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Vassar Encyclopedia

An online work in progress under the direction of Vassar’s College Historian

Benjamin Franklin Statue

The plaque below the statue of Benjamin Franklin in front of Sanders Physics Building reads “Given to Vassar College by J.P. Morgan at the request of Burges Johnson, Professor of English, 1915-1926.” The story of how Franklin’s likeness came to stand here is linked to how Burges Johnson came to Vassar. In 1914, working as […]

A Piece of Plymouth Rock

In 1927, Millicent Todd Bingham, an author, geographer and the first editor of the poems of Emily Dickinson, reflected on her last tour of New England with her friend the late Florence Cushing ’74: We came out upon the high road to Plymouth and soon drove up to Plymouth Rock. As we stood looking at […]

The “Skating Pond”

Vassar’s campus consists of over 1,000 acres, but most of us identify with a small number of selected features. From the expansive quads and manicured playing fields to the Shakespeare Garden, Noyes Circle, and the man-made Sunset Lake, Vassar’s varied, carefully maintained landscape contributes to the feel of the main campus. These landmarks attract prospective […]

Testimonies to Taylor

When he retired in 1914, after nearly three decades as Vassar’s president, James Monroe Taylor was hailed as the college’s “second Founder,” and his contributions are recognized in three campus landmarks, which can all be seen within a five-minute walk, starting at the President’s House. From the founding of the college, Vassar’s presidents lived in […]