Born: February 22, 1947, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States
Education: Barnard College
Berkeley Carroll School
Awards: Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Studies
Nominations: Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Biography/Autobiography, more
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Barnard College is a private women’s liberal arts college in the United States and one of the Seven Sisters. Founded in 1889, it has been affiliated with Columbia University since 1900.
Address: 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027, USA (40.8091, -73.96393)
Type: Student facility (open to public)
Phone: +1 212-854-5262
Barnard’s 4-acre (1.6 ha) campus stretches along Broadway between 116th and 120th Streets in the Morningside Heights neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. It is directly across Broadway from Columbia’s campus and near several other academic institutions and has been used by Barnard since 1898. Columbia College, Columbia University admitted only men for undergraduate study for 229 years. Barnard College was founded to provide an undergraduate education for women comparable to that of Columbia and other Ivy League schools. The college was named after Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard, an educator and mathematician, who served as the tenth president of Columbia from 1864 to 1889. He advocated equal educational privileges for men and women, preferably in a coeducational setting, and began proposing in 1879 that Columbia admit women. The board of trustees repeatedly rejected Barnard’s suggestion, but in 1883 agreed to create a detailed syllabus of study for women. While they could not attend Columbia classes, those who passed examinations based on the syllabus would receive a degree. The first such woman graduate received her bachelor’s degree in 1887. A former student of the program, Annie Nathan Meyer, and other prominent New York women persuaded the board in 1889 to create a women’s college connected to Columbia. Barnard College’s original 1889 home was a rented brownstone at 343 Madison Avenue, where a faculty of six offered instruction to 14 students in the School of Arts, as well as to 22 "specials,” who lacked the entrance requirements in Greek and so enrolled in science. When Columbia University announced in 1892 its impending move to Morningside Heights, Barnard built a new campus on 119th-120th Streets with gifts from Mary E. Brinckerhoff, Elizabeth Milbank Anderson and Martha T. Fiske. Milbank, Brinckerhoff, and Fiske Halls, built in 1897–1898, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Ella Weed supervised the college in its first four years; Emily James Smith succeeded her as Barnard’s first dean. As the college grew it needed additional space, and in 1903 it received the three blocks south of 119th Street from Anderson who had purchased a former portion of the Bloomingdale Asylum site from the New York Hospital. By the mid-XX century Barnard had succeeded in its original goal of providing an elite education to women. Between 1920 and 1974, only the much larger Hunter College and University of California, Berkeley produced more women graduates who later received doctorate degrees. Students’ Hall, now known as Barnard Hall, was built in 1916. Brooks and Hewitt Halls were built in 1906–1907 and 1926–1927, respectively. They were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Jessica Garretson Finch is credited with coining the phrase, "current events," while teaching at Barnard College in the 1890s.
Notable queer alumni and faculty at Barnard:
• Ruth Benedict (1887-1948) taught her first anthropology course at Barnard college in 1922. In 1931 she was appointed Assistant Professor in Anthropology, something that seemed impossible until her divorce from Stanley Benedict that same year.
• Cora Du Bois (1903-1991) spent a year studying library science at the New York Public Library and then attended Barnard College, graduating with a B.A. in history in 1927. She earned an M.A. in history from Columbia University in 1928. Encouraged by an anthropology course taught by Ruth Benedict and Franz Boas at Columbia, DuBois moved to California to study anthropology with Native American specialists Alfred L. Kroeber and Robert Lowie. She received her Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley in 1932.
• Virginia Gildersleeve (1877-1965) attended as a member of the Seven Sisters affiliated with Columbia University. She completed her studies in 1899 and received a fellowship to undertake research for her MA in medieval history at Columbia University. She taught English part-time at Barnard for several years. She declined a full-time position and took a leave of absence to undertake her Ph.D. in English and comparative literature at Columbia for three years. When she completed her studies in 1908 she was appointed a lecturer in English in 1908 by Barnard and Columbia; by 1910 she had become an assistant professor and in 1911 was made dean of Barnard College a position she maintained until 1947.
• Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995) graduated from Barnard College in 1942, where she studied English composition, playwriting, and the short story. After graduating from college, she applied without success for work at such magazines as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, The New Yorker, Mademoiselle, and Good Housekeeping, offering "impressive" recommendations from "highly placed" professionals.
