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Dr. Elizabeth Burr Thelberg, college physician and professor of physiology and hygiene, was decorated by the French government for her war work. She was one of the originators, toward the end of World War I, of the American Women’s Hospitals and served for many years on the organization’s board.

Writing home in October 1887, a freshman had said: “There is the prettiest little doctor I ever saw; she is so sweet and so unlike the usual doctor.”

Alumnae and other friends of John Leverett Moore, professor of Latin from 1891 until 1923, established the J. Leverett Moore Research Fund. Dr. Moore, who came to Vassar upon receiving his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in 1891, was for many years on the Managing Committee of the American School of Classical Studies in Rome. He was the referee at the first college field day for women, at Vassar on November 9, 1895.

The college announced that the Student Association had voted to permit smoking in a room designated for the purpose in the Students’ Building. This reversed a longstanding policy forbidding smoking in college buildings and discouraging it anywhere on campus.

In a letter to The New York Times, President MacCracken entered an ongoing argument about the place of “vocationalism” in the collegiate curriculum. Citing a Times editorial of February 14, MacCracken said it “would leave the undergraduate student with the impression that if the branch of learning with which he is associated is to be directly useful in later life, it is, therefore somewhat degrading. If it has no utility in this world or the next, it is to be regarded as something ennobling and sublime.” Declaring that the “result of such arguments is to accentuate the intellectual snobbery already prevalent in colleges of the arts,” he said those places had “relinquished the right to be called liberal in their attitude toward the rest of learning.” Praising the teaching of “cookery” as he saw it in the 1918 Vassar Training Camp for Nurses as “taught with a purpose so high as to make it a cultural subject,” he suggested “typewriting…another of the pariah studies…may be made a start toward a liberal training in etymology, pure diction, a nice use of style” and could “become quite as useful an aid toward scholarly precision as the bibliographical lists…copied down in the name of culture from the lips of professors.”

In conclusion, MacCracken said, “Let us have done once and for all with this debate about vocationalism. It gets us nowhere. Any student at any time can make any subject vocational…. The obligation of the college reaches only so far as to secure teachers who believe that their subjects are the best in the world; that from them a way leads on to more advanced study, and that the values of liberal culture reside, not alone in the subject matter, but rather in a perception of the beauty of the laws controlling [it]: in a single minded devotion to the matter at hand, and in the mystical combination of truth and personal honor that is bound up in the word scholarship.”

Sophonisba Breckinridge, professor of social economy and dean of the College of Arts, Literature and Science at the University of Chicago, gave the Phi Beta Kappa lecture on “The Public Profession of Social Work.” The first woman to graduate, in 1904, from the University of Chicago law school, Breckinridge and Julia Lathrop ’80 founded, with others, the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy, of which she became dean, in 1908. The school merged with the University of Chicago in 1920, forming the university’s Graduate School of Social Service Administration.

Hallie Flanagan, associate professor of English in charge of dramatic production, was one of five women among the 37 fellows appointed in the Guggenheim Foundation program’s second year. The previous grant to Professor of History Violet Barbour was renewed.

The faculty won the Founder’s Day student-faculty baseball game by the score of 19 to 18, but they lost their star left fielder, Professor of Political Science Emerson David Fite, who suffered a broken ankle sliding into third base.

The New York Times

Professor of English Christabel Forsyth Fiske edited the first number of the Vassar Journal of Undergraduate Studies. Her foreword stated that the volume, a pioneer work of its kind, was intended to answer charges of superficiality in American college work, adding that the articles chosen for publication “offer, at least, a fair mark at which to aim the slings and arrows of public criticism of college methods today.” The New York Herald Tribune commented, “Certainly these papers quite disarm that criticism so far as Vassar in concerned,” and reviewing the journal in Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors, the eminent literary historian Professor George R. Havens called it “a very interesting step which may ultimately prove of far-reaching importance.”

To be considered, an essay needed, in Professor Fiske’s words, to “either make an original contribution, however modest, to scholarship; or, for the convenience of the specialist, it must furnish a synthesis, from various and more or less technical sources, of hitherto uncollated material; or it must present, in it dealing with its subject, a new, fresh, and interesting point of view.” The first volume included a critique of Bernard Shaw as economist and playwright, essays on George Meredith, Mother Goose and medieval symbolism, a paper on “Stars With Bright Lines in Their Spectra” and another on “Crystal Structure of Metallic Tellurium and Selenium and of Strontium and Barium Selenide.”

The New York Times noted that the new journal “is in scope, size and seriousness modeled upon the publications of the postgraduate learned societies. Nearly twenty contributions represent a broad field of intensive study by undergraduates carrying advanced work.” The publication appeared annually until 1944, was suspended during the paper shortage in World War II and was revived in 1950. It appeared since then from time to time.

