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Barnard College Summer School for Women Workers in Industry

Identifier: BC13-06

Collection Scope and Content Summary

The Barnard College Summer School for Women Workers in Industry records consist of reports and student publications, syllabi and class notes from courses in English and Literature, Economics, and History, and photographs of students in the classroom and at their leisure, encompassing the School’s seven years of existence, from 1927-1933. A list of students and faculty that participated in the Summer School is available from the archivist upon request. Of particular interest in Series I. Publications and Notes, 1927-1931, are the “Barnard Record” magazines, student publications from the end of the summer collecting statistical and contact information for the studentry as well as academic compositions and personal narratives from throughout the summer.


  • Creation: 1927 - 1933



This collection has no restrictions.

Publication Rights

Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Barnard College Archives and Special Collections. The Barnard College Archives and Special Collections approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Historical Background

The Barnard College Summer School for Women Workers in Industry was established in 1927 as a part of the Affiliated Summer Schools for Women Workers in Industry. The Barnard Summer School operated on the model of the Bryn Mawr Summer School (which operated from 1921-1938), the pioneer summer program for female industrial workers started by Bryn Mawr’s president, M. Carey Thomas, and its undergraduate dean, Hilda W. Smith. Unlike the program at Bryn Mawr, the Barnard Summer School was non-residential. Its urban students stayed in their own homes and travelled to Barnard each day, staying from 9 AM to 9.30 PM. Lunch was served in the cafeteria, and as well as academic classes, students had recreational sports, such as tennis, music instruction, social hour, and various lectures from Labor Movement speakers. The School’s intent was to aid female industrial workers, many of whom were recent immigrants, in their quest for self-improvement with a humanist, practical educational experience so that these women might continue to lead and organize fellow workers once they returned to the factory. The Barnard College Summer School for Women Workers in Industry ran for seven years, closing its doors in 1933.


1.88 Linear Feet




The records of the Barnard College Summer School for Women Workers in Industry consist of papers and photographs relating to the Barnard College Summer School for Women Workers, a program founded in 1927 to provide summer instruction to female factory workers between the ages of 25 and 35.

Collection Arrangement

This collection is arranged in three series: Series I. Publications and Notes, 1927-1931; Series II. Course Syllabi, 1928-1933, and Series III. Photography, 1928-1930.

Series I. Publications and Notes, 1927-1931 This series contains annual reports by Barnard College on the Summer School and a report of the School’s first five years; class notes by Ray Dobkin, a student in 1928; and copies of the “Barnard Record”, a student magazine commemorating and summarizing each summer from 1927-1931. The annual reports provide information on the School’s mission and history, courses offered, connections with other Columbia summer programs, admission requirements and process, testimonials from students, budget, statistical breakdown, students, faculty, and administration.

Series II. Course Syllabi, 1928-1930 This series contains detailed syllabi for English Literature and Composition; American, English and World Economic History; Economics; “Men and Machines”; General History; and Science. The syllabi provide lesson plans and exercises, homework assignments, reading passages, and lecture notes.

Series III. Photography, 1928-1930 Photos in this series are of students playing tennis, in various classes, learning vocational skills (ironing), informal and group portraits, relaxing on the roof of Barnard Hall, and in theatrical productions.

Physical Location

This collection is located in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections, Barnard Library. To use this collection, please contact the Barnard Archives and Special Collections at 212.854.4079 or

Acquisition Information

The original acquisition date and source is unknown. A portion of the collection was a gift from the Sophia Smith Collection in 1984.


No additions are expected.

General Physical Description note

5 document boxes, including photographs

Processing History

This collection was processed by Marcia Bassett, Barnard College Archivist, and Jessica Fisher, Intern. Finding aid written by Julia Mix Barrington in April 2012. The finding aid was updated by Dinah Handel in July 2015.

Guide to Barnard College Summer School for Women Workers in Industry
Julia Mix Barrington
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Barnard Archives and Special Collections Repository

3009 Broadway
New York NY 10027 United States