mid-1950s  were to be achieved in the face of the demographic realities.

The second challenge compounded the first but was particular to New York’s private colleges, especially  to the state’s private women’s colleges, and most especially to the  private women’s colleges located in New York City and reliant upon the City’s high schools for a plurality of its students. It was the increased competition beginning to come from the state’s newly upgraded and publicly supported co-ed colleges. Whereas Hunter College had earlier represented Barnard’s only tuition-free competition for women in New York City,  the opening of Brooklyn College in 1930 and Queens College in 1937, both co-educational,  meant that Barnard now had to contend with two more taxpayer-supported and academically ambitious institutions situated in the very boroughs from which it drew upwards of half its commuting students.

Beginning in 1948 several of the once non-competitive state teachers colleges (Oneonta, Geneseo) that earlier constituted the State University of New York were upgraded, while other state colleges were created from scratch (Stonybrook). All  would soon be actively competing  for many of the same kinds of students from throughout New York state that had come by the early 1940s to comprise a quarter of Barnard’s enrollments. Even the possible impact of the proliferation of upstate campuses (Binghampton, Albany) threatened to undercut what had become for Barnard, thanks to the Regents scholarships, an increasingly fertile recruitment area.    And unlike the nationwide drop in college-age students, which was transitory, this increased competition did not come with an assured end date.

Barnard’s response to these challenges was to mount an aggressive recruitment program among the City’s most academically demanding public schools, parochial schools and Jewish day schools, with a similar program aimed at the same kind of schools throughout the New York metropolitan region. A network of Barnard graduates now teaching throughout the region became part of this unprecedented recruitment effort. The result was that between 1951 and 1955 Barnard increased its applications from 569 to 991 (up 74%), its admits from 456 to 585 (up 28%) and its accepts from 212 to 309 (up 46%). No apologies were made  for the fact that its admit rate hovered around 60% and the proportion of the entering class prepared by public high schools climbed to 75%. Nor were any forthcoming for the scarcity of Barnard legacies. “We are not particularly interested in where their mothers had gone to college…

Admitted higher percentage of New Yorkers and higher percentage of public school graduates
Entering classes more reflective of the social composition of New York and the urban northeast

By mid-1950s becoming steadily less Protestant in religious affiliation (> 40% Jewish or Catholic); substantial portion of those categorized as prepared by NYC private schools were coming from parochial high schools and Jewish day schools.
Higher proportion of student body commuting to Barnard, living at home  (65% of class entering in 1951; 68% in 1953)



1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955
Apps. 619 569 755 766 856 991
Admits 456 509 580 585
Accepts 245 179 212 243 279 285 309


Where did they come from?
40% came from NYC; 50% from NYC Region; 62% from NY State; 83% from the Northeast; 14% from outside the Northeast; 3% (8) from abroad.
72% were prepared in public schools; of these, 2/3rd in NYC public schools
Only 10% of the entering class had been prepared in NYC private schools, including the City’s parochial schools and yeshivas.  Only 15% of students coming from outside the NY region were prepared in other than their towns’ public high schools.


Enrollments in 1947
1199 students
738 (62%)  from New York State
994 (83%) from Northeast
1947-48 students by homes:
NY – 738 of 1199
NJ  126; Ct. 52; Mass. 39; Pa – 39


McIntosh and the kosher kitchen dispute


McIntosh and the recruitment of black students
Barnard’s proximity to Harlem – hundreds of academically qualified high school graduates going to Hunter and to HBColleges in 1950s
Never more than a half-dozen enrolled at the same time  from 1947 to 1962
Average of 1 graduate per year for her 15 years

Did less than the other sisters in this regard — and less than CC (recruiting black athletes)

                                    A Faculty in Transition – Out with the Old

       Of all the many areas of college administration during the long Gildersleeve deanship that Barnard made do without much in the way of full-time staffing, that of faculty affairs stands out.  During the four-year search for a successor to Dean Laura Drake Gill , Columbia President Butler  expressed the hope that Barnard faculty appointments would be handled by someone other than the next dean, whose duties would be confined  to the ceremonial. In 1910, a year before Gildersleeve assumed the deanship, Butler  unilaterally appointed Barnard Professor of English and acting dean William Tenney Brewster to the new position of “provost,” with the expectation that managing the Barnard faculty would be his primary job.

Key Barnard trustees resisted this plan and Gildersleeve explicitly secured assurances from Butler before accepting the proffered deanship in early 1911 she would have administrative responsibility for all matters relating to the Barnard faculty. Brewster continued as provost-without-portfolio until 1922 when, by mutual consent, the post was eliminated.    In 1937 Gildersleeve established the position of  an Associate Dean of the College, to which she first appointed the zoologist Louise Gregory. Her duties were more secretarial than operational and focused on students.. Even in the last decade as dean, with her health deteriorating and her absences from campus longer and more frequent, Gildersleeve retained full authority over her faculty, subject only to the consent of her relatively unengaged trustees and, of course, the approval of President Butler.

