Alumnae Biography

Senior Journalist: Herawati Diah

Meet the face of our newest alum pin, Herawati Diah ’41. To pick up a pin, stop by the Barnard Library!

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Siti Latifah Herawati Diah was born on April 3, 1917 in Tanjung Pandan, Belitung. She was born into an upper-class priyayi family, granting her the opportunity of enjoying a high education and privileged, western lifestyle. Diah attended the Europeesche Lagere School in Salemba, Central Jakarta for primary school and later attended high school at the American High School in Tokyo. Influenced by her mother, Diah decided to further her studies in America while other intellectuals had their eyes set on either the Netherlands or Western Europe. Prior to attending Barnard, where “the seeds of her Journalism career take root, ” Diah studied English with a host family for two years. In 1941, Diah graduated from Barnard and became the first Indonesian woman to be academically trained abroad in a respected American university. She also completed a journalism course at Stanford University in the midst of her principal studies of sociology at Barnard and UC Berkley.


Diah finally returned home to Indonesia in 1942, which was on the brink of war, and became a freelance reporter for the United Press International (UPI) newswire before taking on a position as announcer for Hosokyoku radio. She later married the legendary journalist Burhanuddin Mohammad “BM” Diah, who was working for the Asia Raya newspaper at the time, in that same year and had three children in 1945.

In 1968, BM Diah gained the role of minister of information, for which Diah quit journalism to pursue the new role by his side and represent Indonesia to the world. In pursuit of guarding her homeland’s culture, Diah led Borobudur Temple to being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and also established foundations, such as Indonesian Cultural Partners to protect treasures and textiles, Indonesian Women’s Association and others, which raised political awareness in women. She persistently continued to shed light on women’s concerns in the 1990s.


Diah and her husband were known as the giants of Indonesian journalism of the 1945 Generation, otherwise believe to be the nation’s “Greatest Generation,” along with Rosihan Anwar and Mochtar Lubis. Diah also founded The Indonesian Observer, Indonesia’s only English newspaper (until the 1960s) providing her people with a means to report their struggles, and launched it on the eve of the 1955 Asia-Africa Conference which was held in Bandung. Furthermore, Diah founded the Movement toward Education of Women Voters (Gerakan Perempuan Sadar Pemilu), now the Women’s Voice Empowerment Movement (Gerakan Pemberdayaan Swara Perempuan)–a movement to empower the voice of women,–aiming to provide political education for women to promote the use of their rights to vote according to their consciousness. Diah also earned recognition from then education minister Anies Baswedan for her contribution to promoting United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization programs in Indonesia.

Siti Latifah Herawati Diah passed away on September 30, 2016, at the humble age of 99.


An Endless Journey: Reflections of an Indonesian Journalist (2005)


“Journalism is a profession which is not only exciting, adventurous and sometimes even dangerous, but most of all satisfying because a journalist not only informs the public what is happening on the national or international level on a daily basis, but also she or he can influence the reader to choose what is best for them.”

“Be strong, eat healthy—but not too much—live well and sleep well with no worries.” – secrets to longevity.

“At most, please regard this book as a record of events in which I was involved.”

Aziza Rahman ’20


Collins, Gale G. “An Endless Journey: Reflections of an Indonesian Journalist.” Indonesiaexpat,, May 20, 2014, accessed July 9, 2018,

Firmanto, Danang. “Senior Journalist Herawati Diah Passes Away at 99.”, Tempo Inti Media Tbk, September 30, 2016, accessed July 9, 2018,

News Desk. “Senior journo Herawati Diah passes away.” The Jakarta Post, PT. Niskala Media Tenggara, September 30, 2016, accessed July 9,2018,

Sumayku, Jeannifer Filly. “A Journey of an Inspiring Woman: Herawati Diah.” The President Post,, June 21, 2010, accessed July 9, 2018,

Alumnae Biography

Pulitzer Prize-winning Science Columnist: Natalie Angier

Meet the face of our newest alum pin, Natalie Angier ’78. To pick up a pin, stop by the Barnard Library!

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Natalie Angier was born on February 16, 1958 in New York City, and was raised in the Bronx and New Buffalo, Michigan. She attended the University of Michigan for two years before transferring to Barnard, where she graduated with high honors in 1978. As an undergrad, Angier studied English, physics, and astronomy.


