Barnard, Frederick Augustus Porter

Barnard, Frederick Augustus Porter,

1809–89, American educator and mathematician, b. Sheffield, Mass., grad. Yale, 1828. After tutoring at Yale and teaching in institutions for the deaf and mute, he joined the faculty of the Univ. of Alabama, serving as professor of mathematics and natural philosophy (1837–48) and as professor of chemistry and natural philosophy (1848–54). From 1854 to 1856 he was professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at the Univ. of Mississippi. He served there as president (1856–58) and chancellor (1858–61), but resigned at the outbreak of the Civil War to return to the North. After a period of research in astronomy and after work as head of the map and chart department of the U.S. Coast Survey, he was selected to succeed Charles King as president of Columbia College (now Columbia Univ.). During his long administration (1864–89), Columbia grew from a small undergraduate college of 150 students into one of the nation's great universities, with an enrollment of 1,500. He was instrumental in expanding the curriculum, adding departments and fostering the development of the School of Mines (founded 1864; now included in the School of Engineering). He extended the elective system and advocated equal educational privileges for men and women. Barnard College, the woman's undergraduate unit of Columbia, was named for him, even though he himself favored coeducation. Barnard was active in founding the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences. He edited Johnson's New Universal Cyclopaedia (1876–78) and wrote many addresses, articles, books, and pamphlets in the fields of mathematics, physics, economics, and education. His annual reports on Columbia, outstanding discussions of the significance of current educational progress, were edited by W. F. Russell in The Rise of a University, Vol. I (1937).


See memoirs by J. Fulton (1896) and a partial biography by W. Chute (1978).