The effect of this arrangement was that responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the faculty devolved upon a half-dozen senior faculty members on the dean-appointed Committee of Instruction.  Faculty meetings were largely informational sessions and limited to officers of instruction of the rank of assistant professor or higher. Maybe just as well. During the Depression and on into the war years, with no money to appoint new faculty or promote continuing faculty, with instructional salaries frozen and curricular renewal similarly limited by financial exigencies, there was not all that much faculty business to transact.   Keeping to their posts, while fending off the spectre of salary cuts and  the massive layoffs occurring on other campuses, pretty much constituted faculty sentiment in those downbeat times. And with each passing year, not just individually but collectively, the Barnard faculty got a year older. In 1931 the median age of the Barnard instructional staff was 43; eight years later it was 49.

One important effect on the Barnard faculty of the economic distress of the 1930s and the massive dislocations attending World War Two  was to delay the departure of faculty beyond the normal retirement age. Some instructors turning 65 during the 1930s lacked the financial resources to retire and secured trustee to keep teaching. Among these were faculty whose first appointments antedated Gildersleeve’s deanship. Included among the pre-Gildersleeve era appointees who decamped during World War Two or shortly thereafter:

— In the sciences: the zoologists Henry Crampton (1899-1943) and Louise Hoyt Gregory (1908-1949), the  pyschologist Harry L. Hollingworth (1907-1946) and the geologist Ida Ogilvie (1903-43)

— In the social sciences: Maude Huttman (1906-1942); James Shotwell (1900-1942)

— In the humanities: four senior members of the English Department: William T. Brewster (1894-1943), William Haller (1909-1950),Clare Howard (1911-1946) and Ethel Sturtevant (1911-1948); two philosophers, Gertrude Hirst (1910-43) and William T. Montague (1903-1947)

— In modern foreign languages:  the Germanist Wilhelm Braun(1900-1943)

Some others,  appointees of the WW I era, reaching retirement age when the United States entered the war in 1941, decided to stay on for a couple more years or for the duration to assure the College had enough staff to stay open. — In the sciences: the mathematician George Mullins (1913-1948); the botanist Cornelia Carey (1918-1950); the chemist Marion Armbruster (1934-1946)

— In the social sciences: the economists Elizabeth Baker (1919-1952) and Raymond Moley (1923-1954);
— In the humanities:  Professor of English and Theatre Minor Latham (1914-1948); Professor of Philosophy Helen Parkhurst (1917-1952)

— In the Modern foreign languages: in French,  Alma de La Duc (1916-1944)and Louise Stabenau (1925-1953); in Spanish, Carolina Marcial-Dorado;  in Italian, Teresa Carbonara (1929-1947)

Included here among the diaspora  should be two longtime members of the Barnard faculty but early postwar transfers to Columbia: Professor of  Music Douglas Moore (1928-1946) and Professor of Italian Peter Riccio (1928-1946)

The combined effect of these retirement-delaying actions was to exacerbate the disruptive effect of the generational turnover when it finally occurred. Of the 109 full-time faculty at Barnard in 1940, two-thirds  were gone by 1950. It was as if when Dean Gildersleeve decamped in 1946, she took her faculty with her.
Two other factors further complicated the faculty situation at the end of the war: the questionable return of several faculty who had been on leave in the armed forces; the extent to which Columbia would look to Barnard male faculty to replenish its own depleted instructional ranks. They included the mathematician Edgar Lorch, the physicist Henry Boorse, the geologist Henry Sharp, the economist  Raymond Saulnier, the psychologist Richard Youtz, the American historian Basil Rauch  and two members of the English Department, Elizabeth Reynard and David Robertson.  In the event, Saulnier, Boorse, Youtz, Rauch and Robertson returned to Barnard, as did Reynard until resigning in 1949, while Lorch and Sharp returned to Morningside but transferred full-time to Columbia, as did three interwar faculty straddlers, the musicologist Douglas Moore, the Italian scholar Peter Riccio and the English literary biographer James Clifford. Resignations included —


In all, the retirements and resignations and transfers departures occurring during the war and immediately thereafter  added up to 27 faculty members, or more than one quarter of the 107 full-time faculty in place in 1940.  Some of the included men – Shotwell, Montague, Moley, Haller, Moore — had divided their teaching and administrative service between Barnard and Columbia, and were better known by their Columbia affiliation, but all had retained professorial standing at Barnard. The others  passed their entire careers at Barnard, with some of the women among them – Hutmann, Carey, Baker, Reichard – acquiring in doing so  a measure of outside professional recognition for their scholarship.  All had labored long and loyally in the College’s classrooms. Fully as much as the College’s  longest serving trustees and its most committed  alumnae, these teachers provided the sinews  that bound early Barnard into a vibrant teaching and learning community and helped sustain it through the lean years. .  Much as the passing of the deanship from Virginia Gildersleeve to Millicent McIntosh marks an historic inflection point in the history of the College’s leadership, the concentrated departure of the better part of two  generations of faculty and coming on of a third  in the immediate post-war era  marks the crucial divide between the Barnard faculty that was and the Barnard faculty that is.

