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TSarnard ^Beginnings 




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To my dear husband 

who from a slender purse made Barnard's first gift, 
who has always stood with me in every effort I have 
made, who has always loyally understood, generously 
supported, and devotedly encouraged, and whose criti- 
cism discerning and wise when it was forthcom- 
ing has always proved as helpful as his sympathy. 


COURSE FOR WOMEN Frontispiece 


^Barnard ^Beginnings 



As FAR back as I can remember, I was filled with a 
passionate desire to go to college. I am not sure that 
I had any definite idea of just what it would do for 
me, but I know that long before I had reached my 
teens, a college appeared to me as an enchanting 
castle-in-Spain which was at once utterly desirable 
and tragically impossible. From the age of thirteen 
I kept house for my father and my two brothers, and 
it was obvious that to leave home under such circum- 
stances even for so exemplary a purpose as to 
attain an education was something which, at 
least in those days, was simply not done. 

Therefore, at the age of eighteen I joined that 
intrepid band of young women who, panting for the 
bread of knowledge, had with pathetic eagerness 
accepted from the authorities of Columbia College 
the stony substitute known as the Collegiate Course 
for Women. 

For some ten years or so preceding the offering of 
this Collegiate Course, women had been casting long- 
ing eyes upon the educational opportunities locked 

"Barnard Beginnings 

within Columbia's walls. On December 4, 1876, a 
Memorial was presented to the Trustees of Columbia 
College by Sorosis, a club made up chiefly of non- 
professional, yet earnest, women, upon which was 
shed a rosy, if somewhat misleading, prestige from 
the fact that its meetings were held at Delmonico's, 
the fashionable restaurant of the day. The author of 
the chapter on 'Education in the Eastern States, 7 in 
Woman's Work in America* speaks of this Memorial 
as having been laid on the table by unanimous vote. 
President Butler, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth 
anniversary of Barnard College, refers to it in the 
same way. Yet at least one vote must have been in 
favor of it, since the President of Columbia was pres- 
ent, and it is certain that Frederick A. P. Barnard 
never lost an opportunity to voice his wholehearted 
approval of opening to women the full resources of 
the College. 

In the first report of the Select Committee on Col- 
legiate Education of Women, we find the statement 
that 'In October, 1879, the matter was again brought 
to the attention of the Board that the statutes of 
Columbia be construed as not to prohibit women from 
certain courses under certain conditions.' This reso- 
lution, the report states, was referred to the Com- 
mittee on the Course and Statutes, who reported 
adversely to it on November 3. 

* Woman's Work in America, edited and compiled by the author, 
in 1891. 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 

Even before this Sorosis Memorial, tradition has 
it that a group of qualified women, one a graduate of 
the University of Michigan, applied for admission 
to Columbia's Medical School. A plea on their behalf 
was made by Mrs. Lillie Devereaux Blake, whom 
we shall meet again in these pages. The argument 
was made that the charter of the College declared 
that it was 'founded for the education of the youth 
of the city' and that 'youth' included the members 
of both sexes. President Barnard and several mem- 
bers of the Faculty announced themselves in favor 
of the project to admit these able women into the 
Medical School; but the Board of Trustees de- 
cided it was inexpedient to take any action in the 

For many years, women had been admitted quietly 
to various lecture rooms. It is on record that Pro- 
fessor Rood had permitted a few women to attend 
his lectures on Physics since the year 1873. All had 
been going along smoothly, without trouble, or com- 
plaint on the part of the young men, when suddenly 
it was discovered by one of the Trustees that his 
own daughter was one of these women. A Trustee 
could scarcely permit such irregularity on the part 
of one of his own family. It was sought to regu- 
larize the status of the women, but this entailed 
permission from the Trustees, which was not forth- 
coming. The result was that this comfortable ar- 
rangement straightway ceased. And that was the end 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 

of what today would be called 'bootleg' attendance 
on lectures.* 

Nevertheless, President Barnard continued, year 
after year, with undiminished cogency and zeal, to sub- 
mit in his Annual Report to the Trustees many admi- 
rable reasons why the institution should permit young 
women to profit from its educational facilities. 

On July 12, 1882, President Barnard addressed the 
Twentieth Convocation of the Regents of the State 
of New York. 'To assume,' he argued, 'that college 
education is designed to fit anybody, either man or 
woman, to fill some "sphere" is to contradict its 
whole theory and to misrepresent its universally ad- 
mitted design Our colleges are not, and ought not 

to be, made schools of preparation for any depart- 
ment of human activity, but the culture implanted 
by them is simply to make the most that is possible 
of man as an intellectual and moral being, and to pre- 
pare him to fit himself to enter any "sphere" of duty 
or usefulness to which he may subsequently devote 
himself. 7 

One cannot refrain from wondering whether college 
education today for all its diversifications and ram- 
ifications could give a better account of itself! 

* The Home Journal for March 14, 1883, voices indignation in a 
number of editorials on the subject. Among other things, it says: 
'The ladies found themselves excluded. A motion was made in the 
Board of Trustees to have the prohibition repealed. It failed to 
pass. The resistance of inertia, the shudder at anything new, the 
content of selfish mediocrity were too great to be overcome. 1 

"Barnard beginnings 7 

In this able and forward-looking paper, President 
Barnard permitted himself to suggest with pungent 
irony that a degree be given, by certain female acad- 
emies, of Q.S., or Queen of Society. With mordant 
bitterness with which it is easy to sympathize, he 
recounts what had recently been said to him by one 
whom he calls 'one of the most highly cultivated 
ladies in New York society': 'I would preserve the 
bloom on the peach as long as possible/ He rejoins, 
'So would I. I would favor no measure which would 
leave the slightest trace upon the delicacy of the 
bloom ; but I would have the peach valuable for some- 
thing more than its bloom merely.' 

In April, 1882, a large public meeting was held by 
an Association for the Promotion of the Higher Edu- 
cation of Women. This was manned by conserva- 
tives (in distinction to club women) and its opening 
gun was actually fired from the impressive citadel 
of the Union League Club. Mr. Parke Godwin, the 
then editor of the New York Evening Post, a son-in- 
law of the poet, Bryant, presided over the meeting. 
Addresses were made by the Reverend Doctor Storrs of 
Brooklyn, by Joseph H. Choate, and by the Reverend 
Henry C. Potter, who was as yet neither Bishop of 
New York nor Trustee of Columbia College, but 
Rector of the fashionable Grace Church on lower 
Broadway. The speeches were of a high order, the 
wit, thoroughly delightful. Sidney Smith's spicy refer- 
ence to the empty minds and nimble fingers of women 

8 ^Barnard beginnings 

was used to good purpose by the Chairman; and it 
may be presumed that while it was considered desir- 
able by the large and enthusiastic gathering to render 
the minds of women less empty, there was no inten- 
tion to render the fingers less nimble. 

It is remembered that Mr. Choate in an eloquent 
peroration said : ' If you ask why we insist on Colum- 
bia's actually opening her doors to women, we answer 
because there is no reason why they should submit to 
gather in an annex the crumbs which fall from their 
master's table, when they have a right to an equal 
seat at the board/ 

The outcome of this meeting was a giant petition 
signed by some fourteen hundred men and women, 
suggesting that: ' In view of the state of public opinion 
both here and in older countries, touching the justice 
and expediency of admitting women to the same edu- 
cational advantages as men, a state of opinion spe- 
cially evidenced by the recent action of the English 
Universities of Cambridge and London, the Trustees 
of Columbia would consider how best to extend with 
as little delay as possible to such properly qualified 
women as might desire it, the benefit of education at 
Columbia College by admitting them to lectures and 

It is evident' that the framers of this paragraph 
were not aware of the fact that the University of 
London at that time existed solely as an examining 

^Barnard Beginnings 

One of the speeches I believe it was Mr. Choate's 
ended with these prophetic words : * The end of all 

this is not probable only, it is certain Let no 

present disappointment be allowed to chill your enthu- 
siasm . . . the time is not far distant when it shall be 
among the curiosities of history that one sex should 
ever have been debarred from the educational privi- 
leges accorded to the other/ 

Mr. Choate also said that the appeal was not for 
coeducation, but for equal educational privilege; but 
his words, quoted above, disapproving of an 'Annex,' 
make this position, to say the least, obscure. 

On January 20 of this year, 1882, the following note 
had been addressed to President Barnard: 

* Dear Sir, A considerable portion of your recent 
Annual Reports has been devoted to the subject of 
the admission of women to the educational advan- 
tages of Columbia College, and, being duly interested 
in having the important matter properly considered 
and understood, we would respectfully request you 
to collect and reprint in pamphlet form, for the infor- 
mation of the public, what you liave already so ably 
brought before the Trustees.' 

This request was signed by Mrs. J. Pierpont Mor- 
gan, Mrs. Lucius Tuckerman, Mrs. Cornelius Vander- 
bilt, Mrs. Frederic Sheldon, Mrs. William B. Rice, 
Mrs. Benoni Lockwood, Mrs. Alfred Pell, and Mrs. 
Henry E. Pellew. 

President Barnard complied with this desire and a 

io ^Barnard beginnings 

pamphlet was distributed in the same year, entitled: 
'The Higher Education of Women Passages from 
the Annual Reports of the President of Columbia 
College Presented to the Trustees in June, 1879, 
June, 1880, and June, 1881.' 

An interesting statement is made by President 
Barnard, in his introduction to this booklet, that his 
purpose must not be misunderstood as an effort to 
persuade parents to send their daughters to college; 
his labors were rather in behalf of the many parents 
who earnestly desired to do so, but found these young 
women debarred by Columbia. 'To invite/ he 
quaintly observes, 'is not to constrain. 1 

His plea throughout these Reports is for the recep- 
tion of these women students in Columbia College 
itself. In the Report of 1879 he holds that Columbia 
has now the physical room to accommodate them, and 
he recognizes an advance in public viewpoint, many 
now believing that 'the mental culture of women 
should be equal to that of men/ 

The chief disagreement, he admits, was as to the 
method of securing this result. 

Some, he reports in 1879, recommend 'women's col- 
leges identical in form with men's, as Vassar and 
Rutger's Female College in this city/ but he takes 
the position that it is not possible to give the best 
instruction in such institutions. In the Report of 
1880 he frowns upon the unnecessary duplication 
which would follow from the founding of new colleges 
for women. 

TZarnard ^Beginnings 1 1 

'The country has already more colleges than it 
needs/ he avers, and warns that 'benefactions would 
far better be made to existing institutions/ 

Others, he states, feel that the end would be at- 
tained by improving the 'female schools/ This he 
believes to be impossible, 'Their instructors could 
not rise above their own level/ 

He gives a rsum6 of the status of the higher educa- 
tion of women in England and in America, those 
abroad being chiefly separate colleges near men's uni- 
versities, while America's trend is toward coeduca- 
tion, which he heartily endorses in vigorous presenta- 
tions from many angles and urges upon Columbia.* 

There is not the slightest doubt that this constant 
dropping of petitions upon the minds of the Columbia 
Trustees did succeed in wearing into them a definite 
impression. For, after careful and arduous labors, as 
indicated in the Chairman's diary,f the Select Com- 
mittee of the Education of Women, of the Trustees 
of Columbia, presented to that Board, as its second 
report, a comprehensive plan of study that was insti- 
tuted as the Collegiate Course for Women. This Com- 
mittee consisted of Dr. Morgan Dix, Chairman, Dr. 
William C. Schermerhorn, Dr. Cornelius Agnew, and 

* It is amusing to note, by the way, in the light of present educa- 
tional tendencies, that in all these early debates it was assumed 
that women's higher education would center on classical studies. 
President Barnard looks forward to their studying 'a passage in 
Homer instead of irregular French verbs.' 

t See Appendix A. 

iz ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

Dr. John W. Townsend, and its report describes It as 
'the Select Committee appointed ... to consider a 
petition addressed to this Board and communicated 
through the Association for Improving the Higher 
Education of Women/ The report begins with the 
resolution : 

'Resolved, that the Board deem it expedient to 
institute measures for raising the standard of female 
education by proposing courses of study to be pur- 
sued outside the college, but under the observation 
of its authorities, and offering suitable academic hon- 
ors and distinctions to any who on examination shall 
be found to have pursued such courses with suc- 

The Handbook of Information of Columbia Col- 
lege for the year 1884-85 devotes fourteen pages to 
describing the Collegiate Course for Women. 

I quote some of the salient features : 

I 1 Women desiring to avail themselves of a 
course of Collegiate Study equivalent to the course 
given to young men in the College, may pursue the 
same under the general direction of the faculty of the 
School of Arts, subject to the principles and regula- 
tions hereinafter set forth/ 

Some of the rules are too detailed to set forth here. 
Such as concern us at the moment are: 

*6 Unless under special circumstances no young 
woman shall be admitted to such examination before 
she shall have attained the age of seventeen years/ 

TZarnard beginnings 13 

(This requirement was originally 'eighteen years/ 
but was later amended.) 
And most crucial of all : 

7 Every student so admitted shall be entirely 
. A 'ree as to where and how to pursue her studies, 
\whether in some school, private or public, or at home, 

under the auspices or direction of any association 
K interested in her welfare and advancement, and pro- 
tk viding her with the means of education/ 

That is to say, these young women were to pursue 
alone, or under what auspices they could command, 
'same studies that the Columbia undergraduates 
followed under the constant guidance of the Faculty. 
jj Their contact with Columbia's instructors was to be 
*V merely a single interview at the beginning of each 
half-year, and the ordeal of the written examination. 
v For this was in the eighties, when the intelligence 
n* of women seems to have been held in such high esteem 
K by the more conservative members of society, that a 
Vi single interview with a member of the Faculty was 
jauntily supposed to suffice for them, while for the 
more mentally sluggish male frequent interviews and 
lectures were meticulously supplied ! 

In the beginning a certificate, duly signed by officers 
of the College, was the reward of this 'pursuit of 
learning/ but in less than three years the authorities 
of the College made a noble, an historic gesture, and 
the plan was modified by 'authorizing the conferring 
of the degree of Bachelor of Arts upon students who 

14 TZarnard ^Beginnings 

have satisfactorily completed a full course/ Duly 
qualified women were even permitted to study for 
the higher degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of 
Philosophy. At the time this story opens, some two 
dozen young women were availing themselves consci- 
entiously, even if somewhat unavailingly, of the advan- 
tages thus offered. 

Small wonder that up to the year 1885 none had 
as yet succeeded in qualifying for the degree of Bach- 
elor of Arts. At Commencement, 1887, Mary Parsons 
Hankey, a plucky, frail, and earnest young woman, 
received the doubtful honor of the degree of Bachelor 
of Literature, and unfortunately lived but another 
year to enjoy the fruits of her Pyrrhic victory. The 
following February, a Committee of the Columbia 
Trustees, consisting of Dr. Dix, Dr. Agnew, and Mr. 
Harper reported this infraction of the Statutes in con- 
ferring the degree of Doctor of Literature, which had 
not been provided for, and which the Committee had 
deliberately intended to exclude. The Trustees rati- 
fied the resolution of the Committee, so that no 
special degrees in future would be granted to women 
candidates; but only such as were already regularly 
granted to the men. 


I PASSED the entrance examinations for the Collegiate 
Course for Women, preparing entirely by myself, 
without assistance. That is to say, I took the exam- 
inations in General History, Modern and Ancient 
Geography, Physical Geography, French, and some 
Mathematics. As I had attended school only for a 
few months in my life, I didn't attempt to take the 
examinations in the Classics or in the Higher Mathe- 
matics. These I should have had to pass if I had had 
any idea of winning the degree of Bachelor of 

I recall at one time referring to the fact that I had 
never regularly attended school, and hearing someone 
murmur in response something about Lincoln, the 
wonderful rail-splitter. So I hasten to add that my 
lack of schooling was in no sense a question of lack of 
funds or opportunity, but simply owing to the fact 
that being the youngest child of four my dear mother 
had kept me under her tutelage longer than the 
others. We all learned to read at her knee under the 
aegis of that little brown volume, Reading Without 
Tears, to which Agnes Repplier has referred so de- 
lightfully, but I went on further, even taking up 
French, I remember, with her. Later on, after my 

1 6 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

mother's death, I became the apple of my father's 
eye, and he refused 'to let me go to school when the 
weather was bad. We couldn't then afford a carriage, 
so I simply decided I would no longer go to school to 
be kept home whenever the skies frowned. Such edu- 
cation as I managed to get, therefore, was derived 
from books, and for a couple of years from the visits 
of various none-too-adept hourly teachers. I was 
insatiably ambitious, and frequently, returning from 
some visit which I had made with my father, ordered 
my teacher to instruct me in this or that, so that I 
would cease feeling ignorant and embarrassed. 

When I confessed to my father that I had passed 
the examinations, having studied in secret and never 
failing to play my nightly game of whist with him, so 
he would suspect nothing he drew me gently and 
lovingly to him and announced, 'You will never be 
married. 5 

My heart sank. I distinctly remember how it sank. 
I desired marriage. I had fully intended to marry. 
Nevertheless, the immediate goal of College Education 
seemed to me at the moment even more delectable. 
So bravely, though not without a twinge of misgiv- 
ing, I declared my willingness to forego all chances of 
winning a husband. 

Papa was tremendously concerned. He kissed me 
tenderly as I sat upon his lap. * Men hate intelligent 
wives/ he declared, with a finality that it never oc- 
curred to me to question. Doubtless then and there 

^Barnard beginnings 17 

I recited to myself the verses that were going the 
rounds at the time : 

'Where are you going, my pretty maid?' 
'I'm going to lecture, sir,' she said. 

'May I come with you, my pretty maid?' 
'You won't understand it, sir,' she said. 

'What is the subject, my pretty maid?' 
'The final extinction of man,' she said. 

'Then you won't marry, my pretty maid?' 
'Superior girls never marry, sir,' she said. 

So having passed I proceeded to follow the instruc- 
tions of the Handbook. 

Twice a year, once in the autumn and once in mid- 
winter, I was granted interviews with various august 
professofs, who admonished me to read a certain 
number of chapters in certain books. For instance, 
the Professor of English would tell me to read Bain's 
Higher English Grammar, Syntax and Analysis, pages 
264 to 331; Stopford Brooke's English Literature, 
pages I to 1 08; Addison's Selections from the Spec- 
tator, edited by Arnold, pages 157 to 185. In Febru- 
ary, I would be told to read in Bain, pages 14 to 114, in 
Brooke, pages 108 to 185, and so on. 

Two examinations were held, one called the Inter- 
mediate which began on the last Monday in January, 
and one called the Concluding, beginning on the Mon- 
day of the third week preceding Commencement. 

1 8 TZarnard ^Beginnings 

Never can I forget the devastating sense of desola- 
tion that swept over me when I read my first exam- 
ination paper. The world hitherto a friendly, one 
might say an admiring, world crumbled at my feet. 
Faithfully and conscientiously I had read the pages 
assigned to me, their content I was sure I knew; yet 
I could make nothing at all of the questions before me! 

As I grew calmer, I realized where the trouble lay. 
The Professor had, it is true, told me to read certain 
pages and I had done so ; but he had calmly proceeded 
to base his questions, not on the textbooks assigned, 
but entirely upon the lectures which he had given to 
his classes lectures which I, of course, had not been 
permitted to attend. 

There were numerous references and allusions to 
theories, and even to facts, concerning which I had 
not the slightest knowledge. Here was I, who had 
been introduced all winter as the daring miss who 
would measure her mentality with masculine brains; 
here was I, who had been endeavoring to become an 
honor and an example to the rest of my sex staring 
hopelessly at my very first examination paper! 

Was I, then, to flunk what hosts of boys would 
pass? Perish the thought! Getting a grip on myself, 
I answered fully such questions as I understood, and 
then coolly wrote in the examination paper that certain 
of the questions evidently referred to the Professor's 
lectures, which I had not had the privilege of hearing. 

The Professor had a sense of justice or possibly, 
a sense of humor for he passed me. 


A LITTLE more than a year after this interview with 
my father, I was married. My decision not to con- 
tinue with the Collegiate Course for Women gave 
hostages to the enemy. Frequently, both in and out 
of my hearing, remarks were passed, such as, 'Only 
unattractive girls, undeniable spinsters, are really in- 
terested in the Higher Education of Women!* 

The truth was simply that having married a man 
who was entirely sympathetic with my literary ambi- 
tions, it was no longer necessary for me to read and 
write under cover, as it were, of the Columbia exam- 
inations* As a young girl to have refused to pay the 
innumerable calls upon my aunts and cousins which 
polite behavior required, in order merely to finish an 
entrancing book, would have been inexcusable. But 
if I were cramming for an examination, it was for- 
given. Even as the head of my own house, as a young 
married woman, it was none too easy to secure time 
for reading and writing undisturbed. I recall the em- 
barrassment of my little maid when I refused to see a 
sister-in-law during the morning hours which I kept 
strictly for myself. In those days at least for the 
female all one's outside engagements were made 
with the understanding that they would be kept unless 

2.0 Barnard ^Beginnings 

someone dropped in just as one was leaving the house. 
The laws of hospitality for women were as the 
laws of the Medes and Persians. No matter how 
urgent or delectable was the errand about to be per- 
formed, one must never permit a visitor to suspect 
the inopportuneness of her arrival. One must receive 
her with graciousness, whatever sentiments were 
curdling within. 

I had received really very little if any inspiration 
or help from the Professors with whom I had contact. 
The only one who might have meant much to me was 
the man at the head of the German Department, 
Hjalmar Boyesen, He was the author of several nov- 
els, and I was thrilled to meet him. Moreover, he was 
a splendid-looking man, a shaggy Norse hero, eyes, 
hair, and build. But alas, since I was a Jewess, he 
persisted in ordering me to read Goethe and Schiller. 
He refused to credit my statement that I didn't even 
know the German alphabet. My statement that my 
parents didn't converse in German, that they didn't 
even know a word of the language, he looked upon as 
a kind of pose. Not knowing that there were Jews 
from the earliest days of America, he was astounded 
to learn that both my parents had been born in this 
country, and my parents' parents as well. Finally I 
succeeded in convincing him that one of rny great- 
grandfathers had fought in the War of Independence, 
and that another had been a Trustee of Columbia 
College, and had assisted in the Inauguration of 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 2.1 

President Washington. Meanwhile, much time had 
been lost, and I didn't make very rapid progress in 
the language when at last the Professor consented to 
hand me books suitable for beginners. 

But there was one privilege in being a student at 
Columbia I was not willing to forego the use of the 
Library* The policy of the College was, and is now, 
exceedingly liberal, extending its privileges to all who 
had been students even for a short period. But 
although theoretically young women were welcomed 
here on precisely the same terms as the men, it was 
impossible for them to move the heavy oaken doors 
without the assistance of masculine brawn. Even to 
come as far as the stone steps before it, and stand 
there helplessly awaiting some kind of 'Open Sesame/ 
one had survived the ordeal of approaching through 
a double row of grinning young men lined along the 
path through the campus, young torturers who emitted 
ironic cheers as one of their number sprang forth chiv- 
alrously to the rescue of maidenhood in distress. 

Frightfully disconcerting! And frightfully thrilling! 
Discussions raged among the women students. Was 
it more ladylike to ignore these courtesies and enter 
the forbidding doors without vouchsafing even so 
much as a glance at the adventuring youth, or was it 
permitted to utter a timid 'Thank you' to a man to 
whom One Had Not Been Introduced? 

I was among those matter-of-fact young women 
who counseled an acknowledgment, arguing that if we 

2.z Barnard ^Beginnings 

did this without too much embarrassment, and con- 
tinued our way with as much nonchalance as it was 
possible to assume, the boys would the sooner weary 
of their sport, and permit us to approach the Library 
in peace. And yet perchance the conservatives were 
right after all. Once let the bars down, and permit 
young ladies to speak to young men to whom they 
had not been formally introduced, and there would 
be no limit to the boldness of the hussies ! 

Does this seem too trivial? It should not. For 
these young ladies who suffered these agonies of 
indecision were actually pioneers. They it was whose 
struggles and indignities blazed the difficult trails 
that years later would be smooth to the feet of their 
daughters and granddaughters. 

For this was the year 1885. It is never easy to 
orientate oneself, to judge the moral and spiritual 
difficulties of a bygone age, by the mores of a later 
generation. Possibly to recall to the reader some of 
the outer events of the day, will be of help in this: 

For the national and political picture : In that year 
William M. Evarts was elected United States Senator 
from New York, Grover Cleveland, who had been 
Governor of New York State, was elected President, 
while William R. Grace was Mayor of the City of New 
York, General Grant was buried with national hon- 
ors, and his body rested in a small, modest grave on 
Riverside Drive while New York struggled to raise 
the huge sum (it seemed huge then) that was needed 

^Barnard beginnings 2.3 

for a worthy monument. Prince Bismarck was still 
living, as were General Sherman and Jefferson Davis. 
Gladstone was still in office. The Fall of Khartoum 
shocked the world. 

In the arts, sciences, and religion: Edwin Booth was 
still acting and Theodore Thomas still led the con- 
certs of the New York Philharmonic. Leopold Dam- 
rosch died that year and was succeeded by his son, 
Walter. Moody, of Moody and Sankey fame, was 
preaching. Charles Dickens was living. Darwin had 
been dead only three years, and Professor Huxley 
unveiled his statue in the British Museum. 'Josh 
Billings' died that year in California, and Oliver 
Wendell Holmes, father of the distinguished jurist 
who has just died at the ripe age of ninety, was cele- 
brating his seventy-sixth birthday. Whittier and 
Lord Tennyson were still alive, and in this year, 
James Russell Lowell gave the address on the occa- 
sion of the unveiling of the bust of Coleridge in West- 
minster Abbey. Miss Mary Anderson made a fare- 
well speech at the close of her London season, and 
Patti sang 'Home, Sweet Home/ as an encore, with 
great success. 

Driving was a fashionable, roller-skating a popular, 

Externals now so familiar to us all were in the mak- 
ing. The Adirondack State Reservation was yet to be, 
and after much bickering Niagara at last had become 
a State Park. St. Augustine, Florida, had become 

2-4 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

of recent years a place of great fashion. Bedloe's 
Island had finally been chosen as the site for Barthol- 
di's Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World, and 
the hundred thousand dollars still needed for the 
erection of a pedestal was being feverishly collected, 
even while the French ship-of-war, the Islre, was 
bringing the statue across the Atlantic. 

In the college world, the one-hundred-and-thirty- 
first Commencement of Columbia College took place 
at the Academy of Music. Mark Hopkins, ex-Presi- 
dent of Williams, was still alive, but in his eighty- 
third year. He was the great educator and leader in 
educational progress to whom President Garfield had 
made his magnificent tribute anent true college educa- 
tion. But advanced ideas concerning women's educa- 
tion were germinating slowly. The catalogue of a 
School for Young Ladies in Norfolk, Virginia, de- 
clares its aims to be molded in accordance with the 
principle that 'a woman's province in life is to throw 
herself heartily into the pursuits of others rather than 
to have pursuits of her own.' Even college-bred 
women were timid in asserting themselves. For 
instance, a letter to Harper's Weekly reveals the possi- 
bility of a woman being chosen as President of Vas- 
sar College; but one of the fair Alumnae 'devoutly 
hopes' that a man and not a woman will be chosen. 
'There are plenty of women,' she admits, 'fitted by 
nature and by education to adorn the position, but 
the right sort of man can inspire girls better. ' Still 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 2.5 

the movement is growing. An editorial reads: 'The 
experiment of the "Harvard Annex/' or the separate 
pursuit of the University by ladies under the Univer- 
sity professors, is an experiment no longer. It has 
been so successful that the applications for the next 
year are more numerous than ever. Yet it is impos- 
sible to accommodate more pupils in the present 
narrow quarters/ 


THE Columbia Library building, at Forty-Ninth 
Street and Madison Avenue, had been completed 
only two years before at a cost of four hundred thou- 
sand dollars. Plenty of books were hidden away in 
ugly stacks, but there were many thousands of hand- 
somely bound volumes on the open shelves which ran 
about the high walls in two tiers. A platform with a 
decorative iron rail around it gave access to the upper 
one, from which one could look down on the readers 
at the tables with their green-shaded lamps, up at the 
lovely vaulted ceiling of carved oak, and at the 
stained-glass windows which added to the general 
ecclesiastical effect. These magnificent volumes, 
mostly bound in full levant and exquisitely tooled, 
were the gift of Stephen Whitney Phoenix, of the Class 
of 1859, an d formed what was known as the Phoenix 

Whatever inadequacies there were in the Collegiate 
Course for Women seemed more than made up for in 
the opportunity of browsing here. 

After all, for all our theories, experiments, discus- 
sions, and what not concerning the best methods of 
education, can anything be much better than being 
turned loose among good books? 

Barnard beginnings 2.7 

In this I did not agree with Elizabeth Barrett 

' Sublimest danger, over which none weeps, 
When any young wayfaring soul goes forth 
Alone, unconscious of the perilous road, 

To thrust his own way, he an alien through 
The world of books.' 

And yet I and all my girl friends of the period 
adored her. As I sat, a year or so ago, among the 
audience of the play, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, 
the ignorance of the present generation concerning 
the original of Miss Cornell's impersonation seemed 
incredible to one who as a girl had reveled in the 
romance of her life and eagerly learned whole passages 
of her poetry by heart. How underscored and dog- 
eared was that magic scene where Aurora proposes 
to her beloved : 

'But I love you, sir; 

And when a woman says she loves a man, 
The man must hear her though he love her not.' 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was bracketed in our 
affections with the author of Jane Eyre. From each 
we derived the same virginal thrill. 

A library, especially a college library, may be a 
place of ghosts and shadows. Or it may be a place 
overflowing with dynamic energy, as up and doing 
as a modern business office. Before the coming of 
Melvil Dewey as Librarian of Columbia College in 

2.8 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

1883, the College Library had not gathered together 
a number of small departmental libraries scattered 
among the various departments. By the time I had 
begun to study at Columbia, the new Library had 
just begun to function in the new building, which 
the local press of the day called 'the most beautiful 
Library Building in the world/ 

Suddenly the place becomes alive. It is full of 
a driving force. It becomes something more than a 
place for study and contemplation. Something has 
happened, too, to each and every one of the attend- 
ants. Briskness, alertness, service, become the order 
of the day. The Library becomes a school for the 
training of librarians. 

The Reading Room, the catalogues, the books on 
the open shelves and, equally, those that are hidden 
away in the great stacks, exist for the reader, to 
smooth his way, to make pleasant and profitable 
the path of the inquiring scholar. The entire resources 
of the Library are marshaled. 

