Barnard 125

Timeline of the major events in the 125-year history of Barnard College

Presents information on Barnard's governance, finances, faculty, students, alumnae and relations with Columbia University to 2014.

Barnard College opens

Barnard College opens in a leased 4-story brownstone at 343 Madison Avenue, just five blocks south of the Columbia College campus at 49th Street and Madison.

Barnard sororities and controversy

Barnard is now home to eight sororities. Many in the Barnard community raise concerns about the sororities' exclusionary policies, with some denying membership to Jews and Catholics.

Committee on Instruction formed

Acting Dean Brewster and Barnard faculty produce a "tentative report" on Barnard's mission and establish a Committee of Instruction.

"Admirable Frederick"

Columbia president Frederick A. P. Barnard uses the first of three annual President Reports to argue for the admission of women to Columbia’s schools.

Public calls for women's education

A public meeting and petition secure support of the newly formed “Association for Promotion of Higher Education of Women” from some of the City’s leading women, who were among among the petition's 1400 signatories. However, not all signatories are in favor of coeducation. Columbia trustees then complain that the meeting's debate had been "debauched by the women and president Barnard."

The "Annex" gambit

Columbia trustees authorize a “course of collegiate study, equivalent to the course given to young men in the college," that would "be offered to such women as may desire to avail themselves of it”--a move intended to deflect attention from trustees' opposition to co-education.

Columbia admits first woman

Columbia trustees allow a Wellesley graduate, Winifred Edgerton (1863-1931), to receive graduate instruction in astronomy under “absolutely exceptional circumstances.”

Enter Annie Nathan Meyer

18-year old Annie Nathan Meyer writes a letter to the Columbia trustees calling for the creation of an affiliated school for undergraduate women along the lines of Harvard’s recently opened “Annex”, which would later become Radcliffe College. Meyer's letter will be reprinted in newspaper The Nation five days later. Columbia librarian Melville Dewey encouraged Meyer in her efforts.

Frederick A.P. Barnard dies

The former Columbia president dies at 79, still unreconciled to the idea of a separate women's college.

36 students enroll at Barnard

In October of 1889, fourteen regular students start freshman year at Barnard. twenty-two more students enroll in a special program in science. To read more on early enrollment figures, click below.

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