Vassar College Digital Library
Guide to the James Monroe Taylor Papers, 1865-1916

Table of Contents

Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Taylor, James Monroe, 1848-1916
Title: James Monroe Taylor Papers
Dates: 1865-1916
Quantity: 4.2 cubic feet (20 boxes and 1 metal tube)
Abstract: Personal and professional papers relating to Taylor's tenure as President of Vassar College as well as his larger interests in education and religion. Includes correspondence, manuscripts, clippings, photographs, articles, and certificates.

Biographical Note

James Monroe Taylor (1848-1916), fourth president of Vassar College, was born in Brooklyn, NY, and pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Rochester. In 1871 he was graduated from Rochester Theological Seminary and was ordained in the Baptist ministry. After a year of travel in Europe he assumed pastorates in South Norwalk CT, and later in Providence, RI. He was married in 1873 to Kate Huntington.

In 1886 the trustees of Vassar elected James Monroe Taylor president of the college. One of his first actions upon arriving at Vassar was to abolish the preparatory division, a step that did much to raise academic standards. Taylor also worked for the endowment of professorships and broadened the curriculum to include history, economics, psychology, religion, art, and music, as well as more laboratory-based science courses. During his twenty-eight-year administration the student body more than tripled in size, and Taylor inspired in Vassar graduates an intense loyalty to the college. He turned down an offer to the presidency of Brown University in 1899. As president, Taylor conducted daily chapel, regularly taught classes, administered most of the details of the college's academic operations, and found time to write several books. He set a high standard at Vassar for academic excellence. He also toured and spoke frequently, enhancing both Vassar's reputation and his own standing as an educator. When Taylor retired in 1914, he had been in poor health; and he died from pneumonia two years later.


Scope and Content Note

The Taylor Papers primarily concern Vassar College and the education of women and include his manuscript addresses, articles, and sermons, 1868-1913; records of faculty appointments at Vassar, ca. 1887-ca. 1913; correspondence, including his letters to Cornelia M. Raymond, 1886-1916, concerning offer of the Presidency at Brown University, lecture at Vassar by Charles Zueblin, student issues, woman's suffrage, founding date of Mount Holyoke College, religious questions, protection of Vassar students, Vassar students and the New York shirtwaist workers strike of 1910, faculty matters including a conflict between Abby Leach and Grace H. Macurdy, and other issues related to women's education; copies of his publications; notes, research materials, and manuscript of his book Before Vassar Opened ; and clippings, photographs, passport, certificates, and other miscellaneous items.



This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to quote (publish) from unpublished or previously published material must be obtained as described in the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library.


Subject Headings


  • Leach, Abby, 1855-1918
  • Macurdy, Grace Harriet
  • Raymond, Cornelia M., 1861-1952
  • Zueblin, Charles, 1866-1924


  • Brown University
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Vassar College--Faculty
  • Vassar College--Presidents
  • Vassar College--Students


  • Baptists--New York (State)--Poughkeepsie
  • Clergy
  • College presidents
  • Strikes and lockouts--Clothing trade
  • Women college students--New York (State)--Poughkeepsie
  • Women's colleges--New York (State)--Poughkeepsie
  • Women--Education
  • Women--Suffrage


  • Poughkeepsie (N.Y.)--Religious life and customs

Document Types:

  • Photographs
  • Sermons

VCL Categories

  • Vassar College Presidents

Encoding Information

Encoded by Elizabeth Clarke, April 2007.


Preferred Citation

James Monroe Taylor Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Original processing date unknown. Description of materials in box 19 added March 2007 by Laura Finkel. Items from Mary Taylor Gunman (A2007-038) added July 2007 by Laura Streett.

Acquisition Information

Gifts of James Monroe Taylor, Margaret E. Taylor, Cornelia Raymond, and Mary Taylor Gunman.


