Donald Barr (August 8, 1921 – February 5, 2004) was an American educator and writer. He taught English at Columbia University, was headmaster at the Dalton School in New York City (1964–74) and the Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York, and wrote two science fiction novels.[1]

Donald Barr
Born(1921-08-08)August 8, 1921
DiedFebruary 5, 2004(2004-02-05) (aged 82)
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Mary Margaret Ahern
Children4, including William and Stephen

Personal lifeEdit

Barr was born in Manhattan, New York, the son of Estelle (née DeYoung), a psychologist, and Pelham Barr, an economist.[1][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 currently serves as the 85th U.S. Attorney General in the Donald Trump Administration)[3][4] and particle physicist Stephen Barr.

Barr was born to a Jewish family, but later converted to Catholicism.[5]


Barr served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II.[4] He was teaching English at Columbia in 1955.[6] He initiated the Columbia University Science Honors Program in 1958 and was its director until 1964.[4] He was headmaster of the Dalton School from 1964 to 1974, when he resigned, citing conflicts with the board of trustees.[7]

During his time at Dalton, Barr is alleged to have had a role in hiring Jeffrey Epstein as a math teacher despite Epstein having dropped out of college and being only 21 years old at the time.[8][9] It has been noted that Epstein's crimes are similar to the plot of Barr's novel Space Relations from 1973.[10]

Barr worked as an educator in and around New York City from the 1950s to 1980s and reviewed books for The New York Times.[4][6]

In 1983 President Reagan nominated Donald Barr to be a member of the National Council on Educational Research.[11]

Selected worksEdit

  • The How and Why Wonder Book of Atomic Energy (1961)
  • Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty? Dilemmas in American Education (1971)
  • Space Relations: A Slightly Gothic Interplanetary Tale (1973)
  • A Planet in Arms (1981)


  1. ^ a b "Donald Barr (1921–2004)". Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  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. ^ Miller, Judith (Jan 11, 2019). "Stepping Into the Fire". City Journal. Retrieved Feb 14, 2019.
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ The Editors (2019-07-22). "Who Was Jeffrey Epstein Calling? A close study of his circle — social, professional, transactional — reveals a damning portrait of elite New York". New York. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Ronald Reagan: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 1985

External linksEdit