Matthew Vassar Is Born

Matthew Vassar, founder and namesake of Vassar College, was born on April 29, 1792, in Norfolk, England.

Inspired by his niece, Lydia Booth, Vassar donated half of the fortune he had made in the brewing business, as well as 200 acres of land in Poughkeepsie, New York, to establish a women's college comparable to the best educational institutions of the day, most of which excluded women.

Vassar Female College was founded in 1861 and opened in September 1865 with 353 students and a faculty of thirty, twenty-two of whom were women. Courses ranged from botany to music, with an annual fee for tuition and residence of $350. By 1873, John H. Raymond, the president of Vassar, wrote of a collegiate education for women.

Matthew Vassar (April 29, 1792 – June 23, 1868) was an English-born American brewer and merchant. He founded the eponymous Vassar College in 1861. He was a cousin of John Ellison Vassar.

He was born in East Dereham, Norfolk, England. In 1796, he emigrated with his family to New York and settled on a farm near Poughkeepsie, New York. When Vassar was 14 years old, his parents had him apprenticed to a tanner.

And so you see, to old V.C.
Our love shall never fail.
Full well we know that all we owe
To Matthew Vassar's ale. ”

— Verse From A Vassar Song