At the age of 22, Angier was hired as a founding staff member for Time Inc.’s science magazine, Discover which was first launched in 1980. For four years, she wrote articles about biology. She had also been a senior science columnist for the Time magazine, an editor at Savvy, and a professor at the New York University’s Graduate Program in Science and Environmental Reporting. In 1990, she landed a position working for The New York Times. She later became a columnist for Science Times in January 2007.

Angier’s publications include her first book Natural Obsessions (1988), The Beauty of the Beastly (1995), Woman: An Intimate Geography (1999) and The Canon: A Whirligig Tour through the Beautiful Basics of Science (2007).


Angier’s first book, Natural Obsessions (1988) was named a notable book of the year by The New York Times and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition, her third book, Woman: An Intimate Geography (1999) was a National Book Award finalist and her most recent book, “The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science” (2007), won the Robert P. Balles prize for critical thinking. Her books have been translated from eight to over 24 different languages.

Angier also won the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for beat reporting. The submission consisted of ten features she wrote on topics ranging from scorpions to sexual infidelity in the animal kingdom among others. Her numerous other awards include the AAAS award for excellence in journalism, the Lewis Thomas Award for distinguished writing in the life sciences, the General Motors International award for writing about cancer, the Barnard Distinguished Alumna award and membership in the American Philosophical Society. She had also been awarded a top rating of four stars among seven other journalists by The Forbes MediaGuide, an appraisal of 500 U.S. journalists. Her writing has also made its way into The Atlantic, Smithsonian, National Geographic, The American Scholar, Parade, O magazine, Washington Monthly, Geo, Slate and many other print and online magazines. Moreover, her essays have been published in a number of anthologies, including “The Bitch in the House,” “Sisterhood Is Forever,” “The New Science Journalists” and “The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing.” She was also the editor of the 2002 edition of “The Best American Science and Nature Writing” and the 2009 edition of “The Best American Science Writing.”

In September of 2017, Angier interviewed Barnard’s new president, Sian Beilock, published in a Barnard news article called, “Beilock Unlocked: Pulitzer Prize-Winner Natalie Angier ’78 Interviews Barnard President.”

Angier now lives in Maryland, with her husband, Rick Weiss, a science writer for the Washington Post.


Angier, Natalie. “But What About the Tooth Fairy, Mom? Raising a Healthy God-free Child in a Hopelessly God-struck Nation.” Freethought Today 20, no. 9 (2003) – Emperor Has No Clothes Award Winner

Aziza Rahman ’20


Edge Foundation. “Natalie Angier: Pulitzer prize winning science writer for The New York Times.” Edge, Edge Foundation, July 9, 2018, accessed July 9, 2018,

The New York Times Company. “Natalie Angier.” The New York Times, The New York Times Company, accessed July 9, 2018,

World Science Foundation. “Natalie Angier.” World Science Festival, World Science Foundation, accessed July 9, 2018,

Alumnae Biography

“A HEART for HARLEM”: Elizabeth Bishop Davis

Meet the face of our newest alum pin, Elizabeth Bishop Davis ’41. To pick up a pin, stop by the Barnard Library!



Elizabeth Bishop Davis was born on April 26, 1920 in New York City, where her dad, Rev. Shelton Hale Bishop, an Episcopal clergyman, was Rector of St. Philip’s
Church in Harlem. She graduated from Barnard College in 1941 and received her M.D. from the College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, in 1949.


As a first-year medical student in 1946, Davis launched Harlem’s first mental health facility, the LaFargue Clinic. The clinic was housed in the basement of the church and was conceived by novelist Richard Wright and psychotherapist Fredric Wertham.The clinic operated two evenings a week, during which volunteer psychiatrists and social workers counseled the predominantly African American patients. Service was free unless patients were able to cover the 25 cent fee per session.