In With the New


An aggressive campaign of faculty replenishment, what other colleges faced with similar challenges were embarked upon, would have seemed the order of the day.  Instead, as McIntosh later recalled, she spent her first years as dean  “cutting down faculty because we were so broke.”  In 1948, instruction in astronomy and Portuguese, both earlier taught by Barnard faculty, was ceded to Columbia. Responsibility for Italian and mathematics followed  shortly thereafter, each  retaining only  a token instructional presence at Barnard. Similarly, all instruction in Music, Classics and Physics beyond the introductory levels became the responsibility of the cognate Columbia departments.


The need for  faculty  retrenchment became the occasion for a still more sweeping overhaul of Barnard’s long-standing faculty-hiring practices, perhaps the most sweeping in Barnard’s history.  In 1948, over considerable resistance from  her department chairs and six years before Columbia did so,  Mrs. McIntosh put in place at Barnard the Harvard-pioneered  “up or out” policy as regarded junior faculty.    The policy required department chairs  either to nominate long-serving junior department members for tenure, which required attesting to their scholarly accomplishments,  or to terminate them. Subsequently hired  assistant professors  were to  serve a probationary period of six years, after which they would either be  promoted to a tenured associate professorship or required to leave. The term of an instructorship, earlier open-end,  was limited to four years. With the imposition of this new policy, the earlier distinction  between “faculty”, which included everyone of professorial rank,  and “other officers of instruction”  gave way to the operative division  between “on ladder faculty” and “off ladder,”.  Once occupationally secure assistant professors  now became probationers subject to date-specified termination,  while the non-professorial ranks of lecturer, instructor and tutor, which earlier included upwards of half Barnard’s instructional staff, were now included from    of those in off-ladder ranks

One short-term  effect of this new policy was to reduce sharply the number full-time women  instructors earlier kept on because, as McIntosh later put it, “they liked their jobs, and they worked along with starvation wages.  While prompted primarily by cost-cutting considerations, the adoption of  the “up-or-out” policy – which late mutated to that of “publish or perish”  — also turned on the issue of gender equity. “One of the things I saw,” McIntosh recalled of her early days as dean,  “was that young women were being kept on as department assistants, without any hope of promotion…. They were kept on simply because the [almost all male] heads of departments didn’t want to tell them they had to leave.” Among the faculty McIntosh inherited in 1947 were  a dozen women instructors who had taught at Barnard for upwards of a quarter century before  being promoted to professorial rank, some only on the eve of their retirement. Whatever the immediate costs, in the long run the new policy advanced the cause of gender parity within the Barnard faculty. That McIntosh  began  to transform the character of the Barnard during a period of  serious financial belt-tightening and under a trustee mandate not to increase its size presents one of the best examples in Barnard’s history of adherence to the Winston Churchill dictum: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”


Yet it bears noting that many of the older  faculty and department heads McIntosh inherited never did warm to her and her ways. Some begrudged her limiting their authority in the matter of staff retention , others to what they considered the cavalier ceding of instructional responsibility for some subjects to Columbia. Still others suspected McIntosh of  favoring Barnard’s adoption of Columbia’s core curriculum and even to  being open to a merger with Columbia. And some were taken to complaining about her expansion of student services. Behind much of  this  criticism remained the more fundamental unease with being led by a school mistress  who made no pretense of being a serious scholar and who downplayed her  PhD by preferring “Mrs. Mac” to ”Dr. McIntosh,” insisting that her family already had a “Doctor  McIntosh”.


The feeling was mutual, as evidenced by McIntosh’s dismissive assessment of the faculty representative on the committee that selected her and later her chief antagonist, the faculty’s senior Germanist,  Hugh Wiley Puckett. “He had never been anywhere except Columbia,” she later recalled. “He had graduated from Columbia, he was a Columbia PhD, he had all his teaching career at Barnard.” (He also was a Barnard parent.) Similarly, another veteran faculty member, the Columbia-trained professor of government, Thomas Peardon, she thought “regarded anything new with a jaundiced eye.”  In Peardon’s case, however, McIntosh made him her first dean of the faculty precisely because of his conservative bona fides.( She later acknowledged that his counsel had saved her from pressing too hard for reforms that the faculty could not possibly abide.)  “The experience I’d had running a rather obstinate and contrary faculty of conservative schoolteachers [was] a great help to me,” she later said of Pucket and Company, “partly because I didn’t pay much attention to their complaints.”


McIntosh found her early faculty allies among the younger faculty she inherited, many of them just back from  military service. These included the economist Raymond (“Steve”) Saulnier, the philosopher Joseph Brennan, the chemist Edward King, the botanist Donald Ritchie, and the classicist Helen Bacon, a Bryn Mawr  AB and PhD who came to Barnard after wartime service in the WAVES.  Some of those hired in the 1930s but  only under McIntosh were promoted,  among them the sociologist Mirra Komarovsky, BC 1925, Other allies were recruited from the appointees made in his first years, among them              . Many of these newcomers  took an interest in curricular reform, something that had received little attention at  Barnard since the mid-1920s.

