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As part of a plan to devote one week each term to a departmental “institute,” the History and Political Science Institute offered a series of lectures under the auspices of the departments of history and political science. Speakers included Baron Alexander Meyendorff from the London School of Economics and the School of Slavonic Studies, London; economic historian Professor Edwin F. Gay, the first dean of the Harvard Business School; Professor Edwin M. Borchard, a specialist in international non-intervetion from Yale Law School; American historian Edward P. Cheyney from the University of Pennsylvania; Professor David Saville Muzzey, the author of highly influentual texts on American and Latin-American history from Columbia University; future Supreme Court Justice Professor Felix Frankfurter from Harvard Law School; Professor James T. Shotwell from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Frank Tannenbaum, author and penologist and medievalist Professor Thomas Frederick Tout from the University of Manchester, England.

At the invitation of Professor George Pierce Baker, director of the Yale University Theatre, Hallie Flanagan’s class in dramatic production presented the Experimental Theatre’s production of Chekhov’s A Marriage Proposal, in which the three acts were staged, sequentially, in the conventional, expressionist and constructivist styles. In opening the Yale theater for the first time to a guest production, Professor Baker wrote: “Our productions at Yale so far have been in the main realistic, with an occasional venture into expressionism.” Referring to Davis’s recent Guggenheim fellowship to study European theater, he noted, “I should welcome an opportunity to see constructivism as it is tried on Russia’s Revolutionary stage.”

The New York Times

President MacCracken appeared in the Out-of-Door Theatre in the title role of the third hall play, “Lorenzo the Magnificent,” written by Helen Riesenfeld ’28 and directed by Rosalind Howe ’28. Other players in the 25-scene study of the 15th century Florentine ruler included Professor of Political Science Emerson D. Fite, Professor of Philosophy Durant Drake, Associate Professor of Greek Philip Davis and Assistant Professor of Art Henry-Russell Hitchcock. Among those playing Lorenzo’s children were Joy and Calvin MacCracken and Frederick Flanagan, the son of Hallie Flanagan, director of the Experimental Theatre.

The production was staged again at Commencement.

William Skinner, Holyoke, MA, announced a $40,000 gift to the college, honoring the memory of his three sisters. $10,000 for study of Franco-American relations went to augment a $15,000 scholarship established earlier by Belle Skinner ‘87 for graduate study of history in provincial France, $16,000 established a scholarship for study of the Bible honoring Elizabeth Skinner Hubbard ’80 and $16,000 established a scholarship for the study of botany honoring Nancy Skinner Clark ’75.

In November 1929, Mr. Skinner gave the college $600,000 for the construction of the Belle Skinner Hall of Music, which was dedicated in November, 1831.

Dr. Henry Sloane Coffin, president of Union Theological Seminary, challenged the Class of 1928 in his baccalaureate sermon to ask themselves if they were “carrying” their religion or “is your religion carrying you.” A burdensome religion, he said, was a false religion. “There are many nominal Christians,” he warned, “and possibly some in this graduating class have no sense of being lifted or up-borne by a mighty power.”

“My mission today,” President MacCracken announced in his commencement address, “is to repel the baseless charge that the colleges for women are lawless, that they teem with a subversive life, that we train students against law and government and that we are, to quote the unretracted words of a high official, ‘enemies of the commonwealth.’”

Pointing to the publication in The Vassar Journal of Undergraduate Studies of “the products of our class rooms for public inspection” and the reporting of “the life of our student body” in The Miscellany News, MacCracken said it was “from those who know us least that the criticism comes…. Were it not so we should indeed have suffered in recent years both in the number and the quality of our clientele. That we have not so suffered….is due to the fact that there are those who know us well.”

The New York Times

President MacCracken conferred the bachelor’s degree on 237 members of the Class of 1928 at Commencement in the Chapel. Six master’s degrees were also awarded, and it was announced that annual gifts to the college totaled $891,686, including $300,000 from Samuel W. Baldwin and a bequest from Mary Evelyn Colgate ’27 of $75,000, half of the residuary estate of Miss Colgate, who died May 22, 1928.

The first airmail from Europe to the United States, carried by the Graf Zeppelin, included three letters to Vassar.

Republican candidate Herbert Hoover won the presidential election, defeating New York Governor Alfred E. Smith.

“Student Vote Won by Hoover. Smith Poor Second Gets Only 209 against 506.”

Poughkeepsie Eagle

Under the auspices of the Vassar Cooperative Bookshop, Edna St. Vincent Millay ’17 read, before a large audience, from both her published and unpublished work in the Students’ Building. Reading “Passer Mortuus Est,” from Second April (1921), Millay noted that it was written while she was a student and that, according to The Miscellany News, it was “influenced by her study of Catullus.” “The Ballad of the Harp Weaver,” the Misc. reviewer continued, “stirred the audience through its effective rhythms and its moving simplicity, beautifully expressed in Miss Millay’s reading.” “Memorial to D. C,” five elegies written also at Vassar in memory of Millay’s close friend, Dorothy Coleman ’18, who died in 1918 during the ‘flu epidemic, was read “with an intensity of feeling which gave a sense of their significance.” And the reviewer found Millay’s complex sound-poem, “Counting-out Rhyme—‘Silver bark of beech, and sallow/ Bark of yellow birch and yellow/ Twig of willow….—’a fascinating experiment in the combination of words for sheer loveliness of sound, and in the use of a sort of assonance instead of rhyme.”

Informally, Millay commented on “changes which she noticed on her return to Vassar, particularly the passing of the nightly rush to Chapel.” Compulsory chapel attendance, a dreaded daily event in Millay’s day, was discontinued in November, 1926.

The Minnie Cumnock Blodgett Hall of Euthenics was completed, York & Sawyer, architects. It was the gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Wood Blodgett. Mrs. Blodgett was a member of the Class of 1884, a trustee from 1917 through 1931, and the mother of Katharine Blodgett Hadley ’20, trustee, 1942-1954, and chairman of the Board, 1945-1952.

The Years