October 1, 1918
As news of seven trustees' request for President MacCracken’s resignation spread among faculty, alumnae and trustees, he received counsel from all sides. Professor Herbert Mills, a faculty leader and a close confidant, at first advised him to accept the trustee group’s mandate, but other powerful members of the faculty, historian Lucy Maynard Salmon prominent among them, urged him to fight back. On October 1 after a resounding faculty vote in his favor, she wrote to him: “This is the beginning, not the end. Do not resign. The fight will be on with president, faculty and alumnae ranged against an antiquated system of academic organization.”
The two other centers of power in the college, the trustees and the alumnae, began asking questions, even about the legality of the trustee group’s actions. Helen Kenyon ’05, chair of the alumnae association, questioned the move from the beginning, and she began a series of interviews with faculty members and trustees on which she reported to the alumnae. “All told, from what she had heard…Kenyon concluded that there was nothing to prevent MacCracken from coming back, that the trustees thought he would come back, and that the September 20 meeting of the board had been illegal….” Elizabeth A. Daniels, Bridges to the World: Henry Noble MacCracken and Vassar College
For his part, MacCracken studied the trustee group’s charges, reviewed the advice and support he’d received and sent a 39-page letter to all of the trustees refuting or correcting the trustee group’s arguments. When the trustees gathered in New York, the full body voted to allow MacCracken to return to his duties as president of Vassar.