In essay in The New York Times, President MacCracken, whom the editors identified as “one of the most understanding of observers among the college authorities,” offered a comprehensive analysis of the current “student movement,” the growing recognition on American campuses of the longstanding role of students and graduates in shaping their institutions. From the early fraternities to athletics to alumnae associations and now, even to undergraduates’ examination of their curricula and their social rights, this influence was being felt and being resisted by the faculties. The situation, he said, was “like the expression of dismay of the ‘wets’ on the morning after prohibition. The professor engaged in his Addison walk of contemplation has bumped into the stadium and cannot imagine how it came into existence. Fear, which is the child of ignorance, cries ‘Down with it,’ but second thought suggests that the institution is here and that the sooner it is brought into line with the general purpose of the college, the better it will be.”

“In a word,” he wrote, “the American college is no longer a college in the old sense of the word. It is a great social organization operating most powerfully in a democracy, where class lines are not yet strictly drawn, and where vast numbers of people possess leisure. The professor may grumble about it, he may actively oppose it, but he will accommodate himself to the situation as the facts become clear; and he will be all the better for the change.”

In its issue for June 4, the Harvard Crimson reprinted, in its entirety, MacCracken’s analysis of “the present student movement toward greater self-government and self-expression.”

Following selections on the organ by Professor Harold Geer, the 243 graduates in the Class of 1926, led by Loraine Leeson, the president of the Class of 1928, entered the Chapel for Commencement exercises. President MacCracken addressed the class through a parable, “There Came One Running,” in which he examined the values in life of youth and of experience and of action and of contemplative silence. “Allegro con Fuoco,” from Trio in G Minor by Carolyn Paxton ’26 was performed by Miss Paxton, piano, Charlotte Hageman ’26, violin and Alice Allen ’25, violoncello, master’s degrees were conferred on Maria Antinori ’26, Leah Anna Davis ’26 and Bertha M. Ruef ’15.

After the conferring of degrees, President MacCracken said, “I hold in my hand a list of young graduates of Vassar College now engaged in postgraduate study and research. The list exceeds one hundred and sixty in number and is by no means complete since it was rapidly compiled from our best information…. This may be called the advance guard of our army which has set out to attack ignorance everywhere…. Some of you, not less than sixty, will join them, in addition to the fifty who, among you, have made plans next year yourselves to teach. We are proud of such a contribution…. And we are equally proud of that larger group who have chosen to live, not a life of learning, but the learning life, and who, in other occupations…will carry a trained mind, skilled hand and well governed will into every part of America and into every occupation. You have received our last gift, which is only putting under hand and seal your own achievement in four years at Vassar.”

President MacCracken announced that the college have received gifts amounting to nearly $450,000 during the year, including $75,000 for the new nursery school and more than $93,000 for scholarship aid, including two gifts designated for foreign students. The Miscellany News

The first Euthenics Institute, later called the Vassar Summer Institute for Family and Community Living, welcomed parents and children, teachers and social workers to the campus for six weeks. Forty-five married and unmarried women, 25 children and three husbands made up the first class. The Summer Euthenics Institute differed from the undergraduate college program in that it was intended for both men and women and was generally aimed at people older than college-age. An emphasis in this summer’s program was on the role of the father in the family unit. The father was expected to be an active and equal participant, not merely an observer. President MacCracken described it as a “…graduate program designed to supplement the undergraduate curriculum along the lines of euthenics.”

One component of the first institute, a radio address entitled “Racial Betterment” by birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger, drew particular attention. Citing the two “major problems” facing civilization, population pressure on food supply and “reconciliation of humanitarian practices with race betterment,” Sanger dismissed the former for the purposes of her remarks to the institute, focusing rather on the latter, in an appeal for “a new world, a conscious civilization.” Praising recent strictures on the immigration of “undesirables,” she declared, “while we close our gates to the so-called ‘undesirables’ from other countries, we make no attempt to discourage or cut down on the rapid multiplication of the unfit and undesirable at home….These types are being multiplied with… breakneck rapidity and increasing far out of proportion to the normal and intelligent classes.” Sanger looked to legislation encouraging voluntary, government-subsidized sterilization of “obviously unfit parents,” seeing it as the only practical way of increasing the proportion of American citizens born to “college men and women…. all the professional classes, doctors, clergymen, lawyers and skilled workers.”

Esther Katz, ed., The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, vol. 1

Margaret Sanger’s grandson, Alexander Sanger, spoke at Vassar in 1991, in recognition the 75th anniversary of the birth control movement.

The summer institutes continued until 1959.

