Trustee plans for an arboretum on the banks of the Fonteyn Kill and the Casper Kill were carried out through gifts of the Class of 1875, supplemented with a gift from Mr. Paul E. Zehe, husband of Emma J. Chamberlain '75.
Introduced by Margarita de Mayo of the Spanish department as "one of the prominent younger Spanish poets and the initiator with the composer Manuel de Falla of the modern renaissance of Spanish popular song," Federico Garcia Lorca lectured on "La Canción Española (The Folk-songs of Spain)." "When I am tired of cathedrals and monuments," he told his audience, "I begin to search for and enjoy the living elements of Spain—her songs and her sweets."
Playing and singing examples of Spanish songs from Granada and Asturias about the bogeyman, or côco—used to frighten children into sleep—Lorca said that the Spanish music of the people reflected geography, history and the wandering nature of Spanish popular culture. "A melodic map," The Miscellany News reported, "might be made, showing the change of seasons. This map would also illuminate the invisible framework which binds the peninsula together."
The will of author and educator, Eva March Tappan ’75, who died on January 29, 1930, left the bulk of her estate, some $200,000, to Vassar to establish the Eva March Tappan scholarship fund, the beneficiaries of which were to be young woman residents of Worcester County, Massachusetts. Miss Tappan’s will directed the fund’s trustees “to exercise broad discretion” in their selections. The New York Times
Anna M. Noyes ’31 died from injuries sustained on February 20, when a motorcycle and sidecar ran into a group of students and one of the students’ father on Raymond Avenue. The group was returning to campus after a dinner at Alumnae House. The motorcyclist was charged with manslaughter.
In May one of the injured students, Miriam Jay Wurts ’31, and her family endowed the Anna Margaret Deering Noyes Memorial Fund, intended to aid Vassar students in the study of international relations.
The Argentine-American Cultural Institute, a group of prominent Argentineans and Americans living in Buenos Aires, established a scholarship for an Argentine woman to study at Vassar.
Historian, sociologist, educator and civil rights activist Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois lectured at Vassar on "Racial Segregation." A founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the first African-American to receive a doctorate from Harvard University, Dubois published some three dozen books over nearly 70 years, ranging from The Study of the Negro Problems (1898) to An ABC of Color: Selections from Over a Half Century of the Writings of W. E. B. Du Bois, which appeared in 1963, the year of his death at the age of 95. His The Souls of Black Folk (1903) is an American classic, and his autobiography, The Autobiography of W. E. Burghardt Dubois, appeared posthumously in 1968.
"Poetry and the Machine," a lecture by American poet Stephen Vincent Benét, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of John Brown's Body (1928), was presented under the auspices of the Vassar Cooperative Bookshop. Poetry in the modern age, he told his audience, "must consider the machine. For us, we have heard machines since we were born—they are part of us, in our blood. Our children will be able to write of them more naturally. But in the interim, there are songs to write.
"I refuse," Benét continued," to think of the machine as a God, and I do not believe in the devil. Man has survived many ages, and it is possible that he may survive this one. He had the habit of it. And I imagine he may write poetry— For us, there are songs to write. Let us be bold." The Miscellany News
The Vassar College Choir, over 80 singers under the direction of E. Harold Geer, made its New York début with a concert in Town Hall. The New York Times applauded the singers’ “varied program” and their “commendable attack, unusually clear enunciation and fidelity to pitch.” Works by Palestrina, Bach and Thomas Norris and premières of songs by André Caplet and Jean Roger-Ducasse were sung in Latin, and “an interesting group” of “traditional carols from Catalonian, Polish and Russian sources” were presented in arrangements by Professor Geer.
Under the auspices of the Church and Drama League of America, Hallie Flanagan, director of the Experimental Theatre, sailed for Europe in charge of a group of ten students of the theater to study contemporary Russian drama. Among the sites the group visited were the State Academic Opera and Ballet, the State Academic Dramatic Theatre, the Theatre of Social Satire, theatres of the workers’ clubs in Leningrad, and the Moscow Art Theatre. The group also went to Kiev.
Farrar & Rinehart published Vassar Poetry, a collection of student verse, most of it from the verse-writing course of Professor of English Edward Thompson. "By far the most significant work of the book," a reviewer in The Miscellany News wrote, "has been done by Angelica Gibbs '30, whose quick observation passes into forceful form. The vigor and cleanly sweep of "Songs for New York," the quiet irony of "Scarron's Epitaph," the beautiful mood and color of "Fourth of July," and the startling simplicity of "Perugino's Crucifixion," "Night Terror" and "Departure" make for a variety that shows a real poet's grasp of scene and situation."
The younger sister of New Yorker magazine humorist and theater critic Wolcott Gibbs, Angelica Gibbs published fiction and wrote book and theater reivews, profiles, fiction and essays for the magazine between 1931 and 1953.
Commencement Week began with the class suppers of 13 returning classes on June 6th and Alumnae Day exercises on the following day: a parade, the annual meeting, luncheon, the presidential reception and in the evening a Philaletheis performance of the operetta based on Booth Tarkington’s novel, Monsieur Beaucaire (1900).
On Sunday, the 8th, a tablet was unveiled in the Chapel’s Memorial Room in memory of President James Monroe Taylor, president of Vassar between 1886 and 1914. Ella McCaleb ’78, dean in Taylor’s administration, officiated, and Taylor’s biographer, Elizabeth Hazelton Haight ’94, delivered an address. Taylor’s daughters Margaret ’23 and Sarah ’31 were among the guests. The college choir concluded the day with a concert.