One particularly controversial McIntosh curricular initiative was the introduction of an Education Program,  intended  to prepare Barnard students for careers as primary and secondary school teachers.  Some faculty objected to the program’s vocational character, and specifically its student-teaching component, seeing it as a departure  from the college’s steadfast commitment to the liberal arts. Others thought such instruction should be left to the normal colleges and that Barnard graduates ought to be directed to careers of a more prestigious character than school teaching. Outside support from the Carnegie Corporation and Brennan’s enthusiastic endorsement helped McIntosh to overcome faculty opposition for the program that since its founding in 1951 has provided a vital link between Barnard and  the City’s schools, public and private.


Other curricular developments included the creation of a religion department in 1949, thanks to a $500,000 gift from the estate of Thomas Lamont, to which Ursula Niebuhr, the wife of Union Theological Seminary theologian Reinhold Niebuhr,  was name chairperson. In 1952, the American Civilization Program, first launched in 1939 under Elizabeth Reynard, was relaunched with a $75,000 Carnegie Foundation grant, with historian Basil Rauch its director. That same year a drama program was added to the English Department.  Following the transfer of Douglas Moore to Columbia, Barnard’s  music department  continued first under Otto Leunig and then Hubert Doris.


MCM advanced  meritocratic principles to the Barnard faculty hiring process in another way as well: making appointments on a more universalist basis than did been the case earlier. Whether VCG actively opposed the hiring of Jewish faculty applicants, as critics claimed,  she had made few such appointments, exceptions being the intellectual emigres  Margarite Beiber and Julius Held, their hiring made possible by outside funding. McIntosh did better, not least in first hiring, after Dean Gildersleeve had raised questions about his religious background and then befriending the Irish Catholic from Boston, Joseph Brennan, whose Catholic background had made him suspect in Gildersleeve’s eyes and approving the appointments of  several faculty of Jewish background, including the sociologists Herbert Hyman (1950-54) and Bernard Barber (1952-87) and in the English Department, the cultural critic Barry Ulanov (1951-88) and Eleanor Rosenberg (BC 19xx, 1953- 1978)

Despite a freeze on the size of the faculty and lagging well behind Columbia in faculty salaries, Barnard managed through the early McIntosh era  to appoint, promote and retain a new generation of faculty that would serve the college well – and well into the 1980s. This post-war generation differed from its interwar counterpart  in two interrelated ways: its newer members became subject to a specified probationary period before consideration for tenure;  its acceptance of  the reality that effective teaching and devoted departmental service no longer sufficed for permanent retention. These  in turn produced a third:  a greater commitment to producing scholarship –  to research and its publication – which also set the post-war generation apart from its predecessors and its contemporaries at most other liberal arts colleges. The notion of the Barnard College faculty as a community of  “scholar-teachers,” as distinct from “teacher-scholars,” has its origins in the McIntosh era.


Mrs. Mac and McCarthyism

Mrs. McIntosh  gets good  marks on another test of presidential fair-mindedness during the 1950s: how to respond to congressional probes into the political pasts of one’s faculty.  In 1950, in anticipation of becoming the target of such an investigation, she proposed  the following response, again taking her cue from Harvard:

1. If a faculty member is called for questioning, he/she  should be encouraged to answer questions freely.

2. If the faculty member acknowledges prior membership in the Communist party, but is no longer a member, and that is confirmed, no action should be taken by the College;

  1. If a faculty member invokes the Fifth Amendment, he/she to be suspended with pay while a committee of faculty and trustees investigate the situation.

The committee’s recommendations could be one of the following: (a) reinstatement with no penalty; (b) reinstatement with probation for a specified time; (c) dismissal.

When these proposed guidelines  were presented to the Barnard trustees, they staked out a still higher ground by rejecting altogether the option of dismissing an instructor for invoking the Fifth Amendment by pointing out  that in doing so the instructor was invoking a constitutional right.

When it came to an actual case, the proposed hiring of an admitted former Communist in 1956, the philosopher Stanley Moore, who had been fired from the Reed College faculty following his refusal to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1954, both McIntosh  and the board (then chaired by Samuel Milbank) accepted the philosophy department’s recommendation to appoint him as an assistant professor. (Moore left in 1964 when McIntosh’s successor declined to promote him to associate professor with tenure and he took a job at the newly opened University of California, San Diego.)

Moore’s appointment came at what turned out to be the midpoint of the McIntosh administration , when the economic constraints of  the late 1940s and early 1950s were loosened and the College could afford a cautious optimism about its future prospects. Indeed, viewed from six decades later, Barnard in the mid- 1950s appears to be entering into a period of quiet prosperity which, if neither  (after Margaret Mead)the College’s  “Blackberry Winter” or (after Emily Dickinson) its “Indian Summer,”  offered those who partook of it a decade-long respite from  the difficult years that preceded it and the tumultuous ones that followed.

In Those Days




The second half of the McIntosh era was marked by a steady upswing in enrollments, several signal successes on the fundraising front,  a surge in on-campus construction  and a period of singularly cordial relations with Columbia. All followed on initiatives undertaken in the first half.