After graduating from P&S with “glowing assessments from the faculty,” Dr. Davis interned at Harlem Hospital, gaining early practical experience, and completed her residency at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia’s Psychoanalytic Clinic.” She was then hired as a therapist by the Harlem’s Northside Center for Child Development in 1953. No later, in 1955, she became a certified psychoanalyst from Columbia’s Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Davis also maintained a private practice alongside her association with an outpatient clinic at Harlem Hospital throughout the 1950s. She later joined Columbia’s Clinical Faculty in 1957 and was appointed founding director of Harlem Hospital’s new Department of Psychiatry and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry in 1962. Moreover, she was considered for tenure a decade later. The director of Bellevue’s psychiatric division, Alexander Thomas, MD wrote:

“Under her initiative and guidance this service has become one of the outstanding service, teaching, and training centers in the city, able to recruit and retain high caliber staff and to develop innovative service and training programs,”

She also became a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in 1971 and a Professor Emerita later in 1978 after retiring from work at the hospital. By then, the Harlem’s Hospital Department of Psychiatry expanded to encompass an adult inpatient unit, a day hospital, a greatly expanded outpatient clinic with specialty clinics for alcohol and substance abuse, a geriatric clinic, a large social and vocational rehabilitation service, a children’s service with inpatient beds, a children’s day hospital with a public school and recreation program, and a fully accredited psychiatric residency training program.

Alongside her contributions to the field of medicine, she was also an honorary member of the Beth Israel Board of Trustees.

Dr. Davis died in New York City on February 1 of 2010 at the humble age of 89. She died a widow of former head of Beth Israel, Ray E. Trussell, MD.


In her more than 30-year psychiatry career, Davis pursued research in the use of psychoanalysis, addressing racial and income disparities in caring for the mentally ill, and community-based care, among other topics. Her papers include “Mental Health Services for the Inner City” and “Blacks as Psychiatrists: Psychiatrists as Blacks: Options for the Future,” and footage exists of a television segment that she participated in, “Can Psychiatry Help Reduce Racial Tensions?”


To learn more about Elizabeth Bishop Davis Trussell, MD., visit The New York Public Library Archives at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division and Archives and Special collections at the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). A collection of her work, which she donated to the University, are also in the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library at Columbia University Medical Center.

Aziza Rahman ’20


Anne, Leslie. “Bishop/Carey Family Photo Album – Featuring Dr. Elizabeth Bishop Davis.” Lost Family Treasures, Blogger, May 26, 2011, accessed July 9, 2018,

Davis, Elizabeth Bishop M.D. “Elizabeth Davis Papers.” Archives & Special Collections, Columbia University Health Sciences Library, accessed July 9, 2018,

Shapiro, Gary. “Ask Alma’s Owl: Community Mental Health.” Columbia News, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, November 15, 2017, accessed July 9, 2018,

Tregaskies, Sharon. “A Heart for Harlem: Elizabeth Bishop Davis, MD, 1920-2010.” Columbia Medicine, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Spring/Summer 2016, accessed July 9, 2018,


Alumnae Biography

Novelist, Poet, Translator and Editor: Babette Deutsch

Meet the face of our newest alum pin, Babette Deutsch (1917). To pick up a pin, stop by the Barnard Library!

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Deutsch’s Beginnings

Deutsch was born in New York City on September 22, 1895 to German-Jewish parents Michael and Melanie (Fisher) Deutsch. After completing high school at the Ethical Culture School, Deutsch obtained her B.A. from Barnard College in 1917 and received an honorary D. Litt. from Columbia University. As an undergrad, Deutsch began publishing her poetry in magazines and journals, such as the New Republic. For a short period of time, Deutsch worked with the Political Science Quarterly, after graduation, and also wrote several critical essays, including one on Thorstein Veblen for Reedy’s Mirror, Marion Reedy’s one-man journal of opinion. This led to her landing a position as Veblen’s secretary while he taught at the New School for Social Research in New York City. She also published her first volume of poetry, entitled Banners, shortly thereafter, in 1919. She then published a second work of verse, Honey Out of a Rock, in 1925, dealing with many biblical themes and reflecting a Jewish cultural influence. It also incorporated imagism and pieces of Japanese haiku. In 1921, Deutsch married Avraham Yarmolinsky, a Russian-Jewish writer and chief of the Slavonic Division of The New York Public Library. He was also a translator himself, as well, much like Deutsch. The two had sons named Adam and Michael.

Together, the couple published translations of several Russian works in English. Futhermore, Deutsch, fluent in German also produced an English translation of the works of Rilke.

