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Do you Know the History of These 7 Barnard Buildings?

At Barnard, we constantly throw around the names of people we don’t know.

“Wanna grab lunch in Hewitt later?”

“Oh, I’m running to Milbank.”

“I live in Reid 6.”

While their names may be memorialized on Barnard’s campus forever, their histories are largely unknown. Here’s a look behind the names of seven of your favorite Barnard buildings.

Sulzberger Hall

Named for: Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger

Who are/were they?: Sulzberger, BC 1914, was the daughter of New York Times publisher Adolph Ochs. Today, the New York Times is still run by the Sulzberger family. Sulzberger served on the board of trustees for multiple institutions, including Barnard, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and the University of Chattanooga.

Fun fact: Sulzberger was one of the largest contributors to the United Negro College Fund.

Reid Hall

Named for: Helen Rogers Reid

Who are/were they?: After graduating from Barnard in 1903, Reid worked as the private secretary of Elisabeth Reid, wife of the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. and France. While employed by Reid, Helen met Ogden Reid (Elisabeth’s son), and they were married. Ogden brought her into work for him at the New York Tribune, where she started in advertising and ended up supervising the Tribune’s merger with the New York Herald. After Ogden’s death in 1947, she became the president of the paper.

Fun fact: Reid was the youngest of 11 children.

Hewitt Hall

Named for: Abram S. Hewitt

Who are/were they?: Hewitt was a U.S. representative for New York, and is credited as the father of the New York City subway system. He also helped to uncover and stop the infamous corruption “Tweed Ring” at Tammany Hall (AP U.S. History, come thru). After his time in public service, he served as Barnard’s chairman of the board of trustees.

Fun fact: After pulling out his oxygen tube, Hewitt’s last words were: “And now, I am officially dead.”

Barnard Hall

Named for: Frederick Barnard

Who are/were they?: Frederick Barnard was Columbia’s 10th president. He pushed for women to be accepted into Columbia College but was repeatedly shot down by Columbia’s board of trustees. When Barnard College was founded in 1889, it was named after him in commemoration of his desire for women’s education.

Fun fact: Barnard was once tried by the Ole Miss board of trustees for taking the testimony of an enslaved person who accused a white student of raping her.

The Milstein Center

Named for: Cheryl and Philip Milstein

Who are/were they?: Cheryl Milstein, BC ’82, is the current chair of Barnard’s board of trustees, and her husband, Philip Milstein, CC ’71, hails from the affluent Milstein family (once valued at $3 billion), and is the president of Emigrant Savings Bank. Cheryl Milstein worked as a lawyer before turning her attention to philanthropy.

Fun fact: The Glicker-Milstein Theatre in the Diana Center is also named after Cheryl Milstein.

Altschul Hall

Named for: Helen Goodhart Altschul

Who are/were they: Altschul, BC 1907, was a trustee emeritus of the school. Altschul hailed from an influential family: she was the granddaughter of Mayer Lehman, one of the three Lehman brothers, who were at one time in charge of Lehman Brothers, the fourth largest investment bank in America (it’s worth noting that the Lehman family made a majority of their money profiting from the slave trade). Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, the largest one in history, and it is cited as one of the major factors in the 2008 financial crisis.

Fun fact: In 1984, Barnard named a professorship after Altschul.

Milbank Hall

Named for: Elizabeth Milbank Anderson

Who are/were they?: Having inherited $10 million ($249 million today) from her father, Elizabeth Milbank Anderson dedicated a large portion of her time and wealth towards philanthropy. Anderson was a huge advocate for education, specifically for women and African-Americans. She also donated to causes that helped World War I veterans with shell shock, provided school lunches to impoverished children, and improved public health by building more public restrooms.

Fun fact: Milbank was one of the largest benefactors of Barnard College until her death in 1921.

Now that you know the history behind the buildings we use everyday, go and impress your friends with your niche fun facts.

Fritzie Schwentker

Columbia Barnard '23

Fritzie Schwentker is a first-year at Barnard College. She can usually be found listening to a podcast or talking about how much she misses her dog.
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