Vassar Digital Collections

Elizabeth Cady Stanton Papers
Papers include correspondence with Susan B. Anthony, Paulina Wright Davis, Elizabeth Smith Miller, Gerrit Smith, and others relating to family matters, her children, the woman's movement, her lectures and travels, publication of her books and articles, women and religion, abolition, temperance, and other social causes, 1839-1902; phrenological report by L.N. Fowler on the character of Stanton, 1853; and clippings, articles, transcripts of her speeches, an autobiographical sketch, and photographs. Other items include correspondence by Margaret Stanton Lawrence and others on the women's movement, other social causes, and Stanton's career, 1796-1921; and manuscripts and typescripts by Margaret Stanton Lawrence about Elizabeth Cady Stanton's life and career.
Glass Plate Negatives
The Glass Plate Negatives Collection contains materials from 1904-1935, depicting events, students, and buildings at Vassar College. Most photographs were taken by E.L. (Edmund L.) Wolven.
Funding note: the digitization of the glass plate negative collection from 1904-1935 was made possible by the Vassar Class of 1950.
Images of Early Vassar
The Images of Early Vassar collection consists of materials relating to the early history of Vassar College, from its founding in 1861 to the early years of the 20th century. The images provide visual documentation of Raymond Avenue, college buildings and buildings relating to Matthew Vassar, class groups, faculty, presidents, students, trustees, Vassar Lake, and Matthew Vassar and his relatives.
Jasper Parrish Papers
The collection includes correspondence of Jasper Parrish, 1790-1829, and others, 1757-1869, relating to the Painted Post treaty, payments to Indians, supplies to the Seneca mission, conduct of the St. Regis Indians, and work of the Quakers among the Indians. There are addresses and messages, 1803-1823, of Timothy Pickering, Thomas Jefferson, and John C. Calhoun to Iroquois chiefs including Red Jacket, Cornplanter, Farmer's Brother, Little Billy, Young King, and others. There are also legal papers, agreements and deeds, 1791-1824, including a deed of conveyance pertaining to the property of Mary Jemison. Records of Jasper Parrish's business transactions include receipts, invoices, notes, and accounts, 1793-1837. There are military and government records relating to the War of 1812 and the New York State Indians, including annuity payment agreements to the Indians and petitions for payments not received, a census of the Six Nations, 1792-1828, and other miscellaneous items, 1799-1860. There is also a set of transcripts along with an introduction prepared by Dorothy May Fairbank, Vassar Class of 1940, another set of transcripts created in 1954, and two biographical narratives of Jasper Parrish contributed by Caroline Townsend Monks, who was Vassar Class of 1940 and a direct descendant of Jasper Parrish. Digitization of the collection was made possible by a generous grant from Dr. Georgette Bennett in honor of Dr. Leonard Polonsky CBE.
John Burroughs Journals
John Burroughs (1837-1921) was a noted naturalist, essayist and a significant figure in the history of environmentalism. He was born in a small town in the Catskills and spent the bulk of his adult life in West Park. Note: not all of the journals include a transcription, so a keyword search of the collection will not include hits from all of the volumes.
Landauer Longfellow Collection
The Landauer Longfellow Collection consists of approximately 300 pieces of sheet music and some bound volumes (totaling more than 6500 pages) featuring the poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The items were published in the United States and Europe primarily throughout the nineteenth and early twetieth centuries. The collection is notable for its multiple iterations of the same poem, allowing comparisons between composers, arrangers, etc., as well as its large collections of covers, providing additional analyses of illustrators and publishers.
Matthew Vassar Papers
Matthew Vassar, founder of Vassar College, was born in the County of Norfolk, England, emigrated with his parents and other family members to Dutchess County, N.Y., in 1796. Vassar College was chartered in 1861 and opened its doors to students in 1865. It was not the first venture in higher education for women, but the extensive advertising and publicity for the college brought the question of women's education to popular attention with greater force than ever before. Matthew Vassar strongly believed in women's mental capacity, in proving that woman's mind was equal to man's; and he intended that his college should both prove that point and prepare women to live in the modern world. Among the letters to the college, there are a number of people with whom Matthew Vassar maintained a substantial correspondence. These include Martin Brewer Anderson at the University of Rochester (where the originals are held); Sarah J. Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Book, a strong early supporter who was responsible for the removal of "Female" from the college's name; Benson J. Lossing; Charles A. Raymond; John H. Raymond (President of Vassar College, 1864-1878) and Sarah L. Stilson, one of Vassar College's first students (graduated 1869). The portion of the collection which deals with Matthew Vassar's estate "Springside" contains the architect's drawings. These are housed separately, and can be accessed through the index which is in folder 312, and following page 37 of the register. There is some secondary material on "Springside" in the collection, including some on its recent history, and also some material on Andrew Jackson Downing, the architect and landscape artist. Much of the correspondence, especially personal, is missing because after Matthew Vassar's death, his nephew, Matthew Vassar Jr., sold all of the letters and papers in the house to the rag and old paper dealers to benefit the estate. Much of the remaining correspondence concerns his business.
Memorial Minutes
The Memorial Minutes collection consists of short biographical pieces from Vassar faculty members, read in their honor at faculty meetings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection includes biographical information from many notable people in Vassar history, including George Sherman Dickinson, Achsah Mount Ely, Henry Noble MacCracken, Cornelia Raymond, John H. Raymond, Lucy Maynard Salmon, Adelaide Underhill, and Henry Van Ingen.
