List of Vassar College people

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This is a partial list of notable faculty and alumni of Vassar College .

Vassar College private, coeducational liberal arts college in Poughkeepsie, New York, in the United States

Vassar College is a private, coeducational, liberal arts college in the town of Poughkeepsie, New York. Founded in 1861 by Matthew Vassar, it was the second degree-granting institution of higher education for women in the United States, closely following Elmira College. It became coeducational in 1969, and now has a gender ratio at the national average. The school is one of the historic Seven Sisters, the first elite women's colleges in the U.S., and has a historic relationship with Yale University, which suggested a merger before they both became coeducational institutions.


Notable alumni

Selected Vassar alumni
Ellen Swallow Richards Vassar 1870.jpg
Chemist, first woman to graduate from MIT, Ellen Henrietta Swallow, picture from Class of 1870
Commodore Grace M. Hopper, USN (covered).jpg
United States Navy Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper, class of 1928, inventor of the first compiler for a computer programming language
Elizabeth Bishop, 1934 yearbook portrait.jpg
Acclaimed poet, Elizabeth Bishop, class of 1934
Meryl Streep by Jack Mitchell.jpg
Academy Award-winning actress, Meryl Streep, class of 1971
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Actress, Lisa Kudrow, class of 1985


Heloise Edwina Hersey (1855-1933) was an American scholar of Anglo-Saxon language and literature. A graduate of Vassar College and the first female professor of Anglo-Saxon studies in the United States, she was appointed at Smith College in 1878.

Emily Jordan Folger Co-founder of the Folger Shakespeare Library

Emily Jordan Folger, was the wife of Henry Clay Folger and the co-founder of the Folger Shakespeare Library. During her husband's lifetime, she assisted him in building the world's largest collection of Shakespeare materials. After his death in 1930, she funded the completion of the Folger Shakespeare Library to house the collection, remaining involved with its administration until her death in 1936.

Folger Shakespeare Library independent research library in Washington, D.C.

The Folger Shakespeare Library is an independent research library on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in the United States. It has the world's largest collection of the printed works of William Shakespeare, and is a primary repository for rare materials from the early modern period (1500–1750). The library was established by Henry Clay Folger in association with his wife, Emily Jordan Folger. It opened in 1932, two years after his death.

Activists and philanthropists

Mary L. F. Ormsby

Mary Louise Frost Ormsby (1845–1931), later Mary Frost Evans, was an American writer, editor, and educator involved in the peace movement.

Mary Boyce Temple American suffragist

Mary Boyce Temple was an American philanthropist and socialite, active primarily in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She was the first president of the Ossoli Circle, the oldest federated women's club in the South, and published a biography of the club's namesake, Margaret Fuller Ossoli, in 1886. She also cofounded the Tennessee Woman's Press and Author's Club, the Knoxville Writer's Club, and the Knox County chapter of the League of Women Voters. She represented Tennessee at various international events, including the Paris Exposition of 1900 and at the dedication of the Panama Canal in 1903.

Marion Cothren American activist, lawyer, author

Marion Benedict Cothren (1880–1949) was an American suffrage and peace activist, lawyer, and children's author.

Adventurers and athletes

Alice Huyler Ramsey American driver (1886–1983)

Alice Huyler Ramsey was the first woman to drive across the United States from coast to coast on August 7, 1909.

Ethan Zohn, is a motivational speaker, a former American professional soccer player, and a reality television series contestant who won $1,000,000 on Survivor: Africa, the third season of the reality TV series Survivor. He also appeared on the All-Stars edition of the show. After winning Survivor he co-founded Grassroot Soccer, which uses soccer to raise money and awareness to fight HIV/AIDS.

Artists and architects

Patty Prather Thum painter and art critic

Patty Prather Thum was an American artist from Louisville, Kentucky known for her landscapes, paintings of roses, and book illustrations. She studied art at Vassar College and the Art Students League of New York and maintained a portrait and landscape studio in Louisville for 35 years. She taught art, illustrated books and magazines, served as the president of the Louisville Art League, and was the art critic for the Louisville Herald until 1925.

Ruth Maxon Adams (1883–1970) was an American architect.

Margaret Burnham Geddes was an American architect, urban planner, and activist who worked in Providence, Rhode Island. She designed several early modernist houses in southern New England with partner J. Peter Geddes and worked as a planner for the Providence Redevelopment Agency and as an independent planning consultant.


Mary F. Hoyt

Mary Francis Hoyt , a Vassar College graduate, was the first woman to receive a position in the United States federal civil service which was followed by hundreds of thousands of women filling these government positions. She was a centenarian.

United States federal civil service

The United States federal civil service is the civilian workforce of the United States federal government's departments and agencies. The federal civil service was established in 1871. U.S. state and local government entities often have comparable civil service systems that are modeled on the national system, in varying degrees.

Louise Seaman Bechtel was an American editor, critic, author, and teacher of young children. She was the first person to head a juvenile book department established by an American publishing house.

Drama, film, and television




Politics and law

Science and medicine


Attended, but did not graduate


As a famous and historically important college, Vassar has attracted much attention in fictional works. A partial list of cultural references to Vassar can be found here: Vassar College in popular culture.


Anthropology Department

Art Department

Dance Department

Drama Department

English Department

History Department

Mathematics Department

Music Department

Philosophy Department

Physics and Astronomy Department

Political Science Department

Psychology Department

Other departments

Related Research Articles

<i>The Harvard Advocate</i>

The Harvard Advocate, the art and literary magazine of Harvard College, is the oldest continuously published college art and literary magazine in the United States. The magazine was founded by Charles S. Gage and William G. Peckham in 1866 and, except for a hiatus during the last years of World War II, has published continuously since then. In 1916, The New York Times published a commemoration of the Advocate's fiftieth anniversary. Fifty years after that, Donald Hall wrote in The New York Times Book Review that "In the world of the college – where every generation is born, grows old and dies in four years – it is rare for an institution to survive a decade, much less a century. Yet the Harvard Advocate, the venerable undergraduate literary magazine, celebrated its centennial this month." Its current offices are a two-story wood-frame house at 21 South Street, near Harvard Square and the University campus.


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