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September 10, 1886

The Alumnae Maria Mitchell Chair of Astronomy was established through subscriptions from graduates. It was first held by Mary W. Whitney ’68, professor of astronomy and director of the observatory, 1886-1912.

Speaking at Founder’s Day, Professor of English Laura Johnson Wylie ’77 rememberd “Professor Mitchell, whose home in the observatory was for many years a vivid center of college life. First on the faculty in reputation, and second to none in power, she stood for belief the most absolute in the cause of woman’s education. The directness of her sincerity ignored all formal boundaries of intercourse, and brought even those who saw her but briefly into the circle of her vital personality. Stories of her oddities, her kindlinesses, her paradoxes, her unconventional sincerities, were rife in the college during the happy years of her service. But what remains of it all is the memory of a life of high seriousness of purpose, and of a direct and most human comradeship.” Vassar Alumnae Monthly, June 1911.

The Years