Notes on Early Barnard Studentdom

                                Notes  on Early Barnard Studentdom

The period encompassed;
1889 to 1913  —  the first quarter century of operations

Two locales
1889-1896 – 8 years at the leased brownstone at  343 Madison
1897-1913 – the first  17 years on Morningside
Milbank- Fiske-Brinckerhoff  — opened in 1897
Brooks Hall – opened in 1907 – campus as present – 116th to 120th/Claremont to Bdwy

Four Administrative heads:
Ellla Weed (1889-1894); Emily James Smith (1895-1900); Laura Gill (1901-07);
Brewster interregnum (1907-11); Gildersleeve (1911 – [1947])

Trustees – 53 trustees to date

Faculty – 60 faulty (2/3s men, most  with CU ties)

Students – Numbers
1455 graduates  between 1893 and 1914
Perhaps in all 2000 women matriculated during these 25 years
Substantial numbers of “specials” in botany and chemistry until cut back in 1905 —
Retention to graduation seems high; probably matched by transfers

By 1914 – Classes approaching 150 in size – 600 in the four classes

Social Composition:

Prior to opening of Brooks (which accommodated about 200 residents) in 1907, all students expected to commute, except for four years  (1897-1900) when Fiske hall accommodated a couple dozen residents; that space turned into laboratories, leaving Barnard wholly commuting from 1910 to 1906.
In 1914, likely 2/3rds of regular students commuted from home.
A few students drawn from NYC’s Knickerbocker elite (Anne Morgan; Marry Harriman);
A few from the German-Jewish ‘Our Crowd” families:
Most from the middling professional ranks; others from modestly-circumstanced but  aspiring families
Some with very limited financial resources but some family-based social standing
A few dependent upon financial assistance and working to cover $150 tuition and expenses.


40% living at time of acceptance and  while in college  within Morningside neighborhood/upper Manhattan
24% in rest of Manhattan and the Boros
30% in adjacent towns/county  (including  northern J)
6% upstate NY; northeast; other US; foreign  (none as of 1914
Hunch (to-be-tested): Many more living in neighborhoods  of the City not considered wealthy than  those living in wealthy neighborhoods (or where trustees lived)

Predominantly self-identified Protestant – Presbyterian/Episcopalian  — 70%
Include a number of “old family”  English and Dutch Protestants
A few Unitarians/Baptists…
Catholics – Maybe 10% (a majority of them of Irish extraction)—based on Craigie membership
Jews  — Somewhere between 10%-15%
Unknowns – 10%, but  with half of these  unlikely to have been Jewish because of fraternity membership

College Preparation
Upwards of 70% prepared in public high schools , most of these in NYC (others in NJ and surrounding towns)
Less than a quarter with private preparationand very few of them acquired at NYC’s private day schools (Brearley; Spence; Miss Green’s; hardly any boarding-school prepped))
Fraternity Membership:
First founded in 1891 – by 1910 10 different fraternities; eliminated by 1916
30-40% of any class in fraternity; 60-70% not in a fraternity; most  fraternities thought to
decline to consider Jewish students for membership