7.67 linear feet
The Mortarboard is the official yearbook of the College. The initial issues were published under the title, The Barnard Annual, by a group of students eager to give the public “an illustration of the life at [Barnard]” highlighting aspects of both academic and social life . The name was changed in 1898 to Mortarboard. The early issues were wholly text-based; the 1902 yearbook was the first to feature individual graduate portraits. Later volumes contain photographs in both black and white and color.
History of the Barnard College Mortarboards
The first Barnard College yearbook, The Barnard Annual, was published in 1894. It was intended as a keepsake for members of the graduating class to remember their time at Barnard. The Mortarboard is produced by a group of students overseen by a faculty member; they are known as the Mortarboard Staff and have a dedicated page at the start of each volume. Each issue is put together when the class is in the junior year, and it is released at the end of their senior year—this is why the yearbooks are often referred to as Junior Class Mortarboards. Mortarboards also include histories of the college and, occasionally, histories of certain departments. Each issue is dedicated to prominent members of the faculty and administration, or to members of the Barnard community who have recently passed away.
The first yearbook established the tradition of listing members of the Board of Trustees, Committees, faculty members, and graduate students. It also marked the introduction of each class having a representational symbol. Initial classes were represented by various flowers and colors. In the 1910s, classes adopted mascots (a dragon, an Indian, a bulldog, and a lion) which rotated throughout the classes—the incoming freshman class would have the same mascot of the senior class which had left the year previous. Finally, classes were represented by the colors blue, yellow, red, or green. Early Mortarboards contained delicate pen drawings, poems, and satirical works which placed the subject matter of life at Barnard within the scope of a well known literary tract. In 1914, the Mortarboard for the 25th Anniversary of Barnard was built around an “Alice in Wonderland” theme, depicting Alice as an incoming freshman attempting to make sense of the confusion of undergraduate life. The yearbooks first incorporated photographs in 1903, and photographs came to replace the illustrations in the early publications. As the Mortarboard became a more established tradition at Barnard and was given more funding, content and scope expanded. The issues were divided into further sections, offering detailed information about dramatics, clubs, field day/special events, and athletics teams.
The Barnard College Mortarboards are bound volumes depicting life at Barnard and honoring the graduating classes. Volumes contain pen and ink sketches done by students. Photographs (in black and white, and later, color) are of student activities as well as formal portraits of students and staff. Mortarboards contain histories of the College, histories of academic departments, retrospectives looking back on the events at Barnard of that year, and letters from the Dean of the College. Mortarboards also contain student directories, lists and photographs of faculty and administrators, photographs of the graduating class, photographs from various events and clubs, and advertisements by local businesses. A highlight of the Mortarboard Collection is the Centennial Mortarboard from 1989, which offers a look back at Barnard through the years as well as standard Mortarboard content.
This collection has no restrictions.
This collection is located on-site.
Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Barnard College Archives. The Barnard College Archives approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Barnard College Archives
Lehman Hall Room 19
New York, NY 10027