May 1, 1918
Federal agents took Agathe Wilhelmine Richrath, an instructor in German, into custody after a search of her room at the college revealed evidence incriminating her as an alien sympathizer. President MacCracken, noting that “Miss Richrath has been under observation for some weeks,” said that he had received no complaints “of exhibition of alien sympathies in the college class rooms, although I have heard of some indiscretion in private conversation.”
Miss Richrath, who had lived with her parents in Philadelphia for several years before coming to Vassar, was eventually interned in a camp for enemy aliens. She was the third resident of Poughkeepsie charged by the federal authorities, who sought a week later the cancellation of a prominent local physician’s naturalization papers.