Donald E. Barr (born 1921)

Wikipedia 🌐 Donald Barr

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NOTE : "Donald Barr" is not the same person as "Donald Barr Chidsey" - No relationship exists!

Donald Barr Chidsey (born 1902) who lived nearby in New Jersey, was also an author, also had an intelligence background, but was born in 1902.

1930 Census - New York

Donald "E" Barr is 8 years old.

Full Census form : [aa16][ GDrive ]

Father is Simon Pelham Barr (born 1892) , age 37. The census form says Simon was a "writer", working for "General Practice". He was born in England; his father and mother were born in Poland.

Mother is "Estelle De Y" (actually it is " Estelle de Young Barr (born 1893) ") , age 36. The census form says Estelle was born in New York; her father was born in Connecticut, and mother was born in Holland. Note that the census form says her career is "None", but we know that Estelle was working with Columbia University professionals in the 1920s and the 1930s, and that she was a doctor of psychology.

Their servant was Paula Schubaur (spelling could be wrong), who was born in Germany.

Their address was 450 Riverside Drive, in New York. City .

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450 Riverside Drive (NYC) is across the street from Columbia University

1934 - His father (and "New Dealer") Pelham Barr Appointed Divisional Director of the LBI (Library Binding Institute) - Remained Executive Director until 1947

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When the New Deal organized American industry under the National Recovery A c t (NRA) in 1934, l i b r a r y bookbinders began a cooperative program to insure standards of quality and fair dealing that has continued for fifty years. Library bookbinding in 1934 was a considerably different affair than it is currently. A host of small shops dominated an industry with very few "giants“ and no consistent definition of what it was that was being sold as "library binding.” Individual binders dealt with individual librarians without the benefit of broader consultation about standards and prices for their services. Cost accounting varied tremendously across the indus‐ try, making pricing of bindery services exceedingly difficult. Wide variations in labor practices further destabilized a market already hard-hit by the Depression.

Barr is influential in creating LBI

Into this scene came the faceless federal bureaucracy of the NRA National Code Authority ‐ with a difference in the person of Pelham Barr. Barr had started his professional life as a chemist, politically active and committed to the goals of the New Deal. With the inauguration of the NRA in February 1934, a Book Manufacturing Institute was established, and Barr was appointed Divisional Director for Library Binding.He immediately set about applying Code provisions for self-government, labor standards, and fair competition across the industry. By November of that year, Barr was planning to extend his duties to include promotional activities for the industry as a whole, undertaken at the expense of divisional member binders.

1941 - Graduates from Columbia University

Donald Barr was in the class of 1941 at Columbia University, where he studied mathematics and 🌐 anthropology . [aa2][ GDrive ]

1942-1944 - With US Army in World War II

  • [Donald Barr] "served with the U.S. Army as an Italian interpreter in a POW camp." [aa2][ GDrive ]
  • During WW2, [Donald Barr] }taught higher math to anti-aircraft gunnery students at an Army camp in Hulen, Texas". [aa4][ GDrive ]
  • It was during his time with the army in WW2 that Donald Barr learned Italian. Donald Barr said "I knew if I didnt make it, I'd be made a combat engineer in the South pacific where if I didnt get shot, I'd catch marlia or down. Boy, did I learn Italian." [aa6][ GDrive ]

1944 - Donald Barr has first published poem : "But First, a Brief Message for Jeremiah"

The New Republic, Volume 111 : Republic Publishing Company, 1944

A full page view of this poem is not available in Google Books - Will post when one is available !

1945 - Joins Office of Strategic Service (OSS) in Germany

  • In 1945, [Donald Barr] "joined the 🌐 Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Germany, aiding in de-Nazifying companies and industry. He also investigated German industrialists and SS men who had fled to South America." [aa4][ GDrive ]
  • The 🌐 Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was the predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). [aa8][ GDrive ]
  • In addition to working with the OSS Germany, it is documented that Donald Barr also served with the Office of Strategic Services in Washington DC.
  • Some references describe this time differently. One source says that in 1945 Donald Barr joined the English department at Columbia and remained there for 10 years, taking an M.A. in English. [aa2][ GDrive ] Does this mean Donald Barr was only in Berlin for a few months? Or, does it mean that "aiding in de-Nazifying companies" is part of the job at Columbia University's English program?

Thus, it is not clear how long Donald Barr was with the OSS.

