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December 9, 1926

Sarah Lawrence College, an experimental junior college for women, was granted a provisional charter by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York. Founded by a gift of $1,250,000 from William V. Lawrence, in memory of his wife, it was the first two-year college in New York and one of the first in the country. The gift included Mr. Lawrence’s estate, Westlands, in Bronxville, NY. The innovative curriculum of the new college was planned in consultation with President MacCracken, who served as chairman of the Sarah Lawrence board of trustees, and Marion Coats ’07, head of the Bradford Academy in Massachusetts, who became the new college’s first president.

Miss Coates told The New York Times that the college’s aim was “to provide higher education for girls who have been graduated from secondary schools but who are not the type sought by the four-year women’s colleges.” With the four-year colleges filled to overflowing, she said, many students with “real qualities of leadership were unable to get the college training best suited to their requirements.”

By agreement with the Vassar board of trustees, the Vassar board chose five members of the Sarah Lawrence Board, of whom at least four were of their own number. The official connection with Vassar ended in 1932, but Dr. MacCracken remained ex-officio a member of the board of trustees until Dec. 9, 1936, the tenth anniversary of the founding of the college. The interlocking boards were intended to allow the new college, should it falter, to become part of Vassar.

The Years