Returning to visit the Library after I had dis- 
continued taking the Collegiate Course, I was deeply 
impressed by the vivid personality of the new Li- 

Melvil Dewey was a tall, loosely jointed man, 
built on generous lines. His voice was as big and 
hearty as his huge body. From the very first one 
sensed a bigness that was not merely structural. 
Here were vision and idealism, with plenty of pur- 

^Barnard beginnings 2.9 

poseful punch to put them over! Although Dewey's 
immediate prepossession was the establishing of the 
Library as a living force in education, and the train- 
ing of librarians imbued with this ideal, there was 
room in his mind, as he soon proved, for other enthu- 

Dewey was a graduate of Amherst and had been 
its Librarian for three years before 'leaving to take 
the position at Columbia. He had founded the 
American Library Association and the Library Jour- 
nal, which became the official organ of all libraries of 
the United States and Great Britain; and was, more- 
over, the founder of the Library Bureau and of the 
New York Library Club. 

Once installed in this new position, he promptly 
started the Quarterly Magazine of Library Notes, and 
founded the Columbia College School of Library 
Economy. Besides all this, he managed to incorpo- 
rate the Children's Library Association, which, in a 
praiseworthy attempt to root out the growing love 
of the untutored child for trashy literature, under- 
took to supply the poor children of New York with 
good books and illustrated papers. And, on the side, 
being an extremely active member of the American 
Meteorological Society, and its Secretary, he origi- 
nated the system of Standard Time. 

What more natural than that such a man should 
pause for a few moments to initiate the movement 
that was to lead to the founding of New York's first, 

30 ^Barnard Beginnings 

and for many years, its only, woman's college! One 
day, during a conversation with Mr. Dewey, I told 
him how utterly futile I considered the much-boasted- 
of Collegiate Course for Women and how greatly a 
real collegiate training for them seemed to me to 
be needed in the city. It was as if a lighted match 
had been thrown upon a ready-built bonfire. His 
enthusiasm was contagious. Of course there should 
be a college for women in New York; there must be! 
We must obtain one! He agreed with me that the 
present scheme was utterly absurd. Obviously, if 
women could get from a few examinations all that men 
got from daily intercourse with Faculty and with 
students, and from hundreds of lectures, and work 
in the laboratories, then either women were miracu- 
lously gifted or else and this was an alternative 
pretty serious to contemplate all the millions and 
millions at the moment locked up in college endow- 
ments, in laboratories and lecture halls, were just 
so much sheer waste! 

To all of this I wholeheartedly agreed. But what 
was to be done about it? What could 7 do about it? 

Why, start a college for women myself. That 
was all. 

I to start a college a young woman of twenty, 
not even a graduate of a college myself, not even the 
graduate of a school! The wife of a physician com- 
fortably enough off , but certainly not possessing any 
fortune, not rich even according to the modest stand- 

^Barnard beginnings 3 1 

ards of the day, how was I to get the wherewithal to 
make even the first tiny beginnings? And, serious 
obstacle, although both of my parents had at one period 
entered actively into New York society, at the time 
of which I write I possessed practically no important 
social connections at all, knew none of the people who 
would inevitably have to be the ones to launch such 
a movement. I even knew few, if any, of the men and 
women who were interested in the problems of edu- 
cation. Yet to start a college for women in New York! 
It might well be thought a preposterous and ridicu- 
lous idea! And yet to me, while it was certainly 
startling and challenging, it wasn't ridiculous. I was 
tremendously eager to accomplish something worth 
while, to meet some great test. The fact that the job 
was bristling with difficulties some of them seem- 
ingly insurmountable made it all the more thrilling 
to undertake, all the more worth while. 

When, a few months later, I called upon old Mrs. 
Wendell, the mother of the distinguished Harvard 
Professor, she had actually wept (so she afterward 
confided to me) thinking of 'that sweet young girl 
wasting her life in the impossible attempt to found 
a woman's college connected with Columbia.' She 
was certain that the slender, frail-looking bride, who 
tipped the scales at less than a hundred pounds, had 
no conception of the struggle that lay before her or 
of the discouraging failures of the past. 

It was nearly thirty years after this that one day 

3 2. 'Barnard beginnings 

.glancing at my daughter, who had by then reached 
the age at which I was when I was working to start 
the College, the whole thing seemed fantastic. Not 
only would it be difficult to make anyone else believe 
it, but could I believe it myself! 

'You little shrimp/ I called out, 'do you mean to 
tell me that I looked as absurdly young as you when 
I was calling on all those dignitaries!' 

As a matter of fact, she must have looked far more 
mature, for she weighed at least twenty pounds more 
than I did at her age. 


I NOW set myself to accomplish five tasks: 

First, to acquaint myself thoroughly with the 
entire national situation. What colleges in the United 
States were open to women? Where were they located 
and how long had they been in existence? Also were 
these coeducational, 'Annexes/ or separate colleges 
for women? I was so naive and misinformed as to be 
greatly surprised when Mr. Arthur Oilman, Secre- 
tary of the Harvard Annex, wrote me that so far as 
he knew no college in the country was self-supporting. 
Second, to get in touch personally with every man 
and woman in the neighborhood of New York who 
might possibly support the movement to establish a 
college for women, whether this support were to be 
financial or solely advisory, or even if it meant mere 
social approval. 

Third, to strengthen public opinion in favor of the 
higher education of women, by every method pos- 
sible, not alone through personal talks, but by means 
of interviews and letters in the daily papers, as well 
as editorials inspired or written by myself. With 
this objective I arranged for the publication of care- 
fully prepared articles by well-known educators, 
physicians, the Bishop of New York, and other per- 
sons of influence, each one aimed to break down one 

34 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

or another of the various prejudices which I found 
had gathered about this question of the collegiate 
education of women.* 

Fourth, to win over, both individually and as a 
body, the Trustees of Columbia College to a plan 
for the establishment of a college for women, affiliated 
with Columbia College. 

Fifth, to build up a body of men and women who 
would command the confidence of the public and 
would undertake to direct this college. 

In the accomplishment of the fourth task, I was 
soon to interview every member of the Columbia 
Board. Not one escaped. 

The interest of President Barnard in the education 
of women would, of course, be taken for granted, as 
he had for years made his advocacy known. But I 
knew enough of the politics of the situation to realize 
that to most of the Trustees the backing of President 
Barnard would have little weight, might indeed be a 
detriment. For it was said that, in spite of his logic 
and eloquence, his strong views in favor of coeduca- 
tion, vehemently and constantly expressed, had 
wearied most of these conservative men, and had 
even estranged some of them. Indeed, it was advan- 
tageous to my plan for an affiliated college that Presi- 
dent Barnard had never cared for this idea, but had 
always insisted on coeducation or nothing. 

Even though some powerful men in the Church 

* See Appendix B. 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 3 5 

had approved of the higher education of women, 
notably among them the gracious Rector of Grace 
Church who was to become Bishop of New York, 
another influential dignitary in the same diocese not 
only disapproved, but gave voice to his disapproval 
in no uncertain language. 'I shall oppose it to the 
end!* announced Dr. Morgan Dix, the Rector of 
Trinity, who was also a Trustee of the College, 

For this stand Dr. Dix had been subjected to 
many attacks. The editor of the Home Journal waxed 
bitterly ironic: 'There is one arithmetic for the boy 
and another for the girl. The exact sciences are for 
men; they are bad for women because of their tend- 
ency to enlarge the mind and furnish a lodgment 
for ideas. An enlarged mind is a deformity in the 
feminine organization, and ideas are as superfluous 
in a woman as they would be in a bottle of Lubin's 
extract. They are more than superfluous, they render 
the possessor uncomfortable to men as lords of crea- 
tion. They nip the bud of man's egotism, they cut the 
flower of his self-love, they damage the stalk of his 
conceit. They cause, moreover, the preacher says, 
cold shivers to run down his magnanimous back. 
Now the chief object of the Almighty in the creation 
of women being to please men particularly those 
who are a little narrow in the upper story it fol- 
lows that this petition for opening Columbia College 
lectures, and indeed the whole movement for what is 
called the higher education of women, but which is 

36 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

really higher disagreeableness, is a wrong, a monstrous 
wrong, a high-heeled rebellion against the order of 
the universe.' 

Later the press did its best to make of Dr. Morgan 
Dix an inconsistent man, and, moreover, a thwarted 
man. 'In spite of his positive assertion/ chortled 
one paper, 'in less than a year Dr. Dix was the chair- 
man of a committee that recommended a special 
course for women, so as to give to such women as 
desire a college education the advantages of examina- 
tions by the college authorities/ 

The truth was that, far from being thwarted, Dr. 
Dix had actually gained his point. For in his Dia- 
ries,* and certainly in his work as Chairman of the 
Select Committee, Dr. Dix does not appear as an 
enemy of women's education per $e, but rather as a 
vigorous and determined opponent of their education 
with men, or as if they were men. This is a subject on 
which we of today might well seek further enlighten- 

Small wonder that this all bred confusion, for, as I 
soon pointed out in articles and speeches, the rallying 
cry of the band of enthusiasts who had thus far car- 
ried on the battle amounted in spirit, if not in actual 
words, to 'Coeducation or No Education!' It was 
perfectly true that of these enthusiasts Dr. Morgan 
Dix was their most cogent and eloquent opponent. 

* See Appendix A and pages 62 seq. 


WHAT was implied by this goal of an affiliated college? 
The course that was established for women students 
expressly provided that no woman should attend any 
of the lectures that were given to the men, thus avoid- 
ing the complications of a mixing of the sexes in the 
classrooms. While the authorities at Columbia at 
first decided to reward the women students only with 
certificates, it was only a few months before the truly 
revolutionary resolution was made to confer upon 
them the academic degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Mas-* 
ter of Arts, and even Doctor of Philosophy. 

I call it revolutionary, for it was a complete and 
thrilling acceptance of the principle of equal pay 
for equal work, a principle which half a century later 
has by no means come into universal acceptance. 
Columbia, it should always be remembered, was the 
first of the men's colleges to offer its higher degrees 
to properly qualified women graduates of other col- 
leges. Many years later, Yale did this, but without 
offering any opportunities to undergraduates. 

There was tremendous enthusiasm when, in 1886, 
Miss Winifred Edgerton, a graduate of Wellesley Col- 
lege of the Class of 1883, was the first woman recipient 
of the Doctorate from Columbia College. 

While the announcement of the opening of Colum- 

3 8 Barnard beginnings 

bia's Course was received with much acclaim, it was 
inevitable that, when the precise nature of this 
largess was understood, much dissatisfaction should 
also be aroused. I cannot refrain from quoting the 
witty commentary made several years later by 
Barnard's first Dean, Emily James Smith:* 'The 
Trustees of Columbia College said in effect, "We are 
not prepared to educate girls; if, however, they can 
contrive to educate themselves, we will certify the 

fact." 1 

Passing examinations without instruction might 
very well be compared to making bricks without 
straw. Therefore, a dozen years after the presenta- 
tion of the Sorosis Memorial, and six years after the 
meeting at the Union League Club, when another 
attempt was made to gain the advantages of Colum- 
bia for women, it was determined that straw in plenty 
and of an excellent grade should be provided the 

It must be kept in mind that all the other attempts 
had been attempts to establish coeducation at Co- 
lumbia. It was generally assumed that the simplest 
way to throw open to women the advantages of 

* Emily James Smith, later Mrs. George Haven Putnam, became 
Barnard's first dean in 1894, and served in that capacity until 1900. 
In an article which I wrote on Barnard College, in Harper's Bazaar t 
May 23, 1896, I said: 'Dean Smith is one of those rare women 
impossible a quarter of a century ago, but fortunately growing less 
exceptional every year who combine high scholarship with 
executive ability and social charm. 1 

Barnard beginnings 39 

Columbia College was to have women in the classes 
side by side with the men. It was so simple that 
President Barnard, although advocating what is now 
known by the term, became impatient over the in- 
sistence upon a special word to describe it. He pro- 
tests: 'By whom this word, coeducation, was invented 
I do not know. It is an odious word and I presume 
the design of the inventor may have been to prejudice 
the cause we advocate, by making it seem to be our 
chief object... while it is purely incidental and unim- 
portant. We might with the same propriety apply the 
term, coeducation, to the teaching of the Sunday 
Schools We might as well characterize Churches 
as coeducational institutions When I demand for 
women admission to our colleges, I am demanding 
for them education, and not the privilege of being edu- 
cated with men. ... I have never used the word, coedu- 
cation, and I never shall use iU 

This new movement, of which Barnard College was 
the direct outgrowth, was initiated by ' Certain Friends 
of the Higher Education of women,' and had for its 
objective 'the opening and establishment of a college 
for women to be affiliated with Columbia College. 1 
It never attempted nor desired to establish coeduca- 
tion, and in so much it differed essentially from any 
movement which preceded it. 

The Trustees of Columbia having seen fit to offer 
degrees to women without any means of instruction, 
these new believers in the higher education of women 

40 ^Barnard Beginnings 

now came forward to offer to provide, for the attain- 
ment of these degrees, buildings, equipment, and in- 
struction. Of the older institution, it might be said 
they craved only its blessing. " 

The Chairman of the Academic Committee of 
Barnard College, in her Report for 1891, declared 
that: 'The most fortunate thing in the history of this 
College is that no one seems to have practically per- 
ceived the full significance of this clause. Anybody 
in the City of New York was at perfect liberty to 
found an annex to Columbia without asking tor per- 
mission. Fortunately, the permission was asked and 
granted; fortunately, both parties to the contract 
were made so responsible that a failure or a blunder 
on either side was a disgrace to both/ 

There is truth in this, but not the whole truth. It 
most certainly did occur to the early workers for the 
College that permission was implied in the context 
of the Circular of Information published by the 
authorities of Columbia. But one has only to read 
the Memorial that was presented at this time to real- 
ize that it had also occurred to them at the same time 
that it would be none too easy, under any circum- 
stances, to raise the money for the scheme, and with- 
out the public approval of Columbia College, it would 
be practically impossible. 

I realized that the situation that existed in New 
York was exactly the opposite from that which con- 
fronted the people of Boston. Harvard had refused 

Barnard beginnings 41 

to grant to women the recognition of its degree, not- 
withstanding the fact that for some eight years women 
had been receiving excellent instruction from mem- 
bers of its own august Faculty in the subjects which 
were prescribed for Harvard students. The Harvard 
'Annex,' as it was called, had been brought into exist- 
ence in order to secure for women the advantages of 
the lectures and instruction which were given for men 
at Harvard. But the sole recognition which the con- 
servative old institution conferred upon the 'Annex 1 
Was to permit its President to sign the certificates 
issued by the Society for the Collegiate Instruction of 

This certificate read: 'We hereby certify that under 

the supervision of this Society has pursued a 

course of study equivalent in amount and quality to 
that for which the degree of Bachelor of Arts is con- 
ferred in Harvard College, and has passed in a satis- 
factory manner examinations on that course, cor- 
responding to the College examinations. In testimony 
thereof we have caused these presents to be signed by 
our President and Secretary and by the Chairman of 

the Academic Board this day of in the year of 

our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and .' 

As I wrote in an article which appeared in the Na- 
tion of January 28, 1888: * 'In Cambridge, Massachu- 
setts, they have an Annex and are praying for certain 
conditions that will insure its permanent existence 

" See Appendix C. 

42. Barnard ^Beginnings 

and success. In New York we have the conditions 
that would bring permanent existence and success, 
but we have no Annex/ 

This article has been called the first broadside in 
the campaign for the founding of Barnard College. A 
copy of it now lies in the cornerstone of Barnard's 
first building on its present site. It closed with the ap- 
peal to 'begin at once to organize an association for 
the collegiate instruction of women by Professors and 
other Instructors of Columbia College/ * 

It was hoped that enough money could be raised 
to secure some rooms in the neighborhood of Columbia 
College where certain members of the Columbia 
Faculty could repeat to women the lectures which 
they gave to their men students. Not alone was it 
necessary to secure instruction for the women, but, 
obviously, since it was to be crowned by the degrees 
of Columbia College, the instruction must command 
the confidence of the Columbia authorities. The 
simplest and surest way to secure this confidence, and 
also the confidence of the public, was to engage the 
services of those upon whom Columbia had already 
set the seal of its approval in other words, the 
members of its own Faculty. 

* Dr. William Tenney Brewster, then Provost of Barnard, said 
in an article of the Columbia University Quarterly, March, 1909, 
'That there were really enough women in New York who wished a 
higher education... was well known to a number of people and was 
ably set forth by Mrs. Alfred Meyer in a letter to the Nation in the 
issue of January 20, 1888.' 

^Barnard beginnings 43 

It was not so difficult to persuade the professors to 
give additional instruction at an affiliated college as 
might have been expected. To begin with, many of 
the heads of departments thought it a shame to refuse 
admission to women, and not alone gladly offered to 
teach the women students, but offered to teach them, 
if necessary, without further compensation. More- 
over, since the younger members of the staff were 
neither so busy nor so well paid as today, it had been 
their custom for some years to add to their income 
by lecturing in one fashionable school or another- 
Indeed, the schools vied with one another in giving 
publicity to the fact that some distinguished Columbia 
professor gave instruction to their fortunate young 

It is true that while the men and women who 
started Barnard College never asked Columbia to 
grant coeducation, nevertheless, almost all of them 
would have subscribed to President Barnard's dictum: 
'The establishment of an annex is desirable only if 
considered as a step toward what I think must come 
sooner or later, and that is the opening of the College 
proper to both sexes equally. 1 But I had never looked 
upon the affiliated college as a mere sop to be thrown 
over as soon as something better could be wrested 
from Columbia. 

In an article which I wrote for the Evening Post in 
1891, I took exception to some of the statements made 
by Mrs. Alice Freeman Palmer in the September 

44 "Barnard "Beginnings 

Forum of that year. I was duly grateful for her suave 
acceptance of the fact that 'the affiliated college is 
one of the three tolerably clear, consistent, and ac- 
credited types of education/ This, coming from the 
former President of Wellesley College, was a conces- 
sion, but I objected strongly to her remark that the 
Harvard Annex was typical of what might be accom- 
plished by the affiliated college, Mrs. Palmer denied 
that Barnard could be deemed a true Annex because 
all of her teaching was not by the teaching force of 
Columbia. Before proving the distinguished lady 
in the wrong, with entire good humor I quoted from 
'The Nightingale/ a poem by my cousin Emma 

'No bird is this; it soars beyond my line. 

Were it a bird, 'twould answer to my law.' 

I recall with what satisfaction I assured Mrs. Palmer 
that, although all of Barnard's teaching force did not 
necessarily teach at Columbia, Columbia 'assumed 
all responsibility for the instruction given at Barnard, 
not alone, as was commonly supposed, by merely con- 
ferring its degree upon Barnard graduates, but by 
passing officially upon all appointments made by 
Barnard College/ * Furthermore, all examinations 
were conducted by Columbia. Since the friends of 
Barnard naturally stressed the fact that it was then 
the only Annex whose graduates won the degree of 
the parent college, Mrs. Palmer protested with some 
* See Appendix H, 

Barnard ^Beginnings 45 

acerbity that we displayed an unholy worship of the 
degree. In my Evening Post article I rejoined that 
'the degree ought to mean precisely as much to a 
woman as to a man.' 

At that period there were many of those defiant 
coeducationalists who l despised all Annexes/ who 
approved of no half measures. It may be said that 
these would have cheerfully let women wait until 
doomsday for college education rather than accept 
one iota -less than the admission of women to all classes 
of the men's colleges. As a significant protagonist of 
that attitude, I well recall a disdainful woman from 
the West who arose at a meeting of the International 
Council of Women and, while I listened in amuse- 
ment, scornfully declared : ' I want to say, here tonight 
that those bright, enthusiastic, largei-brained, and 
big-hearted young women of the West, those young 
women who have in their eyes the distant horizons of 
their prairie homes, will have nothing to do with 

However, three years later, in 1891, in an article 
in the New York Evening Post, after quoting the words 
of this fire-eater, I was able to write complacently: 
'There seems to be a great step forward from this 
scornful utterance to the statement in Mrs. Alice 
Freeman Palmer's " Review of the Higher Education 
of Women" in the September Forum, that "The 
affiliated college is one of the three tolerably clear, 
consistent, and accredited types of education/" 

46 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

I confess to a pride in having defended the affiliated 
college at a time when it was neither popular nor 
understood. To me nothing in the education of 
women mattered so much as the creation of right 
standards, and this was effected by the establishment 
of the affiliated college. My faith was surely justified, 
for in 1891 I was happy to proclaim (to the Council 
of Women in Washington) as an established fact: 
'Barnard College is Columbia/ * 

In the archives of Barnard College, I recently came 
across a piece of writing bearing on this. It is in the 
handwriting of the then Chairman of the Academic 
Committee, with whom I remember to have collab- 
orated in its preparation: 'Barnard College was 
founded in the belief that an annex whose parent 
college guarded the dignity of its degree... would 
not be the transition between the separate college 
and the coeducational college, but the solution of the 

* In his address on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary 
of the founding of Barnard College, President Butler said: 'As 
between these three types of institution (separate college, coedu- 
cation, and affiliated college) we are not called upon to choose. The 
choice was made for us a quarter of a century ago, partly by the con- 
ditions that exist in the City of New York, and partly as the result 
of the cogent and persuasive argument of Mrs. Annie Nathan 
Meyer, who has been through all these years a Trustee of Barnard 



Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Columbia 

'Dear Sir: 

'The undersigned would respectfully represent to 
your Honorable Board the great desirability of estab- 
lishing in connection with Columbia College some 
provision for the instruction of women whereby the 
examinations and degrees recently opened to women 
may be made truly available and many-fold more 

1 It is our belief that this can be accomplished by an 
annex similar to Girton and Newnham Colleges, and 
Somerville and Lady Margaret Halls, in Cambridge 
and Oxford Universities and to the Harvard Annex, 
which have so clearly demonstrated their practical 
usefulness under circumstances less advantageous 
than those at Columbia. This course would secure 
for women all the advantages now enjoyed by the 
College man without in any way introducing co-educa- 
tion. If the Trustees are willing to give their official 
sanction to the movement of establishing an annex, 
and to co-operate in its success in all reasonable ways 
which do not lay new burden on the College Treasury 
(if the Trustees are not prepared to undertake the 

48 Barnard ^Beginnings 

financial burden of such an annex), it is believed that 
a Society for the instruction of women by the profes- 
sors and other instructors of Columbia College under 
management entirely satisfactory to your Honorable 
Board would be incorporated and would undertake 
to raise the funds to meet the necessary expenses of 
this important undertaking. 

' If the money must be raised independently of the 
College, it is evident that no substantial progress 
can be made till your Honorable Board has given the 
public its assurance of approval and co-operation. 

'With such assurance friends of Woman's higher 
education would be encouraged to strong efforts to 
meet this great and rapidly growing want in the 

This was the Memorial written by the joint efforts 
of Melvil Dewey, Mary Mapes Dodge, and Annie 
Nathan Meyer. 

I think, but I am not sure, that it was Mrs. Long- 
street who gave me a letter of introduction to Mrs. 
Dodge, who was then the editor of the popular chil- 
dren's magazine, St. Nicholas. I can remember going 
to see her in her roomy apartment on West Fifty- 
Ninth Street, overlooking Central Park, Mrs. Dodge 
welcomed me warmly and gave much excellent advice. 
She saw to it that I met the women most likely to be 
interested in a scheme for starting a college for women 
in New York. And she used the editorial blue pencil 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 49 

on the wording of the Memorial itself. She was a 
warm-hearted, generous, kindly soul, with a delight- 
ful sense of fun. 

The Memorial was signed by a little more than 
half a hundred names. There was no attempt made 
to exceed the large number of signatures which had 
been obtained for the Memorial of 1883. But each 
of the small number of signatures stood for something 
definite in the community.* Mr. Fish told me that 
it was the best set of signatures he had ever seen 
attached to any document of its kind. My uncle, 
Jonathan Nathan, had been Governor Fish's per- 
sonal attorney and political adviser while he had held 
office, and a warm friend for many years. Naturally, 
when in the course of interviewing the Trustees of 
Columbia College, I called upon the Chairman of the 
Board to ascertain whether he was opposed to sanc- 
tioning an affiliated college, he received me most 
graciously. Moreover, he gave me some excellent 
advice, assuring me that large numbers of signatures 
did not impress nearly as much as a few highly sig- 
nificant ones. He confessed that it was not an infre- 
quent experience, when he was Governor of the State 
of New York, to receive a petition begging him to 
do something, while another equally eloquent peti- 
tion lay on his desk beseeching him not to do so and 
signed by many of the same petitioners ! 

After this illuminating talk with Governor Fish, I 
* See Appendix D. 

5 o TSarnard Beginnings 

determined that the Memorial which was to appear 
before the Trustees of Columbia College should im- 
press them with the sincerity and conviction of each 
signer. Among them were thirteen ministers, four 
lawyers, an ex-Judge of the State Supreme Court, five 
doctors, five educators, including the Presidents of the 
two City Colleges, four editors, four men of impor- 
tance in the world of finance, the President of the 
Board of Education, one representative of an old, 
distinguished New York family, one railroad presi- 
dent, one ex-Mayor of New York, two women who 
led in important philanthropic work, four literary 
women, and three women who were important only 
as being the wives of influential men. 

One wonders, if such a Memorial were being pre- 
pared today, whether so large a proportion of the 
signers would be ministers. Probably not. But it was 
argued at the time that each minister stood, not alone 
for himself, but for his large and influential and 
one ventured to hope wealthy congregation. 

Of all the ministers, I was most profoundly im- 
pressed by Arthur Brooks, Rector of the Church of 
the Incarnation at Thirty-Fifth Street and Madison 
Avenue. It needed no persuasion to secure his sig- 
nature; nor did his interest need to be awakened for 
the higher education of women. He was already heart 
and soul for it. He regarded it actually as a means of 
salvation. The head of a fashionable church, he saw 
with dismay among the women of his congregation 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 5 1 

the tragic waste of good material, realized to the full 
the emptiness of aimless lives. Arthur Brooks knew 
and valued the solace of mental training. In his 
article for the series which I later edited for the New 
York Evening Post, he attacked the superstition that 
education meant irreligion: 'The fear that knowledge 
will destroy faith is an old one The revival of 
knowledge for men in the fifteenth and sixteenth cen- 
turies was viewed with the same apprehension 
There is no reason to dread the new step. Once the 
question of an educated clergy was under discussion . . . 
that battle has been fought and gained. Now we have 
passed on to the question of an educated womanhood. 
, . . The religious nature is not going to be killed by 
education; it is going to be developed, to have new 
material given it upon which to work, to be made a 
more effective instrument for the world's conversion 
and regeneration than it ever was before.' 

Brave words for nearly fifty years ago! There was 
more in the article of the same sort of argument, all 
of which was tremendously helpful to the struggling 
movement, as it quieted the qualms of those who 
were hesitating to give their approval. 

In an article in the Columbia Quarterly, June, 1900, 
Dean Emily James Smith Putnam aptly says of him, 
'It was Dr. Brooks's special gift to be able to con- 
vince people who had never felt it that there is such 
a thing as hunger and thirst after learning/ 

Most of the signatures to the Memorial were given 

^Barnard beginnings 

willingly, though it was necessary to persuade a few 
as to the wisdom or timeliness of the movement. 
' Moral support/ which was of course enormously 
important, was far easier to secure than financial 
support. I don't think that anyone actually refused 
to sign the petition, however reluctant a few appeared 
to be at first. 

While it took considerable mental effort to decide 
upon the names that would be most impressive to 
the Trustees of Columbia, the physical effort involved 
in getting the signatures was far greater. And it was 
not easy in those days to find a person at home. There 
were no telephones to prepare the way. One either 
sent crawling messenger boys with a written note 
requesting the favor of an interview, or else one went 
to the house again and again until the quarry was 
bagged. One chose, if one were wise, a time near, but 
not too near, the dinner hour. After, not before, the 
meal. Naturally this policy played havoc with one's 
own dinner hour; but that was a minor consideration. 
It was sometimes possible to catch women, educators, 
ministers, doctors, and authors at home and in a 
favorable frame of mind immediately after lunch. 
Editors and bankers were best seen at their offices. I 
had no carriage of my own, nor was I sufficiently 
affluent, in those early days of my husband's prac- 
tice, to afford to hire one. Every evening, when I 
returned from one or two interviews, I would be 
obliged to lie flat on my back in order to get up 

^Barnard beginnings 5 3 

strength enough to go on with the next day's 

Looking back across the years, many of the signers 
of the Memorial still stand out vividly to the elderly 
woman who, when she was a young bride, appealed 
to them for their support. 

There was Dr. Fordyce Barker, a distinguished 
physician to the fashionable, who had attended Gen- 
eral Grant and of whom Charles Dickens, during his 
visit to America in 1887, had written to James Fields, 
' I have been obliged to call in a doctor Dr. Fordyce 
Barker, a very agreeable fellow/ 

The Reverend Richard Storrs, who had been one of 
the signers of the giant Memorial of 1882, and one of 
the speakers at the Union Club Meeting, was of course 
also a signer of the new Memorial. Dr. Storrs was 
one of the finest-looking men in America. Nearing 
his seventieth year, he was about a year younger than 
another warm believer in the higher education of 
women, George William Curtis, whom he closely 
resembled. Both men had beautiful clear, pink skins 
and the whitest of hair, and long, flowing whiskers 
also of pure white. Both men were in appearance, in 
spirit, in intellectual attainment, and in a certain 
fine urbanity and reticent charm, representatives of 
the very best that America has produced. George 
William Curtis, who had been the editor of Harper's 
Weekly for nearly thirty years, was the first President 
of the National Civil Service Reform League at a time 

54 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

when its principles had an unimaginably hard fight 
for recognition. So reluctant was he to endanger its 
success that he twice refused the great honor of becom- 
ing the American Minister to the Court of St. James's. 

Chauncey Depew signed enthusiastically. I made 
an appointment to see him at his office in the Grand 
Central Station and had written that I would take 
only ten minutes of his valuable time. In reply he had 
expressed, in polite phraseology, his profound skepti- 
cism of this. Therefore, during the entire interview 
I stood having refused to be seated with watch 
in hand. I told him I wanted to prove to him that 
at least one woman could keep her word. He was 
considerably amused at this, and for the first time, 
although happily by no means the last, I was privi* 
leged to hear his hearty laugh, the laugh one would 
think of a man without a care in the world. The 
knowledge that few men in the country bore heavier 
responsibilities added to the pleasure of hearing that 
spontaneous, care-free guffaw. 

