III. June 24, 1862
GENTLEMEN: Were it not that the statutes of the State required corporations to hold annual elections and make annual reports of their doings, we might have dispensed with this meeting, so far as the actual amount of other business to be laid before you to-day is concerned; but, aside from these statute obligations, there are considerations which commend the policy of frequent assemblings. They strengthen the common interest in the enterprise, quicken our impulses in behalf of the object, and thus act and react favorably upon ourselves. It is a well-known fact in history that retrograde movements are the offspring of tardy or heartless efforts. It is quite important, therefore, that we be punctual in our meetings, whether they be few or many, with much or little business; for they have a good effect upon ourselves, and help to strengthen the common cause in which we are engaged.
The absence of your President, in Europe, on a professional tour, imposes upon me the duty, in some measure, to supply his place; but the incompletion of the College edifice renders it inexpedient for me to recommend to your body any special action pertaining to official appointments. Neither do I wish to tax your time on such yet remote matters.
At the meeting of the Executive Committee last April, Professor Jewett and myself were appointed a committee to purchase books for the College library. A limited portion of that order has been executed. My purchases are, in amount, less than $400. Professor Jewett's about half that sum.
It may also be proper here to state that Mr. Jewett was advanced, by the Executive Committee, $500 for that object, and: before his departure, had commissioned Mr. Vool, of Boston, and Mr. David Davidson, of New-York, to make purchases as set forth in a catalogue sent to them, when they could be bought on our terms. The former has made no purchases; the latter, to the amount of some $350. Thus much for books.
Since the President's absence, numerous letters from his correspondents, of an official character, have been received by his wife, and placed in my hands to answer. Some are from distinguished educators; others from parents and young ladies (for place in our institution, thus showing that there is no a want of patronage when our College opens.
The building, gentlemen, has now risen to its third story, or to the third tier of beams, and your contractor (Mr. Harloe) informs me that he will commence roofing next month, and finish roofing all in November.
It has been suggested by some of the Trustees that, as soon as portion of the interior can be completed, say by the early part of next summer, we should open apartments for the initiatory instruction of a class of young lady teachers, and thus avoid confusion or embarrassment at the commencement. This measure will, they think, have a happy effect on the pupils and public. However, as this subject more properly belongs to our President, who will be home before that period, I shall make no further comments under this head.
It would be, I doubt not, interesting to you to know what reception our President has met with abroad, and the efforts he has made to bring to public notice our Institution; but as it would occupy too much of the morning, I will read only portions of his letter for the present. Sufficient to say, his visit will redound greatly to the benefit of our College. He had not left England at the best advices from him of the 3d inst., when he stated he would visit Scotland and Ireland, then go to the Continent, spend the last of the summer and fall in Germany, and winter in Italy. In all of his letters he speaks of our College and wishes to be kindly and respectfully remembered to all the Trustees.
And now, gentlemen, in closing, indulge me with your patience a. moment or two longer, while I say a few words about our contractor, Mr. Harloe. He has thus far progressed with the work to our entire satisfaction, and has shown a willingness to accommodate the Building Committee in all reasonable requirements. "Our indefatigable and devoted Superintendent (Mr. Dubois) has 'been always found at his post in connection with your Architect, [Mr. Renwick. They conjointly have been devoted to the charge of their respective duties. I will also speak a word of recommendation of the Overseer or Foreman, (Mr. Donnelly,) who has under his charge some one hundred workmen; and thus ~dn the progress of the work there has been no dissipation or rioting on the premises. Carefulness has been observed by all and he has been commended by the Executive Committee. I can not close these hasty remarks without calling your attention to our worthy and efficient Clerk, Mr. Schou, whose penmanship and accuracy in book-keeping wiII sufficiently commend itself to your approbation without any comments from me.
Gentlemen, your Secretary and Treasurer will now follow with their respective reports, and after the reading of them the Committees on Library, Cabinets and Apparatus, Art-Gallery and By-Laws, will lay before you such matters as appertain to their departments.
Your Chairman, Mr. Kelly, so highly skilled in parliamentary rules, will then conduct you through the business of the day with his usual promptness, suavity, and indulgence. After closing up the duties of the morning, we will dine; after which, carriages will be in waiting at the door to convey all who can make it convenient to visit the College grounds, and return in time to take the cars at Evening.
Vassar's Communications to the Board of Trustees