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October 21, 1878

The educational exhibit of student papers and publications sent by Vassar to the Paris Universal Exposition was awarded a Silver Medal. The exposition, held to celebrate France’s recovery after the Franco-Prussian War (1870), was the largest of its kind ever held. Among the many exhibitions from the United States were Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, Thomas Edison’s phonograh and a selection of “pamphlets and views” from Wellesley College, which had opened three years earlier. Also on display near the Trocadéro Palace, built especially for the exposition, was the completed head of the Statue of Liberty, which opened to public eight years later, in 1886.

In July, The Vassar Miscellany had noted the intention of several students to travel abroad during the summer months. “Many of our number,” the editors said, “will visit Europe, and we feel no little degree of pride in knowing how well Vassar is to be represented at the Paris Exhibition. We wish all these a bon voyage…. The majority of us leave College with the determination to carry out to the letter the familiar maxim ‘Play while you play,’ thus to gain new vigor for obeying in the fall its counterpart, ‘Work while you work.’”

The Vassar Miscellany, Reports of the United States Commissioners to the Paris Universal Exposition, 1878

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