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Vassar Encyclopedia

An online work in progress under the direction of Vassar’s College Historian


The introduction of electric lighting during the 1880s attracted attention everywhere. On January 27, 1911, a group of Vassar trustees met in New York City at the home of the naturalist and Vassar trustee, Albert S. Bickmore, for a special meeting to evaluate the condition and the future of Vassar’s heating and lighting system. When […]

The Telephone

A few years before it became a campus reality, the telephone apparently seized the imagination of Vassar students, who wove the new medium into several articles in The Vassar Miscellany. Among the “fantastic shapes” among the “vapors I have created” at night in the laboratory used by Mary W. Clarke ’78 to prophesy her classmates’ futures […]

Vassar’s First Computer

On January 11th, 1967, Vassar’s first computer, an IBM Systems/360 Model 30 E, was delivered, to be installed in the new Computer Center in the Old Laundry Building.  With this acquisition, Vassar put itself ahead in higher education’s quickening technology race.  While several universities in the United States housed computers, Vassar was the first women’s […]