There stands out clearly the memory of Richard 
Watson Gilder, editor of the Century Magazine, He 
was a most gracious and gentle poet with dark, vel- 
vety eyes, a sensitive face and a sensitive soul, respon- 
sive to every manifestation of beauty. His was a 
valiant spirit, too, aflame with the zeal of good citi- 
zenship, for he was a leader in every high service of 
his time, whether artistic, literary, or social. 

Of course no persuasion was needed to secure the 

^Barnard beginnings 5 5 

signature of Josephine Shaw Lowell. Although giving 
herself unsparingly for the betterment of all human- 
ity, she had always kept before her the special inter- 
ests of her sex. Her mellow wisdom and her nicely 
balanced sense of justice kept her from ascribing to 
women all the virtues. When the more strident of the 
feminists pointed out to her their inherent superior- 
ity over frail Man, she would gently suggest that 
women 'were still in a measure removed from the 
necessity of accommodating the ideal to the details 
of the actual.' What an inspiration she was! I was 
to see a good deal of her a few years later when she 
succeeded in enlisting the valiant services of my 
sister in one of her pet creations, the Consumers' 

When, in 1906, Mrs. Lowell passed on, a poem by 
Richard Watson Gilder appeared, called 'A Woman 
of Sorrows.' 

4 It was but yesterday she walked these streets. 
Making them holier. How many years 

With all her widowed love immeasurably 
She ministered unto the abused and stricken 
And all the oppressed and suffering of mankind 
Herself forgetting, but never those in need. 1 


WHILE the first Board of Trustees for the new college 
was being slowly and carefully made up, I was indus- 
triously interviewing each member of the Board of 
Trustees of Columbia. 

I found these gentlemen, almost without excep- 
tion, cordial and co-operative. In the rare cases 
in which I failed to win warm interest, I at least 
secured the promise not to disapprove when the 
Memorial came up for final consideration. Very little 
opposition was encountered to the plan for a separate 
college for women to be run and financed by a sep- 
arate Board of Trustees, the instruction to be given 
by members of the Faculty of Columbia College, the 
graduates to receive the Columbia degree. 

It is certainly true, as President Butler has more 
than once pointed out, that it is a 'myth' that Bar- 
nard College had to overcome the stubborn resistance 
of Columbia. It was to coeducation that the Trustees 
of Columbia had been definitely opposed and this 
had led to the unfounded report that they frowned 
upon the education of women. Until then, no other 
body had come before them seeking permission to 
open an affiliated college for women. 

There had been, it is true, some sort of attempt on 
the part of an ambitious head of a fashionable private 

TZarnard "Beginnings 5 7 

school for young ladies to have her institution, while 
still bearing her name, accepted as the female depart- 
ment of Columbia; but of this the Trustees naturally 
fought shy. It was inevitable* therefore, that they 
should scrutinize with great care the motives of the 
young woman who now approached them. So far 
as they could see, she had no personal axe to grind. 
It was not conceivable that she should seek any posi- 
tion for herself on the executive staff, since married 
women in those days did not attempt to hold profes- 
sional positions. Any position on the teaching staff 
was impossible, not only for this reason, but chiefly 
because the instruction was to be given wholly by 
members of the Faculty of Columbia College. It was 
very certain, moreover, that even if in time there 
should be an exception and a woman were appointed 
to the Faculty, it would be a woman with an im- 
pressive collection of letters after her name. Their 
petitioner had not a single letter to hers. 

One of the very first of Columbia's Trustees to be 
interviewed was Seth Low, who had been, not long 
before, Mayor of Brooklyn, and who, four years later, 
was to become Mayor of Greater New York, He 
gave his visitor, both then and at subsequent inter- 
views, valuable advice as to the particular argument 
which would have the greatest weight with each of 
his colleagues on the Board. With his characteristic 
deep chuckle, he used to dub her 'a regular Brooklyn 
politician.' This was in 1888. A little more than a 

5 8 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

year later, he was elected the eleventh President of 
Columbia College.* 

In his inaugural address, in reply to the welcome 
of the Alumni, a welcome offered by Frederic R. 
Coudert, President of the Alumni and a Trustee of 
Barnard College, the new President said: 'I rejoice 
with you, sir, that in Barnard College Columbia has 
found a way in which she can with heartiness co-oper- 
ate in advancing the higher education of women 
For its name's sake and for its work's sake, Barnard 
College may rest assured of my hearty and willing help/ 

Mrs. Seth Low was an Associate Member of the 
College from the very beginning and in 1891 became 

* The inauguration of Seth Low as President of Columbia Col- 
lege was held at the Metropolitan Opera House, on February 2, 
1890. The men members of Barnard's Board of Trustees were 
Invited to march in the academic procession and sit on the stage 
immediately behind the Trustees of Columbia. The women Trus- 
tees were seated in two boxes. They sat in most luxuriously uphol- 
stered chairs, and not only were far more comfortable than they 
could have been on the stage, but they undoubtedly heard the 
speeches far better. Nevertheless, this sex-discrimination rankled. 
In 1893, when Barnard's first class graduated, it is on record that 
at the exercises, which took place at Carnegie Hall, there were alto- 
gether ninety-six seats reserved for the Trustees and Associate 
Members of Barnard College. But I was not satisfied and went to 
President Low and suggested that if the women Trustees were 
worthy of sitting on the Board of Trustees of Barnard, they were 
worthy of sitting on the platform with the men. The President, 
who was an extremely just man, saw the logic of this position, and 
thereafter, at all public functions, the women Trustees of the 
affiliated College as well as the women members of her Faculty 
took their place in the academic procession and upon the platform. 

Barnard beginnings 59 

a Trustee, serving on the Finance Committee. It 
was considered, when that time carne, a great feather 
in Barnard's cap that the wife of the University's 
President consented to serve on the Board. Mrs. Low 
was warmly interested in the struggles of the young 
college and her letters to the Chairman of the Board 
show her deep concern in the lack of financial support 
during these early trying days. One of the early 
parlor meetings was held at her home in East Sixty- 
Fourth Street* An engraved invitation beginning 
to be yellowed with age lies before me as I write. 
Addresses were promised by the Reverend Arthur 
Brooks, Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Miss 
Ella Weed, Chairman of the Academic Committee; 
Miss E. O. Abbott, Secretary and Registrar of the 

* Some of the larger meetings were held in larger assembly halls, 
especially in Hamilton Hall, Columbia College. Holding them actu- 
ally within the gates of Columbia was very impressive. It was cer- 
tainly good psychology, for it proved that the parent college could 
not be against our efforts to open an affiliated college for women. 

It was at one of these Hamilton Hall meetings that word came 
to us that Mrs. Kinnicutt was bringing Mrs. A. A. Anderson. I shall 
never forget the thrill that came to me as I looked about knowing 
that one of the women in the audience was the generous giver of a 
contingent hundred thousand dollars to Roosevelt Hospital. How 
we all prayed that the hospital authorities would decide against 
accepting the terms of her gift! For she had told Mrs. Kinnicutt, 
who was a close friend of hers, that she wished she had known 
sooner of the establishment of Barnard College. In due time the 
gift to the hospital was refused, and the money did come to us. 
Mrs. Anderson was made a Trustee of the College and served until 
her death. She was a sweet, unaffected woman of superb common 
sense, and ultimately our most munificent donor. 

60 ^Barnard "Beginnings 

College; and Mr. T. G. Croswell, Headmaster of 
Brearly School. 

I can still heartily endorse what I said of President 
Low in an interview in the Evening Post in 1910: 'Too 
much cannot be said of him during the early strug- 
gles of the College. He was interested and helpful 
from the very start, even when he merely served on 
the Board of Trustees, before he was President of the 
College. He was one of the most just men I have ever 
known and one whose services to Barnard simply can- 
not be overestimated.' * 

Among the Trustees of Columbia who could safely 
be counted on to help, was Bishop Potter, who, it will 
be remembered, while Rector of Grace Church had 
addressed the large meeting at the Union League Club 
in 1882. He had also been one of the signers of the 

* I speak of Mr. Low's sense of justice. Here is one instance 
of it: He sent me a letter by hand on the evening of the celebration 
of the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Barnard College: 

l My dear Mrs. Meyer* it reads, *I was grieved that nothing was 
said this afternoon of your quite essential services to Barnard Col- 
lege in the early days. I imagine that Mr. Choate's knowledge of 
details is not large or I think he would not have failed to say the 
word that ought to have been spoken; but perhaps you will let me 
say to you, out of my intimate acquaintance with all of Barnard's 
struggle in the beginning, that I gladly recognize your zeal and cour- 
age and energy have been one of the conspicuous influences which 
have made Barnard College possible. 

'Regretting the oversight, quite unintentional, I am sure, on the 
part of Mr. Choate, and congratulating you upon the fact, whether 
spoken or not. 

'I am sincerely yours 


^Barnard ^Beginnings 61 

gigantic Memorial which had resulted. He was a 
man of power and great charm charm of appear- 
ance, charm of manner, charm of voice. Aristocrat to 
the finger-tips, he was yet at the same time a tried and 
trusted friend of the wage-earner. At the great 
Memorial Meeting for the Bishop, significantly held 
in the vast hall of Cooper Union, the Reverend Percy 
Stickney Grant, referring to this contradiction, ob- 
served: 'The best democrat is apt to be the best 
aristocrat, for unless a man is a lover of the best 
things I am not flattered by his willingness to frat- 
ernize with me. But to be treated as an equal by 
those who know and love the best is the final dis- 
tinction in a democracy.' 

On the same occasion, John Mitchell, one-time 
President of the United Mine Workers, declared : ' In 
the death of Bishop Potter, the wage-earner of our 
country lost a real friend and a conscientious and ear- 
nest adviser.' 

The poet, Richard Watson Gilder, spoke of him 
as 'our warrior priest/ 'One of the greatest souls I 
ever met,' cried Booker T. Washington. 

His friendship for Barnard College was active and 
valuable, and it never faltered. 

Friendliness to the movement on the part of Ex- 
Governor Fish has already been mentioned. W. Bay- 
ard Cutting was also extremely affable, and so was 
George Rives, who for a few years before his death 
served on the Barnard Board. A son of Mr. Rives is 

"Barnard "Beginnings 

on the present Board. Among other Columbia 
Trustees who were friendly to the cause were Talbot W. 
Chambers, John Crosby Brown, Joseph W. Harper, 
and Charles M. Da Costa, the latter two even help- 
ing to the extent of becoming annual subscribers to 
the fund to support the College. I recall pleasant 
interviews with Stephen P. Nash and the two Scher- 
merhorns, uncle and nephew, although, on the whole, 
they remained non-committal. 

1 Of course, there could be no doubt about the stand 
that would be taken by Dr. Cornelius Agnew, the dis- 
tinguished ophthalmologist. I was able to see him 
only once before his death, which must have taken 
place during April of that year, as it is recorded in 
the Minutes of the Columbia Board for May 7, 1888. 
The wife of Dr. Agnew was tremendously interested 
in women's education, and I remember well the ex- 
citement that was caused by the Mayor's appointing 
her and her friend, Grace Dodge, as members of the 
Board of Education. It was the first time for women 
so to serve. 

The Reverend Morgan Dix, Rector of Trinity 
Church, of whom mention has been made, was Chair- 
man of the Executive Committee of the Trustees and 
considered by many the most influential member of 
the Board. He had been elected a Trustee of Columbia 
in 1862 and thus, at the time of which I write, had 
already served on that Board for more than a quarter 
of a century. Even before that election, he was an 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 63 

intensely loyal alumnus A.B., Class of 1848; M.A., 
1857, and D.D., 1863 and the excerpts from his 
diaries relating to his alma mater's interests,* begin 
with the year 1854 and extend to 1907. 

I had left Dr. Dix to the last from pure funk. I kept 
putting off the one visit that I dreaded. Perhaps my 
dread arose from the fact that I knew nothing could 
be accomplished toward starting a college for women 
affiliated with Columbia, if Dr. Dix were opposed to 
it; and that there would be very little, if any opposi- 
tion by others, if the plan found favor in his eyes. 
Naturally the crucial importance of this interview 
made me nervous about it. But there were also other 
reasons. I knew or rather I thought I knew 
that this influential divine was unalterably opposed 
to the higher education of women. His supposed 
implacable enmity toward the sex had become notori- 
ous. A short time before, Dr. Dix had preached in 
Trinity Chapel a series of Lenten lectures concerning 
women, which had aroused a great deal of highly 
acrimonious discussion. 

However we of today may disagree with the learned 
doctor's sentiments, however we might have dis- 
agreed with them had we heard them when they were 
uttered nearly half a century ago, we cannot deny 
that they expressed the earnest convictions of a min- 
ister who fervently believed, 'whatever our personal 
shortcomings, we have a commission from above a 
* Now in Columbiana archives. 

64 TZarnard Beginnings 

message to man from God.' Reading the published 
lectures from first to last, it is impossible to refuse to 
acknowledge the sincerity of the opening words, 
'Under a strong sense of duty, I proceed/ 

If, even at the time they were spoken, the senti- 
ments were behind the best liberal thought of the 
day, how archaic must they sound to modern ears! 
Yet a true understanding reveals the fact that they 
are not so much out of touch with modern thought 
because of their undoubted conservatism, as because 
of their idealism. Clearly these lectures were written 
with the writer's eyes fixed, not upon life, but upon 
what life ought to be. His mind was filled with the 
contemplation, not of examples of worldliness, but of 
other- worldliness. And no one can deny that Dr. Dix 
expressed his convictions with boldness and vigor; 
there was no mistaking his meaning. 

On the whole, the redoubtable Mrs. Lillie Dever- 
eaux Blake, who undertook a series of lectures in 
rebuttal, had rather the better of the argument. 
Certainly the trend of events has been kinder to her 
than to him. And yet certain inaccuracies crept 
into her fiery reply, which was published under the 
title, Woman's Place Today. For instance, it was 
scarcely just to claim: 'It is well known that Dr. Dix 
alone today prevents the opening of Columbia College 
to women.' Mrs. Blake had actual coeducation in 
mind and most of his colleagues were as opposed to 
that as was Dr. Dix. Further, as we have seen, she 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 65 

made use of the well-worn and rather futile argu- 
ment that the word 'youth' included girls as well as 
boys. However the word might have included them 
in a strictly philological sense, they were certainly 
far from being included in intention in 1754 when the 
charter for King's College was granted by George II 
a charter reading that it was * founded for the Edu- 
cation and Instruction of Youth in the Liberal Arts 
and Sciences.' Arthur Brooks has pointed out how 
in the eighteenth century such an education was far 
from including even the majority of the male sex. It 
was definitely narrowed even to a certain class of the 
male sex only. 

Mrs. Blake called the august head of Trinity Church 
'a Rip Van Winkle who had slept, not twenty, but 
two hundred years/ Some of his sayings certainly do 
have an archaic ring. For instance, this from the 
second lecture: 'Woman becomes offensive and de- 
testable when the clamor for rights appears to be tak- 
ing the form of competition with men on a field which 
God has reserved for men only.' Or this from the 
opening lecture: 'We hear no end of talk about 
" higher education." I suggest that what we wish to 
know about a woman's education ... is whether it is 
to set out from a true conception of her place, calling 
and powers; and, if it does not, but is to be conducted 
on some false theory, aiming at making her what she 
is not meant to be, it will be, not a higher education, 
but a lower, whatever the outward form ; it will lower 

66 "Barnard beginnings 

her, and help still more to disorganize the social 

On the other hand, Dr. Dix's opponent did exhibit 
many of the symptoms of that gay and irresponsible 
mixture of sex-consciousness and self-esteem which I, 
a dozen or so years later, was moved to describe in 
a play as 'spread-henism.' 

As the time arrived when that visit to Dr. Dix could 
no longer be put off, an appointment was asked for 
and most courteously granted. I was so nervous 
about the interview that, for the first and only time, 
I implored my husband to accompany me on my 
errand of persuasion. Dr. Meyer pityingly consented 
and, with a word of encouragement, left me at the 
door of the office of the Rector in Wall Street. (When, 
many years later, he was to raise money for his 
tuberculosis work, Dr. Meyer said he recalled my 
panic of that day and realized the sensation in a new 
and vivid way.) My knees were wobbling, and I could 
scarcely bear to think what my voice would sound 
like, if and when I could control it sufficiently to be 
heard at all. 

Dr. Dix was then just past sixty. There was in 
his handsome face a strange blend of kindness and 
austerity an austerity which increased as time 
went on. His colleague on the Board, Mr. George 
Rives, in an appreciative little brochure, speaks of 
Dr. Dix's 'calm and striking presence, his simple, 
clear and logical method of statement, and his unaf- 

TZarnard ^Beginnings 67 

fected earnestness of conviction. 1 He acknowledges 
Dr. Dix's conservatism, but denies that he objected 
to change in itself he was merely 'not willing to 
agree to innovations unless he was first fully con- 
vinced that they would turn out to be improvements/ 

Imagine the visitor's amazement on finding herself 
welcomed with charming grace and suavity. The 
dreaded ogre was more than friendly. Perhaps he 
noticed her nervousness and in order to put her at 
her ease inquired if she were not related to his dear 
friends, the Harmon Nathans, who had summered 
for many years in a cottage near his own at Rye Beach. 
Learning that he was quite right in this surmise, and 
that his friends were first cousins of hers, his affability 
became a warm cordiality. I murmured a little 
thanksgiving to my relatives for coming to my rescue at 
such a crucial moment. Cheers. The relief was immense. 

But a still greater and more important surprise 
was to follow. Dr. Dix did not beat about the bush. 
'There never was any question,' he assured me, 'of 
the Trustees of Columbia frowning upon such a move- 
ment as you have had the wisdom to organize. Some- 
where among the Minutes of our Board you will find 
a Resolution to the effect that if an appeal comes to 
us for a separately financed College for Women, 
manned by the instructors of Columbia College, and 
with proper safeguards as to the dignity and responsi- 
bility of its sponsors, it would be approved/ 

So that was that! Small wonder that my knees 

68 ^Barnard Beginnings 

again began to wobble; but this time not from 
anxiety, but from the suddenness and completeness 
with which all anxiety was removed. How much 
worry, how much thought and labor, how many 
sleepless nights I should have been spared had I not 
left this visit to the last! How was it that not a single 
member of the Board had told me of this Resolution? 
Were they ignorant of it? Had they known of it and 
forgotten it? Or, as was very probable, as I came 
later to find out for myself, had they voted for the 
Resolution without understanding its import? 

The room reeled. 

1 1 know I am supposed to be against woman's edu- 
cation/ the kindly, golden voice continued, 'but I am 
not. I am against wild women/ Here cold steel 
entered into the warm gold. 'I disapprove of un- 
womanly tactics, of creatures who are not men and 
certainly not women/ 

When I closed the door behind me that door 
before which I had stood and trembled but a little 
while before I knew that the battle was won.* 

* In Dr. Morgan Dix's Diaries, we find: 'Feb. p, 1888.... At three 
o'clock or a little before that hour a lady came to see me about a 
plan for getting up an Annex for Columbia. Her name was Mrs. 
Annie Nathan Meyer. Mar, 5, l8SS. . . . The petition for the Annex 
was presented and referred to a Select Committee to consist of 
Messrs. Nash, Mitchell, Harper, Dr. Agnew and myself.' 

There is nowhere the slightest indication of his, or any Trustee's, 
antagonism to the idea. On the contrary, as early as May 7, we 
read: 'A report in favor of the Annex was made/ 

Rather touchingly, on the same date and just preceding this 
entry, ' President Barnard's resignation was received. 1 


DR. Dix was indeed well posted. Five years before, 
on February 5, 1883, as we know, a Select Committee 
of which Dr. Dix was himself Chairman, had been 
appointed 'to consider a petition addressed to the 
Board through the Association for Promoting the 
Higher Education of Women/ This Committee had 
made a lengthy report a month later in which the 
sentiments of the Board were admirably summed up. 
It may be worth our while here to quote from it rather 

' Minutes of the Meeting of the Fifth Day of March, 
the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and 
eighty- three: 

'Extract from the report of the Select Committee 
to whom was referred a petition from certain residents 
of the City of New York and the neighborhood, ask- 
ing that women be admitted to the Lectures and 
Examinations of Columbia College : 

' If it were practicable to offer a suggestion to the 
many eminent signers of the petition now under 
consideration, your Committee would most respect- 
fully remind them that they have it in their power to 
make contribution amply sufficient to found and 
maintain a school for the education of women, and 

70 ^Barnard beginnings 

that they could not in any way so clearly manifest 
the depth and sincerity of their interest in the subject 
as by providing such a school to be organized as part 
of the University and to be under the auspices of its 
general government while yet entirely detached from 
its existing departments/ 

All this was significant and distinctly encouraging. 
But listen to the conclusion: 'Should such substan- 
tial evidence of the strength of their faith be given, 
your Committee have no doubt that it would afford 
great gratification to the Board [this scarcely sounds 
like a Board absolutely and irrevocably opposed to 
the higher education of women] and that they would 
carefully consider how best to develop the growth of 
so interesting a foundation. But it cannot be expected 
by anyone acquainted with the actual financial con- 
dition of the College that this Board should halt in 
its present course to plunge into experiments doubtful 
in principle and in results [here we see conservatism 
rearing its head], and certain to divert attention and 
means from the object for which the College was 

That the Association thus addressed had failed to 
take up the challenge seems to some extent at least 
to justify my contention that the promoters of this 
early movement were more interested in securing 
coeducation than education. As I had indignantly 
written in a journal called University, 'The coeduca- 
tionalists who will ignore the Annex project are 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 71 

butting their heads against a stone wall when a 
nicely swarded path lies before them/ 

Two months later this same Select Committee had 
further amplified its views: 'Your Committee are of 
the opinion that at present the education of women 
may best be carried on in schools or colleges of their 
own, and that these should be so ordered and ap- 
pointed as to exclude either a merely superficial teach- 
ing, or a work so oppressive as to impair the health 
of the students/ ' 

It was a period when argument flew back and 
forth concerning woman's power to endure the rigors 
of a collegiate education without her health's becom- 
ing dangerously impaired.* I remember the excited 
asseverations of its advocates that the bare backs 
and shoulders of the evening gowns of the frivolous 
were far more apt to lay the seeds of disease in the 
so-called frailer sex than was a carefully arranged 

* In 1877 President Bartlett of Dartmouth College said: 'Girls 
cannot endure the hard, unintermitting, and long-continued strain 
to which boys are subjected Were girls admitted to the Latin 
School [it was not a question of admitting women to college]... 
they would for a time hold their own..., I should rather fear their 
success with its penalty of shortened lives or permanently deranged 
constitutions. You must, in the long run, overtask and injure the 
girls, or you must sacrifice the present and legitimate standard for 
a school for boys/ 

An eminent classicist, Professor William Everett, declared that 
* Greek Literature is not fit for girls/ and said in substance that 
what was a mental tonic for boys would be dangerous for girls. See 
Woman's Work in America, pp. 26-27. 

72. ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

course of study. Nevertheless, women students were 
constantly besought to be careful of their health, to 
eat carefully, to sleep enough, to dress warmly, and 
at all times to remember that a single breakdown in 
college gave dangerous ammunition to the enemies of 
the higher education of women. One young girl who 
was obliged to leave college because of ill-health 
attracted more attention than the breakdown of a 
dozen male students, or of two dozen society girls. 

The Select Committee expresses the pious hope 
'that means will be provided for establishing educa- 
tional institutions in this city, in which all reasonable 
requirements will be met/ But the meat of the whole 
Report was in the following words: 'When a school 
of this kind thoroughly furnished for its good work, 
and conducted with due regard for the laws of physi- 
ology and hygiene, and reverence for the principles of 
the Christian religion, shall ask recognition, we think 
that a way will be found to connect it with the Univer- 
sity system, and to secure to it the advantages of the 
personal attendance of our College faculty in its sev- 
eral branches of instruction/ 

The Report closes on this hopeful note: 'If a con- 
siderable number of young women should avail them- 
selves of what is thus offered, it will be an encourage- 
ment to wealthy and liberal citizens to contribute 
freely towards giving the plan a definite and perma- 
nent shape, by founding and endowing a department 
for the education of women, bearing to our College a 

Barnard beginnings 73 

relation analogous to that of what is commonly known 
as an "Annex."' * 

Here it was, actually in existence, an official state- 
ment that the kind of organization to the creation of 
which I was devoting my time would receive friendly 
consideration at the hands of the Board of Trustees 
of Columbia. And not a soul had breathed the exist- 
ence of this report until my meeting with Dr. Dix! 

It would look as if very little remained to be done. 
Those who were furthering the movement were jubi- 
lant over Dr. Dix's words, but the Minutes in which 
the Report of the Select Committee was contained 
were never seen by any member of the new organiza- 
tion. They were dug up some forty years later in the 
course of the preparation of this book; and that the 
acceptance of the 'Annex' or affiliated idea had been 
so complete was a surprise even to the woman to 
whom Dr. Dix had confided his surmises.f 

* The Minute of the Trustees' meeting at which this report was 
accepted seems to indicate an eagerness on the part of Dr. Dix to 
have this point understood, for he is shown to have expressed the 
opinion that the whole report should be printed so that the Trus- 
tees* attitude might not be misunderstood. At the same meeting 
Mr. Gerard Beekman said prophetically that to his mind this ac- 
tion of the Trustees meant the eventual establishment of an annex. 

t Provost William Tenney Brewster writes (Columbia University 
Quarterly, March, 1909): 'The view has some currency that these 
concessions were wrung from an unwilling Board of Trustees, But 
such is not the case. Practically any time after 1880, Barnard 
College could have been established if funds for the movement had 
been forthcoming/ 

74 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

' But meanwhile/ the Report concluded, 'your Com- 
mittee can only recommend measures which must be 
regarded as provisional and tentative.' Thus did the 
Committee itself characterize the Collegiate Course 
for Women which was shortly to be announced, and 
which was beyond question an outgrowth of this Com- 
mittee * and a direct result of the meeting held at the 
Union League Club in 1882. 

* Dr. Dix's Diaries show that he himself had programmed this 


THE Memorial asking for the endorsement of an 
affiliated college, which was sent by 'Friends of the 
Higher Education of Women' and which is found 
quoted verbatim in an earlier chapter, receives notice 
in the Minutes of the Meeting of the Trustees of 
Columbia of March 5, 1888 less than two months 
after the publication of my article in the Nation. 
The Minute reads: 'The Chairman presented a com- 
munication from the " Friends of Woman's Higher 
Education " representing the great desirability of 
establishing in connection with Columbia College 
some provision for the instruction of women whereby 
the examinations and degrees recently opened to 
them may be made truly available and more valuable; 
which was referred to a Select Committee.' 

The Chairman appointed to this Committee Mr. 
Nash, Dr. Dix, Mr. Mitchell, Dr. Agnew, and Mr. 

At the very next meeting of the Board there ap- 
pears in the Minutes a significant item, which explains 
why no notice was sent to these Friends of the Higher 
Education of Women of the action which was taken 
by the Board at the Meeting of May 7, 1888. In 
April, 'The Clerk was granted leave of absence until 
November 5, 1888.' 

76 ^Barnard beginnings 

In some way the person who was substituting in 
the place of the Clerk must have failed in his duty, 
for no reply whatever was sent to the Memorial of 
February, 1888, and those who had so carefully spon- 
sored it were greatly discouraged. Had a prompt and 
favorable reply been received, it is probable that the 
doors of Barnard College would have been opened in 
the autumn of that year instead of waiting until 1889. 

One day, in the following autumn or early winter, 
I happened to remark to one of the Trustees of Colum- 
bia that everything was at a standstill both with 
regard to raising the money for the women's college 
and getting together its Board of Trustees, because 
Columbia had seen fit utterly to ignore the petition. 
The Trustee expressed himself as amazed I can't 
state with certainty whether that Trustee was Mr. 
Low or Dr. Dix, though I am inclined to believe it 
was the former as he had a distinct recollection 
of favorable action's having been taken as promptly 
as it was possible to act. Equally amazed, I wrote a 
letter to the Clerk of the Columbia Board and at 
last secured a copy of the Resolution which had been 
passed at the Meeting of May 7, 1888. It read: 

'The scheme contemplated by the application is 
not described with much detail, but from its reference 
to Girton and other Colleges, and its statements, the 
Committee infer that it is proposed to secure near the 
College, a suitable building in which the instruction 
given in the College can be substantially repeated, by 

Barnard ^Beginnings 77 

the same Professors and Instructors, so that women 
can have in the proposed Annex, the same advan- 
tages of continuous teaching that are enjoyed in the 
College. Viewed in this light, the Committee are 
quite ready to recommend with qualifications here- 
after stated an approval by the Board. 1 

The qualifications referred to did not seem unrea- 
sonable : 

* The Committee does not recommend that the Col- 
lege itself should assume any obligation or incur any 
responsibility in respect to the proposed building. 

1 The Committee are also of the opinion that before 
the College should be expected to give anything of an 
official sanction to the movement, the measures taken 
by its friends should be so far advanced as to furnish 
some reasonable security that, once established, the 
institution will be permanent. 

'In this view, the building to be used should be 
acquired by a corporate body, having Trustees 
friendly to the project, and approved by the Board 
of the College. 

'The Committee are also of the opinion that the 
building should be occupied, as are the College Build- 
ings, for purposes of instruction exclusively, and not 
for the boarding or lodging of students, and that the 
instruction given in it should be given only by the 
Professors and Instructors of the College. They also 
consider that the College should, notwithstanding 
any support that may be given to the project by the 

78 ^Barnard beginnings 

College, be entirely free to sever all connection with 
it should it be found not to work satisfactorily. 

'The Committee recommend the passage of the 
following Resolution : 

'Resolved: That the Trustees of Columbia College 
approve in its general features of the plan proposed 
by Certain Friends of the Higher Education of 
Women, of providing a building near the College, in 
which women pursuing collegiate studies can have 
by the same Professors and Instructors, the same ad- 
vantages of tuition which are enjoyed by men in the 
College, but cannot give at present any official sanc- 
tion to the plan. In reference to any such official 
sanction in the future, it should, in the opinion of the 
Board, be subject to the following conditions: 

'i. The building to be acquired by the friends of 
the movement, and without pecuniary aid from the 
College, or incurring of any pecuniary obligation by it. 

l a. The property to be held, and the instruction 
managed, by an incorporated Association, the Trus- 
tees of which, and its name, constitution and regula- 
tions should be approved by the Trustees of the 

'3. The building to be used for the purpose of 
instruction only, not for boarding or lodging of 

'4. Instruction to the women students to be given 
exclusively by Professors and Instructors in the 
College, under independent arrangements with them, 

TSarnard ^Beginnings 79 

which shall not interfere with their primary duties 
to the College. 