1946 (April 22) - Married Mary Margaret Ahern

Donald Barr marries at age 25. Marriage date here : [aa13][ GDrive ] . Mary Maraget Ahern was born in Connecticut on August 14, 1918. See . Information on where this wedding took place is needed.

Mary Margaret (Ahern) Barr has been identified as a Columbia University professor / faculty member [aa14]. Details and additional verification is pending.

1947 - First son Christopher James born

See [aa13][ GDrive ]

1948 - Father (Simon Pelham Barr) passes

See Simon Pelham Barr (born 1892) .

1951 - Completes master's degree

[...] Donald Barr taught in the English department while getting his master's degree in 1951 and completing course requirements for a Ph.D. [By] then he was teaching courses with field work in sociology and political science at the School of Engineering and writing science and mathematics texts for elementary and junior high school students. [aa7][ GDrive ]

1955 - 1959

"In 1955 the engineering school asked him to oversee its efforts to spot promising elementary and secondary science students, including girls, and enlist them for advanced training at the school to help them rise to the college level. Joining the engineering dean's office, he then developed the Science Honors Program, which got the attention and support of the National Science Foundation." [aa7][ GDrive ]

In 1956 he moved to the school of engineering at Columbia University, where he became assistant dean and started and directed the science honors programs. [aa2][ GDrive ]

Mr. Barr became assistant dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science in 1959, and the foundation eventually asked him to administer its entire Cooperative College-School Program. He did so beginning in 1963, continuing until he became headmaster at Dalton the following year.

1958 (May26)

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1959 (Dec)

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1960 (Oct 21)

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1965 (June 27)

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1967 (April) - Article : "The Tale of the Headmaster" (in The Saturday Review)

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1967 (Aug)

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1967 (Dec 7)

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1968 (Feb 22)

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1968 (March) - Lord harlech visits Dalton School, even chats with Headmaster Donald Barr

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1971 (Nov 12)

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1971 (Dec 01) - A Review of Barr's books

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1971 (Dec 30)

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1973 (April)

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1974 - Video of Donald Barr (on PBS USA)

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1974 (Feb) - Barr Resigns from Dalton School (will remain until June 1974), Charging Trustees' Interference

See [aa10][ GDrive ]

Donald Barr, the controversial and outspoken headmaster of the Dalton School, one of the city's largest and most selective private schools, has resigned in protest of what he considers the trustee's interference with his leadership.

“Everyone knows that I am somewhat anachronistic in my views of the educational leadership of a school,” Mr. Barr wrote in a letter yesterday to faculty members and parents. “I am not comfortable with the definition of board‐head relations that I see becoming current in schools everywhere.”

Mr. Barr's resignation, which the board says was not requested and not expected, comes after 10 frequently stormy years as head of Dalton, which is housed in an 11‐story, brick building at 108 East 89th Street.

Question of Authority

The source of conflict between the strong‐minded Mr. Barr and his 20‐member board seemed to center on the question of where the board's authority should yield to the headmaster's judgment. There was apparently no one incident that prompted the resignation, but the confrontation was exacerbated by financial pressures that have forced the school to set priorities.

“The issue is the prerogatives of the board and the headmaster,” said Richard Ravitch, a construction company executive who is president of the board. “My sense of trusteeship and my understanding of the requirements of the state law And the bylaws of the school all say to me that it is the obligation of the trustees of an institution to make all the policies.”

Irony in the Resignation

Ironically, the present board of trustees includes many parents who rose to Mr. Barr's defense when a faction of the former board and some of the parents sought his ouster in 1971. He was accused then of turning a “humanistic, progressive” school into one in which “discipline and authoritarian rule” were the hallmarks.

The issues then had nothing to do with this issue now,” Mr. Ravitch said. “All of us who are now officers of the board were supportive of him in that fight and supported his educational philosophy.”

Mr. Barr said that he would remain until June 7 as headmaster of the coeducational school, which has grown rapidly under his leadership to an enrollment of 1,254 from prekindergarten through 12th

The growing financial constraints that have come to bear on privately supported institutions are known to have heightened tensions between Mr. Barr and the board over the question of the extent to which cutbacks should be made among faculty and staff members.

Last month, Dalton dismissed several clerical and administrative employees and announced that more than a half dozen teaching positions would be eliminated next fall. Furthermore, an average increase of about $150 was announced in the tuition and fee schedule, which now ranges from $1,936 for pre‐kinder‐garteners to $3,126 for high school students.

