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December 3, 1910

In response to what Louis P. Gillespie, Vassar’s general manager and purchasing agent, called “a few small changes to bring about greater efficiency and economy in the kitchens,” four of Vassar’s six chefs abruptly quit. A writer in The New York Times imagined the scene: “When the strikers heard yesterday Supt. Gillespie’s dictum…they threw up their $45 a month jobs without a word. The time was between breakfast and dinner. In the ovens and on the ranges were juicy roasts, succulent stews, and fragrant puddings, but the chefs let them simmer while they hustled into their Sunday togs and whirled off in taxicabs.”

The account concluded with the general manager unruffled. “’I have no criticism to make,’ said Mr. Gillespie. ‘The men who left were old and faithful employees. I’m sorry they have gone and will miss them, but there are others who can do their work, and we will soon have them.’”

The Years