Success Story

Until 1962, Deutsch published 9 volumes of poetry, in addition to Banners (1919) and Honey Out of a Rock (1925), four novels, six volumes of children’s literature, five criticisms, four books of prose on poetry, and numerous translations, and edited Poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1967). Her volumes include Epistle to Prometheus(1931)Take Them, Stranger (1944)Coming of Age (1959), and Collected Poems, 1919-1962 1963. Among her novels are A Brittle Heaven (1926), In Such a Night (1927), Mask of Silenus (1933), and Rogue’s Legacy (1942), and criticisms are Potable Gold (1929), This Modern Poetry (1935), Poetry In Our Time (1952, 1956, 1963), and Poetry Handbook (1957, 1962, 1974). Her children’s literature consists of I Often Wish (1966) and Tales of Faraway Folk (1963).

With her husband, Deutsch also critiqued and translated three other works, Modern Russian Poetry (1921)Contemporary German Poetry (1923), and Two Centuries of Russian Verse (1966).

Aside from writing, editing, and translating, Deutsch was an active member of and contributor to her committee. She served the National Book Committee as a member of the advisory board, worked as a secretary for the PEN National Institute of Arts and Letters, and was chancellor for the Academy of American Poets. From 1960 to 1966, Deutsch was also a consultant at the Library of Congress. She also used her poetry as a means to pay homage to the Jewish community. She wrote verse about war to deal with her rage against the destruction and horror of World War II and make some sense out of the evils of humankind. In one of her poems, she wrote: “A sage once said the mind of God forgets/Evil that men remember having done, as it remembers/The good that men do and forget.”

Honors and Awards

In 1962, Babette Deustch was awarded a Poetry Prize by The Nation for her poem, Thoughts at the Year’s Endpublished in her book Five for the Night (1930), and a Julia Ellsworth Ford Foundation Prize for her critical work on Walt Whitman. She later received an honorary doctorate in literature from Columbia University in 1946. Furthermore, in 1977, she was recognized as a distinguished alumna by her alma mater. Deutsch had also been Phi Beta Kappa poet at Columbia University in 1929.

Babette Deutsch died on November 13, 1982.


To learn more about Babette Deutsch, scroll through her available published pieces on The New Yorker.

Aziza Rahman ’20


Friedman, Natalie. “Babette Deutsch: 1895-1982.” Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia, Jewish Women’s Archives, March 1 2009, accessed July 2, 2018,

New York Times. “Babette Deutsch, 87, Novelist, Poet, Translator and Editor.” New York Times Archives, NYT, November 15, 1982, accessed July 2, 2018,

Poetry Foundation. “Babbette Deutsch: 1895-1982.” Poetry Magazine, Poetry Foundation, accessed July 2, 2018,

The New York Public Library. “Babette Deutsch papers.” The New York Public Library Archives & Manuscripts, The New York Public Library, accessed July 2, 2018,

Alumnae Student Publications

Award-winning Writer, Professor, and Activist: June Jordan

Meet the face of our newest pin, alum June Jordan. To pick up a pin, stop by the Barnard Library!


Jordan’s Beginnings

June Millicent Jordan (1936-2002) was born in Harlem to Granville Ivanhoe Jordan and Mildred Maud Jordan, two West Indian immigrants. The Jordan family moved to Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn when June was five. As we learn in Soldier: A Poet’s Childhood, Jordan had a complicated family life growing up, in which her father encouraged her to embrace literature and to be strong, but also subjected her to physical abuse. Jordan started writing poetry as young as age seven. Throughout her educational experiences, she had to face overwhelmingly white institutions. Jordan was the only black student at Midwood High School in Brooklyn before she transferred, having received a scholarship to Northfield School For Girls. Northfield (now co-ed and called Northfield-Mount Hermon School), was a predominantly white prep school in Massachusetts. Jordan went on to study English at Barnard as a commuter student. While at Barnard, Jordan was featured in Focus, the college’s literary magazine. She was one of four black students during her time at Barnard (1953-1957), and was frustrated with the curriculum and competitive environment at the school. In her essay, “Notes of a Barnard Dropout,” which Jordan delivered as a talk at the BCRW‘s (then the Women’s Center) first Reid Lecture in 1975 (alongside Alice Walker), and which was later published in her 1981 book Civil Wars, Jordan states:

No one ever presented me with a single Black author, poet, historian, personage, or idea for that matter. Nor was I ever assigned a single woman to study as a thinker, or writer, or poet, or life force. Nothing that I learned, here, lessened my feeling of pain or confusion and bitterness as related to my origins: my street, my family, my friends. Nothing showed me how I might try to alter the political and economic realities underlying our Black condition in white America.

