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February 14, 1875

“Miss C. is a beautiful dancer—and has just taught me the Saratoga—do you know it? It is all the rage—and if you don’t, you must learn it right off.” Letter from a student to her fiancé.

In 1867 Matthew Vassar had sanctioned dancing at the college. Noting a recent essay by a Poughkeepsie Methodist minister entitled “Incompatibility of Amusements with Christian Life,” Vassar said:

“Years ago I made up my judgment on these great questions in the religious point of view, and came to a decision favorable to amusements. I never practised public dancing in my life, and yet in view of its being a healthful and graceful exercise, I heartily approved it, and now recommend its being taught in the College to all pupils whose parents and guardians desire it.”

Matthew Vassar, Communications to the Trustees, X, June 25, 1867

The Years