September 18, 1909
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