“Certain things are essential and not to be touched, however you solve your problems,” Mr. Barr said as he paced the floor of his cluttered office, his hands on his hips. “So far, I've patched together working solutions, but under economic stress I fear my differences with the board as to what's important are likely to show up more and more sharply.”

An additional source of friction between Mr. Barr and the board seems to be the board's hiring of an outside committee to study the school and to assess its operation under Mr. Barr.

The first of the consultants, by coincidence, arrived yesterday and was in the headmaster's outer office as Mr. Barr was inside talking to reporter about his resignation.

Mr. Ravitch said yesterday that “everyone in the school was shocked and saddened” by the resignation and that it was possible that some board members might try to dissuade Mr. Barr from leaving.

1974 (July)

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1974 - Did Jeff Epstein meet Donald Barr at Dalton School ?

Did 🌐 Jeffrey Epstein meet Donald Barr at 🌐 Dalton School ? The following is from [aa21][ GDrive ] :

  • "If Mr. Barr caught students using marijuana, he would often send them to therapy as a condition of staying in the school. He himself described his leadership style as “by ukase,” using the Imperial Russian term for an edict from the czar." Interesting ... Donald Barr used a "Russian" term!
  • Jeff Epstein began teaching in September 1974, but Donald Barr was completed in June 1974.
  • Jeff Epstein was only 21 years old when he started teaching, and did not have a degree.

See [aa10][ GDrive ] : In 1974 the Dalton School had an "enrollment of 1,254 from prekindergarten through 12th". As headmaster, it is probable that any new staff hires would have been met by Donald Barr, but it is possible Jeff Epstein did not interview with the school until summer 1974.

Mr. Epstein’s time at Dalton was brief, and an administrator said it ended in a dismissal.

[....] The school, which had been a progressive haven for the children of artists and writers, was undergoing a shift under a new headmaster. Donald Barr, the father of Attorney General William Barr, came in as a disciplinarian focused on beefing up the academics of the school, and on enforcing a strict code of conduct.

In a school known for creativity, administrators had prohibited denim jeans and “bizarre and eccentric costumes.” If Mr. Barr caught students using marijuana, he would often send them to therapy as a condition of staying in the school. He himself described his leadership style as “by ukase,” using the Imperial Russian term for an edict from the czar.

[...] In February 1974, Mr. Barr had announced that he was resigning as headmaster, protesting the meddling by the board of trustees, but that he would stay on until the end of the school year. It is unclear whether Mr. Barr hired Mr. Epstein during that time.

Mr. Epstein, from Brooklyn, was just 21 when he joined the faculty at Dalton, arriving without a college degree. The school’s student newspaper reported in September 1974 that he was starting that year as a math and physics teacher.

The next year [1975], he participated in a school musical for parents and faculty, and he appeared in later editions of the paper as the coach of the Dalton Tigers math team until the beginning of 1976.

The school had new leadership under Gardner Dunnan, who tentatively explored a rollback of some of its strict rules. Mr. Dunnan announced in early 1975 a policy that would allow denim inside the building, although students were still told to be neat and clean.

In the years since, however, Mr. Dunnan has faced allegations of his own inappropriate conduct. A former Dalton student said in a lawsuit that she had been invited to live with Mr. Dunnan at age 14, and had suffered repeated sexual assaults under his care. Mr. Dunnan denied the allegations. The lawsuit was dropped, but the woman’s lawyer, Mariann Meier Wang, said she intended to refile it.


But Peter Branch, who was an interim headmaster after Mr. Barr and later the head of the high school, was not as fond of Mr. Epstein’s teaching. He said that he did not recall anyone raising concerns to him about Mr. Epstein’s conduct with students, but that he had heard concerns from the faculty about Mr. Epstein’s teaching, and eventually determined that the teacher needed to go.

1974/1975 - Interesting insight on headmasters at Dalton School

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  • Dennis J. Phillips, who was living in Glens Falls NY as of December 1974, was "acting headmaster at the Dalton School in New York City [in 1974", before joining the law firm of "McPhillips, Fitzgerald & Meyer".
  • Of note, the other person who joined the law firm at this time was Joseph R. Brennan, who was "a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation [, "FBI", ] for three years and for three years he serve as an assistant United Stated attorney for the Northern District of New York."
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Additional info on Dennis J. Phillips can be found in his August 1974 wedding announcement in the NY Times (implying social/wealth status) ([aa20][ GDrive ] ) :

"Patricia Smith Wed To Dennis Phillips : [...] Mrs. Phillips, who attended the University of Hawaii and the University of California at Los Angeles, graduated from Washington State College. She sang for two years with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera before coming to New York to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Manhattan School of Music. For the last four years she has been a teacher of English and director of the middle school drama program at the 🌐 Dalton School , where her husband was formerly director of admissions and college placement. The bridegroom is with the law firm of McPhillips, Fitzgerald & Meyer in Glens Falls. [...]"

