The college announced that Kansas City surgeon and bibliophile Dr. Matthew W. Pickard had given to the Library nearly 500 volumes of Russian literature, many of them extremely rare and some possibly unique items. “We are extremely fortunate,” President MacCracken said, “to receive this collection.  It seems likely that the Russian language will take an increasingly important place in the world in the future…. It also is probable that academic America will concede this importance by providing increased facilities for the study of the language.”

Nikander Strelsky, head of Vassar’s Russian department, noted that since the 1917 revolution “the libraries of Russia have been broken up, the books burned or scattered throughout the world. Many of their treasures were lost forever.”

Dr. Pickard gave more than 400 additional rare Russian volumes to Vassar in 1940.     The New York Times