Between 1952 and 1962 Barnard enrollments increased every year, climbing from 1046 to 1549, a cumulative increase of almost 50%. Admittance rates remained in the 60% range, high by subsequent standards, but acceptances from outside the northeast  region increased, so that by the early 1960s  they accounted for a quarter of entering classes. Meanwhile those coming from within the New York region, reflective larger demographic trends, were more likely from suburbs surrounding New York City and less likely to be from Manhattan.

This said, the College’s distinctly urban ethos remained in tact, with the daughters of first- and second-generation American families  likely outnumbering those with more extended American lineages. Firsts-in-family to attend college were commonplace and public schoolers the rule, even as more daughters of trustees were now in attendance than between the wars.

Politically silent?
Focused on the “Mrs.” degree?
Percent married or engaged at graduation?  Percent dropping out upon marrying
Everyone was pregnant – or going to graduate school
Academic/professional  ambitions


Early 1950s? — MCM lost in dispute with Barnard Bulletin “on the cause of kosher food.”
A generationally distinctive  characteristic of the Barnard  student body in the immediate post-war years was the large numbers of married  students. Many were transfers who had first gone to one of the other women’s colleges but upon marrying followed their new husbands to New York City in search of employment or professional schooling. Others had started at Barnard but became married – some to older Columbia College students back from the war, others to law or medical students —  well short of graduation. Keeping as many of these young marrieds in college for four years became both an advising challenge for faculty  and, for the college,  an economic imperative.  Mrs. McIntosh encouraged Barnard  Barnard students eventually to marry and raise families, even while urging – and implicitly offering herself as an example — those who planned to marry to first acquire the means for economic self-sufficiency and meanwhile to give the single life that remained a near requirement for professional careers a serious try.
And what of McIntosh’s  relations with her students?  Any number have since attested to her influence on them. Some remember her as a woman “having it all”? – that is a professional woman with a full family life.  But they also remember her insistence that she was not everywoman and those who sought having it all  should not expect to have it all  at once or have it without help. She was quick to point out the  resources available to her but not every woman: a family income  sufficient to employ  domestic help; a supportive and contributing spouse. In an era when to be engaged before graduation and married quickly thereafter was the female order of the day, she urged Barnard women to take their time, to get started on a meaningful career that might prove to be a rewarding alternative to married life and motherhood, or for those who did marry  to return to when family obligations permitted. Her message  was very much in line with the 1950s, during which the novelist John Updike entitled one of his short stories, “when everyone was pregnant,” and it seems to have well served the Barnard students who heard it in at  her weekly talks and personal encounters. To be sure, hers may well have been an easier generation of undergraduates for authority figures to relate  to than the one that preceded it or the one to follow, but it is equally certain that her experience as a wife, mother and school mistress contributed to her success. I leave to others to decide whether she was  a feminist before her time, but can confirm that many alumnae look back on her as just that.

Bringing In the Sheaves

The work during the early years of the McIntosh era  putting  a modern fundraising structure in place now began to produce major results.  In 1956 the trustees announced the creation of a Library Development Campaign, which was to underwrite the construction of a modest sized free-standing library  (150,000 volumes) that would replace the Ella Weed Library that since 1916 had  occupied a portion the second floor of Barnard Hall. Trustee Iphigene Sulzberger (BC 1914) was campaign chairman.  The needed $1,700,000 was quickly raised from four principal sources:

$750,000 from the Wollman Foundation, where Mrs. Sulzberger served on the board;
$750,000 from the Lehman family in honor of  Mrs. Arthur Lehman (Adele Lewisohn  BC 1903)
$105,000 from  Mrs. Frank Altschul (Helen Goodheart, BC 190x)
$75,000 from campaign chair Iphigene Sulzberger

The Wollman Library/Lehman Hall groundbreaking took place in April  1958 and opened for business in 1960. The four-story structure  was sited north of the Barnard annex with its glass front facing Broadway across a swath of lawn and its back to Claremont.  (It is at this writing coming down after 56 years of service, including being the home of the Departments of Economics, History and Political Science, to  make way for a snazzy new  teaching and learning center.

Another major fundraising/building project initiated  and completed in the McIntosh era was the construction of Barnard’s third dormitory, Reid Hall, with the funding from Mrs. Ogden R. Reid (Mary Louise Stewart, BC 1946) in honor of her mother-in-law  and longtime trustee Helen Rogers Reid . (Helen Rogers, BC 190x). The funding announcement took place in December 1957; groundbreaking in 1959. The x-story Reid Hall was sited next to Brooks Hall and along Broadway but facing inward to form the third and southeastern side to the already named Milbank Quadrangle. Upon its opening in 1961, its    accommodations for xxx residential students, plus the additional 150 acquired with the College’s purchase in 1960 of the first  — 616 116th Street —  of three  apartment buildings across the street from Brooks/Reid again allowed the College again to offer housing to upwards of half its incoming students.


