The gift of Dr. Henry M. Sanders, a trustee, in memory of his wife, Eleanor Butler Sanders, the Sanders Laboratory of Chemistry was completed, Ewing & Chappelle, architects. Dr. Sanders later presented to the Art Gallery an important group of etchings, and in 1926 Sanders Physics building, also given in memory of Mrs. Sanders, opened.
Alumnae attendance was large for the Vassar Students’ Aid Society’s “Old College Afternoon” at the Hotel Astor in New York. A highlight of the gathering was the small group of silver spoons from Vassar Female College. The silverware had been recalled and destroyed in 1867 after the college officially dropped the word “female” from its name, but President Taylor was pleased to send the few pieces that survived to be auctioned for a good cause, student scholarships. Also on the "cosmopolitan" program, reported The New York Times, was "a clever whistling of Fritze Scheff's 'Drum Song'" and an original play by Ethelyn Emery Keays '95 presenting "a study of present-day conditions in Japan."
Along with professors from Wellesley and the University of Chicago and several prominent Socialists, Inez Milholland ’09 spoke on the teaching of socialism at the second general meeting of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, in New York City.
Under the auspices of the Socialist Club of Poughkeepsie, Inez Milholland ’09 spoke about the radical methods of "suffragettes" in England, where she lived much of the time. “There are two camps of women favoring suffrage in England. One is composed of suffragists, the other of suffragettes. The first have been for sixty years ‘acting real ladylike,’ just asking for women’s rights, the latter demand and propose to get those rights…. So long as the injustice of one class ruling another is kept up, so long will the suffragettes keep up the fight, even if we have to do some very unladylike things in order to win. Ridicule us and we smile, put us in jail and we are received with demonstrations when we come out, a fine advertisement of our cause all along the line.” The New York Times
Suffragists held a meeting on campus. “A canvass of the college was made to collect every possible objection and all were discussed by suffrage partisans. There was much enthusiasm.” The students who had organized the meeting were joined on the platform by several members of the faculty. The New York Times
The 400th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin was celebrated with a special program and an exhibition in the Library.
Joaquin Nabuco, Brazil’s first ambassador to the United States, spoke on the 16th century Portuguese poet Luís de Camoens in a lecture, "Camoens—The Poet." Of the poet's love poems, "M.O.T" wrote in The Vassar Miscellany, "the most beautiful of these, written while Camoens was in India, are very emotional. In them the idea of love lying concealed in the eyes is often expressed. In the frequent use of a Portuguese word containing the idea of memory, love, grief and longing, which expresses the loneliness and sadness of the whole race, Camoens shows how truly he expresses the race sentiment."
After their largely polemical “discussion” in March, the campus suffragists were formally prohibited from holding further meetings. But they devised an event that, as The New York Times put it, while it “absolutely contravened the spirit of President Taylor’s prohibition, obeyed it to the letter.” Word had gone out during the day urging students to come to a certain room in Main Building that evening, and as it was the room of a suffragist leader, nearly three-quarters of the student body came.
There, they were invited to visit the “tableaux to answer the objections to suffrage,” which some 100 students set up in dozens of students’ rooms. Going from room to room and floor to floor, the viewers discovered no meetings, no speeches, but “wordless pictures,” students in tableaux vivants. A “barker” in each room described the scenes: “Those Who Do Not Want the Vote—Forty Years Behind The Times” showed old maids with pussycats; “Those Who Do Want the Vote” presented faculty girls; “The Polls as They Are Supposed to Be” presented sluggish pols in a dive; “Polls as We Found Them in Denver” revealed alert poll watchers, reading Paul Kellogg’s progressivist Pittsburg Survey. “Another tableau showed a most realistic field hospital tent scene, where very gory soldiers were being cared for by lovely women as Red Cross nurses. ‘Peace’ was standing in a little cubbyhole, which on ordinary occasions serves as a clothes closet.”
A week later, "Exaggeration," a response to the event in The Vassar Miscellany, admitted that all were "entertained and some of us set to thinking seriously" by the tableaux, but questioned their efficacy in bringing about the inevitable "toleration" of women in the public sphere. "To show that her heart is in the measure she is backing," the writer asked, "does woman have to be disorderly and hot-headed? Is is thus that she hopes to prove to stubborn husbands and brothers her mental superiority, and her fitness to handle the reins of government? Remember the toast of an English gentleman just after a disagreeable episode in his household: 'Here's to Woman, once our superior, now our eaqual.' Don't delay the end in view by actions dissapointing and doubt-arousing." The New York Times, The Vassar Miscellany
At the annual Field Day, senior Inez Milholland, in setting two Vassar records, broke a national one as well. She threw a basketball 77 feet 9 inches, bettering the record set in 1902 by Harriet J. MacCoy ’03 by 4 inches. Milholland topped her own mark when she put the 8-pound shot 31 feet 9 ½ inches, an American women’s record which stood until it was broken in 1913 by Elizabeth Hardin ‘16.
