The Wake Robin Club was founded under leadership of Professor Mary W. Whitney '68.  Students studied the birds of Dutchess County and made a yearly pilgrimage to Slabsides, the home of naturalist John Burroughs, near West Park, New York.   A frequent visitor to Vassar, Burroughs served as advisor and mentor to the club for the next two decades.

In 1982, the Vassar Library acquired Burroughs’s manuscript journals, 53 notebooks compiled by the great naturalist between 1876 and 1921, the year of his death.