'5. Any connection between the two institutions to 
be subject to the right of the College to terminate it, 
upon proper notice, if found not to work satisfactorily/ 


DURING the months that followed the sending of the 
Memorial to Columbia, while the Friends of the 
Higher Education of Women awaited the reply with 
what patience they could command, there were few 
idle moments for me. The signatures obtained and 
the Memorial completed, there was the interviewing 
of the Columbia Trustees which has already been 
referred to, the slow building up of the Board for the 
new college and a number of influential women to be 
asked to serve as Associate Members. It was neces- 
sary to proceed with great caution. 

I sometimes think that the composition of Barnard's 
first Board of Trustees was an impressive argument 
for the existence of an all-wise and all-benevolent 
Heavenly Guidance in the affairs of earth. How else 
could a woman as young in years and experience as 
I was then, who knew nothing whatever of the ramifi- 
cations of New York society, steer her way safely 
between the Charybdis of ultra-conservatism on the 
one hand, and on the other, the even more dangerous 
Scylla of radicalism or queerness, or whatever term 
was used in those days to express advanced vision 
and a spirit too independent to be harnessed. She did 
contrive to bring together a Board the personnel of 
which was approved by so highly conservative a 

"Barnard "Beginnings 81 

body as the Trustees of Columbia and yet the mem- 
bers of which must individually have possessed con- 
siderable liberality and independence, to identify 
themselves with so precarious and experimental an 

The task was complicated by conflicting advice 
and bewildering variations of gossip : ' If you can only 
succeed in getting Mrs. Blank interested, you are 

* College education for women slowly made its way against all 
manner of criticisms. Somewhere about 1890 (again I find myself 
careless in dating the clippings in my scrapbooks) I wrote a letter 
to the Evening Post: 'Higher Education in America is met by two 
criticisms; if for the man, will it not interfere with his prime busi- 
ness of life, the acquiring of a fortune, if for the woman, will it not 
interfere with her prime business of life, the acquiring of a husband? ' 
I referred to an article appearing the day before in the Times which 
asserted that 'the one sad result of the Higher Education of Ameri- 
can women is rendering women dissatisfied with the staple article 
known as the American husband of today: 1 It is a long letter. I end 
by making a plea to the men to seek wives more their equals in 
mentality and training. 'Thus, no one criticizes the unequal mar- 
riages of a Milton, a Rousseau, or a Goethe, but let Margaret Fuller 
marry an Ossoli and the whole world stands agape. 1 Quoting Dr. 
Johnson's dictum, 'A man is generally better pleased when there is 
a good dinner on the table than when his wife knows Greek,' I sum 
up : ' One of two results must follow either man will grow to seek 
something higher than physical comfort from his spouse, or culti- 
vated women will assume interests and cares outside the walls of 
home, as men do today, and will school themselves to look upon 
their better halves as articles conducive to their comfort instead of 
suns about which their souls must revolve... they, as well as men, 
will have to look to the outside influences to bring into their lives 
the necessary sweetness and light that is demanded by a satis- 
factory existence.' 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 

made*; 'If you get that impossible Mrs. Blank or 
your Board, you will have endless troubles and lose 
many influential friends '; 'Ask Mr. Brown and youi 
worries are over'; 'For Heaven's sake, avoid thai 
awful Brown, he has more enemies than dollars 
you're sure to get the one while there is doubt about 
the other'; 'If Miss A comes on the Board, Miss B 
will decline. If you get Mrs. Y, then Mrs. W can alsc 
be secured.' 

The first Board of Trustees of the projected college 
was to consist of twenty-four members. But before 
they could be chosen it was necessary to solve the 
absorbing problem: Should it consist of women only 
or should men also be invited to serve? And, if any 
men, how many? Several of the women with whom 
I had consulted, women who so far formed the nucleus 
of a Board of Trustees, strongly favored a Board 
made up entirely of women. Frances Fisher Wood, 
who possessed great weight as the then President of 
the Vassar Alumnae Association, and who had been 
for years the head of one of the most successful 
private schools in the Middle West, was keen for a 
Board of women. Columbia, she argued with perfect 
logic, had a Board consisting wholly of men; why, 
then, should not the affiliated college have a Board 
consisting wholly of women? There was no doubt 
that to have followed this policy would have won for 
the young institution the support and friendship of a 
certain type of extreme feminist. 

Barnard ^Beginnings 83 

But it was my belief then, and has always remained 
so, that the masculine viewpoint and method of attack 
have inestimable value, and are essential complements 
to the special contributions of women. In this I found 
others to agree. Another factor, and an important 
one, was that usually the men rather than the women 
held the purse-strings; as a general thing it was they 
who had the actual power to endow the young college. 
Then, too in this period before the appearance of 
the woman executive in business men, living in the 
world of finance, thought in larger, more generous 
figures. A subscription that loomed large on Fifth 
Avenue dwindled to small proportions on Wall Street. 

For all these reasons, I preferred, when possible, 
other things being equal, to seek the co-operation of 


WITHOUT question the strongest argument for a mixed 
Board was that it was favored by Ella Weed. 

Very soon after the appearance of my article in the 
Nation of January 28, 1888, I heard of the brilliant 
principal of the then fashionable Miss Annie Brown's 
School on upper Fifth Avenue. Several people coupled 
with their expressions of admiration the warning that 
Miss Weed was entirely too much taken up with her 
arduous duties at the school to consent to do anything 
in the work of establishing the new college. But, 
since all agreed that her advice would be invaluable, 
I lost no time in securing an interview. I was un- 
daunted by the talk of the impossibility of engaging 
Miss Weed's services, because even by that time I 
had learned to expect the greatest assistance, the 
greatest punctuality, the greatest personal sacrifice 
and the least talk about it from the busy ones of this 
earth. It had not taken me very long to discover 
that, in doing any public work whatever, it was pre- 
cisely those who were accomplishing least who made 
the loudest cry over their duties and responsibilities. 

Therefore, it was only what I had expected when I 
found Ella Weed not only immediately interested, 
but willing to squeeze into her already overcrowded 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 85 

days the work that was needed to be one of the tiny 
group who were organizing the College. 

From the instant I laid eyes on her I was completely 
won. Miss Weed was in no sense a beautiful woman, 
yet hers was an extremely winning face, strong, full 
of power and delightful humor. Her heavy-lidded eyes 
looked sleepy, but missed nothing. She had an odd 
way of blowing out her cheeks and lips when amused. 
Her laugh was hearty and contagious. 

Notwithstanding her limited time and the heavy 
responsibilities with which she was already burdened, 
it was not long before Ella Weed was heart and soul in 
the movement to give New York its first woman'scollege. 

It is true that at the very beginning of our friend- 
ship, I was very cautious, despite my instantaneous 
admiration; for I had been warned not to get too 
much identified with anyone who was closely con- 
nected with a school for young ladies, especially a 
fashionable, private school in New York City. It 
was suggested that the, proper collegiate atmosphere 
would be hard enough to achieve, and that it would 
be impossible if those in authority were too much 
imbued with the more restricted notions and conven- 
tions of the private school. This all seems absurd 
enough in reference to Ella Weed ! 

As, little by little, my confidence in Miss Weed's 
judgment grew as strong as my affection and admira- 
tion for her, I left entirely to her the decision of all 
questions that concerned scholarship. 

86 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

Ella Weed it was who, as Chairman of the Aca- 
demic Committee, and later as Acting Dean of the 
College, shaped its academic policy with supreme 
wisdom. Ella Weed served actively as Trustee until 
1894, the year of her death. She was a magnificent 
worker, steadfast, enthusiastic, courageous. Hers was 
the keenest mind I had until then ever encountered. 
It was a joy to work with her. We were at one in that 
the most tremendous difficulties failed to discourage 

Only once in those trying early days was her faith 
shaken. She came to my home accompanied by Miss 
Annie Brown to say that, interested as she was, she 
simply could not go on with the tremendous work that 
it put upon her. Naturally of a sanguine disposition, 
nevertheless she knew far better than I, so much 
younger and less experienced, the frightful inertia of 
even the few who had the means and the power to 
support such a movement. Ella Weed knew that the 
battle could not possibly be won unless every fighter 
in it gave herself, or himself, unsparingly. 

I was utterly unconscious of the dire object of 
this visit, and launched so enthusiastically into plans, 
with such certainty of success, that the words that 
Ella Weed had come to utter never crossed her lips. 
Instead, she entered wholeheartedly into my idea of 
launching a series of parlor meetings, readily con- 
sented to address them, and departed more than ever 
entangled. It was not until long afterward that I 

"Barnard "Beginnings 87 

heard how she had jokingly threatened Annie Brown 
with instant death should she ever dare tell 'that 
brave little woman' what had been the purpose of 
her call. 

To be sure, Barnard College would have come into 
being even if Miss Weed had then resigned; but how 
greatly her academic standards might have suffered! 
No one can estimate how many years it might have 
taken to achieve for her the high position scholasti- 
cally that Barnard assumed from the very start. And 
how grievously the students of those first years would 
have missed the inspiration of Ella Weed's stimulat- 
ing, vivid personality! 

A classmate at Vassar who was also a Trustee of 
Barnard wrote of her thus in the College Annual: 'In 
working with others she had the gift of never seeming 
to have prejudged the case, never seeming to bring 
to a discussion her own conclusion already formed. 
She could keep a question open in her mind until the 
right moment for a decision had arrived, and thus a 
discussion with her was always vital and animating. 
... In Committee work she was quick to receive as 
well as ready to give. She lent her cheerfulness and 
gayety to the work in hand ; she so thoroughly enjoyed 
reducing chaotic detail to order, that one might say she 
was really only to be truly known by working with 
her. In the selection of the corps of instructors her 
judgment and personal experience were of great serv- 
ice to the College and, having selected her assistants, 

88 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

she knew how to lend them her cordial support and 

The husband of this classmate, the distinguished 
critic, W. C. Brownell, wrote an obituary notice of 
Ella Weed in the New York Evening Post: 'The death 
of Ella Weed is a loss to the cause of woman's educa- 
tion which it would be difficult to overestimate. She 
made this cause her own. Her entire life was identified 
with it. In its service she was, it may be said accu- 
rately, an enthusiast without illusions. With a very 
unusual personal equipment she united a practical 
sense of what is possible and advisable which was 
wholly remarkable, wise and sane. She had convic- 
tions that were based on experience and was impatient 
of vague and exalted notions however fostering in 
their intentions to the cause she had at heart. This 
end she had so much at heart, indeed, that she had 
sacrificed to it all her literary ambitions, which, 
judged by her occasional literary performance, must 
have been keen and powerful. She was above every- 
thing a worker. She cared more to impress the young 
persons who came under her influence, than to advo- 
cate systems or air her general views.' 

In the series of articles in the Evening Post, which 
has already been alluded to, Miss Weed's article was, 
in humor as well as in masterly analysis, far above 
the usual run of newspaper writing. 'The idea of 
education for women in New York,' she said, 'seems 
to be to study French and music forever and ever, 

^Barnard beginnings 89 

and to add other things if possible.' Beyond doubt 
much bitter experience lay behind the penning of this : 
'The difficult thing for the teacher to understand is 
the unexpressed purpose in the parent's mind regard- 
ing the girl's future. . . . This vague sentiment was 
cruelly translated by the New York teacher who said 
that parents wanted their daughter educated to 
marry well, with a sort of accident-insurance attach- 
ment in case of disappointment.' 

In the early eighties Miss Weed's novel The Foolish 
Virgin had been published in Harper's Franklin 
Square Library. It is fascinating to anyone inter- 
ested in the history of the education of women to 
note on almost every page the sentiment of curiosity 
mingled with awe with which the woman Bachelor 
of Arts was regarded at that period. The heroine does 
her best although we must admit without great 
success to hide the fact of her mental superiority. 
She is reluctant to admit any knowledge of any 
serious books; she passionately longs to give the 
impression of being an average frivolous, clothes- 
loving young woman. She is frightfully sensitive 
and self-conscious, and appalled by the knowledge 
that she is supposed never to be swayed by her emo- 
tions, but to base her actions solely upon reason. 
There is something that goes deeper than irony in 
the author's commentary that 'poor Elinor Morgan 
had a liberal education on her hands.' For all that 
our heroine longed to be accepted as a normal, fun- 

90 ^Barnard beginnings 

loving young woman, she did possess ' a deep sense of 
responsibility due her Alma Mater.' There we have 
in a sentence the conscientious, self-questioning, self- 
conscious woman graduate of the past century. 

There are in the book other delightfully sly and 
witty commentaries on social customs. There is the 
shy awkwardness of social intercourse between a 
debutante and a young man ; the mock dignity of the 
young matron delighting in her new social freedom, 
yet not beyond being pleased when the 'shop men 
address her as "Miss"'; the woman lecturer who 
was 'too wise a child of this world to let her principles 
interfere with her income'; the amateur theatricals 
where 'the costumes were becoming rather than 

And the author knew her home town when she 
speaks of one of her characters ' with even more than 
an ordinary New York ignorance of all beyond its 
sacred precincts. 


I NO LONGER remember the precise order in which 
the members of the Board were invited to serve. 

It seemed logical that the signers of the Memorial, 
chosen for the impression they would make upon the 
Columbia Trustees, should form the nucleus for the 
new Board. Although the actual signatures were 
secured by me, their selection had been made largely 
upon the advice of Mrs. Mary Mapes Dodge, Mrs. 
Abby Longstreet (of whom more later), and Mrs. 
Frances Fisher Wood, who was the only one of the 
trio who consented to serve on the Board. A few 
names were suggested by Miss Weed, and Mrs. 
Joseph H. Choate obtained the signatures of two 
men whom she considered valuable. 

In choosing the Board, I was, of course, often in 
conference with these same advisers, though, when 
opinions differed, I was forced to rely on my own 

Of all the signers of the Memorial, as I have said, 
I was most profoundly impressed by Arthur Brooks 
by his radiant personality, his optimism, his cour- 
age, and the sheer beauty of his spirit. I was, there- 
fore, delighted to have Francis Lynde Stetson (him- 
self an important suggestion of Miss Weed's) men- 
tion Dr. Brooks for a Trustee. 

I was greatly moved and encouraged by Arthur 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 

Brooks's acceptance of the invitation to serve the 
College. The Rector of a large and fashionable church 
in New York had quite enough to do without entan- 
gling himself in a movement which at best could 
be considered only as highly experimental, a move- 
ment, moreover, which, in order to succeed, would 
require great devotion and sacrifice on the part of 
those closely connected with it. I felt that I couldn't 
ask so distinguished a man to be a mere member of 
the Board, and this time against the advice of 
Miss Weed and several others, who thought it a mis- 
take to have a divine in so prominent a position I 
went ahead and asked Arthur Brooks to be Chair- 
man of the Board of Trustees. Before long this bit 
of insurgency won the wholehearted approval of 
everyone connected with the College, 

When I called, Dr. Brooks listened carefully to 
what I had to say. When I had finished my plea, he 
bent towards me graciously. ' 1 need not tell you, 1 he 
began, 'that I am a very busy man/ My heart 
sank. ' I have many duties and great responsibilities. 
But' and here he drew himself up to his full 
height of six feet or more ' I will do this. It is im- 
portant. I may have to give up something else ; but this 
musfbedone? How simple, how direct, how like the man ! 

What a lesson this should have been to all the little 
people who had been so busy trying to impress me 
with the importance of their position in the com- 
munity! These months of intensive work gave me 

^Barnard beginnings 

an insight into the vanities, the smallnesses (and the 
bignesses, let me not forget that) of human nature 
which many years of less strenuous work could not 
have done. 

It is quite possible that superficially, Arthur Brooks 
may have been regarded as cold and reserved. But to 
those who were close to him, to those who loved him 
and I did just that there was about him more 
than a little of the enthusiastic, irrepressible boy. 
Bubbling up within him during his relaxed moments 
was a delicious sense of fun. There was in him, too, 
the naive frankness of a boy. He was utterly inca- 
pable of anything like indirection. He was a dreamer, 
but a practical dreamer. However his head might soar 
into the clouds, his feet never quite left the ground. 

Only recently a niece of Dr. Brooks placed in my 
hands a huge batch of material relating to the Col- 
lege. There were dozens of letters and rough mem- 
oranda of his replies to them. There were many an- 
nouncements that the second number of the Bar- 
nard Annual is to be dedicated to him, that he has 
been unanimously elected an honorary member of 
the Class of '93 (Barnard's first class) ; notes of per- 
sonal interviews with students with successful read- 
justments of personal problems.* He kept many 

* In this connection a letter from Mrs. N. W. Liggett to the Chair- 
man of the Board will be interesting. Mrs. Liggett was the chief 
executive officer of Barnard College from 1891 on. I am not sure 
what was her exact title at first, but later on she was our Bursar 

94 "Barnard "Beginnings 

letters of mine. One bears upon the choice of an 
Associate Member to serve on the Board of Trustees. 

until her retirement in 1924. Mrs. Liggett was the successor of 
Miss E. O, Abbott who was the first executive officer. There was 
some talk of naming her Lady Principal, but finally it was decided 
to run the College merely with Miss Abbott, a graduate of Vassar, 
as was Mrs. Liggett, as Executive Secretary with the Chairman of 
the Academic Committee as Acting Dean. Of course all of the 
Trustees gave much more time at the College and attended to many 
things which later on, as Trustees of a successful college, they never 
dreamed of doing. For instance, I can remember myself taking 
the fees of the members of the first class. 

The same spirit of unselfish devotion that was shown by the 
Trustees was shown also by all who worked for the College. Poor 
Miss Abbott was quite worn out, body and mind, when she de- 
parted. She was a sweet woman of great personal dignity, but apt 
when 'put upon* to show alarming signs of bursting into tears. 
Mrs. Liggett' s fresh breeziness and splendid common sense endeared 
her to us all. Imagine her dissolving into tears ! She was the embodi- 
ment of courage and cheer, and I say that even while remembering 
perfectly that she came to us in the early stages of her young 

Here follows the letter: 

' My dear Dr. Brooks, I was sorry that I did not turn over to your 
care the case of the young lady who was with me in the office. She 
passed her examinations this fall, but has not yet entered. I had a 
long serious talk with her that day, and tried to persuade her that 
her usefulness as a woman and her ability to help others would be 
immeasurably increased by a college training. She was ready to 
admit the intellectual advantages, but the social side did not seem 
strong enough. Perhaps if you had spared a few moments of your 
time you could have persuaded her that to be an earnest helpful 
woman was a greater heritage than to be a charming girl* 

She adds, ' I know you will be pleased to learn that your talk with 
the students had considerable effect, and that the attendance at 
prayers in the morning has been very large.* 

Ttarnard ^Beginnings 

'She is in every way the right kind of Trustee,' I 
wrote. 'Her idea of work is mine and yours real, 
hard, earnest work, giving full attention to whatever 
is on hand until it is done.' It is amazing to note 
what small matters were brought to him for adjust- 
ment. There could not have been a single detail in 
the running of the College of which he was not cog- 
nizant, Real estate agents besieged him to purchase 
certain advantageous properties, architects begged 
the privilege of showing their work to him, none-too- 
well-known lecturers suggested lecturing under the 
auspices of the College. A delicious scrap between 
two professors concerning a room to which each laid 
claim reveals the difficulties of adjusting the twenty- 
five-foot four-story brownstone house which was our 
first home to the growing academic needs of the Col- 
lege. To make an even approximately satisfactory 
schedule of lectures must have taken the stratagem 
of a Machiavelli plus the patience of a Job. There 
are many letters, of course, explaining why it was 
impossible to accede to his request for a donation, 
sprinkled with some pleasant letters announcing 
much-needed gifts. 

There were numerous little scraps of paper upon 
which were hasty jottings concerning various ad- 
dresses which he had in mind for the strengthening 
of Barnard's position. Many of these throw a fasci- 
nating glance at the mores of the day : ' For Education 
is one of the living things of the world/ 'Charity 

9 6 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

is approved, but Education is doubted. What is 
Charity but getting one back into the stream?' 
' Education is a great dignity to be desired by 
all/ 'Thought does not become a young woman/ 
'From Sheridan's Rivals, "All this is the natural con- 
sequence of teaching girls to read."' 

At the parlor meetings that were arranged in the 
early days, the speakers were usually Arthur Brooks, 
Ella Weed, and myself. For larger meetings, which 
were usually held at Columbia College, we arranged 
to strengthen our drawing power by asking Joseph H. 
Choate, Bishop Potter, or Frederic R. Coudert. 
From the scribbled suggestions mentioned above, Dr. 
Brooks spoke. How we longed for permanent records 
of those eloquent, timely remarks. I was in charge 
of the publicity work, and I never quite gave up hope 
of finding someone who could take down for us his 
flashing, flowing words. I used to go to city editors 
and beg them for their best stenographers. When I 
engaged them, there was always the same scarcely 
concealed amusement at this fussy woman who evi- 
dently had had no dealings with a really expert ste- 
nographer. And on each occasion the same negative 
result. Whenever I could tear my eyes from the 
beautiful, impassioned face of the speaker, there 
would be the expert, agape, hands folded helplessly 
in his or her lap, the figure slumped in utter discour- 
agement, or on the edge of the chair gawking in awe- 
struck amazement. 

^Barnard "Beginnings 97 

Perhaps the rapid speech of his brother, Phillips, 
was more widely commented on, but to me Arthur 
outdid the Bishop. The words issued from his lips 
at lightning speed. It was as if they had been dammed 
up, stored in some reservoir in his brain, finally to 
rush torrentially forth, the words tumbling over one 
another in their eagerness to find their mark. And 
yet the thought was always happily expressed and 
perfectly delivered. Now and then there would be 
the slightest suggestion of a pause as if the flow of 
speech were clogged by its very exuberance, but 
almost at once the stream dashed on again faster, it 
seemed to me, than ever. It was a beautiful, if some- 
what awe-inspiring, phenomenon. 

Dr. Brooks served as Chairman of the Board 
until his death in 1895. Two days after the obituary 
notice appeared in the Evening Post, there was a long 
letter signed A. N. M. : 

1 Sir, It was somewhat of a shock to me not to 
see in the obituary of the Reverend Arthur Brooks 
any reference to his connection with Barnard College. 
For surely he was very near and dear to the College 
and the College was very near and dear to him.... 
How impossible it seems to give here any adequate 
idea of what he has been to us ! [Here were listed all 
the Committees over which he presided or of which 
he was a member.] Besides this he was one of the 
regular College Chaplains who conducted daily serv- 
ices, and when one of the others was detained was 

98 ^Barnard 

ever ready to take his place. It is impossible to count 
the time given in personal consultation; no matter 
how deeply engaged, the study door was always open 
for us to bring before him the problems and perplex- 
ities that beset us. Indeed, his relation to the College 
cannot be defined by his official title. Until the ap- 
pointment of the Dean, he was more the President of 
the College than anyone else. He was very fond of 
joking upon his peculiar position, and the last refer- 
ence he made to the "hitherto acephalous condition 
of the college" was the last time he appeared before 
us, when he gracefully yielded to the Dean the office 
of presiding over the closing exercises of the College/ 

At its meeting the following October, the Board of 
Trustees passed the following Resolutions : 

'By the death of the Reverend Arthur Brooks, 
D.D., the first Chairman of the Board of Trustees, 
Barnard College has lost the guidance and fostering 
care of one who was identified with its inception, and 
who worked tirelessly and with rare sagacity to give 
it high aims, sound methods and the atmosphere of 
a wholesome and inspiring life. To the difficult task 
of laying out the work of the College and securing 
effective organization in its formative period, Dr. 
Brooks brought a true academic spirit, a broad view 
of its opportunities, and a judgment at once compre- 
hensive and prudent. His spiritual fervor and his 
generous culture were always allied with a just per- 
ception of the force of existing conditions; and in his 

^Barnard beginnings 

breadth of vision he never lost sight of the necessary 
limitations of the moment. He had the prophetic 
instinct in harmony with a rare practical sense. 

'In his ability, his scholarship, his loyalty to the 
highest standards in the things of the mind, he nobly 
interpreted Barnard College to the community which 
it is striving to serve. Within the smaller circle of the 
College, his pure spirit was a constant stimulus. A 
wise counselor, a sympathetic adviser, a true and 
helpful friend, he enriched all relations with the glow- 
ing hope and force of his own nature. He has be- 
queathed to the College a noble tradition of Christian 
scholarship, and to his associates an example of dis- 
interested service. 

'In thus recording their sense of loss and sorrow, 
the Trustees of the College record also their gratitude 
for a leadership so far-sighted and sagacious and a 
companionship so rich in beautiful memories/ 


NATURALLY, it was important to enlist the services 
of all who had been prominent in the preparation of 
that earlier gigantic Memorial of which the establish- 
ment of the Columbia Collegiate Course for Women 
had been the immediate result. The very first of these 
to be thought of was Mrs. Joseph H. Choate. When 
I was about to call upon her, I was warned by several 
well-meaning but mistaken friends not to do so; for, 
in the first place, they said, she was too busy to take 
on any new duties, and, second, she had completely 
exhausted herself in the organization of the just- 
opened Brearly School.* It was also hinted that she 

* Before the establishment of Barnard College only a handful of 
schools in New York made any attempt to train girls for college. 

In my address before the National Council of Women in 1891, 
I called attention to the influence of Barnard College upon the 
schools. 'Schools all over the city are beginning to open college 
classes and the gap between schools and colleges is slowly filling up. 
A general awakening is going on : Low standards that were formerly 
accepted are being now gradually renounced. In fact, there existed 
such a vagueness of opinion regarding the true scope of the College 
that students who could not possibly have gained admission to our 
freshman year applied for admission into our Graduate Department. 
Generally the more lamentably deficient the preparation, the more 
abstruse were the graduate studies called for.' 

The head of a private school for young ladies, Miss Lila North, 
writing one of the series of articles in the Evening Post which I 
edited, says: 'It is evident that the private school for girls differs 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 101 

had been greatly discouraged at the meager results 
of her efforts towards opening Columbia to women 
five years before. But Mrs. Choate not only con- 
sented at once to serve on the Board ; she was willing 
to lend her name as its Vice-Chairman, a position 
which she most ably filled until physical disability 
caused her to withdraw from attendance. Shortly 
after that, her daughter Mabel was elected to the 
Board, and it was not long before she succeeded to 
the Vice-Chairmanship, which she holds today. 

The Resolutions on the death of Mrs. Choate, 
passed at the Meeting of the Trustees of Barnard 
College, February 6, 1930, contain these words: 
'Mrs. Choate was a very tower of strength to the 
young and struggling College. Her position in the 
community gave it prestige and created confidence 
in its usefulness and its stability. Her knowledge of 
the educational needs of New York, and her high 

greatly from the same institution in the recent past. . . . Several note- 
worthy changes will be found. ... New influence is at work affecting 
both aim and curriculum.... The secret of the change is readily per- 
ceived. It lies in the existence of the woman's college The stigma 
of superficiality so long borne by the New York schools can no 
longer justly be applied.* 

An editorial in a New York paper (through my inexcusable care- 
lessness in pasting in clippings in my scrapbook at the time, I am 
not sure which paper) : 'The existence of Barnard College is working 
a revolution in the work of our girls' schools As a consequence 
the multitude of girls who don't enter the college at all are better, 
more broadly, and more thoroughly educated in the preparatory 
schools than ever before/ 

i ox ^Barnard beginnings 

standards of accomplishment and her energy in mak- 
ing friends for the College, as well as the personal gen- 
erosity of herself and her husband, put Barnard Col- 
lege immeasurably in her debt/ 

Another of the signers of both Memorials whom I 
invited to serve on the Board of Trustees was Judge 
Noah Davis. He was a kindly man, with real nobility 
of character. 

The first Secretary of the Board was Hamilton W, 
Mabie, one of the editors of the Christian Union, later 
The Outlook, a writer of pleasant essays, a genial, lov- 
able man. Another delightful writer serving for a 
short time on the first Board was the Reverend 
Henry van Dyke. I believe there was some serious 
illness in his family which prevented his giving much 
time to the duties of a Trustee, but his name upon the 
Board undoubtedly was very helpful, since he was 
universally beloved and respected. Two other Trus- 
tees were graduates of Vassar Helen Dawes Brown, 
the author of several popular novels and teacher in a 
prominent school for girls, and Alice Williams who 
taught in the same school. 

The first Treasurer of the College was Jacob H. 
Schiff. I was frightfully nervous about approaching 
him. Tales had reached me of his extreme arbitrari- 
ness. It was suggested that no one could hope to serve 
on a Board with him unless prepared to agree with 
him in every respect. Of course, this was but one 
more instance of the misunderstanding that great 

TSarnard beginnings 103 

executives are open to. Doubtless Mr. Schiff was 
impatient with all shades of inefficiency, and he must 
have had ample opportunity of registering his dis- 
satisfaction in the numerous Boards on which he 
served. When, however, I met Mr. Schiff, I was 
charmed by his affability. From the very first in my 
intercourse with him, which naturally was frequent 
during the next few years, I never failed to penetrate 
beneath the somewhat forbidding exterior to a sweet 
gentleness and the humility of a truly religious man. 
His judgment was at all times sound, and even when 
now and then it seemed advisable to take action 
against his approval, nevertheless in the early days 
of struggle he proved a veritable Gibraltar of strength 
and fidelity. 

There was not the slightest difficulty in persuading 
Mr. Schiff to serve as a member of the Board, and 
notwithstanding the fact that he considered it abso- 
lutely harum-scarum to open a college on an income 
of less than five thousand dollars a year, he consented 
to become first Treasurer and to bear the brunt of the 
anxiety and responsibility. 