The seniors won the day, with 48 ½ points to 30 for the juniors, 16 2/3 for the sophomores and 12 for the freshmen. The Vassar Miscellany
Baroness Uriu—a student in the School of Music from 1878 to 1881—and her husband, Vice-Admiral Baron Uriu Sotokichi visited Vassar. Speaking at the alumnae banquet, the baroness extended greeting to them from Princess Oyama—Stematz Yamakawa ’82. Noting that while the spirit of the college hadn’t changed, she observed that Vassar had obviously changed. “We, too, have changed,” she said, “Japanese women have come forward, and each year finds new and great advances. There is no Vassar among us, yet, but education for women and educational methods are progressing…. Many of your own women have good schools in Japan for our girls, helping them to become good and influential wives.” The New York Times
At a rainy commencement, President Taylor conferred the bachelor’s degree on 217 members of the senior class, five members of which presented senior honors essays “marked by humor, which caused more merriment than has ever been seen before at Vassar [Commencements].”
At the commencement luncheon, the Baroness Uriu and her husband presented Vassar with a silver bowl which Emperor Mutsuhito and Empress Haruko of Japan had given them in appreciation of their furtherance of Japanese-American relations at home and abroad. The gift to the college, a token of gratitude, was made with the permission of the Emperor and Empress.
“The bowl is made of solid silver as thick as a silver dollar. It is about twelve inches across and stands ten inches high. The bowl is decorated in enamel and hammered representing in color the flowers of Japan, the wisteria and chrysanthemum, also the heron, the bird of that country, and the official mark of the royal house.” The New York Times
The college took part in the Hudson-Fulton celebration, a joint recognition of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage up the Hudson River and the 100th anniversary of Robert Fulton’s grant of exclusive right to steam navigation of the Hudson. (Fulton and his father-in-law, Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, had started regular runs of their “North River Steamboat” in 1807.)
The Poughkeepsie phase of the celebration began on October 2, when the “Clermont” and the “Half Moon” arrived with an escort of government ships. Aboard Col. John Jacob Astor’s yacht Nourmahal, the Poughkeepsie committee took command of the ceremonial vessels and brought the officers of the fleet to the Poughkeepsie landing where large crowds of citizens welcomed them. In the evening, thousands lined the riverfronts on both sides of the Hudson to see the brilliantly illuminated fleet and the city’s largest fireworks display ever. During the fireworks, Emily Hull ’12 suffered a broken arm when a section of a grandstand collapsed.
On October 3, a Sunday, religious ceremonies and a sacred concert were held on College Hill. The largest crowd in the city’s history, estimated at 20,000, attended a mass meeting in the afternoon. The Celebration Committee, the 21st Regiment Band and a male chorus of 150 voices shared the platform with President Taylor and Dean Patrick Daly of St. Mary’s Church, the featured speakers. Several hundred sailors and seamen from the fleet were among the audience.
During the afternoon, the officers of the fleet visited the college, and 800 Vassar students were entertained on board the several warships assembled on the river. Illustrated lectures were given by Professor Lucy M. Salmon and Professor Laura J. Wylie, and Governor and Mrs. Charles Evans Hughes were guests of President and Mrs. Taylor.
In the evening special services were held in the city’s churches. At the Washington Street Church, an address was given by the Rev. C. S. Bullock, an impersonator of Robert Fulton, who spoke about Fulton’s life and accomplishments.
A half holiday was given the students on October 4th, when the state celebration centered in Poughkeepsie. A parade featured many of the floats from the earlier parade in New York City, and Governor Hughes presided over a reception at Eastman Park. The New York Times
A delegation of Vassar suffragist students met Inez Milholland ’09 at the Poughkeepsie train station. Rejected, in the past week, by a majority of the Harvard trustees and the new president, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, after convincing a majority of the faculty at Harvard Law School to admit her, Milholland visited Vassar before seeking—and gaining—admission to the law school of New York University. Asked by a reporter at the train station how the suffrage cause at Vassar was faring after her graduation, “she replied that she didn’t know. ‘I left it in the hands of the most prominent girls there,’ she said. ‘I can tell you when I come back.’” The New York Times