The Rev. Dr. Henry E. Cobb, chair of the board of trustees, offered the invocation and President MacCracken gave the address at Convocation, marking the beginning of the college’s 62nd year. Professor of Economics Herbert E. Mills spoke on aspects of college life.

A symposium on “Vassar and the Changing World” held during the council meeting of the Associate Alumnae (AAVC) was open to the public. Political scientist Sarah Wambaugh, an authority on referenda, spoke on “The Changing World” and six Vassar alumnae: Marion Coats ’07, principal of the Bradford Academy and newly chosen president of the nascent Sarah Lawrence College; Katharine Rogers ’24; Marjorie Dempsey ’15; orthopedic surgeon Barbara Stimson ’19 and suffragette and political activist Lucy Kennedy Miller ’02, spoke briefly on their specialties, and Margaret Jackson Allen ’01, defended the smatterer in “A Defense of the Discursive Life.”

This was the first vocational conference at which accomplished alumnae talked to students. An open conference the following day on “The International Mind” featured Dorothy Stimson ’12, dean and associate professor of history at Goucher College, Ruth Morgan and Dr. Ernst Jäckh, director of the Deutschen Hochschule für Politik in Berlin.

An Institute of Physics was held to celebrate the dedication of the Henry M. Sanders Laboratory of Physics, Allen & Ewing, architects. The building was erected in large part with a bequest from Dr. Sanders, trustee of Vassar from 1895 until his death in 1921. The guest of honor, the Serbian-American physicist and inventor, Mihajlo I. Pupin, professor of electro-mechanics at Columbia University and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, spoke on “Physics and Its Place in Modern Scientific Idealism.”

In his remarks, Dr. Pupin spoke of the interactions of the sounds of bells and of music and the light of the stars with human consciousness, and in conclusion he invoked the “voice” of a young star, beyond the earth’s stellar system, as it might be detected by spectroscopic means:

“I am an astral baby now, and will be a baby still when, a million years hence, you will receive this message. Many billions of years will pass before the ardor of my youth has cooled down to the moderation of your central star, the sun. Heaven only knows when I shall be as old as your old Mother Earth. But when I reach that age I shall be a beautiful cosmic bell just like your earth and, responding to the clappers of the luminous stars, I shall add my voice to the celestial choir which is declaring the glory of God.”

The New York Times

Other institute participants were Columbia embryologist Thomas H. Morgan, Dr. Willis R. Whitney, founder of the General Electric Research Laboratory, Professor Henry Norris Russell, director of the Princeton Observatory, Nobel Prize physicist and president of Caltech, Robert A. Millikan and Professor of Physics Frederick A. Saunders of Harvard University.

Summarizing the institute, on October 20, in “Vassar and Science,” The New York Times concluded that the “provision which Vassar has made through the gift of Dr. Sanders is significant in the history of the education of women. Not that American colleges for women have not made noteworthy contributions to science in the past, and notably Vassar, but that this marks a definite effort to lead women toward the higher ranges of science where a few of their sisters now make researches along with their brothers, who, as Dr. Millikan, inquire into the ultimate sources of matter, or, as Dr. Pupil, seek to give physics its place in modern scientific idealism.”

Returning from a lecture tour in the United States, the Irish writer Shaw Desmond offered advice in London’s Evening Standard to other writers considering a visit to America. “If you want the most exclusive audience of all,” he wrote, “you will have to go to Boston.” The Midwest, he said, was “the home of soft sentiment and pink-eyed Puritanism,” but foreign lecturers should expect to meet, at Vassar and Wellesley, “some of the most adorable girls in the world,” who would make “a great fuss” over their visitors, while providing a critical, intelligent audience.

The New York Times

The college announced the trustees’ acceptance of a plan offered by a student and faculty committee to end compulsory chapel attendance. For two years students had advocated voluntary religious services, and the trustees accepted the principle at their meeting on June 1, provided the joint committee prepare a plan for maintaining voluntary religious services on Sundays and weekdays.

As of Monday, November 15, the new, completely voluntary plan was in effect. Fifteen-minute services were held Tuesday through Friday, and the president could call a meeting of the whole college for Monday evenings, as he saw necessary. The weekday services consisted of prayer, a hymn, a reading from Scriptures and an optional short address. The only religious feature in the occasional Monday meetings was the singing of a hymn. Sunday services were continued.

The Board of Trustees inaugurated “Invest in Vassar,” an annuity plan for alumnae.

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.

President MacCracken announced the appointment of Dr. Smiley Blanton, director of the Child Guidance Clinic of Minneapolis and lecturer on child guidance at the University of Minnesota, as Vassar’s first professor of child study.

Dr. Blanton joined the Vassar faculty at the start of the 1927-28 academic year.

The Years