October 28, 1882
The Matthew Vassar Jr. Chair of the Greek and Latin Languages and Literature and the Matthew Vassar Jr. Chair of Physics and Chemistry, restricted in perpetuity to men, were established through the bequest of Matthew Vassar, Jr., nephew of the Founder and a charter trustee, 1861-1881. The first members of the faculty to hold these chairs were Charles J. Hinkel, professor of Greek and Latin, 1869-1890, and LeRoy C. Cooley, professor of physics, 1874-1907.
Maria Mitchell wrote to a friend: “We still debate about Mr. Vassars $80,000 with its restriction; Miss Goodsell [the lady principal] and Professor Braislin [Professor of Mathematics Priscilla H. Braislin] on one side, Dr. Allen [Mary E. Allen, professor of physiology and hygiene] & Mr. [Benson] Lossing with us. New York alumnae disapproved but took no action; Boston alumnae disapproved & recorded their disapproval….Poor Mr. Vassar! I pity him that he could leave no more generous-spirited legacy; but he wasn’t born to be generous. We wonder if John [Guy Vassar] will do the same.” MS letter
The two chairs—in modern languages and natural history—endowed by bequests from John Guy Vassar, who died in 1888, were restricted in perpetuity to male appointees.