Container List

Folder 1.1 Addresses and articles, n.d. (mainly mss)
Folder 1.2 Addresses and articles, 1868-1874 (mainly mss)
Folder 1.3 Addresses and articles, 1881-1886 (mainly mss)
Folder 1.4 Addresses and articles, 1895-1901 (mainly mss)
Folder 2.5 Addresses and articles, 1903-1904 (mainly mss)
Folder 2.6 Addresses and articles, 1905-1908 (mainly mss)
Folder 2.7 Addresses and articles, 1909-1913 (mainly mss)
Folder 2.8 Address at dedication of Taylor Hall, May 1915
Folder 2.9 Clippings about addresses (photocopies)
Folder 3.10 Miscellaneous sermons, 1878, 1880
Folder 3.11 Baccalaureate sermons, 1887-1894
Folder 3.12 Baccalaureate sermons, 1895-1905
Folder 3.13 Baccalaureate sermons, 1906-1909
Folder 3.14 Baccalaureate sermons, 1910-1913
Folders 4.15-4.16 National Education Association materials
Folder 5.17 Faculty appointments A - B
Folder 5.18 Faculty appointments C - H
Folder 5.19 Faculty appointments J - P
Folder 5.20 Faculty appointments R
Folder 5.21 Faculty appointments S - Z
Folder 6.22 Miscellaneous biographical materials
Folder 6.22 Miscellaneous biographical and family materials, ca. 1890-1917
Folder 6.23 Miscellaneous Taylor and Vassar materials
Folder 6.24 Letters written by Taylor, 1886-1898, n.d.
Folder 6.25 Letters written by Taylor, 1899-1915
Folder 6.26 Letters written by Taylor to Cornelia M. Raymond, 1887-1916
Folder 7.26a Letters to Taylor, 1886-1913
Folder 7.27 Taylor - Brown University correspondence, including invitation to become president of Brown University, 1898-1899
Folder 7.28 Letter of refusal to Brown University (printed copies)
Folder 7.29 Alumnae correspondence re: Brown University
Folder 7.30 Faculty correspondence re: Brown University
Folder 7.31 Miscellaneous correspondence re: Brown University
Folder 7.32 Clippings re: Brown University's invitation, (photocopies)
Folders 8.33-8.36 Abby Leach - Grace H. Macurdy conflict, May 1897 - Oct 1910
Folder 9.37 Correspondence relating to controversial lecture at Vassar by Charles Zueblin, 1910
Folder 9.38 Letter to Vassar's "Reconstruction Committee," 23 April 1887
Folder 9.39 List of books in James Monroe Taylor's library
Folder 9.40 James Monroe Taylor's reading lists and notes
Folder 9.41 James Monroe Taylor's "reviews" of books read (bound ledger)
Folder 10.42 Obituaries, eulogies and memorials (including photocopies of many clippings)
Folder 10.42a Publication: James Monroe Taylor; a Memorial
Folder 10.43 Taylor family
Folders 11.44-11.46 James Monroe Taylor's publications
Folders 12.47-12.48 Before Vassar Opened — notes and data
Folder 12.49 Before Vassar Opened — Materials used, including catalogues of Brown, Harvard and Yale, 1865-1866
Folder 13.50 Before Vassar Opened — Materials used, including Cornell catalogue, 1876-1877
Folder 13.51 Before Vassar Opened — Manuscript
Folder 13.52 Vassar [by Taylor and Haight] — notes and mss. on Samuel L. Caldwell for Chapter VI
Folders 14.53-14.54 Photographs — early and miscellaneous information concerning photos
Folder 14.55 Photographs — mid-years
Folder 14.56 Photographs — later
Folder 15.57 Passports and travel accounts, 1871, 1895
Folder 15.58 Presidency of Vassar, Election, etc., 1886
Folder 15.59 Clippings — arrival at Vassar and Vassar career (mostly photocopies)
Folder 15.60 Clippings — Vassar
Folder 15.61 Expulsion of Elizabeth Rector, special student, 1888 - February 1890
Folder 15.62 Assignment of space in Rockefeller Hall, 1897
Folder 16.62a Suffrage at Vassar — Class of 1912 petition, and miscellaneous correspondence through 1907
Folder 16.63 Suffrage at Vassar — Correspondence, 1908
Folder 16.64 Suffrage at Vassar — Faculty meeting, 19 March 1909 and related matters
Folder 16.65 Suffrage at Vassar — Correspondence, 1909-1913
Folder 16.66 Suffrage at Vassar — Clippings, (photocopies)
Folder 16.67 Suffrage at Vassar — Letters relating to "The 'Conservatism' of Vassar," an address to Vassar alumnae, 1909
Folder 17.68 Correspondence concerning founding date of Mount Holyoke, 1909-1911
Folder 17.69 Religious questions raised by Bolce article in Cosmopolitan, 1910
Folder 17.70 Correspondence concerning protection of Vassar girls, 1910
Folder 17.71 Correspondence concerning Vassar students and the labor movement, including the New York shirtwaist strike, 1910
Folder 17.72 Whitehead thesis controversy, 1910
Folder 17.73 Correspondence concerning creation of assistant professorships at Vassar, 1913
Folder 17.74 "Petition of the 13," related to faculty-trustee communication, 1913
Folder 17.75 James Monroe Taylor's resignation from Vassar, 1913
Folder 17.76 Pictures found with the Taylor Papers, (5 items)
Box 18 A collection of mss and papers used in preparing Before Vassar Opened
Folder 19.1 Biographical notes collected by Taylor re: Charles A. Raymond
Folder 19.2 Correspondence — Mary W. Whitney to Taylor, 25, 27 Jan 1913, n.d.
Folder 19.3 Correspondence — Paul Monroe to Taylor, 9 Dec 1913
Folder 19.4 Correspondence — Edward Lathrop to Taylor, 7 June 1905
Folder 19.5 Correspondence — F.C. French — to and from Taylor, 8 June 1900 - 14 May 1902
Folder 19.6 Correspondence — Minna Hinkel re: resignation of her father, Charles Hinkle, 22 April 1890
Folder 19.7 Correspondence — re: resignation and death of Abby F. Goodsell, 1891, 1893
Folder 19.8 Correspondence — LeRoy C. Cooley to Taylor, 30 Oct 1906 and July 1915
Folder 19.9 Miscellaneous items collected by Taylor re: V.C. history and humor
Box 20 Letterbook, 1889-1894 (1 item)
Tube Diplomas, (3 items)

Return to the Table of Contents


Personal and professional papers relating to Taylor's tenure as President of Vassar College as well as his larger interests in education and religion. Includes correspondence, manuscripts, clippings, photographs, articles, and certificates.

Finding Aid Date
Dates: 1865-1916
Document Types
Collection Title
James Monroe Taylor Papers