Donald Barr

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Donald Barr
Born(1921-08-08)August 8, 1921
DiedFebruary 5, 2004(2004-02-05) (aged 82)
Alma materColumbia University (AB, MA)
Known forHeadmaster of Dalton School
SpouseMary Margaret Ahern
Children4, including William and Stephen

Donald Barr (August 8, 1921 – February 5, 2004) was an American educator, writer, and Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer. He was an administrator at Columbia University before serving as headmaster at the Dalton School in New York City and the Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York.[1] He also wrote two science fiction novels. His sons are former United States Attorney General William Barr and physicist Stephen Barr.

Early life and education[edit]

Barr was born in Manhattan, New York, the son of Estelle (née DeYoung), a psychologist, and Pelham Barr, an economist.[2] He and his wife, Mary Margaret (née Ahern), had four children including William P. Barr (who served as the 77th U.S. Attorney General in the George H. W. Bush Administration and as the 85th U.S. Attorney General in the Donald Trump Administration)[3][4] and particle physicist Stephen Barr.[5]

He was born to a Jewish family, but later converted to Catholicism. He sent his children to a Catholic elementary school and his son William would later describe him as "more Catholic than the Catholics."[6][7]

Barr graduated from Columbia College in 1941 with a degree in mathematics and anthropology.[5]


Barr served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II. Following the conflict, he returned to Columbia, where he earned an M.A. in English in 1950 and completed course requirements for a Ph.D. in the discipline while also teaching in the English department.[4][8] During this period, he also taught "courses with field work in sociology and political science at the School of Engineering" and wrote "science and mathematics texts for elementary and junior high school students." He initiated the Columbia University Science Honors Program in 1958 and was its director (as an assistant dean at the School of Engineering) until 1964. From 1963 to 1964, he also administered the National Science Foundation Cooperative College-School Program.[4]

He was headmaster of the Dalton School from 1964 to 1974.[9] During his time as Dalton's headmaster, Barr is alleged to have had a role in hiring future financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein as a math teacher despite the fact that Epstein (who graduated from high school at the age of 16 and secured a full scholarship to Cooper Union) had failed to complete his degree and was only 21 years old at the time.[10][11] In 1973, Barr published Space Relations, a science fiction novel about a planet ruled by oligarchs who engage in child sex slavery. It has been noted that the plot of the novel anticipates the crimes of Epstein and his convicted and prosecuted accomplice (the list of politicians and celebrities involved in sex crimes remains hidden), Ghislaine Maxwell.[12]

Barr also reviewed books for The New York Times.[4][8] In addition to his two science fiction novels, he sold two stories to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction; one of these (the 2002 "Sam") was reprinted in the 2003 anthology Year's Best Fantasy 3.

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan nominated Donald Barr to be a member of the National Council on Educational Research.[13]

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ Maeroff, Gene I. (13 March 1977). "Barr Puts His Stamp on Hackley". New York Times. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  2. ^ Reginald, R. (Sep 1, 2010). Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature Vol 2. Wildside Press LLC. ISBN 9780941028776. Retrieved Feb 14, 2019 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Savage, Charlie; Haberman, Maggie (2018-12-07). "Trump Will Nominate William P. Barr as Attorney General". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  4. ^ a b c d Saxon, Wolfgang (February 10, 2004). "Donald Barr, 82, Headmaster And Science Honors Educator". The New York Times. p. A25. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  5. ^ a b "Obituaries". Columbia College Today. May 2004. Archived from the original on 2019-09-05. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  6. ^ Brenner, Marie (7 October 2019). "I Had No Problem Being Politically Different". Vanity Fair.
  7. ^ Miller, Judith (Jan 11, 2019). "Stepping Into the Fire". City Journal. Retrieved Feb 14, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Barr, Donald (May 1, 1955). "Shadowy World of Men and Hobbits". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 24, 2012. Retrieved 2010-10-08. (review of The Two Towers)
  9. ^ Maeroff, Gene I. (20 February 1974). "Barr Quits Dalton School Post, Charging Trustees' Interference". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  10. ^ Mike Baker & Amy Julia Harris (2019-07-12). "Jeffrey Epstein Taught at Dalton. His Behavior Was Noticed". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  11. ^ "Who Was Jeffrey Epstein Calling? A close study of his circle — social, professional, transactional — reveals a damning portrait of elite New York". New York. 2019-07-22. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  12. ^ Ferreira, Becky (2019-08-16). "Epstein Truthers Are Obsessed With a Sci-Fi Book About Child Sex Slavery Written by Bill Barr's Dad". Vice. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  13. ^ Ronald Reagan: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 1985

External links[edit]