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F.A.P. Barnard and Columbia College: Prologue to a University

  • Marvin Lazerson (a1)

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In the last two decades of the nineteenth century Columbia College in the city of New York emerged as a modern university. Years of reform agitation culminated in major innovations: a graduate school of political science, Barnard College for women, Teachers College, expanded library facilities, and revised governing statutes. These changes reflected not merely national trends, though the obvious successes of Johns Hopkins and Harvard played important roles, but also the confluence of a number of features particular to Columbia. New faculty members—most importantly John Burgess—arrived with training from the research-oriented German universities. The governing board of trustees began, for the first time, to reflect New York's commercial and internationally oriented classes. Similarly, a generation of post-Civil War liberal arts graduates, having found their classical education inadequate to industrial America, now provided organized pressure for curriculum reform and more advanced studies. But underlying these, were two and a half decades of agitation by Columbia's President F. A. P. Barnard for a university not a college—twenty-five years of hope and frustration.

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References

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Notes

1. On the changes at Columbia at the end of the nineteenth century, see Matthews, Brander (ed.), A History of Columbia University, 1754-1904 (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1904), pp. 202305; Butler, Nicholas Murray, Across the Busy Years (New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1939), I, 134-87; Burgess, John W., Reminiscences of an American Scholar (New York: Columbia University Press, 1934), pp. 191-244. See also the Columbia University Bicentennial Series volumes on the Faculty of Political Science, Teachers College, Barnard College, and the School of Library Service.

2. Thompson, Daniel G. B., Ruggles of New York: A Life of Samuel B. Ruggles (New York: Columbia University Press, 1946), p. 90; Hofstadter, Richard, Academic Freedom in the Age of the College (New York: Columbia University Press, 1955), pp. 269-74.

3. Matthews, , History of Columbia , pp. 125–36, 210-18; Strong, George Templeton, Diary , ed. Nevins, Allan and Thomas, Milton H. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1952), III, 28, 269-76, 316, 404; Finch, James K., A History of the School of Engineering, Columbia University (New York: Columbia University Press, 1954), pp. 27-39.

4. Barnard, F. A. P., Annual Reports of the President of Columbia College , 1865, pp. 610; ibid., 1868, p. 7. (Hereafter cited as Annual Report.)

5. Ibid. , 1866, p. 14; Strong, , Diary, III, 397, 457; F. A. P. Barnard Papers, Barnard, to Ogden, G. M., 3/18/68, 3/15/69 (Columbia University Library); Butler, , Across, I, 64; Burgess, , Reminiscences, pp. 168, 170; Matthews, Brander, These Many Years (New York, 1917), pp. 103-6. On the characteristics of American college students between 1865 and 1910, see Veysey, Laurence R., The Emergence of the American University (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965), pp. 268-302.

6. Strong, , Diary , IV, 412; Matthews, , These Many Years, pp. 107-8; Barnard, , Annual Report, 1865, pp. 19-20; Burgess, , Reminiscences, pp. 174-75; Butler, , Across, I, 86; Barnard Papers, Barnard, to Barnard, Henry, 4/6/65.

7. Burgess, , Reminiscences , pp. 164–66.

8. Ibid. , p. 165; Butler, , Across, I, 64-69.

9. In this, the Columbia trustees differed little from most college supervisory bodies. See Metzger, Walter P., Academic Freedom in the Age of the University (New York: Columbia University Press, 1955), pp. 2930.

10. Dix, Morgan, “Excerpts Pertaining to Columbia College … from the Diary of Dr. Morgan Dix,” typed MSS. (Columbiana Collection, Columbia University), p. 72 (Hereafter cited as Dix, , “Diary”); Butler, , Across, I, 77-81; Strong, , Diary, III, 513, 550; Ibid., IV, 91; Hamilton Fish Papers, Benjamin Haight to Hamilton Fish, 5/23/66 (Columbia University Library); Barnard Papers, Barnard to G. M. Ogden, 6/7/71.