The Rev. Dr. Henry Sloane Coffin, president of Union Theological Seminary, preached the baccalaureate sermon. Taking his text from I Kings 17:7, “And it came to pass after a while that the brook dried up,” Dr. Coffin forewarned his listeners of the disappointment inherent in worldly things; books, friends, teachers, things we associate with comfort and delight, take on over time the aridity of the Biblical brook. Even Christ, Coffin said, “knew the experience of having His brooks fail Him.” There came times when “He could not satisfy His thought of God from His bible. The God of His trust was better than the God on the pages of Moses and the prophets.”
“The student generations swiftly come and go,” Dr. Coffin concluded, “Enriching comradeships just begin when they are interrupted…. Now, one outlook on existence is the vogue, and now another.” In the end, he said, “If our loved fountain of inspiration dries up it is only that God may give us access more fully to Himself with whom is the river of life.”
Monday, heavy rain chased Class Day exercises, scheduled for the Open Air Theatre, into the Students’ Building, where—twice, to accommodate the crowds—the 26 sophomores in the Daisy Chair honored the seniors. A Glee Club concert in the evening was followed by the biennial Lantern Fête: “The seniors and sophomores gather on opposite sides of the Vassar Lake, and as the seniors pass lighted lanterns by boats across the lake they sing for the last time their songs, which are repeated with different words by their sister class.”
At Vassar's 64th Commencement, on Tuesday, June 10, 242 graduates received their diplomas. Arthur W. Page, a trustee who had served as a personal aide to Secretary of State Henry Stimson at the 1930 London Disarmament Conference, delivered the commencement address. “The treaty of London,” he told the Class of 1930, the trustees, faculty and guests, “removes both pride and fear from the great naval powers; there will be no rivalry between them for the next six years.”
Of the total of $796,195 in annual gifts announced by the college, two were particularly significant: $600,000 from William Skinner for the construction of the Belle Skinner Hall of Music, in honor of his sister, Class of 1887, and $15,000 from the Class of 1880, in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Participants in the 1918 Vassar College Training Camp for Nurses—an innovation that accelerated the training of some 400 nurses during World War I—gave a campus gate in honor of Professor of Economics Herbert E. Mills, who led the planning for the camp and served as its dean. The New York Times
The Classes of 1904 and 1930 gave a library fund in honor of Herbert E. Mills, professor of economics, 1890-1931. The income was used to enrich one of the library's special collections, books by and about the 19th century British utopian socialist Robert Owen.
The Argentine American Cultural Institute announced that Señorita Telma Recia MD was awarded the institute’s scholarship for a year’s postgraduate work at Vassar to study social welfare work, especially in regard to delinquency among children.
More than 20% of the student body was on scholarship, compared to 9% in 1925.
Despite business conditions, the trustees voted to “quietly” set about raising funds for a new gymnasium.
The nine-hole golf course on Sunset Hill, the gift of students, faculty, alumnae and friends of the college, formally opened with a golf tournament.
Several classical scholars joined Vassar’s celebration of the bimillennium of Virgil. Speakers included Professor E. K. Rand of Harvard, who lectured on "Virgil and the Middle Ages"; Professor Charles G. Osgood from Princeton, who discussed “Vergil and the Pastoral”; Professor Catherine Saunders of Vassar, who spoke on “Vergil’s Primitive Italy” and Professor Henry W. Prescott from the University of Chicago, who traced “The Development of Vergil’s Art in the Aeneid.”
Students and faculty members representing 15 foreign countries—Argentina, Canada, Czechoslovakia, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, India, Mexico, Poland, Spain and Switzerland—joined Dean C. Mildred Thompson ’03 and trustee Dr. Stephen P. Duggan, director of the Institute of International Education, on stage at a special Armistice Day assembly of students and faculty. Dr. Duggan praised the college’s liberal inclusion of foreign students and faculty, saying that it fostered international good feeling and understanding.
“There is one certain way to peace,” Duggan said, “and that is for the peoples of different countries to understand each other so well that war is unthinkable, and understanding can only be accomplished through education.” The New York Times
The college's general manager, Keene Richards, increased police protection at the college because of “present conditions of unemployment and the closer proximity of town buildings.”
The prolific novelist and biographer André Maurois lectured in French on "Le Roman et la Biographie." The French biographer of Shelley and Byron—Ariel; ou, La vie de Shelley (1923), Byron (1930)—Maurois published Aspects de la Biographie in 1928. A collection of Maurois's essays on America, L'Amerique Inattendue, was published in 1931.
“The present unemployment situation is one of the most tremendous industrial crises that has recently arisen…. At first we were inclined to take it rather indifferently. We saw it as a national problem but one quite removed from ourselves. It was only when be began to see that it was affecting people we knew, college, our families even, and ourselves that we started inquiring and trying to find out what it really meant.” Editorial, Miscellany News
The New York Times published a survey of the impact of broadcast radio on college and university campuses. Among detailed responses, pro and con—from Amherst, Brown, Smith, Dartmouth, Yale and Cornell and others—the responses from Harvard and Vassar were notably brief. “Harvard University, A. C. Hanford, Dean—We have no regulation against radio sets in college dormitories.” “Vassar College, C. M. Thompson, Dean—Radio does not as yet play a large part in campus life at Vassar.”