August 3, 1870
The college announced its first bequest since those in Matthew Vassar’s will, $32,000 from the estate of Jacob Post Giraud, Jr., a wealthy Poughkeepsie merchant and life-long amateur ornithologist. Giraud had published on the birds of Texas and Long Island, and some of his bird collection came to Vassar along with the bequest—$30,000 to found a museum of natural history and the remaining $2,000 specifically for the purchase of additional birds for the museum.
Professor James Orton drew on the Giraud bequest in developing Vassar’s Natural History Museum, to which he contributed a collection of South American birds.
The sum to come to Vassar at the death of Mrs. Giraud was reduced in 1889 to about $17,000 due to a technical flaw in Mr. Giraud’s will.