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Vassar College History

VC Archives & Special Collections Library

The Catherine Pelton Durrell '25 Archives and Special Collections Library is the principal repository of Vassar College's noteworthy collections of rare books, manuscripts, institutional records, and other special materials. A large percentage of our collection documents the history of the College from its founding in 1861 to the present. Included are publications, administrative records, student letters and diaries, architectural drawings, photograph and audiovisual collections, and artifacts.

The Archives and Special Collections site has a full list of Policies and Procedures, but the following policies should be noted before beginning a research project:

  • Research is by appointment only
  • During the regular semester we are open M - F: 10-5 (closed 12-1)
  • Special Collections material does not circulate; all material must be used in our Reading Room
  • You will be required to register on your first visit and sign in each subsequent visit
  • Our collections are rare and valuable. Because of this, we ask our patrons to follow a number of basic rules to ensure the security and preservation of our materials: 
    • No food or beverages are allowed
    • Personal belongings must be placed in the closet
    • You must sit facing the Archives Assistant
    • Pencils only
    • Only one folder or volume can be used at a time
    • You must maintain the original order of the materials


College Archives

The College Archives is perhaps the most obvious set of materials for research into Vassar history. The Archives include the official records of the College, but also less official material such as the Student Materials Collection, which includes such things as students' letters home, scrapbooks, photograph albums, etc. 

Full list of archival collections


The manuscript section of Special Collections includes the papers of alumnae/i, faculty and other people related to the college.

Full list of manuscript collections

Collections listed by subject

Rare Books

Our collection of rare books includes materials about Vassar College as well as items produced by the college. Vassariana can be found using the online catalog, the card catalog in Special Collections, and by consulting with our staff.

List of Rare Book Collections