The last major  fundraising/building project initiated in the last two years of the McIntosh era but  completed later included a student center. Groundbreaking for  Millicent McIntosh Student Center occurred in May 1962, four weeks before its namesake retired after fifteen years of service. Having  inherited a balance sheet with chronic  deficits,  an endowment of $ 10 million and a moribound fundraising apparatus, she bequeathed to her successor  a recent budgetary history of surpluses, and endowment of $20 million and  a fundraising apparatus that had underwritten the construction of four buildings and the purchase of a fifth. Having inherited  a 4 ½ acre/4-block campus distinguished by two sets of buildings clustered at the north and south ends with only Barnard Hall  in between,  and the rest unoccupied  by tennis courts,  some bushes and semi-rustic pathways, McIntosh bequeathed to her successor  a campus where eight buildings  took up most of the campus and with  unoccupied space a premium. After 67 years on Morningside Heights, Barnard had become as densely urban as its surroundings.
[ John Kouwenhoven quote on Barnard as an uban inst’n]]

                                                  BC/CU Relations: Era of Benign Neglect


Critical to any Barnard leader’s  historical standing to date has been her relations with Columbia. Two of those deemed least successful  — Dean Laura Drake Gill and Jacquelyn Mattfeld – have been so judged primarily because of  problems dealing with their Columbia counterparts. Here, as well,  McIntosh enjoyed singular success.  Her administration coincided with the Columbia presidencies  of Dwight Eisenhower (1948-53) and Grayson Kirk (1953-1968). She worked well with them, and, more, liked them both.

MCM on Ike: “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.”

On Kirk: “I’m one of Mr. Kirk’s greatest admirers. I think he made (this in 1966) an excellent
president for the University. He’s a professor’s president.”

Her relations with Columbia’s provosts and professional  school deans, with whom she met weekly, also went smoothly. All faculty promotions under consideration at Barnard were discussed at these meetings, as were proposals to share resources. Here, too, some Barnard faculty thought her too eager to find ways by which Barnard departments might cooperate with their Columbia counterparts on appointments, to reduce course redundancy  and eliminate scheduling conflicts. A few suspected she was open to a merger with Columbia, a  worry she put to rest in her 1966 oral history after .

MCM: “Mr. Kirk thinks we should give up our separate identity and be merged with Columbia College.”

Interviewer: “How would you feel about that?”

MCM: “Very strongly against it.”


In 1962, McIntosh and Kirk agreed that the past practice of Barnard making annual payments to Columbia  for the modest  imbalance in the student exchange wherein a few more Barnard students took course at Columbia than vice versa  ought to be abandoned in favor of a more open-access/no charge policy. While subsequent financial exigencies at Columbia (about more in the next chapter) led to a reimposition of the cash payments system in 1970, its temporary abeyance marks a singularly placid period in an institutional relationship of twelve decades duration and counting. When later asked about that BC/CU relationship, Mrs. Mac described it as “something that is impossible to explain to anyone,” before characteristically adding: “It’s one of the most interesting things about the job.”

Barnard  students in the 1950s and early 1960s had only limited access to Columbia courses, as did Columbia students to Barnard courses, but some of the fondest memories of Barnard alumnae of their undergraduate years involved venturing across Broadway in search of academic enlightenment.  That some of these trips initiated or cemented relationships of a social nature that in some cases led to marriage may also have distinguished the post-war years on Morningside. By one count, of the 150 members of the Barnard class of 1955,  20% later married Columbia men. Those were the days.

“The Era of the Packed Suitcase”

This upgrading of the scholarly profile of the Barnard faculty, a function of  changes both in college policy and changes in those entering the academic profession after the war, had its problematic side. This was compounded by the absence of endowed professorships and a salary policy of across-the-board raises, both of which limited the College’s bargaining power in seeking to retain faculty with outside offers. Beginning midway through the 1950s, the  Barnard faculty  became a favorite target for new and expanding universities intent on upgrading their faculties. Meanwhile,  Columbia continued to lure  some promising male faculty at Barnard over to its side of Broadway with the prospect of higher salaries, more lab space and graduate instruction. These included the medieval historian John Mundy and the geologist Henry Sharp who moved to Columbia, and the zoologist Aubrey Gorbman   who left Morningside altogether for the University of Washington. And no longer was this poaching limited to male faculty: in 1952 the French literary scholar Jeanne Varney transferred to Columbia and the botanist Ingrith Deyrup (Barnard 19xx)  decamped for        ; in 1955 the sociologist Renee Fox left for a full professorship at the University of Pennsylvania. This would only become a more serious problem for McIntosh’s successor.