Student Diaries
The Student Diaries collection provides access to more than fifty diaries from Vassar students from the nineteenth century. The diaries concern life on campus, other students, classes, relationships with their professors, vacations, family news, and other subjects; some volumes have short entries on daily activities while others have longer, more reflective entries. Students include Florence Wislocki, 1922; Frances M. Bromley, 1875-1877; Abby Holden, 1871-1872; Bertha Keffer, 1868-1871; Elma G. Martin, 1892-1893; Anne Page Brydon, 1922-1923; Helen Hartley Pease, 1914-1915; Anne Wyman, 1878-1880; Marjorie Anthony Markwich, 1914; and Constance E. Anthony, 1915.
Student Letters
The Student Letters collection contains letters from Vassar students primarily during the nineteenth century. The letters were written by students to family, friends, and Vassar faculty, with some letters received by students from family and friends, concerning life at Vassar, their studies, social events, and family affairs; students include Ruth Adams, 1900-1904; Grace Louise Fletcher Chase, 1907-1916; Muriel Tilden Eldridge, 1911-1914; Roberta T. Johns, 1901-1903; Marjorie Newell MacCoy, 1907-1910; Sybil Huntington May, 1911-1922; Alice Thurston McGirr, 1902-1906; Margaret M. Shipp, 1901-1911; Laura A. Skinner, correspondence with Frances M. Bromley, 1876-1882; Sidney Lewis Smith, 1902-1906; Fanny Simpson Townsend, 1898-1903; and Gertrude C. Valentine, 1908-1911. A finding aid is available for this collection.
Student Scrapbooks
The Student Scrapbooks collection provides access to scrapbooks from Vassar students from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Students include Adelaide Claflin Mansfield, 1893-1897; Anne Southworth Wyman, 1878-1932; Caroline Barnes Ross, 1901-1906, Elizabeth French Babbott, 1910-1912, Lucile Cross Russell and Jeanne Russell Janish, 1887-1938.
Susan B. Anthony Collection
Susan Brownell Anthony was born in Adams, Massachusetts, on 15 February 1820, Her parents, Daniel Anthony and Lucy Read, raised her and her seven siblings as Quakers. After a series of financial setbacks and relocations, the Anthony family settled in Rochester, New York, where Susan B. Anthony became acquainted with many abolitionists and women's rights reformers of her day, including William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Bloomer and Samuel May. In the early 1850s she formed an alliance with Elizabeth Cady Stanton that was critical to the fight for woman suffrage. The main concern of Anthony's letters from 1854-1866 was the antislavery movement. After the Civil War she directed all her energy to the struggle for equal rights for women.Major Correspondents include Francis Jackson Garrison, William Lloyd Garrison, Samuel May, Eliza R. Whiting, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. (Letters from Anthony to Stanton are in Vassar's Stanton collection). Most letters are hand-written and have an accompanying transcript. Digitization of the collection was made possible by a generous grant from Dr. Georgette Bennett in honor of Dr. Leonard Polonsky CBE.
The Associated Emeritae/i of Vassar College (AEVC) Oral History
The Associated Emeritae/i of Vassar College (AEVC) was founded in the fall of 2007 with the principal goal of representing the interests and concerns of more than eighty retired members of the Vassar Faculty. In support of this goal, the AEVC began compiling oral histories from its members in 2018. Additional interviews are available on-site only in VCL Archives and Special Collections
The Library Café
The Library Café is a weekly program of table talk with scholars, artists, publishers and librarians about books, scholarship, and the formation and circulation of knowledge. It is hosted by Thomas Hill, Vassar College Art Librarian.
Vassar College ANTH-AFRS 386 Interview Project
The interviews in this collection are a result of the projects by students in Vassar College's "ANTH/AFRS 386: Situating Blackness" course in Spring 2015. The course encouraged students to explore the meanings of blackness (and raced identity categories) as lived experience at Vassar College and beyond.
Vassar College LGBTQ Oral History Project
The Vassar LGBTQ Oral History Project is a partnership between the LGBTQ Center, the Women’s Studies Program and the Vassar College Archives that began in the fall of 2012. The goal of the project is to capture the experiences, stories, and reflections of LGBTQ and ally alumnae/i as well as former and current LGBTQA staff members.
Vassar College Library Gargoyles and Grotesques
Vassar College Library was built in 1905, the architecture and the style of the building is perpendicular Gothic, with many embellishments. Among those embellishments are approximately thirty-six gargoyles and grotesques. Gargoyles are decorative water-bearing fixtures meant to redirect rainwater away from stonework while grotesques, although similar in appearance, are meant only for adornment.
Vassar Songs
The Vassar Songs collection features volumes from 1881-1915, and a special seventy-fifth anniversary book from 1940.
Vassar's Millionth Volume
The original collection of books that comprised the library when Vassar College opened its doors in 1865 was the gift of Matthew Vassar. He donated between 3,000 and 4,000 volumes from his personal library and purchased an additional 1,000 from Elias Magoon, one of the college’s first trustees. Today the library is renowned as one of the finest college libraries in the world. In 2011, the 150th anniversary of the college's founding, the Vassar Libraries acquired the college's millionth volume — Anatomia humani corporis by Govard Bidloo, a 17th-century anatomy atlas.