Mr. Schiff was not approached merely because of 
his great wealth. He had already shown his interest 
in education by serving as a Commissioner of the 
Board of Education. Also, for three years, he had 
been one of the Trustees of the organization which 
had been formed to push the establishment of Free 
Circulating Libraries. In The Life and Letters of 

104 Barnard ^Beginnings 

Jacob H. Schiff, strangely enough his biographer 
mentions his gifts to Columbia College before those 
to Barnard College, although they were made four or 
five years earlier. Possibly Dr. Adler felt that he 
made up for this by the statement that ' over a long 
period Barnard College seemed to be his most favored 
educational interest/ Unquestionably the fact that 
so substantial a banker had faith in the future of the 
College was of inestimable help in those early days 
during which I permitted myself to cry out, in a 
letter to Arthur Brooks, 'How difficult these first 
years are!' 

Mr. Schiff made frequent suggestions as to methods 
of raising money, and of persons who would be likely 
to give to the movement. Moreover, he was most 
helpful in writing letters introducing me to them. 

It is evident that, soon after the opening of the 
College, Mr. Schiff found attendance at the Executive 
Committee somewhat arduous, for there is a memo- 
randum in the Minutes for the Meeting of Novem- 
ber 18, 1889, to the effect that, 'The Secretary of the 
Executive Committee was requested to communicate 
with Mr. Schiff and urge him to remain a member of 
the Executive Committee, but in case Mr. Schiff 
insists upon withdrawing from the Executive Com- 
mittee, that notice of an alteration of the by-laws 
be given, so that he may continue to hold the position 
of Treasurer without being a member of the Com- 
mittee/ As I have found no trace of a change in the 

"Barnard ^Beginnings 105 

by-laws at that period, it may be presumed that Mr. 
Schiff was either prevailed upon to remain on the 
Committee, or that he was in some way excused from 
attending its meetings. 

Certainly he retained the Treasurership through 
all those arduous early years, until 1893. Not even 
the large gifts * which he later made to Barnard can 
outweigh in value his services to her as her first 

* See Appendix E. 


THE successor of Mr. Schiff, who took the financial 
burdens upon his shoulders, and has been bearing 
them ever since, was George A. Plimpton. I first 
heard of Mr. Plimpton from Miss Weed, as a promis- 
ing young business man in the publishing house of 
Ginn & Company where he is now President. I was 
advised that his signature would be valuable for the 
Memorial. But I was so impressed when I met him 
that I insisted he must be invited to sit on the Board. 
It is interesting to read a letter which I wrote to the 
Chairman of the Board after Mr. Schiff 's resignation: 
' I don't think that anyone on the Board now should 
be made Treasurer. I think some strong man should 
be made so and admitted into the Board for the pur- 
pose. I don't know whom to suggest some busi- 
ness man, of course. I think Mr. Plimpton, being in 
business, may know of some able man. I think Mr. 
Brownell's advice would be admirable. Fin sorry I 
can't think of anyone,' I concluded. 

Of course this did not in the least reflect upon George 
Plimpton. But Mr. Schiff was a power in Wall Street 
and a very rich man, and it was hoped to get another 
in his place who would be equally impressive to the 
general public. We all felt that here in the office of 
Treasurer was an opportunity of getting a man inter- 

^Barnard beginnings 107 

ested in the College who ordinarily wasn't particu- 
larly interested in Education. A letter from Mr. 
Plimpton to Dr. Brooks at this time March 4, 
1893 expresses the hope that 'the Committee will 
feel that I am simply holding the position of Treas- 
urer pro tern, and will gladly give it up when the 
right person is found.' 

I don't know how long it took us to discover that 
we had in our temporary Treasurer the ideal man 
for whom like the children in the fairy tale we 
had been looking far away on the distant horizon 
while what we sought was in our very midst. 

Mr. Plimpton is one of the great collectors of Amer- 
ica. A collector in the grand manner who is cabled 
to by Quaritch when the earliest known Latin manu- 
script of Euclid falls into their hands. His collection 
of books on Mathematics is the greatest private col- 
lection in the world. He gave to Wellesley College 
the most complete Library of Italian Literature out- 
side of Italy. Marion Crawford said of it, 'The 
gathering of such a collection means love, learning, 
and labor.' 

From the walls of Mr. Plimpton's home the rarest 
contemporary portraits smile (or frown) down upon 
the visitor Percy Bysshe Shelley, Samuel Johnson, 
Chaucer and Bacon and Queen Elizabeth, Raleigh, 
and Sir Philip Sydney among them no less. 

I certainly had reason to believe that I knew George 
Plimpton. We had worked shoulder to shoulder for 

io8 Barnard beginnings 

so long, overcoming difficulties that would have dis- 
heartened less optimistic souls. Nevertheless, about 
ten years ago, after spending an afternoon and a night 
at his farm in Walpole near Boston, I find I wrote in 
the guest book ' I have known George Plimpton for 
almost forty years. Yet a single night at the Farm 
reveals more of the Man than all those years/ 

At the Farm he is the seigneurial overlord. His 
roots go back to the days of Indian occupation in 
1742, He is as much a part of New England as the 
soil and the rocks. He is New England epitomized. 
Canny, physically strong, a spirit indomitable and 
of a patience unimaginably enduring. Genial, kind- 
hearted, yet discriminating. Capable of refusing 
appeals. Shrewd. Giving out lavishly with one hand, 
yet able to drive a hard bargain. Quiet to the point 
almost of somnolence. Make no mistake. Those 
drooping eyes see more than most. Low as his voice 
is, diffident as is his manner, don't be fooled. He is 
not to be switched from the position which he seems 
to hold so tentatively. 

The Treasurer of Barnard has been so successful in 
getting gifts for the College that one of his friends 
ventured to express his wonder that he is ever per- 
mitted to reach the sanctuary of his own office on 
lower Fifth Avenue; for on the tread of the steps 
leading up to it is the warning in large letters: No 
beggars allowed. 


FRANCIS LYNDE STETSON, a member of the law firm 
which Ex-President Cleveland was later to join, read- 
ily consented to serve on the Board. He was suggested 
by Miss Weed, who was among the first to recognize 
his unusual ability. Mr. Stetson was a valuable 
asset, not alone for his legal advice which, of course, 
was of the highest possible ranking, but also for his 
sound judgment on all matters. He was eminently 
a shrewd tactician. In manners, he was precise, 
accurate, a man of few words, but what he said 
quietly could be depended upon. 

It was not so easy, however, to persuade another 
well-known lawyer, Frederic R. Coudert. I simply 
dug myself in his office and refused to leave until he 
had given his consent. I realized the strategic advan- 
tage of having Mr. Coudert on the Board. Not alone 
was he one of Columbia's most distinguished gradu- 
ates a member of the Class of 1850 but at that 
time he was also President of the Alumni Association. 
His presence on Barnard's Board would at once down 
two rumors : one that Columbia men were not any too 
enthusiastic over the new affiliated college, the other 
that Columbia was entirely Episcopalian in its inter- 
est and sympathies and that, therefore, no one of any 

no TSarnard beginnings 

other faith would be apt to give largely to it.* Mr. 
Coudert served faithfully until 1891, when he resigned 
from the Barnard Board, meanwhile having been 
elected Trustee of the University. f 

Nor was it easy to gain the consent of Everett P. 
Wheeler, who was just then much in the public eye 
through his Presidency of the newly formed Reform 
Club. He was especially important in my judgment 
because he was conservative enough to impress the 
Trustees of Columbia and yet liberal enough to be 
sincerely interested in the education of women. 
Therefore, when Miss Weed told me that she had sat 
next to him at a dinner the night before and had 
learned from him that his health would not permit 
of a single new responsibility and that it was absQ- 
lutely impossible for him to serve on the Board, I 
nevertheless determined to keep the appointment 
which I had with him for that very afternoon. I 

* As a matter of fact, Columbia was doing its best even at that 
early date to refute the notion of its denominationalism. To be sure, 
Trinity Church had more than a century before bestowed much land 
upon King's College, and both the Rectors of Trinity and the Bish- 
ops of New York had been Trustees of the College; but men of 
many other sects were to be found on the Board. 

t This was the first time that a Barnard Trustee became a Trustee 
of Columbia. It was natural that the most prominent alumnus of 
the College then living should be selected; but years later Columbia 
elected unto itself the then Chairman of Barnard, Abram S. Hewitt, 
who remained on both boards. A later Chairman, John Milburn, 
was also called to the Board of the University. Mr. Gano Dunn is 
also at present a member of both Boards. 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 1 1 1 

ignored the fact that Mr. Wheeler had already 
mailed a letter to me canceling the interview, which 
was lying on my desk before I sallied out to keep my 
engagement. I never mentioned its receipt and per- 
mitted him to assume polite and chivalrous gentle- 
man that he was that I had not received it. 

After a talk lasting nearly an hour, I recall how 
graciously he asked if I would not like to meet his 
wife. I shall never forget how lovely Mrs. Wheeler 
(his first wife with a complexion of peaches and cream 
with the startling contrast of a mass of white hair) 
descended the stairs, protesting earnestly as she came 
nearer and nearer, 'I know very well why you sent 
for me, my dear Mrs. Meyer. You sent for me in 
order to help you persuade my husband to become a 
Trustee, but I assure you I really can't. He is doing 
too much. He can't undertake another thing.' 

Few moments in my life have been more zestful 
than that in which I was able to assure her that her 
co-operation would not be sought, since her husband 
had already consented to serve on the Board. Of 
course, the satisfaction was somewhat tempered by 
my sense of guilt. Mr. Wheeler remained a Trustee 
until 1902. He resigned only after the College was 
well on its feet. 

I have already spoken of Frances Fisher Wood. 
Although her advice on having a Board of Trustees 
entirely of women was not taken, nevertheless her 
educational experience was of great practical help. 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 

Through Mrs. Wood, Mrs. James Talcott a patient 
of Mrs. Wood's husband became a Trustee and 
gave one thousand dollars, which was just double the 
largest gift which had yet been made.* 

It was decided to use the Talcott money in fitting 
up the building f for the uses of the College. I may 
add that it was expended with rare wisdom and 
economy by the first Chairman of the Building Com- 
mittee, Mrs. Francis B. Arnold. 

Mrs. Talcott's interest in the students she re- 
mained on the Board until her death in 1921 was 
more in their souls than in their minds. A strict Pres- 
byterian herself, she respected differences of religious 
opinion and asked only that one possessed faith of 
some kind and an earnest desire for spiritual growth. 
The James Talcott Chair for religious instruction 
was established in 1915. 

Mrs. Arnold's task was one that took the greatest 
possible devotion and self-sacrifice of a nature that 
usually lies too far below the surface to receive the 
recognition that is its due. When in 1900 she resigned 
from the Board to be free to devote herself to other 
interests, the then Clerk of the Board wrote her a let- 
ter in which he reported that the entire Board begged 
her to withdraw her resignation. He added on his 
own account: 'I am told your services in the founda- 
tion of the institution were of inestimable value, and 
the Trustees who served with you before I became 

See page 137. f See pages 149 se%. 

Barnard ^Beginnings 113 

a member of the Board are most enthusiastic in bear- 
ing witness to the intelligence, fidelity and devotion 
which you had given to the work at the time when 
success was doubtful, if not apparently impossible. 
They seem to think that much of the present pro- 
sperity of the College was due to your patient labor 
and they trust that they will have the benefit of your 
advice and co-operation for many years to come.' 

Silas B. Brownell, who was suggested by Mr. Stet- 
son, served Barnard College with rare devotion and 
fidelity until his death in 1915. He was made Acting 
Chairman on the death of Dr. Brooks; and, after the 
death of Abram S. Hewitt, who was Chairman of the 
Board from 1897 to I 93> Mr. Brownell was elected 
in his place. 

Mrs. W. C. Brownell, Ella Weed's classmate at 
Vassar, wife of the art critic, had little to say at the 
meetings of the Board; but what she did say was 
always the expression of a fine, well-trained mind. 
Her contribution was one of idealism, of critical acu- 
men, of high educational standards. 

Mrs. J. S. T. Stranahan had taught school before 
her marriage to Brooklyn's 'First Citizen/ a man 
who had the rare privilege of looking upon his own 
statue erected in his home town during his life. 
She was devotedly interested in Barnard and served 
on the Finance Committee, which was undoubtedly 
the hardest-worked Committee of them all, at least 
the one undertaking the least agreeable work. 

114 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, the mother of the man 
who might justifiably be named New York's first citi- 
zen, extremely kindly, gentle soul, was on our first 
Board of Trustees, although she did not serve many 
years and retired some time before her death. In the 
early days I recall her advice as full of common sense 
and sound judgment. The other member of the Board 
was George Hoadley, who also did not serve for long. 
He was once Governor of Ohio and at the time was a 
member of the firm of lawyers, Lauterbach, Hoadley 
and Johnson. 

As will be seen by consulting Appendix H, these 
are the only names that appear on the Provisional 
Charter granted Barnard College August 8, 1889. 


I USED to call the Associate Members of the College 
'the tail that flew the kite. 1 The Trustees had been 
chosen for their position in the community, but 
rather as persons of weight than of fashion. Some- 
thing more was needed to make the Higher Education 
of Women really popular, and that was the approval 
of Society leaders. None of us dared to hope that it 
could be made fashionable for a girl to give up the 
four years in which she was most attractive to affairs 
of the intellect. 'Our ambition never soared beyond 
winning the approval of Society women for the edu- 
cation of such young ladies who unfortunately were 
obliged to earn their own living. The current atti- 
tude of Society towards the woman college student 
was reflected in a conversation which was held a few 
years after this. Just before the beginning of the 
present century, Mrs. Astor, who was the acknowl- 
edged leader of that Society, met her friend Mrs. Duer 
at a ball and remarked upon the absence of Mrs. Duer's 
daughter Alice. *I haven't seen her at any of the 
dances all winter.' On receiving the explanation that 
Alice was attending Barnard College, Mrs. Astor com- 
mented with sympathy in her voice, 'What! that 
sweet young thing! ' 

A couple of years before that another important 
social leader was pitied because it was her daughter 

1 1 6 "Barnard "Beginnings 

and not her son who possessed keen intellectual inter- 
ests and was a particularly brilliant member of 
Barnard's class of 1896. There was no question about 
i t it was regarded as a distinct misfortune to have 
a daughter who was ' bookish,' or who, instead of 
hankering after the flesh pots of Egypt, actually pre- 
ferred the scholarly attainments of a college career. 
In the last decade of the nineteenth century a Pro- 
fessor of the University of Mississippi a coeduca- 
tional institution wrote the author of the Chapter 
on 'Education in the South' in my book Woman's 
Work in America, 'Women are admitted here.... Not 
many women avail themselves of the opportunity, . . . 
but their social standing is in no way impaired by 
their coming here/ 

In the Editor's Preface to Woman's Work in Amer- 
ica I wrote: 'We may acknowledge that the day is 
past when it is necessary seriously to plead the capac- 
ity of women to accomplish certain things; that vic- 
tory has been won with tears of blood ;*but the fight 
still centers about the propriety of it. 9 

So every effort was made to make the name of 
Barnard at least as familiar in New York Society as 
that of Vassar or Bryn Mawr. While social leaders 
were needed as Associate Members, it was most im 
portant that this list should not be confused with the 
list of our financial backers. It was decided to invite 
certain well-known, more or less impecunious, liter- 
ary women as well. At all costs, it must never be sus- 

^Barnard beginnings 117 

pected that a mere subscription to the College was 
enough to assure a place among the Associate Mem- 
bers. If that idea once got abroad, there would be an 
end to any real social prestige. And it was equally 
important to see that no generous woman who was 
outstanding only in the size of her pocketbook cou!4 
be offended and bestow her favors elsewhere.* 

* Along this line of innovation, there was started a few years 
later, in 1894, a Barnard Club to be made up of both men and 
women, which would incidentally be of financial assistance as well, 
through turning over its initiation fees and dues to the struggling 
College. It was thought very truly that many new persons could 
be won over in this indirect way as friends of the College. 

At the beginning, the meetings of the Club were held only Satur- 
day afternoons, in the parlors of the Spence School for Young Ladies, 
which were generously placed at the disposal of the Club by Miss 
Spence, who at that time was an Associate Member and had not 
yet been elected to the Board. 

Among the incorporators of the Barnard Club were four Trustees 
of the College and three Associate Members. The Board of Manage- 
ment had authority ' from time to time to apply out of the funds 
of the Club such funds of money for the benefit of Barnard College 
as it may deem advisable. 1 The first year, some five hundred dol- 
lars were handed to the Treasurer of the College. There were 
years when the grand total thus applied amounted to nine hundred 
dollars. The money was sorely needed; but probably the greatest 
service rendered by the Club was social prestige. 

It has been many years since the Club has been of any financial 
benefit to the College, nevertheless Barnard can never forget its 
debt. It must continue to overlook the clear disadvantage in the 
existence of a Club which would seem to outsiders to be a Club of 
Alumnae. It was necessary, a few years ago, when a real Alumnae 
Club was started, to call it the Barnard College Club, hoping to 
mitigate somewhat the confusion. 

1 1 8 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

It is difficult today to realize how long it took New 
York Society to grasp the fact that Barnard College 
was a New York institution. One day Mrs. Roger 
Pryor, wife of the eminent jurist, and herself the leader 
of Southern women living in New York, told me that 
she had just given a talk about Barnard College to a 
roomful of women at the Fifth Avenue home of the 
New York Head of the Daughters of the American 
Revolution, and was sure that, with so many wealthy 
women in her audience, sorely needed money would 
flow into the coffers of the College. A couple of days 
later I spoke to her hostess about Mrs. Pryor's talk. 
'Ah, yes!' she said. 'It was so interesting. I wish I 
could do something, but you see there's so much to 
do right here in New York; I can't give to anything 
so far away!' 

Everything that could be done to render college 
education respectable was worth while at that stage. 
The importance could not be overestimated of show- 
ing that 'nice' women, women who dressed well, 
women who attended to their homes and their children 
were interested,* or at least not antagonistic. 

It was logical that Mrs. Botta should be approached 
as one of the first of the Associate Members, for she 

* Sidney Smith, the celebrated wit, a doughty champion of 
woman's education, protested in the pages of the Edinburgh Review, 
of which he was the founder: 'Just as though the care and solicitude 
which a mother feels for her children, depended on her ignorance 
of Greek and Mathematics, and that she would desert her infant 
for a quadratic equation!' 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 119 

had been among the first to have 'advanced views' 
concerning the proper sphere of woman. To her keen 
mind the word enfranchisement meant much more 
than the right to cast a ballot. It connoted woman's 
complete mental and spiritual freedom. 

Anne C. Lynch Botta, a poet whose verse received 
high praise from Edgar Allan Poe, was a rarely de- 
lightful, high-spirited woman, whose English-basement 
house at 25 West Thirty-Seventh Street was at one 
time New York's nearest approach to a salon. Her 
crowded Saturday nights brought together the most 
famous people of the day. Parke Godwin, the poet 
Bryant's son-in-law, wrote, ' There was hardly a per- 
son eminent in our history, or a foreign visitor of 
celebrity whom her hospitality had failed to honor/ 
To her celebrated hospitality Emerson had paid noble 
tribute and Helen Hunt Jackson (H. H.) wrote a 
sonnet beginning: 

'Thy house hath gracious freedom, like the air of open fields.* 

Far in advance of public opinion in her day, Mrs. 
Botta in 1875 had offered the French Academy a 
fund to establish prizes for the best essays to be sub- 
mitted from any part of the world, on the theme: 
'Woman: in what way can her domestic, political, and 
social relations be modified, in the interests of a 
higher civilization ? ' 

Although when I called upon Mrs. Botta and per- 
suaded her to lend her influence to the support of 
the young College, there was more than a half- 

TZarnard Beginnings 

century between our ages, I was unconscious of the 
slightest mental or spiritual gap to be spanned. No 
one could have been more youthfully enthusiastic 
over the possibilities of the higher education of women, 
or have had a keener vision of its liberating power 
than the wrinkled old lady before me, with the old- 
fashioned curls hanging down on either side of the 
delicately chiseled face. 

The widow of Dr. Barnard sent for me immedi- 
ately after we named the College * for her husband, 

* 'As I watch the progress of educational thought in America 
and see its multitudinous manifestations... in matters relative to 
education of men and the opportunities for women, . . . when I reflect 
upon his own prophecies and insight, exhortations and projects, he 
seems to me more than ever to have been one of the greatest educa- 
tional prophets of our time.... It is not usual for a college to bear 
the name of a great leader in the intellectual life. . . . But it is worth 
more in a college to bear a name which has taken its place and will 
always hold its place in the history of the higher education of our 
American democracy. ... The college which bears his name is not 
the sort of institution which he had argued for and defended.... 
He was committed to coeducation pure and simple, but I like to 
think that if he could see what is going on under his name and 
aegis, he would say that it has improved upon the idea which was 
his; that here we have coeducation in a real and proper sense of the 
word, in that men and women are educated in the same surround- 
ings, sharing the same intellectual opportunity. 1 (President Nicholas 
Murray Butler, in an address at Barnard College, February 12, 1910.) 

The present Dean of Barnard College also referred in her radio 
speech, October 20, 1934, to the fact that 'it is not usual for a col- 
lege to bear the name of a great leader of the intellectual life*; and 
adds, 'so Barnard is fortunate.' 

The writer of this book is happy, therefore, to remember that 
the name, 'Barnard College,' was chosen at her suggestion. 

Barnard ^Beginnings 12.1 

and said: 'You know I was going to fight the estab- 
lishment of an " Annex." I feel that my husband never 
would have approved of it. He was for opening to 
the full limit every asset of Columbia College, freely 
and unequivocally to women, and upon the same 
terms as for the men. I was not satisfied with any- 
thing less than that. But now that you have done 
my husband the honor of naming the College for him, 
you have taken the wind from my sails. I cannot very 
well fight a College which bears his name/ I was de- 
lighted, for any opposition from the widow of the 
great educator would have been sure to be misunder- 
stood. On February 14, 1891, the first gift to Bar- 
nard's Library was her donation of Johnson's Ency- 
clopaedia. On this occasion she also presented the 
College with a portrait of Dr. Barnard. 

Mrs. Asa B. Stone, the mother-in-law of John Hay, 
who had come from Cleveland to live in New York, 
was among the first to become an Associate Member. 
President of a small, highly exclusive literary club, 
she was a woman of outstanding mentality and social 
influence. It was in certain circles looked upon aa 
more of an achievement to belong to the Wednesday 
Afternoon Club than to the magic circle of ' the Four 
Hundred.' Amy Townsend was a tower of strength for 
the simple reason that she was supposed to join nothing 
the success of which was in doubt. Mrs. E. L. Godkin, 
wife of the editor of the Evening Post, was on the list 
as well as Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi, who was looked 

izz ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

upon with awe by most women because it was cur- 
rent report that she had continued with her profes- 
sional duties right up to the date of her child's birth. 

Mrs. Augustus D. Shepard, besides her own ex- 
quisite grace and charm, brought the aura of the 
world of Art and Letters through her brother the 
great architect Meade, and her brother-in-law William 
Dean Howells, as well as the influence of 'The Van- 
derbilts' through her husband's brother Eliot F. 
Shepard. Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer stood out 
from all the others inasmuch as she was one of those 
rare beings who conferred distinction both as a mem- 
ber of an old, aristocratic family and a distinguished 
author. Mrs. George Canfield, although deeply de- 
voted to the interests of the higher education of 
women, refused to become a Trustee, being an admirer 
of Harvard and not of Columbia. But she was willing 
to become an Associate Member and later, when 'the 
Annex' became Radcliffe College and conferred its 
own degree, she declared herself as disgusted with 
their short-sightedness and threw herself whole- 
heartedly into the work of helping Barnard. She was 
an informed and immensely helpful member of the 
Board until her death not long after. 

There was the fine poet Helen Gray Cone, teaching 
English Literature at 'Normal College/ dedicated 
with rare devotion to the awakening of young women 
to the joy of appreciating the beauties of gfeat writ- 
ing. There was Jeannette Gilder, sister of the poet- 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 113 

editor of the Century, herself co-editor with another 
brother of that sprightly literary review of the period 
The Critic, in whose pages a few years before had ap- 
peared the first article I had ever written for pay. I 
like to remember Miss Gilder as she appeared at a 
tea which I gave one afternoon in honor of that witty 
Englishwoman who used the pen name of John Oliver 
Hobbes. Coming straight from her office, Miss 
Gilder wore her customary mannish garb, stiff shirt, 
collar and cravat, with plain black, severely tailored 
coat and skirt. But she had made an evident conces- 
sion to the occasion, having donned a recalcitrant pair 
of huge white gloves which were much too large even 
for her large hands, and with which she struggled 
during her entire stay. 

I don't find the name of Lucia Runkle on our first 
list of Associates, but it was not long before she was 
included. A letter from Mrs. Low of December, 1892, 
refers to her as such. From the very first, Mrs. Runkle 
had helped with our publicity. She was a journalist 
of unusual ability and social prestige. No one seemed 
to know precisely where or what she wrote. It was 
rumored that she was on the editorial staff of an 
influential weekly. She was also credited with being 
the power behind the throne in a great publishing 
house. I do know that a subtle glory clung to the 
hostess who succeeded in securing her at an affair, for 
she was always sending passionate and hurried little 
letters to hostesses declaring that she so longed to be 

12-4 Barnard ^Beginnings 

present, but the remorseless 'powers-that-be' de- 
manded this or that. I knew her to be the author of 
an unsigned article appearing in Harper's Weekly for 
December 6, 1890. 

'On the one side/ says this article, 'was Columbia 
with its degrees and no opportunities, and on the 
other was the Harvard Annex with its opportunities 
and no degree, and while the societies for the advance- 
ment of collegiate instruction for women were taking 
counsel as to how the great doors of the New York 
institution should be opened wide enough for girls 
to enter, one practical, energetic, and indomitable 
woman, quick to seize the forelock of occasion, pro- 
posed that the opportunity should be added to the 
degree. . . , This young woman was Mrs. Annie Nathan 
Meyer, a former student for a Columbia degree, who 
had felt in her own person the discouragements of the 
existing methods. 

'The "onenman power" in politics may work dis- 
aster, but the one-woman power in education, as 
exemplified by Mrs. Meyer, so far, only benefits. In 
March, 1888,* she entered, virtually alone, on the im- 
possible task of creating a public sentiment to sustain 
a woman's college which should offer to the girls of 
New York and its vicinity an education at least as 
thorough as the Harvard Annex insures/ 

No one at that time, starting any liberal movement 

* This of course should be January instead of March. Mrs. Runkle 
also made the mistake of thinking I had worked for a degree. 

^Barnard beginnings 1 15 

in New York, would think of proceeding without 
calling on Fanny Garrison Villard, the lovely and 
gracious daughter of the great Abolitionist. Having 
secured a letter of introduction to her, I kept the 
appointment which she promptly made. At the 
entrance to her noble drawing-room, I slipped on a 
rug, slid several feet on the highly polished floor, 
struggling to keep my balance, and finally fell igno- 
miniously. Only her cordial welcome could have re- 
lieved my acute embarrassment. Later on, seeing the 
humor of the situation only and forgetting the dis- 
comfort, I declared that on first meeting Mrs. Villard 
I had landed at her feet, where I had remained ever since. 
On the occasion of her eightieth birthday, a poet 
arose and acclaimed her as a 'True daughter of a 
dauntless sire/ John Haynes Holmes spoke of her 
as 'embodying the power of courage clothed in the 
beauty of gentleness.' The loveliest tribute of all 
surely in her mind would have been what her son 
Oswald wrote upon her death in 1928: 'She never 
thought of compromise; to consider shifting her 
ground or moderating her language for expediency's 
sake was as impossible for her as for her father. And 
yet/ he added, 'to few is it given in great age to have 
an open mind, much less the readiness to accept mod- 
ern ideas and novel policies. , . . Greatest of all is the 
fact that her faith and ideals never faltered ; not even 
the greatest of human catastrophes could cast down 
her spirit, or dim the lustre of its radiant light/ 

*Barnard beginnings 

Mrs. Abby B. Longstreet has been left to the last 
of those Associate Members who stand out in one 
way or another. But she was anything but least.* 
She shared with her intimate friend Lucia C. Runkle 
in the magic potency of the press. It was generally con- 
ceded that no new movement in New York could hope 
to succeed if it was so unfortunate as to gain her ill- 
will. She was an influential member of the Wednesday 
Afternoon Club, the club which set its stamp of ap- 
proval or, alas, disapproval so unflinchingly, and 
among her intimates was always referred to as ' The 
General.' She unquestionably proved her generalship 
in planning the campaign for the young College. She 
knew just the right persons who would impress the 
Columbia Trustees; solid, conservative, dependable 
persons. And, perhaps a shade more important, she 
knew who were just the wrong ones. 

Mrs. Longstreet spoke in a low, sibilant whisper 
which gave a slightly mysterious quality to her 
simplest statement. At the period at which I knew 
her, she was always garbed in black with a touch of 
white at the throat, and there was always the delicate 
rustle of silk as she moved. 

Hers was a biting tongue. No one relished the possi- 
bility of becoming the target for her mordant wit. 
Therefore, she was always surrounded by an atmo- 
sphere of adulation, not untinged with fear. She was 
certainly exceedingly difficult to please. This was 

* For complete list see Appendix F. 

TSarnard beginnings 12.7 

never set down by others to any lack of patience on 
her part, any hastiness of judgment or temper, but 
to the possession of a peculiarly high standard of be- 
havior and accomplishment. It is remarkable what 
a reputation for discernment one may acquire through 
merely withholding praise. I know I lived in constant 
terror of doing or saying something that would cause 
her to change the high opinion of me which she evi- 
dently held. I had a panicky kind of feeling that the 
College simply could not come into being should 
Mrs. Longstreet suddenly turn against it. 

This may sound somewhat ridiculous to those who 
never came under the sway of her wonderful person- 
ality. But there is no question but that it was all 
very real at the time. Some subtle, indefinable influ- 
ence certainly emanated from this tall, ungainly 
woman whose face was in some strange way scarred 
or blurred. I was never certain because those quizzi- 
cal, searching eyes, lightning-quick, had a way of 
penetrating to the core of one's being and discon- 
certing one before it was possible to study her face 
long enough to make sure. 