Because of her disappointment at the college, Jordan left and returned to Barnard a couple of times. One of the reasons she left was to marry Michael Meyer, who was a white student at Columbia University. After they married in 1955, she attended the University of Chicago for a year and studied anthropology before returning to Barnard again. Jordan ultimately left Barnard for good in 1957. Facing difficulties as an interracial couple, Meyer and Jordan divorced in 1966, and Jordan took care of their son Christopher Meyer.

Career and Activism

Jordan’s early career was largely influenced by the political climate of the 1960’s, as she wrote about the 1964 Harlem Riots and was concerned and involved with both the Black Power and Black Arts Movements. She worked in film, as a journalist, as a researcher and writer for Mobilization for Youth in New York, and also collaborated with the architect Buckminster Fuller on aesthetic housing for low-income members of the Harlem community. She was deeply concerned with racial, spatial, economic, gender, and sexuality justice. She also had a strong focus on children. Her first book, Who Look At Me was intended for young readers, and she taught many workshops for students of color.

Jordan soon became a college professor, first teaching English and literature at City College in 1967, and going on to work at Connecticut College, Sarah Lawrence College, Yale, and SUNY Stony Brook. She became a full professor at Stony Brook in 1982, directing the poetry center and creative writing program during her time there. In 1989 Jordan started at the University of California, Berkeley in the African-American Studies department. At Berkeley, she also started Poetry for the People, a group that brought poetry to community groups in the surrounding area as a tool for political empowerment.


Over the course of her life, Jordan wrote or edited 28 books, essays, and children’s novels, as well as the libretto for “I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky.” Some of Jordan’s works of poetry include Some Changes (1971), Living Room (1985) and Kissing God Goodbye: Poems 1991-1997 (1997). She incorporates themes such as bisexuality, blackness, and family to make her poetry personal and political. She often wrote in and advocated for the use of Black English. In addition to poetry, Jordan is well-known for her political writing. She was a columnist for the Progressive, and also wrote essays on topics ranging from education, to sexism, to terrorism. Adrienne Rich, in the foreward to Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan, writes of Jordan: “In a sense unusual among twentieth-century poets of the United States, she believed in and lived the urgency of the word—along with action—to resist abuses of power and violations of dignity in—and beyond—her country.” Thus, for Jordan, writing was a tool of political expression and action, as well as an autobiographical and personal outlet.

In an interview with Alternative Radio, Jordan states that the role of the poet in society:

is to deserve the trust of people who know that what you do is work with words… Always to be as honest as possible and to be as careful about the trust invested in you as you possibly can. Then the task of a poet of color, a black poet, as a people hated and despised, is to rally the spirit of your folks…I have to get myself together and figure out an angle, a perspective, that is an offering, that other folks can use to pick themselves up, to rally and to continue or, even better, to jump higher, to reach more extensively in solidarity with even more varieties of people to accomplish something. I feel that it’s a spirit task.

Jordan was honored for this task, as she earned many awards for her writing. She won the 1991 PEN Center USA West Freedom to Write Award, the 1994 Ground Breakers-Dream Makers Award from The Woman’s Foundation, and the 1995-1998 Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Writers Award. She also received a 1969-1970 Rockefeller grant for creative writing, a 1979 Yaddo residency, a 1982 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and 1984 Achievement Award for International Reporting from the National Association of Black Journalists, the Chancellor’s Distinguished Lectureship from the University of California at Berkeley, and a congressional citation for her writing and activism.

-Sarah Barlow-Ochshorn ’20


“About June.” Accessed June 28, 2018.

“Bio.” Accessed June 28, 2018.

Halasz, Piri. “‘Focus’ Keeps High Quality But Falls Short In Execution.” Barnard Bulletin (New York), March 24, 1955.

“Jordan, June 1936-2002.” Contemporary Black Biography,, accessed June 28, 2018.

Jordan, June. Civil Wars. Beacon Press, 1981.

Poetry Foundation. “June Jordan.” Accessed June 28, 2018.

Rosser, Felice. “June Jordan: Black, Woman, Poet.” Barnard Bulletin (New York), March 22, 1976.

Smith, Dinita. “June Jordan, 65, Poet and Political Activist.” The New York Times, June 18, 2002.