In addition to the increasing mobility of/turnover in the Barnard faculty, two  other  long-term changes in its  composition first discernible in the McIntosh administration and thereafter ongoing bear noting. The first was the gradual reduction in the reliance upon Columbia  PhD programs as the major supplier of starting Barnard faculty. Into the early 1950s upwards of 60% of Barnard’s male faculty appointees had been trained at Columbia, with an even higher percentage of female faculty appointees having earned their PhDs at Columbia. Less often under McIntosh were Barnard faculty openings quietly filled by the Columbia department chairman sending over to his Barnard counterpart one of his promising graduate students, particularly one of his otherwise hard-to-place  women graduates students, with the appointment to follow the candidate’s  meeting with Dean Gildersleeve. If not yet as transparent as  the federally mandated open-search procedures  introduced a decade later 1960s, the Barnard faculty appointment process in the later McIntosh era had widened its recruitment range to  include more PhDs from other Ivies, the University of California and Stanford, and especially in the sciences, from the large land-grant universities of the Midwest.   By the mid-1960s the percentage of  Barnard faculty with Columbia PhDs had dropped below 50 percent and would thereafter  continue to decline until the Columbia-trained contingent makes up only 10 percent of today’s Barnard faculty.

Thus even as the two administrations worked more effectively together, the two faculties became , if not alienated, at least more distinct entities.  On balance this was a positive development, allowing the smaller Barnard to be more innovative in terms of its undergraduate curriculum and less constrained by the larger Columbia’s prioritizing of its graduate programs. But it also had its downside, particularly when the faculty of larger and less integrated Columbia departments lost the kind of contact with their Barnard counterparts earlier provided by joint membership  and coordinated hiring/tenuring policies. English and Psychology are two cases in point, where by the early 1960s the mutual estrangement had reached a point where the senior members of both  departments ceased all but the most pro forma consultations on personnel and curriculum matters. Some tenure appointments were made at Barnard in instances where  the cognate Columbia department chose to keep its reservations to itself, while appointments were made at Columbia  in specialties already covered by Barnard faculty.  When such consultation became required in the 1970s, one senior member of the Barnard English Department referred to his departmental counterparts in Columbia’s Philosophy and Hamilton Hall  as being for him and his Barnard Hall mates  “a great distraction”.

By then Mrs. Mac had been in retirement on the family farm in North Tyringham, Massachusetts  for a decade and her unmatched legacy of accomplishments was secure. She kept in regular contact with succeeding presidents and returned several times to campus, twice to events involving McIntosh Student Center. The first was its delayed opening in November 1969, when she was sixty-nine; the second in 1998, then 98, during the presidency of Judith Shapiro,  when the Student Center was marked for demolition to make way for the Diana Center in 2001. She died four years later, in January  2001, at 102. Should one use as a measure of administrative effectiveness in achieving institutional wellbeing a comparison on of the place and trajectory at the outset of one’s administration and the and the place and trajectory at the close, then surely she ranks as Barnard’s most successful dean/president to date.



The Rosemary Park Interregnum


In 1960, when her husband reached the mandatory retirement age of 65 and prepared to leave his deanship of  Columbia’s  Babies Hospital, Millicent McIntosh informed her trustees that she wished to accompany him into retirement .  Mrs. Reid persuaded her to remain until a replacement could be found, a process in which she was asked to participate.

A year later the presidential search committee had found its candidate, Rosemary Park, a 50-year-old scholar of German literature and president of Connecticut College. A Bryn Mawr graduate with a PhD from               , she hailed  from a family of academic administrators, her father having been president of Wheaton College and a brother   president of  Simmons. Her fifteen years at Connecticut College  had been marked by great success in fundraising and additions to the New London campus’s physical plant. By all accounts she was  loved by students and alumnae and admired by her faculty.  Her motives for coming to Barnard are not known, other than looking for a change and  seeing the Barnard presidency as a new and exciting challenge.
Whatever her reasoning, Park’s acceptance of  the Barnard presidency was universally applauded. McIntosh had  championed  her candidacy and Dean emerita Gildersleeve approved, calling the appointment  of  a scholarly and unmarried women   “in the Barnard  tradition.” Mrs. Mac left this last swipe pass.

Once installed in November 1962, Park  demonstrated strengths in two crucial areas of presidential responsibility. First, she quickly made good on her reputation as a formidable fundraiser, both among the trustees and with the major foundations  [Specifics]


1965 – Ford Foundation $2,500,000 if 3/1 match by 6/30/69


Altschul Science Tower
Milbank Memorial Fund — $750,000
Barnard to raise $1,000,000 by 6/30/67

600 and 620 116th St.
Bryn Mawr Hotel space on Amsterdam – for Plimpton Hall

Endowment growth


And second,  she got on famously with Columbia’s President Kirk and with the intellectually formidable Provost Jacques Barzun, who shared Park’s love of classical music and the habit of sneaking off on Wednesdays to attend afternoon performances of  the New York Symphony Orchestra.
Some faculty big on her: S. Koss/Chris Royer/B. Schmitter \

As she had with Barzun, Park secured  the instant respect of her faculty, many seeing  her as the scholar and public intellectual that Mrs. Mac never pretended to be. But this did not stop some of her most promising faculty from accepting academic positions elsewhere.  McIntosh had presided over the beginning  of  what Barzun called with reference to Morningside faculty “the era of the packed suitcase,” but it was Park’s fate to experience it at floodtide.