Don't misunderstand. Abby Longstreet was not 
a mere 'knocker.' She would not have so much 
space here if she had been merely that. She might 
be a nettle to friend and enemy alike. But she never 
ceased to be a stimulus. And her appreciation 
when she gave it was a generous appreciation, her 
applause an applause without reservation. There 

12.8 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

must have been looking back on it all, it seems 
to me something in the young bride who came 
to her for advice about starting a college, that appealed 
strongly to the indomitable old woman. Perhaps it 
was her obvious ignorance of the world. Perhaps it 
was her sheer intrepidity. Whatever it was, it was 
certain, during an intimacy that lasted many years, 
that no word in criticism or rebuke of me ever fell 
from those thin, twisted lips. Possibly I was sacro- 
sanct because in a very real sense I was her prot6g6e. 
Mrs. Longstreet had dared publicly to predict my 
success where others had predicted dire failure. Many 
of her intimates women who had known her many 
years before I had approached her expressed their 
astonishment that she had never been heard to utter 
one word about me that was not clothed in the lan- 
guage of admiration and affection. At the time of 
her death, one of her closest friends assured me to 
my surprise that I probably was the only woman of 
whom this could be said. 


BECAUSE of the unfortunate delay in reporting the 
action taken by the Columbia Trustees in response 
to the Memorial of 1888, there was nothing to do in 
the autumn of that year except to continue with 
the task of raising funds. But the fact that no answer 
of any kind had been vouchsafed, had a dampening 
effect upon every one of us. And it was also fright- 
fully discouraging to the half-dozen young women * 
who were waiting to enter as students. Youth is 
proverbially impatient. It was not an easy time for 
them. All were New Yorkers with the exception of 
one Brooklynite, and for one reason or another it was 
impossible for them to attend an out-of-town college. 
They fairly dogged my footsteps. If the expression 
had been used at that time, I suppose I would have 
said they parked themselves on my doorstep. As 
the summer of 1888 approached, it was evident that 
the College could not be opened until a year from 
the next autumn. It would be impossible even if 
we heard from the Columbia Trustees and favorably 
to get the organization perfected in time to open 
in the autumn of 1888. 

* One more joined them later whose family had moved to New 
York from Massachusetts. 

130 ^Barnard beginnings 

I suppose it would be easier to awaken sympathy 
for the sufferings of a group that was physically 
hungry. But these young women were heart-hungry, 
brain-famished. Their bodies were fed three times a 
day, but their minds were empty. Their entire being 
out of tune, they didn't seem to fit into any groove. 
They were ambitious, eager to work, anxious to prove 
their fitness, passionately longing to exercise their 
mental faculties as others might long to exercise their 
muscles. There they were with the fata morgana of 
a career flitting before their eyes, determinedly stand- 
ing their ground, fighting off alike the skepticism and 
the criticism of the rest of the world. A dreary time 
it was for them. No wonder they could only gaze 
at me earnestly and from time to time wail, 'Oh, Mrs. 
Meyer, do you really think we'll ever have a college, 
a real college right here in New York?' 

For all the fact that I was always provided with 
letters of introduction, I was often made to feel as if 
I were begging for myself. I went about from house 
to house, giving as much time as I could spare from 
the bedside of my father who was never to rise from 
it again. It didn't take long to discover that it was 
far easier to obtain a signature at the bottom of a 
Memorial than at the bottom of a check. At this 
trying time two noble persons stand out in my mem- 
ory Mrs. James J. Goodwin, whose subscription 
came to me actually unsolicited through the mails, 
and Thomas Bracher, the only one who called upon 

^Barnard "Beginnings 131 

me in person to offer his unsolicited subscription. His 
wife accompanied him. Both were deeply interested 
in college education for women. Their daughters had 
been eager to attend college, and would have done 
so had one been started in New York a little earlier. 
I came across the other day a letter written me by 
Mrs. Goodwin. It is dated December 4, 1890. 'I am 
very glad,' she writes, 'to hear that such a good start 
has been made towards the endowment but what 
an amount of patience and perseverance it will take! 
However, I have one piece of good news. I wrote to 
Mr. Pierpont Morgan [a cousin of hers] and he was 
good enough to say that, though approached by 
others, he was not much impressed until he got my 
note, and he will subscribe $5000. I am a little proud 
of my success/ she adds, ' because it is absolutely my 
first attempt at begging and I fear will be my last/ 

I remember very well the discouraging day when 
this cheering bit of news arrived. To have a gift like 
this from Mr. Morgan meant much more than the 
mere money. It meant the approval and endorse- 
ment of a mighty social and financial power. I wish 
it were possible to express some word of appreciation 
for each one of the good people who gave money to 
Barnard during those early days of struggle. It seems 
as if they should bear some special kind of halo. I have 
already spoken of our greatest benefactor Mrs. Ander- 
son. And there was the splendid gift of Miss Emily O. 
Gibbes of Newport, who sent for me during .one of 

132. "Barnard beginnings 

her visits to New York because she liked my books 
Woman's Work in America and Helen Brent, M.D. 
Of course I interested her in the College, and she 
visited it several times with me and made generous 
gifts for one thing or another, and at last came the 
great day when she announced confidentially that she 
had willed her entire fortune to the College. She was 
an intense feminist, the man-hater type. I always 
claimed that it was fortunate for the College that 
when my child was born a few years later, it had 
been a girl and not a boy! 

I steadily refused to beg in couples or groups. If I 
were to be humiliated, I preferred to be alone. Wasn't 
I delighted that no one accompanied me to interview 
a certain rich merchant during one of the emergencies 
when Mr, Plimpton and I literally scoured the streets 
to meet the conditions imposed by the first of the gifts 
from Mr. Rockefeller! I shrank from his bold gaze, 
his prominent eyes had a most unpleasant stare. In 
the course of our talk he frequently put his hand on 
my knee. His discreet secretary in the background 
didn't seem to mind, and I bit my lip and tried to 
appear nonchalant. I think I got five hundred dol- 
lars, and I know I fled. Indignantly I announced to 
Mr. Plimpton that I was through with begging from 
men. I'd go and see women hereafter, but no more 
men. Mr. Plimpton was enormously amused. Imagine 
my embarrassment when he drawled: 'Well, Mrs. 
Meyer, I always knew you were a charming woman, 

TZarnard ^Beginnings 133 

but I never imagined you would charm a blind 

Then there was the rich editor who had the reputa- 
tion of being exceedingly 'close.' As I was taking 
my departure, he admitted that he had consented to 
see me determined not to give a cent, and that since 
I had hypnotized him into subscribing a hundred 
dollars a year, he felt very sure that Barnard College 
would some day be the richest college in the world. 
'If you could get money out of me,' he remarked 
laughingly, 'you can get it out of anyone!' This, 
while encouraging, led to embarrassment later when 
a prominent Society leader decided to get up a Bene- 
fit for us. She went ahead without getting into touch 
with us, for she claimed afterwards she was afraid 
to meet me, as I hypnotized people into giving. As it 
happened, the Executive Committee had decided not 
to venture any Benefit at the time, but this woman 
proceeded wholly without authorization and, although 
hearing of her attempt at the last moment, and in 
order to stave off a total failure, I managed to sell 
tickets and boxes among the Board, the net result 
was a deficit of fifty dollars which the lady had the 
coolness to ask us to pay! I am glad to add that we 
refused this last demand. And the maddening thing 
about the affair was that there had been no lack of 
interest in the College, but the lady was wildly extrav- 
agant and careless in her arrangements. We came 
into it all too late to review her contracts. All that 

134 Barnard beginnings 

we could do was I remember to remove from 
the program the startling innovation of a woman 
who whistled! She had to be paid but our dignity 
was saved ! 

Of course what made begging for a woman's college 
in those days peculiarly difficult was the fact that it 
took a person of liberal views to be interested at all. 
And people who are deeply interested in a liberal 
cause, who would actually make sacrifices for it, are 
usually not rich. The possession of wealth makes for 
conservatism, for keeping things as they are. Why 
not? Those who suffer most from present conditions 
are obviously the ones to be filled with a burning 
desire for change. It is only the finest souls of the 
earth who dedicate themselves to an Ideal even if 
they have more to lose by it than to gain. One can- 
not expect to meet many such in the course of a life- 

How often have people said to me a smug com- 
placency beneath the self-deprecatory surface 'Ask 
me to do anything anything but beg. I'm no good 
at that sort of thing. It simply isn't in me!' I used 
to wonder if these same people would have admitted 
quite so jauntily that they possessed no skill in organ- 
izing their ideas, no clear notion of their aims, no 
knowledge of human nature, and above all no per- 
sonal charm and no magnetism! Had any of these 
delicately fashioned creatures who thus proclaimed 
their inefficiency truly understood the gentle art of 

^Barnard beginnings 135 

begging, I would have been spared at least their 
poorly veiled sense of superiority. 

A successful beggar must possess many conflicting 
qualities. She must possess a shrewd knowledge of 
human nature. And yet not too shrewd. It must be 
a shrewdness tempered and warmed by a magnificent 
confidence, a glorious awareness of the heights to 
which human nature may rise, as well as the depths 
to which it may fall. Obviously the slightest tinge of 
cynicism plays havoc with the faith which is to move 
mountains. Particularly exasperating to me were 
those who, as they protested their inability to beg 
for a cause, assumed that the successful beggar goes 
her way filled with a serene and undisturbed joy. 
Evidently they conceived her as making her jaunty 
way to the door of the prospective victim entirely 
without misgivings and pressing a firm and potent 
finger upon the bell. The truth was, of course, that 
never did I press the bell with a finger that didn't 
tremble. Never did I stand upon the top step before 
a millionaire's mansion without a fervent prayer that 
the object of my call would prove to be ' Not at home.' 
And this, notwithstanding all the time and energy 
that had been expended in securing a letter of intro- 
duction and in going over * leads,' learning the reli- 
gious affiliations, political beliefs and pet prejudices 
involved in other words, seeking to avoid the pit- 
falls that threaten the solicitor who comes unpre- 
pared. 'An exhilarating avocation' Bishop Lawrence 

136 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

called the raising of money. Nevertheless, in his Mem- 
ones of a Happy Life he described the agonies he en- 
dured, ' Every morning I had to lash myself to go 
down town. ... I heard with sighs of relief that one 
and another could not see me/ 


THERE lies in the archives of Barnard College a small 
calfskin-bound book which appears on the surface to 
be merely a lot of names and addresses with figures 
attached to them,* but which is really a poignant 
history of a heart-breaking struggle. How many 
memories it awakens when I read the names there 
carefully listed ! 

In a girlish hand, the title is penned: 

Subscription List for 

The Fund for Establishing 

A Columbia Annex for Women 

Annie Nathan Meyer, 

749 Madison Avenue, New York. 

The first item in the book is ' Dr. Alfred Meyer 
$500.' There is a notation under it, however, which 
reads, 'See Annual Subscriptions. Changed by re- 
quest of Finance Committee.' 

It was the Treasurer, Mr. Schiff, who suggested 
that it would be the part of wisdom not to ask for 
any large subscriptions, but for smaller sums to be 

* See Appendix G. 

138 Barnard ^Beginnings 

pledged annually for four years. Mr. Schiff not only 
thought it would be less difficult to get the smaller 
sum, but he considered it discreet to regard the enter- 
prise, modestly, as tentative only. He advised that 
there should be no attempt on the part of Barnard's 
friends to establish permanency until the experiment 
should be proved a success. The sum it was finally 
decided to ask for was one hundred dollars. As the 
very first gift had been five hundred dollars, the donor 
willingly changed it to one hundred dollars annually 
for five years. 

This modus vivendi was not suggested by any lack 
of faith on the part of the Treasurer, nor the slightest 
lack of appreciation of the need for the College. Mr. 
Schiff thought the public would be more ready to sub- 
scribe the large sums that would be needed if, at the 
end of the experimental period, a class had been grad- 
uated, and the Trustees of the College could make 
their appeal on the merits of good work actually 

It is usually said that Barnard was started on five 
thousand dollars a year pledged for four years. But 
the truth is that the amount was far less than that.* 

* Even so late as October 20, 1935, Miss Gildersleeve, our present 
Dean, speaking on the air, said: 'As for finances no institution 
was ever founded more purely on faith. Fifty persons undertook 
to contribute $100 each annually for four years.' Virginia Cocheron 
Gildersleeve, a graduate of the Class of 1899, was installed as Dean 
of the College in 1911, having taught for some years in the English 
Department, Barnard is very proud of having one of her very own 

TSarnard ^Beginnings 139 

Thirty-six pledges of one hundred dollars each for 
four years were received. Of these, three were from 
Trustees, two from husbands of Trustees, two more 
from women who shortly after became Trustees. 
Three were from Trustees of Columbia and two from 
wives of Columbia Trustees. Almost all the other 
donors were my personal friends or patients of my 
husband. Besides these thirty-six pledges, a good 
many gave sums varying from one thousand dollars 
to twenty-five dollars, without pledging themselves 
for the future. Only a couple of the small contribu- 
tions were for four years. Of the forty-eight who gave 
only once, some were Associate Members, a very few 
became interested through other Barnard Trustees, 
twenty-two were my personal friends, and the rest 
I secured by personal calls aided by letters of intro- 

Thus Barnard College, at the beginning, could 
depend only on thirty-seven hundred and fifty dol- 

graduates for her chief executive, who, although nominally Dean, 
is really more like the President of a college such a one for instance 
as is not affiliated with a parent university. Dean Gildersleeve is a 
member of the University Council precisely as are the Dean of 
Teachers College, and the Deans of the various schools at Columbia, 
professional as well as undergraduate. With all the advantages of 
true scholarship, she is far from exemplifying the old-fashioned ideal 
of cloistered aloofness from the stream of life. An exceptionally able 
presiding officer, a witty and inspiring speaker, profoundly inter- 
ested in current problems, especially as they concern women, her 
admirable balance, and her clear-sighted and delightful frankness 
are greatly and gratefully cherished. 

140 ^Barnard beginnings 

lars pledged annually for four years, another fifty 
dollars pledged for two years, and it possessed in out- 
right gifts five thousand and fifty dollars, some of 
which, of course, had to be spent in equipment and 
furnishings. It was estimated that about two thou- 
sand dollars would come in from tuition fees.* 

Small wonder that there was trepidation among 
the four who formed the Ways and Means Committee 
and met in the late spring of 1889 at Mr. Plimpton's 
office at 743 Broadway to decide whether or not to 
open the College in the fall. Small wonder that Mr. 
Schiff advised against it. He considered that the 
response of the people had not been generous enough 
to warrant it. In his eyes another year spent in rais- 
ing funds was imperative. But those who were less 
versed in finance were braver. It was a good deal 
the case of the old adage concerning fools and 

In an article in the Atlantic Monthly a few years 
ago, Dean Briggs of Harvard delightfully wrote of 
the early struggles of the Harvard Annex as 'an 
experiment in faith.' He refers to its financial re- 
sources as 'glaringly insignificant/ and speaks of 
'living chiefly on faith with a few tuition fees thrown 
in.' Surely it was so with Barnard! 

Speaking of our struggles, S. B. Brownell, in the 

* 'Probably no institution was ever founded more purely on 
faith/ (William Tenney Brewster, Columbia University Quarterly, 
March, 1909.) 

^Barnard beginnings 141 

course of an address in 1891, remarked: 'When one 
considers the work to be done and the means at hand, 
one hardly knows whether to wonder at the audacity 
of their attempt or the measure of their success. The 
community looked on with an amused incredulity at 
the bravery and faith of these women/ 

In the Report of 1894, the Treasurer, Mr. Plimpton, 
says: 'As we look back on the beginning of Barnard, 
we are surprised at the audacity... Barnard College 
was established nearly five years ago under financial 
conditions quite different from those which made 
possible similar institutions in other cities. The only 
financial support at the outset was the agreement 
of some fifty persons in New York City that for four 
years each would contribute one hundred dollars 
annually/ * 

Mrs. Stranahan, who was the fourth member of the 
Ways and Means Committee, deserves a crown for 
her vote. 'We simply must open/ she declared, 
1 whether we have the money now or not. Every one 
of us [her husband was an annual subscriber] will 
double our gifts if necessary, but we must open next 

Mr. Plimpton and I voted to open. The Treasurer 
was right beyond a doubt. It was a foolhardy pro- 
ceeding fraught with difficulties and dangers. But 
there are times when it is more glorious to be wrong 
than to be right. 
* As we have just seen, even this was an overstatement! 

142. ^Barnard beginnings 

At this historic meeting, May 10, 1889, the following 
modest appropriations were made : 

For rent * fa 8o 

Furnishing house IOO 


For Professors' Fees 35 

For Lady Principal * 2Q Q 

Grand Total $75OO 

This included nothing for the janitor and his wife, 
for heating, lighting, or other upkeep of the house, 
nothing for printing, postage, or other incidentals. 
At a meeting a week later, it was reported that the 
Academic Committee voluntarily reduced its budget 
to four thousand dollars so that the seven hundred 
thus saved could go towards the rent of a house. The 
House Committee had reported itself utterly dis- 
couraged in the hope of securing a suitable house near 
enough to Columbia for less than twenty-five hundred 

To get the full flavor of this earliest budget of the 
College, one must compare it roughly, at least, with 
the budget of today. Instead of the modest rent of 
$2500, we find our grounds were appraised by the 
Bureau of Taxes and Assessments September, 1934, 
at $3,800,000, our buildings at $1,275,000, and the 
equipment cost comes to $195,200.13. Instead of 
an expenditure for salaries of professors and the Lady 

* See pages 149 seq. 

Barnard Beginnings 143 

Principal of $4700, we budgeted our Educational 
Administration at $566,103.64. Instead of the modest 
sum of $2000 which it was hoped would come in 
from tuition fees, in the year 1933-34, notwith- 
standing the depression which was felt by every col- 
lege throughout the land, the tuition fees amounted 
to $392,549.78, while from our dormitories came in 
another $183,787.03. 


IN THE early winter of 1888-89, as soon as I heard 
of the encouraging action of the Columbia Trustees 
and a copy of the favorable Resolutions had been dug 
up from the archives of the College, a small committee 
set about securing a charter for Barnard College. 
There was some difficulty in securing even a tem- 
porary one because Barnard at that time owned no 
property, and had in contemplation merely the rent- 
ing of a suitable building. Neither could it be said 
to own any endowment. What little income it could 
depend upon consisted merely in promises to pay for 
the next three or four years. 

The Provisional Charter,* however, was finally 
secured with very material help from Melvil Dewey, 
who was now established in Albany at the head of his 
School for Librarians and acting as Secretary to the 
Board of Regents. 

In a letter, early in June, 1889, he writes to me: 
'You need no assurance of my willingness to do every- 
thing that I can to help you. I fully agree with you 
as to the desirability of opening this fall, and I think 
that the Charter can be granted/ He refers to the 
ignorance of actual conditions shown by several of 
the Board of Regents who had suggested letting the 
* See Appendix H. 

^Barnard beginnings 145 

Columbia Charter cover the work of Barnard, and 
continues: 'I think, however, that I can present the 
merits of the case in such a way as to get you a pro- 
visional charter under which you can work with entire 

On the nineteenth of June, he writes: 'Of course, if 
you make a success of Barnard College, you will have 
an endowment of a hundred thousand dollars within 
a few years. I think I can satisfy the Board of Regents 
on this point, so that they will grant you a provi- 
sional charter at the July meeting July ninth/ 
And in the following November: 'I beg to assure you 
of ray very warm personal interest in Barnard College 
which in its pre-natal days was probably discussed 
more in my private office in the Columbia Library 
than anywhere else/ * 

It will be recalled that the Resolutions passed by 

* When the time came to provide for a permanent charter, Mr. 
Dewey was again of assistance. He wrote to Mr. Brownell in 1894: 
'I deem it only a matter of form that the Regents will grant the 
absolute charter. I am proud of the vigorous life and high prospects 
of the College in whose earliest days I had, as I still have, so warm a 
personal interest. I expect it to take a foremost place among the 
women's colleges of the world. I cannot see why New York should 
be second in this vitally important field.' 

There is another letter to Mr. Brownell, probably written a little 
before this, in which he says: 'You may rest assured that, in any 
new legislation, you will find me a warm friend. My whole five 
years at Columbia was a constant struggle against the Anti-Woman 
element, and it was with great delight that I saw Barnard coming 
into so promising an existence, just as the grand man for whom it 
was named completed his work/ 

146 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

the Trustees of Columbia at their meeting, May 7, 
1888, contained a statement that, before any official 
sanction to the plan for an affiliated college could be 
given, five conditions had to be met. The second of 
those was that the property was to be held, and the 
instruction managed, by an incorporated Associa- 
tion, the Trustees of which, and its name, constitu- 
tion, and regulations, should be approved by the 
Trustees of Columbia College. 

Therefore, at an informal meeting held in Ham- 
ilton Hall, Columbia College, on the evening of De- 
cember 15 of that year, a letter was framed to be sent 
to the Trustees of Columbia College, which read : 

' Gentlemen: 

'In consequence of the action of your Board, taken 
at its Meeting in June, 1888... the undersigned were 
appointed a Committee to present to your Board 
a Memorial giving the name of the proposed corpora- 
tion, the names of its Trustees, and its constitution 
and regulations/ 

Here followed a list of the Trustees and of th 
Associate Members, together with certain of the 
by-laws which had already been decided upon. 

The communication was signed by Annie Nathan 
Meyer, Ella Weed, Winifred Edgerton Merrill,* Fred- 
eric R. Coudert, and Francis Lynde Stetson. 

* Mrs. Merrill, the proud possessor of Columbia's first doctorate, 
served on the Board only a short time. She was then living in the 
extreme northern end of the city almost in the suburbs and 

TSarnard beginnings 147 

For some months this small committee actually 
was Barnard College. It must have worked at a 
terrific pace, because it was only a couple of months 
later March 4, 1889 that the Columbia Board 
took formal action approving the opening of Barnard 

she was the mother of an infant. It was not only difficult for her to 
get off to attend the numerous meetings which were necessary, but 
her conservative husband objected to her constant attendance at 
meetings in the offices of the two lawyers of the Committee. I 
refused indignantly to ask these busy men to come uptown to my 
home, so Mrs. Merrill soon resigned from the Committee and the 

* In February, 1893, before the four years of trial were quite up, 
the agreement between Barnard and Columbia was renewed. The 
following year and in 1898 further agreements were entered into, 
always, however, with the proviso that either institution could 
sever the relations on due notice. The year 1900 saw the present 
permanent status achieved. (See Appendix H and Appendix I.) 


PROBABLY the earliest appeal circularized by the 
Trustees of Barnard College is a two-page statement 
beautifully printed in clear black type on an excel- 
lent quality of bond paper, evidently designed by 
persons who knew the advantage of a good impres- 
sion upon the eye as well as upon the mind. It is 
undated, but the context reveals that it was sent out 
in the spring of 1889. It reviews the steps taken by 
Columbia to sanction and standardize the education 
of women, without, however, providing for their 
instruction. The third page contains the names of 
the Trustees and Associate Members of the College. 

The announcement is made that: 

'The Trustees of Columbia College have now de- 
cided to recognize officially a college for women, 
where professors and instructors of Columbia College 
may repeat the instruction given to their regular 
classes. . . . The names of the Trustees and Associate 
Members of the new college, its constitution and gen- 
eral working plan have been submitted and approved. 
The members of the Faculty have without exception 
signified a cordial willingness to give instruction to 
the students of Barnard College. ... It is proposed to 
lease a house for four years, at the end of which time 

^Barnard "Beginnings 149 

it will be the right of either college, finding the experi- 
ment unsatisfactory, to sever the relation. 

'Similar colleges for women, working under less 
favorable conditions, have proved their efficiency both 
in England and America; and the friends of Barnard 
College feel justified in believing that a four years' 
test will result in the endowment in New York City 
of a college offering to women all that Columbia 
offers to men. 

* Endowment cannot be justly asked until the ex- 
periment has been tried ; but, even as an experiment, 
the work cannot be successfully carried forward 
except on a firm financial basis. It is confidently 
believed that the funds in hand will make it possible 
for the friends of Barnard College to open the building 
for the reception of students in September, 1889.' 

This was drawing a long bow. We have already 
seen how discouraged was the House Committee at 
its failure to find a house to be rented at the price 
assigned to it by the Ways and Means Committee's 
budget. Even the twenty-five hundred dollars which 
was finally allowed was to prove too little in the ex- 
pensive neighborhood of Columbia College. My letter 
to Mr. Brownell, of about this time or only a little 
later, says: ' I am worried ; we can't afford $3500. The 
Ways and Means Committee today decided not to 
spend more than $3000. We cannot afford to give 
more, but I am most anxious that the extra $500 
should be raised.* Then follows the first reference 

150 Barnard beginnings 

to the house which did become Barnard's first home, 
1 Don't you think 343 Madison Avenue would be 

This brownstone, twenty-five-foot house was con- 
sidered a promising choice, not alone because of its 
nearness to Columbia, and the arrangement of its 
rooms, but because it had been rumored that the 
owner was a wealthy woman who might become a 
benefactor to the College. It was suggested that to 
become her tenant might be the first step in inter- 
esting her. This hope, however, was never realized. 

In order to save two hundred and fifty dollars in 
the rental, for the first two years, the College had 
agreed to permit the owner the use of the two rooms 
in the back of the fourth floor.* Another saving in 
rental was effected by permitting the newly formed 
Women's University Club to use the second-floor 
front, which was by far the best room in the house. 
This arrangement which was considered advan- 
tageous both from the financial standpoint and be- 
cause it brought to the College the type of women 
whose co-operation it was hoped to enlist lasted 
but two years.f 

The owner of 343 Madison Avenue, being a good 

* Having started with a freshman class only, we did not require 
so much room at first. 

fThe Report for 1890-91 states: 'We regret that now being 
obliged to use the room for College purposes, we shall lose the 
familiar presence of these interesting and interested women.' 

The first home of Barnard College, the lease for which was signed by the author 

^Barnard ^Beginnings 151 

business woman, had firmly refused to rent her house 
to a struggling and not yet incorporated College, 
unless one of the Trustees was willing to become 
responsible. Therefore, I felt called upon to prove 
my faith by signing a four years' lease for that brown- 
stone house which was the birthplace of Barnard 
College. The terms were a yearly rental of thirty- 
two hundred and fifty dollars for the first two years 
and thirty-five hundred for the last two. To this 
day, I can feel the tremor of excitement that went 
through me as, with a stroke of the pen, I made rny 
husband legally responsible for a sum almost double 
that which we were paying for the rent of our own 
home a mile north on the same avenue. Had things 
gone wrong we should have had to make inroads into 
our capital. 

The first Circular of Information contains the an- 
nouncement: 'Barnard College will open Monday, 
October 7, 1889, at 343 Madison Avenue and will 
receive only students fitted for admission to the 
classes of the Freshman year.' 

By the time there were four classes at Barnard, 
not only was every room used, but every available 
inch in the building, including the former butler's 
pantry, the sink of which was converted into an 
umbrella-rack. Students of science had to go over 
to Fifth Avenue to an apartment converted into 

However, it must be said that the students and 

152. Barnard beginnings 

faculty took all the inconveniences in good part. 
They were heroes, each and every one of them, 

In the Barnard Annual of 1895 a student gives 
voice to the question, 'Will there be [in a future 
splendidly equipped college] an assembly room so 
dear to us as Mrs. Kelly's refrigerator,* where we sat 
so often discussing politics, poetry, and professors?' 

In the Mortarboard for 1898 an article appeared, 
signed by A. C. W., which actually had the temerity 
to sympathize with the students of these grander 
days for having missed the fun of suffering discomfort 
for a beloved cause : 

'Those of us who have lived in and loved the old 
building feel that the new conditions cannot foster 
deeper love for the college life than have the unpre- 
tentious beginnings of which we have been a part. 

'There have been inconveniences untold, it is true. 
We have been crowded and cramped and packed in 
until we have almost gasped for a breathing space; 
we have had lunch-room, club-room, lecture-room, 
study and chapel all within the same four walls, where 
it is impossible to sit in comfort without being suffo- 
cated by the heat or almost driven out by the cold. 
But these have been merely external conditions which 
we have not minded except in a desultory sort of way 
as the indispensable something to grumble at; for 
the discomforts have bound us only the more closely 
together in our resolve to disregard them and to make 
* See Appendix J. 

Barnard ^Beginnings 153 

a college life and a college spirit in spite of all the 

A few years after this, one of the most devoted 
Professors characterized the old building also in 
the pages of the Mortarboard as ' a collection of 
bedrooms/ He went on to say, 'What a magnificent 
illustration those old days afforded of the truth that 
splendid structures are no essential element of a 
college ! ' 

Yes; I am sure that, when the time came to move 
Barnard to its present proud site, those early students, 
despite all inconveniences and in face of their pride 
in their alma mater's 'more stately mansions/ felt a 
certain regret at leaving 343 Madison Avenue. They 
knew that there they had been laying the foundations 
and establishing the traditions of greater Barnard. 
They shared the emotion that Dr. Morgan Dix re- 
ports himself to have felt for old Columbia, when that 
College moved to its ' uptown ' site in Forty-Ninth 
Street. 'I traced with long and anxious gaze/ he 
says, 'the lecture rooms and the house so well known 
to every graduate, and then, taking off my hat, I 
bade thee farewell, "Alma mater, vale, vale, vale!"' * 

* Dr. Morgan Dix's Diary, August 10, 1857. 


IT WAS owing to the foresight and judgment of Ella 
Weed that Barnard did not make the mistake, as 
some other colleges had done, of opening its doors to 
four classes at once. ' Better empty rooms/ announced 
Miss Weed trenchantly, 'than empty heads!' Decid- 
edly, Barnard wished to be responsible for its own 
graduates, and this was not possible if students were 
permitted to enter the upper classes who had been 
trained by other colleges and were under the aegis 
of Barnard for, perhaps, only the senior year. Even 
though at present, nearly half a century later, Barnard 
is proud to take first rank in the number of transfers 
from other colleges, this policy of limiting our gradu- 
ates to those who had attended for four years was a 
wise one for those pioneer days. 

Of regularly enrolled freshmen there were only 
seven when the College opened. It is unfortunate, 
because misleading, that in several later Annual 
Reports a number of special students were included 
and the first class is referred to as having had a regis- 
tration of thirty-six. While the usual type of special 
student was not admitted, exceptions were made for 
the student who was devoting herself to science. It 
was felt that there was little chance of Barnard's 
being overwhelmed by these in numbers, such as 

TSarnard beginnings 155 

might have swamped the regular classes had 'spe- 
cials' in Literature or History, for instance, been 
admitted. Furthermore, there were many schools 
where courses in the more popular branches might 
be taken, but no laboratories where women might do 
original research work. 