11. Burgess, , Reminiscences , p. 161.

12. Chute, William J., “The Life of F. A. P. Barnard to His Election as President of Columbia College in 1864” (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1961), pp. 121, 184-85.

13. Barnard, , “Report on a Proposition to Modify the Plan of Instruction in the University of Alabama,” in Professor Barnard on Collegiate Education and College Government (New York, 1855). This is another aspect of Barnard's prewar educational thought: its reformist tendencies. Barnard allowed that adequate preparatory schools would suffice for mental discipline, thus opening the way for an expanded curriculum and more specialized studies in the colleges. Moreover, he even suggested that science could itself serve as a means of discipline. See especially Barnard, , “On Improvements Practicable in American Colleges,” American Journal of Education and College Review, 1: January 1856, 174-85, 360-75 and Papers, Barnard, “Address Delivered … at the Opening of a High School in … Mississippi, 1853,” unpublished MSS. Also Lazerson, Marvin, “F. A. P. Barnard and Columbia College, 1864-88” (M.A. thesis, Columbia University, 1964), pp. 6-10.

14. Barnard, , Letter to the Honorable Board of Trustees of the University of Mississippi , 1858, pp. 1415. (Copy in Barnard Papers.)

15. Barnard, , Letters on College Government , 1856, pp. 70, 92-104. (Copy in Barnard Papers.)

16. Strong, , Diary , III, 414, 447-48; Barnard Papers, Theodore Dwight Woolsey to Barnard, 7/30/59; Butler, , “F. A. P. Barnard,” Columbia University Quarterly, 12: March 1910, 144.

17. Barnard Papers, Barnard to Hilgard, 10/5/65, 11/30/65.

18. Ibid. , 10/4/65, 11/30/65; ibid. , Barnard, to Ogden, , 11/9/66 and Ogden correspondence, passim.

19. Butler, , Across , I, 76; Keppel, Frederick, Columbia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1914), p. 146.

20. Barnard, , Annual Report , 1866, pp. 2125; Ibid., 1870, p. 25.

21. Barnard, , Annual Report , 1871, p. 20. See also Barnard Papers, Barnard to Hilgard, 5/9/72 and Barnard, , Analysis of Some Statistics of Collegiate Education (New York, 1870), pp. 4-5. A number of recent historians agree with Barnard's analysis. See Hofstadter, , Academic Freedom, pp. 209-22; Crane, Theodore R., The Colleges and the Public, 1787-1862 (New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1963), p. 1.

22. Barnard, , Annual Report , 1865, p. 3.

23. Barnard, , Annual Report , 1866, pp. 27, 29, 31. Columbia's post-Civil War finances are a matter of considerable debate. Butler, Strong, and Munro Smith argue the school suffered immeasurably from its limited resources. Barnard's views tend toward this conclusion, but are sanguine as to the uses of available funds. Though these views are probably correct, it would be more accurate to suggest that Columbia's financial difficulties resulted more from the trustees' inability to understand its endowment's uses and functions than from an actual lack of funds. Butler, , “Barnard,” pp. 144-45; Strong, , Diary, IV, 74; Matthews, , History of Columbia, p. 204; Barnard, , Annual Report, 1868, p. 34; ibid., 1882, pp. 71-87, 90-91; Keppel, , Columbia, p. 13.

24. Barnard, , “Autobiography,” MSS., Barnard Papers, pp. 2425; Barnard, , Annual Report, 1865, pp. 16-19; 1866, pp. 18, 22, 24-29, 46-49; 1868, pp. 16-20; 1869, pp. 29-39; 1870, pp. 29-32; 1871, pp. 13-21; 1872, pp. 14-15; 1873, p. 42; College, Columbia, Minutes of the Trustees (Columbiana Collection), 12/5/70, 4/3/71.