• Karla Jay (born 1947) majored in French and graduated in 1968 after having taken part in the student demonstrations at Columbia University.
• Ellen Kushner (born 1955)
• Esther Lape (1881-1981), a graduate of Wellesley College, taught English at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, the University of Arizona, and Barnard College in New York City. Her life-partner was the scholar and lawyer, Elizabeth Fisher Read, who was Eleanor Roosevelt's personal attorney and financial advisor.
• Margaret Mead (1901-1978) earned her bachelor's degree at Barnard College and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University.
• Elizabeth Reynard (1897-1962), professor
Notable queer alumni and faculty at Columbia:
• John Ashbery (born 1927) studied briefly at New York University, and received an M.A. from Columbia in 1951.
• Ruth Benedict (1887–1948) entered graduate studies at Columbia University in 1919, where she studied under Franz Boas. She received her Ph.D and joined the faculty in 1923. Margaret Mead, with whom she may have shared a romantic relationship, and Marvin Opler, were among her students and colleagues. In 1936, she was appointed an associate professor at Columbia University. However, by then, Benedict had already assisted in the training and guidance of several Columbia students of anthropology.
• Roy Cohn (1927-1986), after attending Horace Mann School and the Fieldston School, and completing studies at Columbia College in 1946, graduated from Columbia Law School at the age of 20. He had to wait until his 21st birthday to be admitted to the bar, and used his family connections to obtain a position in the office of United States Attorney Irving Saypol in Manhattan the day he was admitted.
• Harold Clurman (1901-1980) attended Columbia and, at the age of twenty, moved to France to study at the University of Paris.
• Cora Du Bois (1903-1991) earned an M.A. in history from Columbia University in 1928. Encouraged by an anthropology course taught by Ruth Benedict and Franz Boas at Columbia, DuBois moved to California to study anthropology with Native American specialists Alfred L. Kroeber and Robert Lowie.
• Fred Ebb (1928–2004) earned his master's degree in English.
• Erna Fergusson (1888-1964) completed her Masters in History from Columbia University.
• Gray Foy (1922-2012) worked in a Lockheed aircraft plant in California during WWII. He later attended Southern Methodist University before moving to New York, where he studied art at Columbia. He found critical success while he was still a student. In an article about Foy’s work in 1948, The New York Herald Tribune described him as “a superb craftsman, a young person who will someday be reckoned with in the field of modern art.” That year, Gray Foy met Leo Lerman at a party at Lerman’s home. On arriving, Foy had an augury of their luminous future together: When he knocked on the door, it was answered by Marlene Dietrich. Though Foy had several well-reviewed gallery shows, created book jackets and classical-album covers and won a 1961 Guggenheim Fellowship for his drawing, his role as helpmeet to the far more gregarious Lerman — it was Foy who shopped, cooked and otherwise arranged their days — gradually eclipsed his art.
• Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) entered on a scholarship from the Young Men's Hebrew Association of Paterson. In 1945, he joined the Merchant Marines to earn money to continue his education. While at Columbia, Ginsberg contributed to the Columbia Review literary journal, the Jester humor magazine, won the Woodberry Poetry Prize, served as president of the Philolexian Society (literary and debate group), and joined Boar's Head Society (poetry society).
• Brad Gooch (born 1952) graduated with a bachelors in 1973 and a doctorate in 1986.
• Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) studied for two years at New York University and then took several courses at Columbia University. Institutions that awarded Hellman honorary degrees include Brandeis University (1955), Wheaton College (1960), Mt. Holyoke College (1966), Smith College (1974), Yale University (1974), and Columbia University (1976).
• Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995) was educated at the Julia Richmond High School in Manhattan and then at Columbia University, where she earned her B.A. in 1942.
• Langston Hughes (1902–1967) and his father came to a compromise: Hughes would study engineering, so long as he could attend Columbia. While at Columbia in 1921, Hughes managed to maintain a B+ grade average. He left in 1922 because of racial prejudice.
• Richard Isay (1934–2012) was a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and a faculty member of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.
• Ned Jennings (1898-1929), after a brief stint at the College of Charleston, attended Columbia University and earned a degree, but he left for a year to study drama, costume, and stage design at the Drama Department of Carnegie Institute of Technology. He became a curator at the Charleston Museum creating his march of civilization dioramas.
• Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) 's athletic skills earned him scholarship offers from Boston College, Notre Dame, and Columbia University. Kerouac broke a leg playing football during his freshman season, and during an abbreviated sophomore year he argued constantly with coach Lou Little, who kept him benched. While at Columbia, Kerouac wrote several sports articles for the student newspaper, the Columbia Daily Spectator, and joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. When his football career at Columbia ended, Kerouac dropped out of the university.
• Audre Lorde (1934-1992) was a graduate of Columbia University and Hunter College, where she later held the prestigious post of Thomas Hunter Chair of Literature.
• Stephen McCauley (born 1955) worked as a travel agent for many years before moving to Brooklyn in the 1980s. There he attended adult learning centers to take some writing classes before enrolling in Columbia University's writing program.
• Carson McCullers (1917-1967) attended night classes at Columbia University and studied creative writing under the Texas writer Dorothy Scarborough and with Sylvia Chatfield Bates at Washington Square College of New York University.
• Margaret Mead (1901-1978) studied with professor Franz Boas and Dr. Ruth Benedict at Columbia University before earning her master's degree in 1924. Mead set out in 1925 to do fieldwork in Samoa. In 1926, she joined the American Museum of Natural History, New York City, as assistant curator. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1929. She taught at The New School and Columbia University, where she was an adjunct professor from 1954 to 1978 and was a professor of anthropology and chair of the Division of Social Sciences at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus from 1968 to 1970, founding their anthropology department.
• Herman Melville (1819–1891) transferred to Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, enrolling in the English Department in 1829.
• Amaza Lee Meredith (1895-1984) moved to Brooklyn in 1926 where she attended the Teacher's College of Columbia University.
• Billy Merrell (born 1982) studied writing and journalism at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and the University of Florida before receiving his MFA in Poetry from Columbia University.
• Rhoda Bubendey Metraux (1914–2003), was a prominent anthropologist in the area of cross-cultural studies, specializing in Haitian voodoo and the Iatmul people of the middle Sepik River in Papua New Guinea.
• John Spofford Morgan (1917-2015) received a master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University in 1947.
• John W. Mulligan (1774-1862), son of Hercules and Elizabeth Saunders Mulligan. Married c.1790-1795 to Elizabeth Winter of Louisville, KY. Graduate of Columbia College. Admitted an attorney in the Supreme Court of the State May 4, 1795; had a large practice; was a prominent, public-spirited and popular man; Assistant Alderman for the Third Ward 1806-1809; Surrogate of the County in 1810. One of his daughters married the Rev. John Henry Hill, who settled in Athens, Greece as a Missionary. Mulligan later went to Greece, serving as U.S. Consul at Athens for many years. Baron Steuben, whose secretary he had been, died in 1794, leaving a will containing the clause: “To John W. Mulligan I bequeath the whole of my library, maps and charts and the sum of two thousand five hundred dollars to complete it.”
• Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) attended Teachers College of Columbia University from 1914–15, where she took classes from Dow, who greatly influenced O'Keeffe's thinking about the process of making art. She served as a teaching assistant to Bement during the summers from 1913–16 and taught at Columbia College, Columbia, South Carolina in late 1915, where she completed a series of highly innovative charcoal abstractions. After further course work at Columbia in early 1916 and summer teaching for Bement, she took a job as head of the art department at West Texas State Normal College.
• Peter Orlovsky (1933-2010) was drafted into the United States Army for the Korean War at the age of 19. Army psychiatrists ordered his transfer off the front to work as a medic in a San Francisco hospital. He later went to Columbia University. He met Ginsberg while working as a model for the painter Robert La Vigne in San Francisco in December 1954. Prior to meeting Ginsberg, Orlovsky had made no deliberate attempts at becoming a poet.
• Anthony Perkins (1932-1992) attended Brooks School, Browne & Nichols School, Columbia University and Rollins College, having moved to Boston in 1942.
• Josephine Pinckney (1895-1957) attended Ashley Hall School and established a literary magazine there, graduating in 1912. She then attended college at the College of Charleston, Radcliffe College, and Columbia University, and held an honorary degree from the College of Charleston, given 1935.
• Caroline Pratt (1867-1954), after graduating high school on June 24, 1886, spent a year caring for her sick father at home. In the fall of 1887 she was asked to accept a position teaching first grade in the village school, Fayetteville. She held this job until the fall semester of 1892, at which point she moved to New York City and enrolled in Teachers College at Columbia University. Although she began by studying kindergarten, she turned her attention toward earning a certificate from the Manual Training Shop, eventually earning a bachelor of pedagogy and a position teaching manual training to future teachers at the Philadelphia Normal School in 1894.