The Botanical Laboratory, generously equipped 
by the Torrey Botanical Club and headed by a splen- 
did woman and celebrated scholar, Dr. Emily Greg- 
ory, was a great boon to the College. It was so popu- 
lar that within a year or two it was necessary to rent 
other rooms for it. Dr. Nathaniel Britton, Head of 
Columbia's Botanical Department, was deeply inter- 
ested from the start, and Dr. Gregory was recom- 
mended by him for the Barnard position. 

The examinations for admission were held the week 
before the opening of the College. The announcement 
of them contained the highly significant words: 'The 
following examinations, which are identical with the 
examinations for admission to Columbia College, will 
be held at Barnard College, each day at ten o'clock/ 

The examination in Mathematics was scheduled 
for Wednesday. When I arrived at the College, I 
accidentally learned from Miss Weed that the papers 
sent over from the Head of the Department of Math- 
ematics were not identical with those given to the 
boys who were taking their examinations to enter 
Columbia, but were papers written by a young assist- 
ant, Dr. Thomas Fiske. I was horrified. I cried out, 

156 Barnard ^Beginnings 

'But they must be the Columbia examinations! We 
have announced that the examinations are to be 
identical. We have promised it/ 

Miss Weed assured me that everything had been 
done that was possible to make 'Van Am/ as he was 
called by everyone, change his mind, but that he 
firmly refused to let his examination questions out 
of his hands. Urging seemed only to strengthen his 

I gasped in dismay, 'We cannot go back on our 
given word like that! Think of the consequences! 1 
Miss Weed tried to console me, saying that Dr. Fiske 
was an extremely able teacher, as indeed he was ; that 
I might be sure the papers were no easier than those 
the boys were to take. She sniffed in her funny, char- 
acteristic little way, as if enjoying the joke that any- 
one could put over on her a trick like that. But I was 
far from satisfied. In fact, I insisted that she hold 
up the examination until I could dash over to Colum- 
bia and back. 

Miss Weed consented ruefully. Well, perhaps it 
was just as well that her young friend would learn 
there were some things she could not accomplish. 
She was growing a bit too sure of herself, too apt to 
be distrustful of the efforts of everyone else. When 
I arrived at Forty-Ninth Street, at the entrance to 
Hamilton Hall, I met Harry Thurston Peck, the 
Professor of Latin, editor of the Bookman, and a good 
friend of mine. He couldn't resist teasing me good- 

Barnard ^Beginnings 157 

naturedly when I admitted that I had come for the 
Columbia mathematics papers, 'No use! Everyone 
has had a try at it. "Van Am" won't budge/ 

'Wait here four minutes and see!' I challenged, 
and he pulled out his watch, laughing. 

I found Professor Van Amringe in his study, vis- 
ibly annoyed at what he considered much ado about 
nothing. ' You, too! ' he cried. ' Such a silly fuss about 
that examination! I assure you, madam, the ques- 
tions sent to Barnard are even more difficult than 
those the boys are answering. It's a better examina- 
tion than I could write myself/ 

My knees shook under me. For all his great popu- 
larity among the students, he was a big, broad, 
formidable-looking man. And just at that moment, 
his long, walrus mustache fairly bristled with irrita- 
tion. But, frightened as I was, I realized those who 
had come before me had wasted their time arguing 
this point. They sought to flatter him, but I took 
him at his word: 'That isn't the point at all, Professor 
Van Amringe. I have no doubt it's a splendid exam- 
ination Dr. Fiske has written. I even believe what 
you say, that it is a better paper than you could 

The busy white eyebrows quivered. My legs be- 
came less dependable as a support. " But I held my 
ground : 

'I ask you, if tomorrow's papers say "the Barnard 
girls didn't have to pass the same examination in 

158 ^Barnard ^Beginnings 

Mathematics as was given the Columbia boys," what 
will the world think? that they were more difficult 
or that they were easier? Do you think for a moment 
our girls will get the credit of passing an examination 
that was actually harder than the one the boys took? 
You know they'll all say the bars were let down for 
the inferior mentality of the girls/ 

Without a word he turned to his desk, took up a 
bundle of papers, and with a low bow placed them 
into my waiting hands. In four minutes I was on my 
way back to Barnard, darting past Professor Peck, 
waving triumphantly the Columbia examination 
papers ! 

When some of his colleagues teased him at not 
being able to resist the appeal of a pretty young 
woman, he replied : ' Not at all. Her being pretty or 
young had nothing to do with it. She was the first 
person man or woman who had the sense to 
show me what I was doing.' 

The episode had an importance not easily estimated 
at the present day, when the right of women to edu- 
cation, or their ability to profit by it, is no longer 
questioned. Furthermore, Barnard College has made 
her own reputation and created her own standards. 
No one would ever say today that the Barnard 
students required or desired the slightest intellectual 

Whatever lies in the future for Barnard College, 
it cannot fail if it holds firmly to the tradition of its 

Barnard beginnings 159 

past. It was sorely tempted in the days when it had 
no funds, no buildings, and only a temporary and 
provisional legal existence, yet it successfully resisted 
the appeals of women of wealth and position to let 
down the bars in order to permit their daughters to 
enter. At that time, remember, when collegiate edu- 
cation for women was commonly regarded as a mere 
means of earning a living for those women who 'un- 
fortunately' needed to do so, it would have been a 
great feather in Barnard's cap to have enrolled the 
daughters of well-known social leaders. 

In my address given before the National Council 
of Women in 1891, in examining the characteristics 
of the affiliated college for women, I had uttered a 
warning that it was important to distinguish between 
false and true methods. Although reluctant to criti- 
cize another college, I explained that 'the way to 
exert real influence and to carry on a real fight against 
superficial education for girls is to insist rigorously 
upon definite standards/ and not weakly to follow the 
example set by Evelyn College which was the woman's 
college affiliated with Princeton College in 1888, a 
year before the establishment of Barnard. A Reso- 
lution passed by the Trustees of Princeton permitted 
the members of their faculty to give such help to 
students of Evelyn College 'as did not interfere with 
their duties to the University/ Furthermore, it 
granted the women students the use of libraries, mu- 
seums, etc. So far, so good. 

160 "Barnard ^Beginnings 

But the woman's college did not live up to its 
privileges. I quoted the letter which the Head Mis- 
tress of Evelyn wrote to me on this point: 'You will 
understand how impossible it is for girls to accom- 
plish the same course of study in the same length of 
time as the boys do, if they try to do anything at 
music or art, therefore we have found it necessary to 
have our own, or what we call the Evelyn College 
course, which differs from the Princeton course, in 
allowing music and art to be pursued as regular elec- 
tives, and in not insisting upon Greek/ 

It is interesting to note that when I had protested 
to the Head Mistress that she was losing sight of the 
chief advantage of the affiliated college which was to 
maintain standards in every way identical with those 
of the young men, she wrote again to me: 'Of course, 
you in New York have doubtless all the money you 
need, but we have very little to go on, and it is neces- 
sary, if we are to live at all, to make concessions/ The 
italics are mine. With what satisfaction I was able 
to reply: 'On the contrary, we are as poor as church 
mice, but we intend to maintain our standards. We 
are not giving our time and strength to show that 
women are unable to carry on the same studies as 
men; but the opposite. If we cannot live without sac- 
rificing our ideals, it is not the ideals that will be 

Barnard College lives today, firmly and perma- 
nently established in a position of dignity and influ- 

Barnard beginnings 1 6 1 

ence. It has many buildings including science lab- 
oratories, gymnasium, swimming pool, social rooms 
and attractive residence halls, a large number of appli- 
cants from many states, from which to select its 
thousand students, and a Faculty of exceptional dis- 
tinction, which gives it rank among the leading 
women's colleges of the country. Evelyn College no 
longer exists, not even as a memory. A few years ago 
several members of the present faculty of Princeton 
University were astonished to learn from me for the 
first time that there had ever been a Princeton ' Annex ' 
for women. 

Nothing is more certain than that life is not achieved 
by those who throw aside their ideals in order to live. 
Life, like fame, seems securest to those who are ap- 
parently indifferent to it. As Juvenal so splendidly, 
so defiantly put it, ' Consider it the greatest disgrace, 
for the sake of life to lose that which makes life worth 


HERE some quotations from the Diaries of Dr. Morgan 
Dix may be pertinent and interesting, as showing the 
history of this plan : 

1882, May I. Meeting of the Trustees lasted nearly 
four hours. The subject of women in the college did not 
come before us. [The relief is evident here.] 1883, Jan. 30. 
In the afternoon I paid a visit to Mrs. Caroline G. Reed 
at her house and spent an hour with her in conversation 
about the plans of the persistent set of agitators who have 
in mind the ' higher education' of girls. Got a great deal 
of light on their expectations and proposed methods. The 
thing seems to have been engineered from the beginning 
by a little knot of persevering women most of whom are. . . 
of the Boston type, etc. They make great boasts of an an- 
ticipated success with the Board of Trustees of Columbia 
College. 1883, Feb. 5. Got up to Columbia College at 
2 P.M. We sat till after 5. Governor Fish presented the 
threatened petition for the Higher Education of Women 
and, on my motion, it was referred to a Select Committee 
consisting of myself, Dr. Chambers and Dr. Agnew to con- 
sider and report. Feb. 14. In the afternoon at four 
o'clock our Committee on the petition to the Trustees of 
Columbia College met at my house, all present, viz: Dr. 
Chambers, Dr. Schermerhorn, Dr. Townsend and Dr. 
Agnew. We sat till ten minutes to 6 and separated with a 
fair prospect of substantial agreement on the important 
principles involved in the prospect before us. Feb. 27. 
Had an interview with a student from the Institute of Tech- 
nology of Boston, who gave me some particulars of the 
results of Coeducation, which confirms all that I said in 

164 ^Appendix 

my lecture last evening. Feb. 28. This afternoon at four 
o'clock the Select Committee of the Trustees of Columbia 
College met at my house and considered the draft of a 
report which I had prepared. ... To my great satisfaction, 
we got it into such shape. . . it will go to the Board with the 
signatures of the entire Committee. Feb. 29. Sent to 
Gov. Fish a copy of our report and received from him a 
letter cordially approving it in every particular. Mar. 5, 
Sent a copy... to Dr. Barnard at 9 A.M. At 2 P.M. the 
Board of Trustees met. I presented the report and the 
resolutions appended. All passed unanimously with the 
exception of the first, which received only one negative 
vote _ t hat of Pres. Barnard. It was a complete and thor- 
ough triumph over the coeducation scheme. Mar. 7. The 
press is teeming with comments, most of them one-sided 
and many extremely bitter on the refusal of the Board 
of Columbia College to allow co-education. The extent to 
which the public mind has been debauched by the women 
and President Barnard on this subject is evident from the 
tenor of the articles pouring from the press. Never was 
there a grosser delusion! April 13. Spent three hours 
this morning writing a report to be presented to the Board 
of Trustees of Columbia College on the meeting in May 
a thankless task, for the public beast will probably find 
fault with everything that we do. May 7. Our Com- 
mittee made their second report which was accepted and 
ordered printed and made the order for the June meeting. 
June 4. We transacted a great deal of business including 
the adoption of the system for the Collegiate Education 
for Women. 

June 7, 1886. [Three years later.] We recommended 
that the degree of B.A. in the Course for Women be con- 
ferred on all who shall pursue with success the degree in 
the School of Arts. 


IN CONNECTION with Dr. Brooks's article I wrote to him on 
August 25, 1891, as follows: 

'I am jubilant and so I must pour out my soul to you! 
I wrote a strong letter to Horace White [the owner of the 
Evening Post] the other day sketching a plan for the endow- 
ment of Barnard and he approves and tells me to go ahead. 

'I propose to supervise a weekly series of signed articles 
on Higher Education of Women to appear in the Post with 
the distinct point of interesting people in Barnard, but yet 
of sufficient interest to the general public to be important 
as educational articles in themselves. Mr, White will see 
we have some strong accompanying editorials and I think 
something will come of it; don't you? 

'I shall begin with an account of College and prospects 
for year, also account, editorially, if possible, of finan- 
cial needs. Do you think you can get your brother, Bishop 
Brooks, to write something? I would not like to suggest to 
your brother a subject because anything he wrote would be 
so much appreciated. But, if he has no choice, something 
might be said on the Character of Woman and the New Op- 
portunities of Intellectual Development. Or I would very 
much like his thoughts on the Sphere of Woman and College 
Education. It would be great to have his word against 
those (who are more in New York than one might believe) 
who believe learning in women hurts their womanliness, 
interferes with motherhood, etc. 

'I should consider the series begun auspiciously if he 
consents, I do not mean that his paper would be the 
first. Am I asking too much? I think not; we must have 
the best and make a stir.' 

1 66 Appendix !B 

The titles in the series of educational articles in the Eve- 
ning Post were as follows : 

'The Outlook for Barnard College/ 

'The Significance of the Recent Action of Brown 


'The True Significance of the Affiliated College/ 
'The Influence of the Higher Education of Women on 

Religious Thoughts. Apprehensions Allayed/ 
'Another Step Forward/ 

'The Opening of the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia/ 
'Home Life for Girls in College/ 
'The Influence of the Women's College upon the Girls' 
School of Today. Barnard College and the Schools 
of New York/ 

Among those who contributed to the series were: Arthur 
Brooks, Ella Weed, Bishop Potter, Lila V. North, Alice 
Wolfe, Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi, and Annie Nathan Meyer. 


(From The Nation, June 26, 1888) 

NEW YORK, Jan. 21, 1888 

AT THE present moment there are from New York City and 
suburbs two women students at Cornell, four at Bryn 
Mawr, thirteen at Smith, seventeen at Vassar (besides 
fifteen in preparation for It) and thirty-one at Wellesley; 
making a total of fifty-seven* students coming this year 
from New York City or some place whence they could 
easily attend a day college in New York. And if fifty-seven 
girls can leave their homes and encounter the discomforts 
of an independent life for the sake of pursuing a collegiate 
education, how many would attend college gladly, enthusi- 
astically, were it not necessary to face the obstacle of leav- 
ing home? It is certain that where fifty New York mothers 
would consent to their sons leaving home to study at 
Harvard or Yale, only four or five would permit their daugh- 
ters to attend Wellesley or Vassar. The principal of one 
of the best schools for young ladies, a school where the 
pupils are fitted conscientiously for a collegiate curriculum, 
told me the other day that, though she has only lately begun, 
she has sixty-five pupils (including two grades, seniors and 
juniors), and that, of the seniors, sixteen from this city 
are about to enter some college (Wellesley, Smith or Bryn 
Mawr), and at least five more are wofully bemoaning their 
fate because their parents will not allow them to leave 
their homes. 

For the last thirteen years there has existed a 'Society to 
Encourage Studies at Home.' It merely aims to encourage 

* Mathematics never was my strong point. I see my addition was at 
fault. So far as I know, it went all these years without correction. I 
regret it, as my argument would have been all the stronger. 

1 6 8 ^Appendix C 

women to study by a system of correspondence between 
teacher and pupil. It wisely supposes that there are a great 
many women who have a taste for study, but cannot leave 
their homes to attend college. A pupil can study as much 
as she thinks she is able, and can become as proficient as 
she wishes in any branch of knowledge that is capable of 
being studied at home, and without a tutor upon the 
scene. No degrees are given, but a certificate stating ex- 
actly what has been studied and with what success. The 
teachers are women of culture and refinement, and cor- 
respondence with them is a great boon. Of the women 
In New York who are longing for something definite to do 
in the way of study, and are prevented from attending col- 
lege because there is none in the city, thirty-three pursue 
this course, besides thirty-six others that live in the vicinity, 
thus making a total of sixty-nine girls in New York and 
vicinity who are studying by this method for lack of better. 
Sixteen hundred girls go to Normal College. Out of these 
sixteen hundred, only a small number become teachers, and 
that is the object and worth of the college to turn out 
teachers. The curriculum of Normal does not satisfy the 
demand in women for a complete collegiate course; seven 
graduates of Normal College are now studying at Columbia. 
It is commonly supposed that only parents who could not 
afford to pay tuition fees send their children to Normal 
College. On the contrary, a very large number of the par- 
ents could easily afford it, and would gladly send their 
daughters to a private college where a higher curriculum 
and degrees could be procured. For such as could afford 
to pay tuition, President Hunter tells me he is very anxious 
to secure the right of conferring degrees, as the New York 
College for boys has the right. He would also alter or im- 
prove the present curriculum of Normal College, having 
an Art course for such as would care to take the degree of 

^Appendix C 1 69 

B.A., a Normal course for such as would care to become 
teachers, and possibly an Industrial course for such as 
would wish to earn their living as artisans. 

There exists also an apology for a collegiate course for 
women held out by Columbia College. There have been 
thirty-eight girls who began that course. During the four 
years, eight have dropped from the ranks either from 
discouragement at the slender advantages offered and 
many difficulties to contend against, or perhaps from 
nervous dread of encountering the phalanx of staring 
youths; one girl has graduated and received her certificate, 
and one more has put argument into the mouths of the 
enemy by leaving the course to enter upon married life. 
Thus, with wonderful perseverance, twenty-eight girls 
have continued to take the course. These twenty-eight 
girls have worked nobly, actuated by the sentiment that a 
principle was at stake. They felt that they were there on 
trial, on probation; several of them, though deriving but 
little benefit from their labors, still kept on, hoping that 
their perseverance would finally induce the trustees to open 
to women students the full privileges of the college. 

By a resolution of the Trustees of Columbia College 
adopted June 8, 1883, it was ordered that 'a course of col- 
legiate study, equivalent to the course given to young men 
in the college, should be offered to such women as may 
desire to avail themselves of it, to be pursued under the 
general direction of the Faculty of the College, in accord- 
ance with the following principles and regulations, etc.* 
This read excellently it seemed as if the long-talked-of 
loaf was at last to be thrown to the women; but, alas! it 
soon turned out to be a stone, and of a particularly indi- 
gestible quality. These 'principles and regulations' simply 
were to the effect that the women could pursue their studies 
wheresoever and howsoever they pleased, except under the 

170 ^Appendix C 

sacred roof of Columbia. Their unhallowed presence was 
not for an instant to be sanctioned in the laboratory or the 
lecture-room. All that concerned Columbia was that the 
women were to be present at its examinations twice a 
year, and to be able to answer certain questions, which 
questions satisfactorily answered, they were at liberty to 
return home again and prepare for the next set of questions. 

It is no easy task for a girl to study alone, unaided by 
tutor or professor and prepare for examination papers more 
difficult than the boys', inasmuch as the examinations for 
women were prepared from the entire range of the books, 
and the examinations for men prepared only from lectures, 
the particular bent of which had become familiar. Yet 
twenty-eight New York girls are now doing it. 

A couple of years later the trustees passed a resolution 
allowing the college to confer degrees on women if they 
had in all respects followed the full equivalent to the 
boys' course in all respects except the important ones of 
attending lectures and working in the laboratories. Is it 
to be wondered at that only two or three essayed to gain 
a degree of B.A. or B.L. under such conditions? 

The women have been admitted, during the past couple 
of winters, to lectures given at Columbia on Saturday 
mornings. Prof. Boyesen, Prof. Charles Sprague Smith, 
Dr. Butler, Dr. Titus M. Coan, and others, have been heard 
with great enthusiasm each week by some two hundred 
ladies, and many applicants for tickets were obliged to be 
refused. Some years ago, several professors were in the 
habit of inviting a few ladies to attend their lectures. 
Among the ladies invited were some members of the Presi- 
dent's family and a daughter of one of the trustees. All 
was going smoothly when unfortunately the trustee in ques- 
tion in an evil moment was seized with a desire to read the 
Constitution and By-Laws of the College. To his horror he 

^Appendix C 171 

found that, in allowing his daughter to attend the lectures 
at Columbia, he was violating the laws of the college! He 
at once withdrew his daughter; the President could scarcely 
permit his relatives to remain, so he was obliged to follow 
the example of the trustee, and soon there was not a woman 

The President called a meeting of the trustees and read 
them the resolution passed some years ago by them, and 
essayed to prove that the admittance of women to the lec- 
tures was not against its spirit, but only the letter of it. 
The resolution was to the effect that no person should be 
allowed to attend the lectures of the college, without hav- 
ing duly matriculated as a student of the college. The 
President clearly explained that at the time the resolution 
was passed there was no thought of women entering the 
college and asking for admission to the lectures. The reso- 
lution was passed merely to prevent the possibility of the 
professors' permitting men to attend their lectures, pocket- 
ing the receipts obtained, and thus depriving the college 
of its tuition fees. As the admission of women to the lecture 
was a matter of courtesy, and known to the college, there 
could be no such objection. Notwithstanding this very 
plausible reading of the resolution by the President, the 
trustees agreed that women must no longer be allowed to 
attend any of the lectures. 

Failing in his object, the President then called another 
meeting and asked the trustees to legalize the admission of 
women to the lectures by another resolution, worded care- 
fully so as to preserve the spirit of the original resolution. 
This they refused to do, and even those who had hitherto 
shut their eyes to the prevailing habit now vehemently 
opposed the resolution permitting it. When asked by the 
President for an explanation, they could only answer that 
they wished the question had never arisen before the 

172. ^Appendix C 

Board, for, though in the irregular operation of the illegal 
habit they had seen no real objection, still they were loath 
officially to advocate such an advanced and liberal (and 
possibly demoralizing) state of things. So, since that day, 
no women have been permitted to attend the regular lec- 
tures. Even if women could legally be admitted to the 
lecture-room, there would still exist a reason why coeduca- 
tion could not exist at Columbia proper. Columbia, like 
Harvard, needs all her income for the institution as it now 
exists, and does not care to assume new responsibilities. 

President Barnard has told me that he has every reason 
to believe that, if only the funds for a separate College could 
be raised and a building not far from Columbia be built or 
hired, there could be soon put in working order a successful 
college with its instruction furnished by the professors and 
other instructors of Columbia College. I have not met with 
any professor that would not be heartily in favor of such a 
plan. They all agree in thinking that the present course at 
Columbia for women is little more than a farce, and yet 
the women students continue to increase in number, so 
eager are they to pick up the stray crumbs of knowledge 
that are offered them. Even now, though there is not yet 
a regular college where women can be instructed by the 
professors of Columbia College, there are a great number of 
principals of private schools for young ladies who, shrewdly 
seeing how anxious their pupils are for something, any- 
thing, really collegiate, have engaged one or more Columbia 
professors or tutors to lecture to the girls during the winter, 
and the different instructors may be seen scattered about 
the city as trump cards in hands of clever schoolmistresses. 

An Annex to Columbia would, of course, be compared with 
the Harvard Annex. It could well bear comparison. The 
Harvard Annex has been established for about eight years; 
it began with twenty-seven students and today has one 

^Appendix C 1 73 

hundred students. It now occupies modest but comfortable 
quarters in Cambridge and only requires to be recognized 
as permanently connected with Harvard University to 
become a perfect success. The founders of the Harvard 
Annex had to cope with serious difficulties that are entirely 
removed from the founding of an Annex to Columbia. The 
students of the Harvard Annex are not permitted to gain 
a degree, but are obliged to content themselves with certifi- 
cates. On the contrary, a graduate of the Columbia Annex 
would readily receive the degree of B.A., as the * Circular 
of Information' for the Collegiate Course for Women at 
Columbia College, 1887-88 reads: 'The degree of bachelor 
of arts will be conferred on such students as shall have pur- 
sued, during four years, a course of study fully equivalent 
to that for which the same degree is conferred in the School 
of Arts, and shall have passed the examinations required.* 
And, further, 'Any woman who shall have taken the degree 
of bachelor of arts in the collegiate course for women may 
study for higher degrees under the direction of the Faculty 
of the College/ And for those who wish only to pursue some 
special studies: 'To students not pursuing the full course 
required for the degree of bachelor of arts, but limiting them- 
selves to one or more courses of inferior range, a certificate 
of proficiency in the subjects pursued will be given on the 
satisfactory completion of such course or courses of study, 
to be signed by the President of the College and the exam- 
ining professor or professors/ 

In Cambridge, they have an Annex and are praying for 
certain conditions that will insure its permanent existence 
and success. In New York, we have the conditions that 
would bring permanent existence and success, but we have 
no Annex. 

'Where shall the scholar live? ' says Longfellow. 'In soli- 
tude or in society? In the green stillness of the country 

^Appendix C 

where he can hear the heart of nature beat, or in the dark, 
gray city, where he can hear and feel the throbbing heart 
of man? ' I will make answer for him, and say * In the dark, 
gray city/ In this Mark, gray city/ this huge, growing, 
striving, ambitious city with its many means of satisfying 
life's demands, there is one lack the lack of a college 
where women may attain a complete education without 
leaving their homes and families. Ought we not, therefore, 
to begin at once to organize an association for the collegiate 
instruction of women by the professors and other instructors 
of Columbia College? 



THE signers of this petition were : 

W. S. Rainsford 
Annie Nathan Meyer 
Alfred Meyer 
T. G. Croswell 
William M. Taylor 

C. E. Snape 
Dewitt J. Seligman 
Jacob H. Schiff 
Mary Mapes Dodge 
Richard W. Gilder 
W. H. Draper 

J. Edward Simmons 
Chauncey M. Depew 
Bettina Froelich 
Frances Fisher Wood 
James C. Carter 
Josephine Shaw Lowell 
Abbott E. Kittredge 
M. G. Van Rensselaer 
Chas. H. Parkhurst 
Noah Davis 
Annie Brown 

D. Parker Morgan 
Richard S. Storrs 
Moary E. Storrs 
Frederic R. Coudert 

Jesse Seligman 
Thos. Hunter, Pres. of Nor- 
mal College, N.Y.C. 
Abram S. Hewitt 
Anne C. L. Botta 
Robert Collyer 
Alex C. Webb 
W. R. Huntington 
Frederick Saunders 
Lyman Abbott 
Fordyce Barker 
W. N. Polk 
Arthur Brooks 
Gustav Gottheil 
Joseph H. Choate 
Caroline S. Choate 
Francis P. Kinnicutt 
Abby B. Longs treet 
Mary L. Booth 
George L. Schuyler 
Louise Lee Schuyler 
W. E. Dodge 
S. H. Dodge 
Thos. Armitage 
Everett P. Wheeler 


THE following months are full of letters and resolutions to 
persuade the Treasurer, who was becoming restless and 
who could blame him? from severing his connection with 
the College. Here is one typical letter from Mr. Schiff to 
Miss Weed; it is under date of February n, 1891 : 

' ... No one can regret it more than I that the exigencies 
of the situation compel me to resign. 

' I feel that it is undignified to carry on an educational 
institution of such high aims by begging from door to door, 
and I can see the time coming in the near future when even 
this device will no longer avail.' 

Notwithstanding the determined tone of this letter, 
President Low was able to persuade its writer to put off 
his resignation, at least for a time. A year later, however, 
Mr. Schiff wrote to me: 

4 1 am glad to see that you continue to feel confident, but 
I am afraid that, unless some very earnest work is done by 
all of the Trustees, we shall be at the end of our rope before 
next fall. Will you please take it as an irrevocable resolu- 
tion that I shall resign as Treasurer in the fall unless ways 
and means can be found to better arouse public spirit on 
behalf of Barnard College.' 

This was in 1892. Evidently the Trustees, or at least 
some of them did bestir themselves, because it is not until 
1893 that, with keen regret, the definite resignation of 
Mr. Schiff, both from the Treasurership and the Board 
of Trustees, was accepted. President Low wrote a letter 
to Mr. Schiff, which is quoted in The Life and Letters of 
Jacob H. Schiff: 

'In my opinion your services to Barnard have been 
invaluable. It was everything to Barnard in the earlier 

^Appendix 177 

stages of this problem to have you for Treasurer, and if 
the College ultimately attains the strong position which its 
friends hope for, as I trust it will, you will certainly have 
been in every sense one of its founders.' 

Although Mr. Schiff was no longer officially connected 
with the College, his interest in it remained as keen as 
ever. Two years after his resignation he became one of the 
twenty-five to give five thousand dollars each towards buy- 
ing the land adjacent to Columbia's new site. Five years 
after this, he advanced the sum of thirty thousand dollars 
as a loan to the College. Two years more, and we find him 
suggesting to his successor in office to approach Mr. John D. 
Rockefeller. After the successful completion of the fund 
which Mr. Rockefeller started, Mr. Schiff wrote the philan- 
thropist a letter which sets forth the reason for his own 
great interest in the Higher Education of Women : 

'I feel like thanking you personally for what you have 
done. In this country where men, as a rule, are to so great 
an extent engrossed in their business affairs, the mothers 
must, of necessity, look to the greater extent after the edu- 
cation of the children. This makes it doubly important 
that the growing woman shall have every opportunity to 
fit herself very thoroughly for the duties which married 
life will devolve upon her, and it is because of this that col- 
leges for women have become as great a necessity as those 
which exist for the education of men. 1 

In 1915, the fiftieth anniversary of Mr. Schiff 's arrival 
in America happily coincided with the twenty-fifth anni- 
versary of Barnard's existence. At this time a fund was 
being raised which actually succeeded in bringing the 
assets of the College up to just one thousand times the 
amount in its possession when it opened its doors. By this 
time Barnard boasted of three academic buildings and one 
building for a dormitory. The most pressing need just 

178 ^Appendix 8 

then was for a central meeting place for the extra-curricular 
activities of the students, as well as for a new reading-room 
to replace the old one, which had become frightfully over- 
crowded. Both the old one and the new, by the way, have 
borne the name of Ella Weed in grateful memory. 

