Short History of Early Barnard Fundraising

Note on Barnard Fundraising to Word War II
[under construction]

1889 — Initial capitalization of about $10,000 in start-up donations – included subscriptions of $100 a year for 4 years by 54 “Associates”. Initial site consisted of a rented brownstone on Madison and 44th St.

1891 – Barnard among the xx New York colleges to receive $100,000 from the estate of Daniel Fayerweather upon his death.

1892 – Anonymous contingent gift of $130,000 for a building if sited adjacent to planned CC campus on Morningside Heights acquired by 1896. Donor later identified as Mary Brinckerhoff, the widow of Van Wyck Brinckerhoff. Offer made at suggestion of her estates attorney, Frederick Wait.

1893 – Barnard‘s financial problems prompt resignation of first board treasurer, the banker Jacob H. Schiff. Offers to loan money to cover the College’s deficit and permit its closing.  Gift of $5000 from J. P. Morgan of $5000 allow the College to end the year free of debt. Morgan designated a “Founder,” which prompts  several trustees and other contributors  match his gift and join him as “Founders.”

1894 – Newly appointed Board Treasurer George A. Plimpton commences a campaign to raise $160,000 for site to qualify for the $100,000 contingent building gift. Appeal made to all New Yorkers in The New York Times.

1896 – Site campaign secures $160,000 from 92 contributors.  Trustees purchase lots bordering on 119th and 120th Streets between Claremont and Broadway.  Among the contributors was Elizabeth Milbank Anderson, who followed up the securing of the land and first building with a gift of $170,000 for a second building.

1897 – Upon the opening of Brinckerhoff and Milbank Halls in the fall of 1897, Mrs. Josiah Fiske made a gift of $130,000 for a third building. Fiske Hall opens in 1898. Her estate later left another $125,000 to Barnard. Mrs. Fiske was the sister of Mr. George M. Smith and friend of Arthur Brooks
1898 –June – John D. Rockefeller  to give $10,000 if Barnard can raise $90,000 by end of October. College raises $128,000. Anderson gave $25,000, as did Abram Hewitt, the board’s 2nd chairman.

1900 – John D. Rockefeller makes another challenge grant of $200,000 if Barnard can raise the same amount by January 1902. Plimpton again takes the lead in approaching New Yorkers of wealth. When $200,860 was raised by the deadline, an anonymous donor gave the College another $50,000, which Rockefeller then acknowledged by increasing his gift to $250,000, to make the total amount going to the College of $500,000.

1903 – March — Mrs. Anderson purchases the three acres of vacant land between 116th and 119th Streets immediately to the south of the Milbank-Brinckerhoff-Fiske complex from New York Hospital for $1,000,000 and gives it to Barnard. Designated “Milbank Quadrangle,” it was expected to be the site upon which was to be built Barnard’s first dormitory.

1906 – When efforts by some trustees to secure the gift of a dormitory failed, including Mrs. Meyer trying to interest the Guggenheim family in doing so, Mrs. Anderson made her third substantial gift to the College, this for $300,000 for the construction of Brooks Hall.

1906 – The estate of Miss Emily Gibbes of Newport  had Barnard College as its residual legatee, which brought to the College its first substantial gift ($375,000) not designated for a capital project but as endowment. Miss Gibbes, an ardent feminist,  became a friend of the College through the writings of trustee Annie Nathan Meyer.

1908 – Treasure Plimpton secured from his friend and Barnard trustee Horace W. Carpentier a gift of $800,000 for scholarships.  Carpentier followed this up in 1915 with a second gift of

1912 – 3 years of income on $1,000,000 from Joseph Pulitzer; to used for residence scholarships at the urging of new dean Virginia Gildersleeve. Pulitzer’s estate gives another $110,000 to Barnard.

1912 – In anticipation of Barnard’s 25th birthday in 1914 and at the outset of the deanship of Virginia Gildersleeve, the College launched a $2,000,000 “The Quarter-Century Campaign,” its goal to raise $1,000,000 for building and endowment in two years and to  secure a one-for-one matching gift from the Rockefeller-funded General Education Board.


1914 — When the breakout of war in 1914 disrupted fundraising efforts, the College secured an extension to secure the proffered Rockefeller match. Did not do so until 1920.

1915 – July — Meanwhile, Treasurer Plimpton capped a two-decade cultivation of Jacob H. Schiff  by securing a gift of $500,000 for the construction of Students Hall (later renamed Barnard Hall), which opened in 1917. The gift commemorated Schiff’s 50 years in America but also his continued objection to Columbia’s refusal to elect a Jew to its board.

1915 – Horace W. Carpentier an additional $500,000 to his earlier gift for scholarships

1915 — Plimpton records these amounts: Buildings — $792,000
Equipment – $69,000
Land  – $1,165,000
Trust funds [endowment] —  $1,419,000
Total Assets à $3,500,000

1916 – Mr. and Mrs. James Talbott, she a longtime trustee, made a gift of $100,000 for Professor of religious Instruction.

1919 – Carpentier Endowment/Scholarship  Funds established with $1,500,000 from his will.

1924 – Hewitt Hall construction underway à $1,000,000

1925 – The Joline Foundation [Mrs. Adrian H. Joline]made a gift of $100,000 to establish a department and professorship of music at Barnard.

1926 – Barnard trustees, following the lead of Columbia,  do not employ the services of one of the new  fund raising firms to secure additional financial support, as did Smith ($4 million), Bryn Mawr ($2.2 million) , Wellesley  ($2.7 million) in hiring Joh Price Jones Corporation,  and Mt. Holyoke ($2.6 million) in hiring Tamblyn & Brown.

1935 – Rockefeller-directed General Education Board gives Barnard $255,0000 to purchase lots  between Riverside and Claremont at 119th Street. Barnard borrows the other $255,000 to secure the property for $510,000.


1938 – Barnard launches a  “50th Anniversary Campaign”  for $2,000,000 $1 million for endowment; $1 million for financial aid. Outbreak of World War II

1947 – “Operation Bootstraps” funddrive initiated by trustee Helen Rogers Reid and Mrs. Frank Altschul

1950 —  March — Secure $1,000,000 from JDR Jr

1951 – “Barnard Fund” funded – Ist year à 20,000
1953 – Millicent McIntosh Chair in English established by Mrs. Frank (Helen Goodhart) Altachul, BC 1907. Initially endowed with gift of  $250,000 (later raised  to $500,000). Barnard’s first internally endowed professorship.

1953 – Sale of Riverside property back to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., as site for Interchurch Center.

1955 — Ford Foundation Faculty Fund of $255,000

1956 – Drive for new library underway; chaired by trustee Iphigene Sulzberger, BC 1914

1964 “New Chapter Fund”

1980s – Centennial Capital Campaign to raise $20,000,000 for the construction of fourth dormitory