• Paul Robeson (1898–1976) received his LL.B. from Columbia Law School, while playing in the National Football League (NFL). At Columbia, he sang and acted in off-campus productions.
• Douglas Sadownick (born 1959) is a gay American writer, activist, professor and pyschotherapist. He attended Columbia College for his B.A., New York University for his graduate work in English, and the graduate program in clinical psychology at Antioch University for a Master's of Arts in Clinical Psychology. He received his Ph.D. from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Clinical Psychology in 2006.
• Lucy Diggs Slowe (1885–1937), after graduation at Howard University (she was one of the nine original founders of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha in 1908), returned to Baltimore to teach English in high school. During the summers, she started studying at Columbia University in New York, where she earned her Masters of Arts degree in 1915. Slowe continued working as an educator in Baltimore for several years, then she returned to Washington, DC to teach.
• Robert Spitzer (1932–2015) was a psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. He was a major force in the development of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). His most lasting success may have been his successful effort, in 1973, to stop treating homosexuality as an illness.
• John William Sterling (1844-1918) graduated from Columbia Law School as the valedictorian of the class of 1867 and was admitted to the bar in that year. He obtained an M.A. degree in 1874. He became a corporate lawyer in New York City, and helped found the law firm of Shearman & Sterling in 1871, a firm that represented Jay Gould, Henry Ford, the Rockefeller family, and Standard Oil.
• Mabel Vernon (1883-1975) went to Columbia University where she earned a master's degree in political science in 1924.
• Frederick L- Whitam (1933–2009) was an American sociologist who studied homosexuality from a cross-cultural perspective. Scholar Paul Vasey described Whitam as "an essentialist during a time of rampant social constructionism." Whitam was born in Natchez, Mississippi. He studied at Millsaps College, University of Chicago, Columbia University, and Indiana University, where he received a master's degree, followed by a Ph.D. in 1965.
Who: Virginia Crocheron Gildersleeve (October 3, 1877 – July 7, 1965) and LTC Elizabeth Reynard (1897-1962)
Virginia Gildersleeve was an academic, the long-time Dean of Barnard College, and the sole female US delegate to the April 1945 San Francisco United Nations Conference on International Organization, which negotiated the UN Charter and created the United Nations. Gildersleeve was born in New York City, she attended the Brearley School and following her graduation in 1895 went on to attend Barnard College, a member of the Seven Sisters affiliated with Columbia University. She completed her studies in 1899 and received a fellowship to undertake research for her MA in medieval history at Columbia University. She taught English part-time at Barnard for several years. She declined a full-time position and took a leave of absence to undertake her Ph.D. in English and comparative literature at Columbia for three years. When she completed her studies in 1908 she was appointed a lecturer in English in 1908 by Barnard and Columbia; by 1910 she had become an assistant professor and in 1911 was made dean of Barnard College. In 1918 Gildersleeve, Caroline Spurgeon and Rose Sidgwick met while the two English women were on an academic exchange to the United States. They discussed founding an international association of university women, and in 1919 founded the International Federation of University Women. Gildersleeve shared an "intimate" relationship with the British Spurgeon, with whom she annually shared a rental summer home. Following WWI she became interested in international politics. She campaigned for Al Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt. During WWII she chaired the Advisory Council of the navy’s women’s unit, the WAVES and following the war she was appointed to the United Nations Charter Committee. She was involved in the reconstruction of higher education in Japan. For this work she received France’s Legion of Honor. In her 1954 memoir, Gildersleeve poignantly protested the "particularly cruel and unwholesome discrimination against unmarried women," like herself, who chose to spend their lives living with other women. She attributed this trend to "the less responsible psychologists and psychiatrists of the day," who voiced "disrespect for spinsters in the teaching profession as “inhibited” and “frustrated.”" Gildersleeve never identified herself as a lesbian, preferring instead the adjective "celibate." For several decades she lived with companion Professor Caroline Spurgeon. Later she lived with Barnard English Professor Elizabeth Reynard. Reynard was the first woman to be appointed lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Reynard and Gildersleeve are buried together at Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Churchyard, Bedford, New York.
Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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