Henry B. Buckham served as Professor of Rhetoric, Belles-Lettres, and English Language from 1865-1866. His report the the Meeting of Trustees on June 16, 1866 perhaps explains why his tenure at the college was so short. Buckham complained of the ill-preparation of his students and the wildly fluctuating enrollment in his classes. Enrollment in his rhetoric classes had varied from 91 to 44 students throughout the year, and when Buckham started his grammar class, he found that more than 100 of his 150 students lacked knowledge of the basic grammatical principles needed to go forward. Thus, he was obliged to spend the first month of classes going over the basics. At the end of the year, only a small number of students had done work sufficient to complete their studies in Buckham’s department.
Student reactions to Professor Buckham are mixed. In a letter of February 11, 1866, Caroline E. Slade (special student, 1865-1866) noted the reactions of the other girls to Buckham’s writing assignments: "... some of the girls cried all yesterday afternoon... Prof Buckham asked Laura why she objected to writing them [compositions] and she told him there was a lack of time and ideas." Slade herself, however, seemed to like Buckham, as she states in a letter of February 4, 1866: "Instead of a sermon an hour and half long, we had one to-day only forty minutes long. I wish Professor Buckham would preach every Sabbath."
Vassar College Special Collections Biographical File