Summary: The "acting headmaster at Dalton School" after Donald Barr was Dennis J. Phillips, and he was also formerly director of admissions and college placement. The odds of Dennis J. Phillips meeting a young Jeff Epstein are quite high.

1974 - Insight on Jeff Epstein and Dalton (from 2019 Daily Beast article)


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"Jeffrey Epstein graduated from Lafayette High School in 1969 at age 16, having skipped two grades. He was “chubby with curly hair and a high, ‘hee-hee’ kind of laugh,” according to Filthy Rich. In the fall of 1969, Epstein started at Cooper Union and studied there for two years until the spring semester of 1971. Many writers say he attended New York University (NYU) after Cooper Union, but they rarely give specific dates. I decided to verify exactly when Epstein went to college and where. It turned out that Epstein was enrolled at NYU between September of 1971 and June of 1974. Thus, most of Epstein’s college study years were spent at NYU. I verified that he did not graduate from NYU with their registrar."


"After the summer of 1974, Epstein began working as a teacher of mathematics and physics at the Dalton School in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It has been reported that he began there in 1973, but this is incorrect. I searched the 1973-74 Dalton yearbook and there is no mention of Jeffrey Epstein. I then searched Dalton’s school newspaper and found in the September 1974 issue that “... Mr. Epstein, who will also teach physics, [has] also joined the department this year.” Epstein also confirmed that he taught there between 1974 and 1976 in a deposition."


"In 1974, Dalton was run by headmaster Donald Barr [...]. Writers have noted the interesting coincidence. However, Donald Barr resigned in turmoil in February of 1974 (according to the March 14, 1974 issue of The Daltonian) which was seven months before Jeffrey Epstein began teaching there that fall. While it is possible that Donald Barr may have hired Epstein, if he made personnel decisions long in advance, the Dalton School lost four math teachers (according to The Daltonian) prior to the 1974-75 school year. Therefore the school may have hired Epstein, in part, out of an urgent need to fill vacant positions—even though Epstein did not have a college degree."


Peter Branch was the acting headmaster after Barr’s departure and he may have hired Epstein. Full verification would require access to Dalton’s personnel records, if they still retain them. I put a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request into the State of New York Department of Education and they reported having no teaching license on file for Epstein—this may suggest that he was not planning on a career in teaching. Unlike public schools, it should be noted, a private school like Dalton does not require its teachers to possess a state teaching license or certificate.

Update: After publication, a reporter from the Miami Herald kindly provided me with Branch's phone number. When he spoke with me, he noted that he was upper school director before being appointed interim headmaster at Dalton. His appointment began on July 1, 1974 and Barr's contract at Dalton expired on June 30th. Branch does not recall hiring Epstein and he is relatively certain Barr or possibly the head of the Math Department hired Epstein because hiring decisions were typically made in the spring. He also noted that Barr liked to hire unconventional teachers to enhance the educational experience for students at Dalton.

While at the Dalton School, Epstein was the coach of the math team. In competitions with several local schools, Epstein led the students to victory in one instance and to second place in another. At a February 1976 math meet, the Dalton team competed against Ramaz and the Manhattan Talmudic Academy with “Boss Epstein watching from the sidelines…” (The Daltonian March 5, 1976). At another match up in April 1976, Epstein told his team “a victory would be as easy as Pi.” The paper reported Epstein would be starting a “math-track team” the following year due to his “unique philosophy of integrating physical exercise with spiritual and mathematical stimulation.” The Dalton School students and families are comprised of some of the wealthiest families in the United States—unlike Epstein’s own. But this access may have created an opening for him.

1975 (Feb 26)

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1983 (March 9) - Donald Barr joins President Reagan's National Council on Education Research

Donald Barr is still Headmaster of Hackley School, Tarrytown NY) at this time; he remains there until 1986.


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1985 (Aug)

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