June 10, 1908
As the Class of 1908 entered the chapel for Vassar’s 42nd Commencement, the processional was played by Mrs. Gertrude Frothingham Williams of the Class of 1868, Vassar’s second graduating class.
Six five-minute essays were presented by honor students. Eleanor Bertine ’08 thought that “The Problem of the Street Gang” could be best addressed by expanding the development of boy’s clubs. Florence Bullard ’08 discussed “Nature Books and Outdoor Life,” suggesting that recent writings about nature were reacquainting many people to “the art of simple living out of doors” that was an American commonplace at the middle of the last century. Ruth Smiley True ’08 examined the ways in which yellow journals, moving picture shows and vaudeville were “Popular Substitutes for Art” and the ways in which they weren’t.
Jessie Margaret McGarr ’08 advanced reasons why Finley Peter Dunne’s “Mr. Dooley” might be thought “A Modern Philosopher of Democracy.” In “Some Greek Ideals for the Twentieth Century,” Mildred Hardenbrook ’08 observed that “Leisure to the Greeks was not idleness, but a higher kind of activity, not relaxation, but an occupation that was joyous and self-imposed.” Taking as a theme the “solvent or effervescent” natures of laughter in “The Chemistry of Laughter,” Ruth Mary Weeks praised both merry mirth and “the more thoughtful solvent laughter which is the defense of the cultured nature against the incongruity of life.”
President Taylor conferred the bachelor’s degree on 211 members of the Class of 1908, and in his remarks suggested the need for a new building for the English department, a museum and an art gallery. The New York Times, The Vassar Miscellany