The Vassar Miscellany reported the abolition of the office of the lady principal, “the chief executive aid of the President in the government of the college, and the immediate head of the college family,” as President Raymond had defined it when the college opened. "There is to be," the Miscellany reported, "a 'warden,' a Vassar graduate, in each dormitory. the responsibility which formerly rested upon the Lady Principal will be divided, as far as possible, among the wardens, thus localizing for each hall the excuse and leave of absence systems. Upon the Head Warden will rest the same responsibility in regard to social matters and discipline which has hitherto devolved upon the Lady Principal."

The first head warden was Mrs. Isabel Nelson Tillinghast '78, a former instructor in the English department and a prominent alumnae leader, who had served as acting lady principal for the previous two years.