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May 21, 1891

The John Guy Vassar Chair of Modern Languages and John Guy Vassar Chair of Natural History were established through the bequests of John Guy Vassar, nephew of the Founder and a charter trustee. These chairs were first held by Jean C. Bracq, Professor of French, 1891-1918, and William B. Dwight, Professor of Natural History and Curator of the Museum, 1878-1906.

John Guy Vassar’s will restricted the named chairs—as did that of his brother, Matthew Vassar, Jr.—to male occupants, a fact that had troubled Maria Mitchell.“ Poor Mr. Vassar!” she had written to a friend when she learned of Vassar, Jr.’s proviso, “I pity him that he could leave no more generous-spirited legacy; but he wasn’t born to be generous. We wonder if John [Guy] will do the same.”

MS letter
The John Guy Vassar Art Fund was also established at this time.

The Years