Mr. Schiff, with splendid generosity, gave a Students' 
Hall at a cost of more than half a million dollars. It was 
nobly conceived as ' A place where students might associate 
in friendly and happy hours, and learn how to understand 
one another so that they might work helpfully together in 
after life, for the good of the community. 1 

With modesty as rare as it is admirable, Mr. Schiff de- 
clined to permit the building to be named after him. A 
tablet at the door of the splendid building records : 











FIRST printed list of Associate Members, which appeared in 
1889, contained following names: 

Mrs. Francis C. Barlow 
Mrs. Vincenzo Botta 
Mrs. George Canfield 
Miss Helen Gray Cone 
Mrs. Julien T. Davies 
Miss Julia Delafield 
Mrs. John F. Dillon 
Mrs. Arthur M. Dodge 
Mrs. Mary Mapes Dodge 
Mrs. Richard Ewart 
Miss Jeannette L. Gilder 
Mrs. E. L. Godkin 
Mrs. Alfred M. Hoyt 
Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi 
Mrs. Francis P. Kinnicutt 
Mrs. Charles Lanier 
Mrs. Herman Le Roy 
Mrs. Abby B. Longs treet 
Mrs. Alexander Mitchell 

Mrs. F. P. Olcott 

Mrs. Courtlandt Palmer 

Mrs. Roger A. Pryor 

Mrs. Isaac L. Rice 

Mrs. Alice Wellington Rol- 

Miss Agathe Schurz 

Mrs. Augustus D. Shepard 

Mrs. Roswell Smith 

Mrs. A. B. Stone 

Mrs. Frederick Ferris 

Mrs. Louis Tiffany 

Miss Amy Townsend 

Mrs. Schuyler Van Rens- 

Mrs. Henry Villard 

Mrs. Edward Winslow 

Mrs. Lorenzo G. Woodhouse 


THE names of first donors and annual subscribers listed in 
that little book here follow in alphabetical order: 

Mrs. Alfred S. Barnes (now 

Mrs. Charles K. Adams) 
Miss Helen Barney 
Gerard Beekman 
Miss Mary Benson 
Hyman Blum 
August Blumenthal 
Mrs. Simon Borg 
T. W. Bracher 
Mrs. Calvin S. Brice 
Rev. Arthur Brooks 
M. Bruhl 

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Bruhl 
Mrs. Henry Budge 
Addison Cammack 
Mrs. James C. Carter 
Mrs. Julius Catlin 
Mrs. Joseph H. Choate 
Mrs. Henry Clews 
Frederic R. Coudert 
W. Bayard Cutting 
Charles M. Da Costa 
Charles A. Dana 
Julien T. Davies 
S. de Jonge 
Miss Julia Delafield 
Mrs. John Dillon 
Mrs. Mary Mapes Dodge 

Augustus Downing 

Mrs. John W. Ehninger 

Jules Ehrich 

Mrs. David Einstein 

Mrs. Richard Ewart 

H. C. Fahnestock 

Martin Fechheimer 

Hamilton Fish 

A Friend 

James A. Garland 

Miss Nina Goldsmith 

Mrs. Almon Goodwin 

Mrs. James J. Goodwin 

Mary M. Gurnee 

Miss Adelaide Hamilton 

Miss Charlotte A. Hamilton 

Joseph W. Harper 

Mrs. Alfred Heidelbach 

Mrs. H. Herman 

Mrs. Frederick Herrman 

George Hoadly 

Mrs. Henry Holt 

Buchanan Houston 

Mrs. Alfred M. Hoyt 

Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi 

John S. Kennedy 

Mrs. Bennett King 

Dr. Herman Knapp 


Mrs. Lambert 
Mrs. Charles Lanier 
Mrs. A. H. Levy 
Solomon Loeb 
A. A. Low 
Mrs. Seth Low 
Dr. Alfred Meyer 
Mrs. Oscar Meyer 
Seth M. Milliken 
Charles Minzesheimer 
Mrs. William Moir 
Mrs. Frances Ogden 
Mrs. F. P. Olcott 
Joshua S. Piza 
George A. Plimpton 
Mrs. Edward Price 
Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 
V. Henry Rothschild 
Mrs. Jacob Rothschild 
Mrs. Russell Sage 
William Salomon 
William C. Schermerhorn 
Jacob H. SchifT 
George L. Schuyler 
Georgina Schuyler 

Mrs. Isaac Newton Seligman 

Col. Eliot F. Shepard 

James Speyer 

Louis Stern 

Mrs. M. Sternberger 

James S. T. Stranahan 

Mrs. Algernon Sullivan 

Mrs. James Talcott 

Mrs. Daniel Talmage 

Mrs. Frederick Ferris 

Mrs. F. B. Thurber 

Mrs. F. H. Underwood 

Lawson N. Valentine 

W. K. Vanderbilt 

Mrs. Henry Villard 

W. H. Webb 

L. Weissman 

Mrs. Anna Ogden West 

A. M. White 

A. Wolff 

Lewis S. Wolff 

General Stewart L. Wood- 

Mrs. L. G. Woodhouse 


FROM a useful booklet published by Barnard College and 
entitled, 'Charters, By-Laws and Intercorporate Agree- 
ment, with Amendments to December 4, 1930': 


Whereas, Frederic R. Coudert, Annie Nathan Meyer, 
Francis Lynde Stetson, Ella Weed, and Silas B. Brownell, 
have submitted to the Regents of the University of the 
State of New York, their purpose to found an institution of 
learning in the city and county of New York, with the de- 
tails of the plan on which and the funds with which it is in- 
tended to found and provide for the same, declaring their 
intention within the term of five years to fulfill the condi- 
tions required for an absolute charter, and have asked that 
the said institution be chartered by and made a part of the 
University of the State of New York; 

Therefore, the Regents by virtue of the authority vested 
in them by law do hereby incorporate Mrs. Francis B. Ar- 
nold, the Rev. Arthur Brooks, A.M., Miss Helen Dawes 
Brown, A.B., Silas B. Brownell, LL.D., Mrs. William C. 
Brownell, A.B., Mrs. Joseph H. Choate, Frederic R. Cou- 
dert, LL.D., Noah Davis, LL.D., George Hoadly, LL.D., 
Hamilton W. Mabie, A.M., LL.B., Mrs. Alfred Meyer, 
George A. Plimpton, Esq., Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jacob 
H. Schiff, Esq., Francis Lynde Stetson, A.M., LL.B., Mrs. 
James S. T. Stranahan, Mrs. James Talcott, the Rev. Henry 
van Dyke, D.D., Miss Ella Weed, A.B., Everett P. Wheeler, 
A.M., LL.B., Miss Alice Williams, A.B., Mrs. Frances 
Fisher Wood, A.B., and their successors by the name of 
Barnard College. The said institution shall be subject to all 
regulations made by the Regents for colleges and shall be 
entitled to official visitation, to representation in the Uni- 

^Appendix H 183 

versity Convocation, and to all other privileges of member- 
ship in the University enjoyed by like institutions. 

In addition to the general powers of corporations con- 
ferred by statute and by the ordinances of the Regents of 
the University, it shall have power to confer on such persons 
as shall complete to the satisfaction of the faculty of the 
institution a course of study approved by the said Regents, 
the bachelor's degree in arts, science and literature, and in 
testimony thereof to award suitable diplomas under the seal 
of the corporation ; 

Diplomas and degrees conferred by the said college under 
the authority hereby granted shall entitle the holders thereof 
to all immunities and privileges allowed by usage or by law 
to the possessors of like diplomas and degrees from any 
college or university. 

The charter hereby granted is and shall be a provisional 
charter and subject to revocation by the said Regents in the 
manner provided by law, unless within five years from the 
date hereof, the corporation hereby created shall submit to 
the Regents satisfactory evidence that it has fully complied 
with the conditions prescribed for an absolute charter, in 
which case this charter shall be replaced by an absolute 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, The Regents have granted this 
charter and have caused to be attached thereto the seal of 
the University, done at the Capitol in Albany, August 8, 


ISEALJ Chancellor. 


The above charter was amended by the Regents Decem- 
ber 10, 1889, and the charter as amended was issued Janu- 

184 eApp endix H 

ary 15, 1890. The amendment was inserted after the words 
' Barnard College ' as follows : 

'The number of trustees shall be and is hereby fixed at 
twenty-four and the above-named incorporators shall be 
and hereby are appointed trustees of said corporation. 
Seven shall be a quorum at a meeting of the trustees.' 


Whereas, A petition for incorporation as an institution of 
the University has been duly received, and 

Whereas, Official inspection shows that suitable provision 
has been made for buildings, furniture, equipment, and for 
proper maintenance, and that all other prescribed require- 
ments have been fully met 

Therefore, Being satisfied that public interests will be 
promoted by such incorporation, the regents by virtue of the 
authority conferred on them by law hereby incorporate the 
legal successors of Mrs. Francis B. Arnold, Rev. Arthur 
Brooks, Helen Dawes Brown, Silas B. Brownell, Mrs. Wil- 
liam C. Brownell, Mrs. Joseph H. Choate, Frederic R. 
Coudert, Noah Davis, George Hoadly, Hamilton W. Mabie, 
Mrs. Alfred Meyer, George A. Plimpton, Mrs. John D. 
Rockefeller, Jacob H. Schiff, Francis Lynde Stetson, Mrs. 
James S. T. Stranahan, Mrs. James Talcott, Rev. Henry 
van Dyke, Ella Weed, Everett P. Wheeler, Alice Williams, 
Frances Fisher Wood, and their successors in office under 
the corporate name of 

Barnard College 

with all powers, privileges, and duties, and subject to all 
limitations and restrictions prescribed for such corporations 
by law or by the ordinances of the University of the State of 
New York. The first trustees of said corporation shall be 
the legal successors of the above-named incorporators under 

^Appendix H 185 

the provisional charter granted August 8, 1889, which is 
hereby replaced by this absolute charter. 

This corporation shall be located in the city, county, and 
state of New York. 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, The regents grant this charter, 
No. 814, under seal of the University, at the capitol in Al- 
bany, June 5, 1894. 








THIS AGREEMENT, made the nineteenth of January, 1900, 

NEW YORK, and BARNARD COLLEGE (hereinafter referred to 
respectively as 'Columbia University' or 'the University,' 
and 'Barnard College'). 


For the purpose of incorporating Barnard College, a 
college for women, in the educational system of the Univer- 
sity, it is mutually covenanted and agreed : 

FIRST. That the President of the University shall be, 
ex officio, President of Barnard College, and if not already a 
Trustee of Barnard College he shall be so elected at the earli- 
est opportunity. He shall preside at the meetings of the 
Faculty of Barnard College and shall have general super- 
vision and direction of the educational administration of 
such College as in the other schools of the University. 

1 86 ^Appendix H 

SECOND. That the internal administration of Barnard 
College shall be conducted by a Dean, who shall be ap- 
pointed by the President of the University, by and with the 
advice and consent of the Trustees of Barnard College. In 
the absence of the Dean, an Acting Dean may be appointed 
by the President. 

THIRD. That Barnard College shall be represented in the 
University Council of Columbia University by its Dean, who 
shall have the right to vote in the University Council upon 
all questions. The Faculty of Barnard College shall consist 
of the President, the Dean, and all the professors on the staff 
of the University who give instruction in Barnard College. 
Whenever Barnard College shall maintain ten or more pro- 
fessors in its Faculty it shall be entitled to a representative 
in the Council additional to the Dean. 

FOURTH. That Barnard College shall provide for, sup- 
port, and maintain such officers of instruction as may, from 
time to time, be agreed on, as follows, to wit: 

They shall be nominated by the Dean of Barnard College, 
with the approval of the Trustees of Barnard College and of 
the President of the University, and shall be appointed and 
reappointed by the University according to its custom. 
Their standing shall be the same in all respects as that of 
other like officers in the University For all services ren- 
dered in the University by officers so appointed and for all 
services rendered in Barnard College by other officers of the 
University, payments shall be made by each corporation to 
the other in accordance with principles to be agreed on from 
time to time by the two Boards of Trustees concerned. 

Members of the Faculty of Barnard College may be 
either men or women. 

In the month of January in each year, or at such other 
time as may be mutually agreed upon, the Dean of Barnard 
College, with the approval of the Trustees of Barnard Col- 

^Appendix H 187 

lege, and after conference with the heads of Departments 
in such College, shall submit to the President of the Univer- 
sity a statement, showing : 

First. The estimated number of the students in each 
class at Barnard College for whom instruction is to be 
provided during the next academic year. 

Second. The number and grade of officers of instruction, 
and amount of service desired in each subject. 

Such statement shall be subject to the approval and 
revision of the President, upon all questions not reserved by 
this agreement to the Trustees or Dean of Barnard College. 

FIFTH. That, on and after July I, 1904, all of the instruc- 
tion for women leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts 
shall be given separately in Barnard College, except that 
courses open to Seniors of Columbia College which are 
counted towards a Teachers College diploma shall continue 
to be open to Seniors in Barnard College. Barnard College 
will assume as rapidly as possible all of the instruction for 
women in the Senior year, other than the courses leading 
towards a Teachers College diploma, without regard to 
the time limit contained in this section, and undertakes to 
maintain every professorship established at its instance, 
as hereinbefore provided, so long as the services of the in- 
cumbent thereof or an equivalent therefor shall be rendered 
in Barnard College; and when Barnard College had ade- 
quately provided for its undergraduate work, it will, as 
its means allow, establish additional professorships in the 
University, upon foundations providing for courses which 
shall be open to men and women, to the end that oppor- 
tunities for higher education may be enlarged for both 
men and women. 

SIXTH. That the University will accept women who have 
taken their first degree on the same terms as men, as stu- 
dents of the University, and as candidates for the degrees 
of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy under the 

;88 ^Appendix H 

Faculties of Philosophy, Political Science, and Pure Science, 
in such courses as have been or may be designated by these 
Faculties, with the consent of those delivering the courses, and 
will make suitable provision for the oversight of such women. 

The University will confer the degree of Bachelor of 
Arts upon the students of Barnard College who shall have 
satisfactorily fulfilled in Barnard College the requirements 
of the University Statutes for that degree. The courses in 
Barnard College leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts 
shall be determined and administered by its own Faculty, 
and all examinations for admission to Barnard College and 
in course shall be conducted under the authority of the 
Faculty of Barnard College. The diploma shall be signed 
by the President of the University and by the Dean of 
Barnard College. The degree of Bachelor of Arts conferred 
upon the graduates of Barnard College shall be maintained 
at all times as a degree of equal value with the degree of 
Bachelor of Arts conferred upon the graduates of Columbia 
College- The equivalency of the two degrees shall be main- 
tained in such manner as the University Council may 

SEVENTH. That, so long as this Agreement is in force, 
Barnard College shall grant no degree. It shall retain the 
right to grant certificates to students not candidates for a 
degree, and it shall exercise all other corporate rights and 
powers which are not delegated to the University by this 
Agreement. But this Agreement shall not be deemed a 
surrender by Barnard College of any powers conferred upon 
it by charter. 

EIGHTH. That Barnard College shall retain its separate 
corporate organization, and that the Trustees of Barnard 
College shall continue to provide for the financial support 
thereof; it being distinctly understood and agreed that the 
University is and shall be under no implied obligation, 
responsibility, or liability, of any kind whatsoever, for the 

^Appendix H 189 

maintenance, support, direction, or management of Barnard 
College, or for the disbursement of the income thereof, 
except as stated in Section 4 of this Agreement; and that all 
and every such obligation or liability shall be strictly lim- 
ited to the duties and obligations expressly and in terms 
assumed and agreed to by the University. 

NINTH. That for each student of the University pur- 
suing courses in the College, the University shall pay the 
College at a rate to be agreed upon from time to time. For 
each student of the College pursuing courses in the Univer- 
sity, the College shall pay to the University at a rate to be 
agreed upon from time to time. No payment shall be called 
for from one to the other on account of students or instruc- 
tors receiving instruction as Fellows or Scholars, or otherwise 
without payment of fees for tuition either in the University 
or the College. 

TENTH. That the libraries of the University and of 
Barnard College shall be open upon equal terms to all 
women students of the University and of Barnard College. 

ELEVENTH. This Agreement may be modified at any 
time by mutual consent expressed in writing, and may be 
terminated at the end of any academic year, after one year's 
notice in writing from either party to the other. 

TWELFTH. This Agreement shall -take effect immediately. 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have severally 
caused these presents to be executed, and their respective 
corporate seals to be hereto affixed the day and year first 
above written. 


JOHN B. PINE, Clerk. 


GEO. A. PLIMPTON, Treasurer. 


IN HER letter of resignation, Dean Putnam had made an 
eloquent plea that the Barnard Board ratify the agreement 
which had already been adopted by the Trustees of Colum- 
bia. She pointed out: 

'Up to this time Barnard has been without a voice in 
its own academic policy. Where the needs of our students 
have been different in any respect from the needs of the 
students at Columbia we have had no official means of 
meeting them. Barnard College has been subordinate, not 
only to the president of the university, but to Columbia 
College as well. Our graduating classes have been recom- 
mended for degrees by the dean of Columbia College and 
he has signed their diplomas. The dean and faculty of 
Barnard College have been unable to settle a question on 
its merits but have been obliged to learn how a similar case 
would be dealt with by the dean and faculty of Columbia 
College. We have been at a disadvantage in a very prac- 
tical matter, the arrangement of the time-table, for ours 
had to be made out after Columbia had had her choice of 

1 In view of the constant friction arising from these cir- 
cumstances I formed some years ago the private opinion 
that Barnard would not be able to take a proper attitude 
towards her own students and towards the community 
until its dean and faculty should occupy the same relative 
position towards the university as that occupied by the 
dean and faculty of Columbia College. These things seemed 
even three years ago Utopian; yet they are actually pro- 
vided for by the proposed agreement. 1 

There followed several pages of details. The most impor- 
tant change in the status of Barnard's Dean is her appoint- 
ment ex officio as a member of the university council. 


THE Mrs. Kelley mentioned was a remarkable woman 
whom I had engaged as janitress as soon as the opening of 
the College seemed assured. Her younger, unmarried sister 
had been for many years in the employ of some friends. 
She was an excellent maid and Mrs. Kelley soon proved 
that she had the same qualities of dependability and un- 
complaining devotion. Mrs. Kelley's husband arranged to 
take care of the heating and outside cleaning for the house. 
At first their sleeping quarters were a large, pleasant room 
on the third floor. As the College grew, the Kel leys' quar- 
ters shrank, until they occupied some sort of a contraption 
boarded up for them in the cellar. As it became apparent 
that every square inch of the building was being used for 
the students, it grew to be more and more of a puzzle where 
the Kelleys did hide their devoted heads. It became one 
of the standing jokes to picture them sleeping on the stone 
tables of the chemical laboratory, peacefully oblivious of 
the terrible smells. No one ever surprised a sour look on 
their beaming faces. Always cheery, always willing, it 
seemed as if their own neglect was entirely lost sight of in 
their rejoicing at the increasing prosperity of the College. 
They set an example to any student who might be tempted 
to grumble at the discomforts of trying to make an ordinary 
four-story house into a college building. 

When the College finally moved up into the first of the 
up-to-date, splendid buildings which it occupies today, 
small wonder that the Kelleys welcomed their commodious 
apartment in the basement. It was not many months, how- 
ever, before it was seen that Mr. Kelley did not possess 
the engineering experience necessary for the larger job. The 
faithful couple were reluctantly asked to leave. But the 
devoted services of 'The Kelleys' are among Barnard's 
most tenderly cherished traditions. 


Abbott, E. CX, 59, 94 
Adler, Dr. Cyrus, 104 
Affiliated College, nature of, 37 ff.; 
contrasted with coeducation, 43- 

44 45 ff- 

Agnew, Dr. Cornelius, n, 14, 62 
Anderson, Mrs. A. A., 59 
Anderson, Mary, 23 
Arnold, Mrs. Francis B., 112-13 
Associate Members, 115 ff. 
Association for the Promotion of 

the Higher Education of Women, 

7, 12, 69 
Astor, Mrs., 115 
Atlantic Monthly , 140 

Barker, Dr. Fordyce, 53 
Barnard Annual, 93, 152 
Barnard Club, 117 
Barnard, Frederick A. P., 4 ff., 
9, 10, 34, 68; portrait presented, 


Barnard, Mrs. F. A. P., 120-21 

Barnard College, First Board of 
Trustees, 80 ff.; Provisional 
Charter granted, 114; named, 
120; decision to open, 140; first 
budget, 142-43 ; Provisional 
Charter, 144-45; Permanent 
Charter, 145; earliest printed 
appeal, 148; first home, 150 ff.; 
first circular of information, 
151; problem of special students, 
154-55; first class, 154; first 
mathematics examination, 155 

Barnard College Club, 117 

Bartholdi, 24 

Begging, art of, 132 ff. 

Billings, 'Josh/ *$ 

Bismarck, Prince, 23 

Blake, Lillie Devereaux, 5, 64 ff. 

Booth, Edwin, 23 

Botta, Anne Lynch (Mrs. Vin- 
cenzo), 118 ff. 

Boyesen, Hjalmar, 20 

Bracher, Thomas, 130 

Brearly School, 100 

Brewster, William Tenney, quoted, 
42, 73, 140 

Briggs, Dean, quoted, 140 

Britton, Professor N. E., 155 

Brooks, Rev. Arthur, accepts invi- 
tation to become chairman of the 
Board of Trustees, 7, 50 ff., 59, 
65, 91 ff.; letters of, 93 ff.; Notes 
for Addresses, 95-96; rapid 
speech, 96-97; letter on, by 
A. N. M., after his death, in 
Evening Post, 97; College Chap- 
lain, 97; Resolution of Board of 
Trustees on his death, 98-99 

Brooks, Bishop, 97 

Brown, Annie, 86 

Brown, Helen Dawes, 102 

Brown r John Crosby, 62 

Brownell, Silas B., 113; quoted, 
140-41, 145, 149 

Brownell, W. C, 88 

Brownell, Mrs. W. C., 113 

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett h 
quoted, 27 

Bryn Mawr, 115 

Butler, Nicholas Murray (Presi- 
dent), quoted, 46, 56, 120 

Cambridge University, 8, 47 
Canfield, Mrs. George, 122 
Chambers, Talbot W., 62 
Choate, Joseph H., 7 ff., 9<5 
Choate, Mrs. Joseph H. f 91, 100 ff. 


Cleveland, President, 22 

Coeducation, 34, 36, 39, 47. See 
also Affiliated College 

Coleridge, 23 

Collegiate Course for Women, 3 ff., 
12, 17, 19, 26, 30, 74, loo 

Columbia College, women apply 
for admission to Medical School, 
5; women attend lectures, 5; An- 
nual Report of President, 1879, 
IO; Handbook of Information, 
1884, 12 if.; first woman Bache- 
lor of Literature, 14; Library, 21, 
26 ff.; one-hundred-and-thirty- 
first Commencement, 24; Board 
of Trustees, 34; first woman to 
receive the degree of Doctor of 
Philosophy, 37; degrees conferred 
on women, 37, 42; petition to 
Board of Trustees, 47; interviews 
with Board of Trustees, 56 ff.; 
answer of Select Committee to 
Petition, 69 ff. ; Minutes of the 
Meeting of the Board of Trustees, 
1888, 75 ff.; delay in answer to 
Memorial, 76, 129; formal action 
of Board of Trustees approving 
opening of Barnard College, 147; 
renewal of agreements, 147 

Columbia Quarterly, quoted, 51 

Cone, Helen Gray, 122 

Coudert, Frederic R., 58, 96, 109- 
10, 146 

Crawford, Marion, 107 

Curtis, George William, 53 ff. 

Cutting, W. Bayard, 61 

Da Costa, Charles M., 62 

Damrosch, Leopold, 23 

Damrosch, Walter, 23 

Dartmouth College, President of, 
quoted, 71 

Darwin, Charles, 23 

Daughters of the American Revo- 
lution, 118 i 

Davis, Jefferson, 23 

Davis, Judge, 102 

Depew, Chauncey, 54 

Dewey, Melvil, 28 ff., 48, 144-45 

Dix, Dr. Morgan, II, 14, 35, 36, 
62 ff., 73, 75~76, 153 

Dodge, Grace, 62 

Dodge, Mary Mapes, 48, 91 

Duer, Alice (Mrs. Henry Wise Mil- 
ler), 115 

Duer, Mrs., 115 

Dunn, Gano, no 

Edgerton, Winifred (Mrs. Merrill), 
first woman Doctor of Philoso- 
phy, Columbia, 37, 146-47 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 119 

Evarts, Senator, 22 

Evelyn College, 159 ff. . 

Evening Post, the New York, 43 ff., 
51, 60, 81, 88, 121 

Everett, William, quoted, 71 

Fish, Hamilton (Governor), 47, 49, 


Fiske, Dr. Thomas, 155 ff. 
Forum, 44-45 
Friends of the Higher Education of 

Women, 39, 48, 75, 7$, 80 

iibbes, Emily 0., 131 ff. 

rilder, Jeannette, 122-23 

alder, Richard Watson, 54 ff., 61, 

rildersleeve, Virginia C. (Dean), 
quoted, 120 

rilman, Arthur, 33 

rirton College, 47 

rladstone, William, 23 

-odkin, Mrs. E. L., 121 
Godwin, Parke, 7, quoted, 119 
Goodwin, Mrs. James J., 130 ff. 

race, Mayor, 22 
Grant, General, 22 

rregory, Dr. Emily, 155 


Hankey, Mary Parsons, 14 
Harper, Joseph W., 14, 62, 75 
Harper's Weekly, quoted, 53 
Harvard Annex, 25, 33, 41 ff., 122, 


Hay, John, 121 
Helen Brent, M.D., 132 
Hewitt, Abram S., no, 113 
Higher Education of Women, a 

danger to health, 71 ff. 
Hoadley, Governor, 114 
Holmes, John Haynes, quoted, 


Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 23 
Home Journal, quoted, 6, 35 
Hopkins, Mark, 24 
Howells, William Dean, 122 
Huxley, Thomas, 23 

Jackson, Helen Hunt, quoted, 119 
Jacobi, Dr. Mary Putnam, 121- 

Juvenal, quoted, 161 

Kelly, Mrs., 152 
Kinnicutt, Mrs. F. P., 59 

Lawrence, Bishop, quoted, 135-36 
Lazarus, Emma, quoted, 44 
Liggett, Mrs., 93-94 
Lockwood, Mrs. Benoni, 9 
London, University of, 8 
Longstreet, Mrs., 91, 126 ff. 
Low, Seth, 57 ff. 
Low, Mrs. Seth, 58 ff., 123 
Lowell, James Russell, 23 
Lowell, Josephine Shaw, 54~55 

Mabie, Hamilton W., 102 

Merrill, Winifred Edgerton. See 
Edgerton, Winifred 

Meyer, Dr. Alfred, 66; makes first 
gift to Barnard College, 137; be- 
comes responsible for rent of 
343 Madison Avenue, 150 

Meyer, Annie Nathan, passes en- 
trance examinations for Col- 
legiate Course for Women, 15 ff.; 
article in Harper's Bazaar, n., 38; 
article in Nation, 41-42, 48, 75, 
84; quoted, 60, 97-98, III, 149; 
letter from President Low, 60 ; 
mentioned in Dr. Dix's Diary, 
68; quoted in Evening Post, 81; 
votes to open Barnard College, 
141; signs lease for 343 Madison 
Avenue, 151; calls upon Profes- 
sor Van Amringe, 156 ff.; Ad- 
dress before National Council 
of Women, 159 

Milburn, John, no 

Miller. See Duer, Alice 

Mitchell, John, 61 

Mitchell, Edward, 75 

Moody and Sankey, 23 

Morgan, J. Pierpont, 131 

Morgan, Mrs. J. Pierpont, 9 

Mortarboard, 152-53 

Nash, Stephen P., 62, 75 

Nathan, Harmon, 67 

Nathan, Jonathan, 49 

Nation, article in, by Annie Nathan 

Meyer, 41 ff., 75 
National Council of Women, 46, 

Newnham College, 47 

Oxford University, 47 

Palmer, Alice Freeman, 43 ff. 

Patti, Adelina, 22 

Peck, Professor Harry Thurston, 
156, 158 

Pell, Mrs. Alfred, 9 

Pellew, Mrs. Henry E., 9 

Plimpton, George A., suggested to 
sign Memorial, 106; invited to 
become Trustee, 106; becomes 
temporary Treasurer, 106; a 



great collector, 107; at his farm, 
1 08; amused by Mrs. Meyer's 
interview with rich merchant, 
132, 140; votes to open Barnard 
College, 141 

Potter, Bishop, 7, 33, 35. 60 if., $6 

Princeton 'Annex,' 159 ff. 

Pryor, Mrs. Roger, 118 

Putnam, Mrs. George Haven. See 
Smith, Emily James 

Radcliffe College, 122. See also 

Harvard Annex 
Repplier, Agnes, 15 
Rice, Mrs. William B., 9 
Rives, George, 61 ; quoted, 66 ff. 
Rockefeller, John D., 132 
Rockefeller, Mrs. John P., 114 
Rood, Professor, 5 
Runkle, Lucia C., 123; quoted, 124 
Rutger's Female College, 10 

Schermerhorn, William C., 11, 62 

Schiff, Jacob H M first Treasurer of 
Barnard College, 102; Life and 
Letters, quoted, 103-04; large 
gifts to Barnard College, 105, 
137-38, 140 

School for Young Ladies, Norfolk, 
aims of, 24 

Select Committee on College Edu- 
cation for Women, first report of, 
4, it; answer to petition, 69 ff. 

Sheldon, Mrs, Frederic, 9 

Shepard, Mrs. Augustus D., 122 

Shepard, Eliot F., 122 

Sherman, General, 23 

Smith, Emily James (Mrs. George 
Haven Putnam), first Dean of 
Barnard College, 38; quoted, 51 

Smith, Sidney, quoted, 7, 118 

Sorosis, 4 

Stetson, Francis Lynde, 91, 109, 

Stone, Mrs. Asa B., 131 

Storrs, Rev. Dr., 7, 53 ff. 
Stranahan, Mrs. J. S. T., 113; votes 
to open Barnard College, 141 

Talcott, James, Chair for Reli- 
gious Instruction, 112 
Talcott, Mrs. James, 112 
Tennyson, Lord, 23 
Thomas, Theodore, 23 
Townsend, Amy, 121 
Townsend, Dr. John W., 12 
Tucker man, Mrs. Lucius, 9 

Union League Club, meetings at, 

Van Amringe, Professor, 156 ff. 
Vanderbilt, Cornelius, Mrs., 9 
van Dyke, Rev. Henry, 102 
Van Rensselaer, Mrs. Schuyler, 122 
Vassar Alumnae Association, 82 
Vassar College, 10, 115 
Villard, Fanny Garrison, 125 

Washington, Booker T., quoted, 61 
Wednesday Afternoon Club, 121 
Weed, Ella, quoted, 40, 46, 59, 
84 ff . ; discouraged by difficulties, 
86-87; description of, in Vassar 
College Annual, 87; article in 
Evening Post, 88; humor of, 88; 
novel, The Foolish Virgin, 89-90, 
91; suggests that Mr. Plimpton 
sign Memorial, 106; suggests 
Mr. Stetson for Trustee, 109, 

1 10 

Wellesley College, 44, 107 

Wendell, Mrs* Jacob, 31 

Wheeler, Everett P., uo-n 

Whittier, 23 

Williams, Alice, 102 

Woman's Work in America, 4, 71, 

116, 132 
Wood, Frances Fisher, 82, 91, m-