In 1962, the economist Robert Lekachman left Barnard  for Stonybrook  where he doubled his salary; two years later, English professor Marcus Klein left for the University of Buffalo, for  what McIntosh called “a big, fat state university salary.”  Such raids became less common with the turndown in the academic job market, beginning in the mid-1960s in the humanities and then spreading across all disciplines,  and have since focused on Barnard minority faculty, but here too the persistent challenge  to Barnard of  retaining its many scholarly productive senior faculty of both genders that first surfaced in the 1950s. Nor was her predecessor ready to let Park  escape all responsibility for these departures. “Some of these losses I think she could have avoided, “ McIntosh suggested in her 1966 oral history, ”if she had spent more time getting to know her faculty.”
Park’s biggest challenge came adjusting to the differences between the  students  she encountered at Connecticut College and now on Morningside.  The differences were in part generational (‘50s vs. ‘60s),  part demographic (mostly WASPs vs. lots of first-generational ethnics), and  in part locational (New England suburbs vs. inner city), but together they were ones that Park had trouble bridging. At some point she may have stopped trying. Again, her predecessor proved less than fully forgiving, seeing her as “cool and aloof” in her dealings with most students, while increasingly unsettled my Barnard’s more aggressive  students, reportedly finding them “dirty, beatnik, unpleasant.” As for Barnard’s best and brightest students:  “They’re just alien to her.”

Three years into her presidency, the xx-year-old Park announced her marriage to Milton Anastos, an internationally known scholar of Byzantine history and professor at  UCLA. Shortly thereafter she informed the Barnard trustees of her intention to resign effective June 30, 1966 to join her husband in California and to take an administrative post at UCLA.  That summer Barnard found itself back for the second time in five years on the presidency market.


Park’s presidency was too brief – 4 ½ years – to be considered successful. Moreover, her unexpected departure left whoever succeeded her in a tight spot. That campus tensions were higher at her leaving than at her coming could be attributed to the changing times rather than any specific actions she took during her presidency. Still, it does seem that she lacked a visceral connection to New York City, perhaps not an absolute requirement for the job but makes success less likely.


The Park presidency did benefit from good timing – it ended  before the escalation of student protests that began in earnest on  the Columbia campus with the disrupted NROTC commissioning ceremony in May 1965 and soon made the Barnard campus a hostile environment for confrontation-shy administrators, faculty and students  and reached its crescendo the spring after her departure for California. Housman’s assessment of his young athlete’s departure, the gender mismatch aside, fits: “Smart lad, to slip betimes away.”





Coda: American Higher Education’s “Golden Age” Revisited












American Higher Education’s  “Golden Age” Revisited


Focused on men more than women

Benefitted/Affected some institutions of higher education  more than others:
More transformative impact on research or want-to-be research universities, both public and private,
than on privately endowed colleges
More impact on men than women
The institutions least transformed by these larger forces were private women’s colleges

Temporary reversal of a nearly century-long  trend by which each decade  women constituted a larger share of the nation’s college-goers. Impact of GI Bill crucial here

Reestablishment of the academic calling essentially a male calling

Graduate fellowships going disproportionately to men

Woodrow Wilson?

Ford Foreign Area Fellowships

NDEA fellowships?


Women getting PhDs but not academic jobs at places where they studied

Cu disparities between % of women PhDs and % of women faculty

Even sharper reversal of a half-century- long trend by which each decade women constituted a larger share of the nation’s PhD and professional-school students. Here, too, the GI Bill had an impact, but from the mid-50s onward gender-discriminatory practices in admissions, in awarding of fellowships, and in academic  hiring  also played a role.

Columbia University
1945 – 10% of its income from federal sources
10% from foundations/gifts
30% from endowment income
50% from tuition/fees

1965 – 40% of its income from federal sources
15% of its income from foundations
15% of its income from endowment income/gifts
30% of its income from tuition/fees

Even among the especially favored research universities of the period, some benefitted from the federal, philanthropic and state largesse relatively more than did others, with the result that some improved their relative standing while others fell behind. Among those seen by their peers to have risen  in the rankings were the west coast schools, Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley, and in the east, MIT. Among those who were seen as declining was Columbia.

Another aspect of this so-called golden age as it transpired on the campuses of research universities: contained the seeds of its own destruction:
a perceived slighting by faculty of their teaching responsibilities, especially to their undergraduates.
MCM on university faculty:

Also some faculty – and administrators — had become so reliant on federal research support as to dull their critical capacities to criticize government policies, such as the increasing involvement of the American military in Southeast Asia, or to view those opposed as other than of suspect loyalties
Intra-faculty tensions over the wisdom of dissent
Science and engineering faculties less critically disposed than those in the humanities

Anti-HUAC activities
Pro-Castro (Fidelistas)
Student opposition to military involvements in SEAsia both principled and self-interested (the draft)
Civil rights activities  — Universities as part of the problem, and not just those in the South;

Berkeley in 1964

New Left — SDS

Opposition to US military involvement in SE Asia — Vietnam

Faculty teach-ins

Anti-war petitions in New York Times



Universities losing their public approbation/support

Reagan in California

Senior faculty defending universities against their younger critics