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Virginia Crocheron Gildersleeve (October 3 1877July 7 1965) was an American academic, the long-time Dean of Barnard Collegemarker, and the sole female US delegate to the April 1945 San Franciscomarker United Nations Conference on International Organization, which negotiated the UN Charter and created the United Nations.

Biography

Gildersleeve was born in New York Citymarker, she attended the Brearley Schoolmarker and following her graduation in 1895 went on to attend Barnard Collegemarker. She completed her studies in 1899 and received a fellowship to undertake research for her MA in medieval history at Columbia University. She taught English part time at Barnard for several years, she declined a full-time position and took a leave of absence to undertake her Ph.D. in English and comparative literature at Columbia in three years. When she completed her studies in 1908 she was appointed a lecturer in English in 1908 by Barnard and Columbia; by 1910 she had become an assistant professor and in 1911 was made dean of Barnard College.

In 1918 Gildersleeve, Caroline Spurgeon and Rose Sedgwick met while the two English women were on an academic exchange to the United States. They discussed founding an international association of university women, and in 1919 founded the International Federation of University Women.). She shared an "intimate" relationship with the British Spurgeon, with whom she annually shared a rental summer home (see [171264] - Our Story)

Following World War I she became interested in international politics. She campaigned for Al Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt. During World War II she chaired the Advisory Council of the navy's women's unit, the WAVES and following the war she was appointed to the United Nations Charter Committee. She was involved in the reconstruction of higher education in Japan. For this work she received France's Legion of Honor.

Dean of Barnard College

One of Gildersleeve's prime concerns as Dean was to reduce the number of Jewish students admitted to Barnard in favor of admitting young women of Protestant background. Ironically, her efforts to reduce the number of Jewish students succeeded only in producing a proportionate increase in the numbers of Catholic students.

Politics and foreign affairs

At the 1945 San Francisco UN conference, Gildersleeve was instrumental in writing the Preamble to the United Nations Charter, drafting its beginning, with much of Jan Smuts' earlier text attached at the end. But perhaps her "most enduring accomplishment at the conference" was her leading role in creating the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Some historians consider Gildersleeve to have been "the most influential leader" of the Christian "anti-Zionist lobby" of her era. Gildersleeve wrote that "after (her) retirement from the Deanship at Barnard, (she) devoted (her)self mainly to the Middle East," describing herself as "struggling ardently against" the creation and, later, the continued existence of the Jewish State. She blamed her failure to prevent the creation of the State of Israel on "the Zionist control of the media of communication."

Gildersleeve was a trustee of the American University of Beirutmarker and a leading figure in the Christian opposition to Israelmarker's statehood in 1948. She helped found and chaired the Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land, which merged into the American Friends of the Middle East. According to historian Robert Moats Miller, of the University of North Carolinamarker, the group was funded by the Central Intelligence Agency and ARAMCO. Miller states that Gildersleeve's "sympathies were indeed overwhelmingly with the Arabs."

Tributes

In 1969 eleven members of the International Federation of University Women founded the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF).(See http://www.vgif.org). The Fund to date has awarded more than 250 grants for a total project aid disbursement of over $1 million USD to women’s groups in low per capita income countries. Priority is given to income generation and community development projects which enhance and utilize women’s educational, vocational, and leadership skills. Project activities range from seminars, conferences, and training workshops to community-action projects.

References

  1. Changing the subject: how the women of Columbia shaped the way we think about sex and politics, Rosalind Rosenberg, Columbia University Press, 2004p 139-40.
  2. Christian attitudes towards the State of Israel, Paul Charles Merkley. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 2001, p. 6.
  3. Gildersleeve, Virginia Crocheron, Many a Good Crusade: Memoirs of Virginia Gildersleeve, Macmillan, New York, 1959, p. 187.
  4. Gildersleeve, Virginia Crocheron, Many a Good Crusade: Memoirs of Virginia Gildersleeve, Macmillan, New York, 1959, p. 289.
  5. Gildersleeve, Virginia Crocheron, Many a Good Crusade: Memoirs of Virginia Gildersleeve, Macmillan, New York, 1959, p. 412.
  6. Harry Emerson Fosdick: preacher, pastor, prophet, Robert Moats Miller, Oxford University Press US, 1985, p. 192.
  7. Harry Emerson Fosdick: preacher, pastor, prophet, Robert Moats Miller, Oxford University Press US, 1985, p. 192.


  • Brown., C.F. 2000 Gildersleeve, Virginia Crocheron. American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press

Works

  • (reprint of 1954 edition)
  • (essays)


External links




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