25. Barnard, , Annual Report , 1868, pp. 2431.

26. Barnard, , Annual Report , 1870, pp. 5051; 1871, pp. 25, 27-30.

27. Barnard, , Should Study in College be Confined to a Uniform Curriculum or Should it be Made to any Extent Elective? (New York, 1872); Barnard, , “Science and our Educational System,” Popular Science Monthly, 12: April 1873, 695-98; Barnard, , Annual Report, 1879, pp. 45-49; 1880, pp. 45-56; Barnard Papers, Barnard to Cornelius Agnew, 5/22/79, 5/7/80.

28. Barnard, , Annual Report , 1879, pp. 4950; Barnard Papers, Barnard, to Agnew, , 10/11/79.

29. Barnard, , Annual Report , 1879, pp. 5054.

30. Barnard Papers, Barnard, to Ogden, G. M., 5/21/67, 6/4/69.

31. Minutes of the Trustees , 6/5/71; Barnard, , Annual Report, 1872, 1874-1875, 1876; Barnard Papers, Barnard, to Ogden, , 7/7/71; ibid. , Barnard, to Agnew, Cornelius, 5/29/80; ibid. , Barnard, to Warren, William President, Boston University, 8/1/79, 8/6/79.

32. Minutes of the Trustees , 6/5/82.

33. Hamilton Fish Papers, Barnard, to Haight, Benjamin, 4/4/71.

34. Strong, , Diary , III, 486, 487, 507, 553; ibid., IV, 40, 80, 260; Burgess, , Reminiscences, pp. 170-173.

35. Keppel, , Columbia , p. 25; Strong, , Diary, IV, 263, 428; Fish Papers, Fish, to Barnard, , 10/28/80; ibid. , Barnard, to Fish, , 10/29/80.

36. Barnard Papers, Barnard, to Haight, , 10/4/65, 3/24/66.

37. Ibid. , Barnard, to Ogden, , 6/4/67, 9/10/67, 3/10/71, 5/9/71, 5/12/71, 5/27/71, 2/19/72, 3/12/72, 1/12/74; ibid. , Barnard, to Agnew, , 5/7/80, 7/6/80, 10/6/80; ibid. , Barnard, to Haight, , 3/8/70; Columbia College Papers, Drisler, Henry to Halsy, Anthony, 1/31/[76].

38. Barnard, , Annual Report , 1880, p. 44; Barnard Papers, Barnard, to Agnew, , 1/7/79/ 6/11/79, 6/12/79, 5/3/80.

39. Ibid. , 10/26/79.

40. Burgess, , Reminiscences , pp. 187210; Hoxie, Ralph Gordon et al., A History of the Faculty of Political Science, Columbia University (New York: Columbia University Press, 1955), pp. 3-44; Lazerson, , “Barnard,” pp. 69-79.

41. Nevins, Allan, Hamilton Fish: The Inner History of the Grant Administration (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., Inc., 1936), p. 904; Butler, , Across, I, 80, 134-35; Hamilton Fish Papers, William Schermerhorn to Fish, 3/5/85.

42. Columbia College Papers, J. Van Amringe to the Board of Trustees, 3/3/75; ibid., “Resolution of the Association of the Class of 1882,” 2/18/86; ibid., William S. Sloan to the Board of Trustees, 10/25/86.

43. Fish Papers, Fish to Barnard, 10/28/80, 11/7/84; ibid. , Barnard, to Fish, , 10/29/80; ibid. , Rives, George L. to Fish, , 10/6/85; ibid. , Fish, to Rives, , 3/30/86; Minutes of the Trustees, 11/82, 1/3/83, 6/1/85, 3/7/87, 5/2/87; Butler, , Across, I, 135. The movement to revise the curriculum remained stalled, although a trustee committee to review conditions appointed in 1887 eventually led to reforms. Butler, I, 135.

44. White, Marian C., History of Barnard College (New York: Columbia University Press, 1954), pp. 917; Lazerson, , “Barnard,” pp. 96-104.

45. Keppel, , Columbia , p. 26.

46. Barnard Papers, Barnard, to Hilgard, , 1/13/86; Hoxie, , Political Science , pp. 5152; Butler, , Across, I, 72-75.

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