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Guide to the John Howard Raymond Papers, 1823-1913 (bulk 1823-1878)

Table of Contents

Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Raymond, John H. (John Howard), 1814-1878
Title: John Howard Raymond Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1823-1913
Bulk Dates: 1823-1878
Quantity: 2.7 cubic ft (5 boxes including 1 scrapbook)
Abstract: Correspondence, manuscripts, a scrapbook, and other materials relating to Raymond's personal life as well as his work as a minister, one of the founders of the University of Rochester and then president of Vassar College.

Biographical Note

John H. Raymond (1814-1878) was born in New York City and entered Columbia College at the age of fourteen. He was expelled in his junior year for insubordination but continued his studies at Union College, where he was graduated in 1832. Raymond began the study of law, but a particularly persuasive sermon convinced him to study for the ministry. In 1838 he was graduated from the Baptist seminary at Madison (now Colgate) University and remained there as a teacher until 1850, when he, along with other Madison faculty and students, left to found the University of Rochester. He remained at Rochester for five years and became active in the antislavery cause. In 1855 Raymond became the first president of the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute.

John H. Raymond was appointed a member of Vassar's first board of trustees; and following Milo P. Jewett's resignation in 1864, he agreed to assume the presidency of the college. When Vassar opened in 1865, the responsibility for the organization of the college and its curriculum fell on Raymond's shoulders. Within Vassar he set very high standards, and outside the college he defended it from critics of higher education for women. He was married to the former Cornelia Morse. In all his relationships Raymond appears to have been able to combine dignity with warmth and understanding. His death followed a long illness, and his final words are reported to have been: "How easy it is to glide from our work in this world to our work in heaven."


Scope and Content Note

Correspondence includes letters by Raymond, 1823-1878, concerning religious issues and themes, family events, troubles with an Irish servant over alleged stealing, educational theory, the birth of his children, death of a son in a stage accident, changes at Colgate College, and other issues; includes letters while a schoolboy to his brother and his courtship letters to Cornelia Morse; letters received from Henry Fowle Durant, James Harper, and others, 1865-1875; and letter books containing copies of his outgoing correspondence as Vassar College President, 1864-1878, concerning appointments, students, his views on women's education, and other issues. Other items include manuscripts of sermons, verse, and an autobiographical sketch; propositions regarding Vassar College salaries and other issues, 1866-1868; his scrapbook on women's education, women's work, and women's rights, 1869; tributes to him, 1878 and 1913; and some letters by his wife, Cornelia Morse Raymond, relating to Vassar College concerns, 1885-1886.



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.

  • Biographical information and a collection of photographs are located in the Vassariana Biographical File and the Photograph File.

Subject Headings


  • Durant, H. F. (Henry Fowle), 1822-1881.
  • Harper, James, 1795-1869.
  • Raymond family.
  • Raymond, Cornelia Morse, 1861-1952.


  • Colgate University.
  • University of Rochester.
  • Vassar College--Presidents.
  • Vassar College--Students.
  • Vassar College. Board of Trustees.


  • Clergy.
  • College administrators.
  • College presidents.
  • Courtship--New York (State)
  • Domestics.
  • Family--New York (State)
  • Irish Americans.
  • Women's colleges--New York (State)--Poughkeepsie.
  • Women's rights.
  • Women--Education.
  • Women--Employment.

Document Types:

  • Poems.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Sermons.

Encoding Information

Encoded by Elizabeth Clarke, April 2007. Updated June 2008 by Laura Finkel.


Preferred Citation

John Howard Raymond Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Original processing date unknown. Container list updated November 2006 by Elizabeth Clarke.

Acquisition Information

Gift of various donors, including Cornelia Raymond; and purchase. Four letters from Benson Lossing to John Howard Raymond and one letter to his wife, Cornelia E. Raymond may have originated with the Lossing Papers and moved at some point in the 1980s. Other material may have been moved from the Cyrys Swan Papers around the same time.


Container List

  • Box 5 Letter Book, 1864-1866
  • Box 5 Letter Book, March 3, 1866-October 15, 1875
  • Box 5 Letter book, January 9 [1870?]-June 17, 1878
  • Box 1 Correspondence some with typescripts, 1865-1877
  • Box 1 Cornelia M. Raymond’s Notes on John H. Raymond’s letters
  • Box 1 Correspondence, 1823 - June 1863
  • Box 2 Correspondence, July 1863 - Oct 1868
  • Box 3 Correspondence, Feb 1869 - July 1878, n.d.
  • Folder 4.2 Correspondence — A.L. Allen to John H. Raymond, 1872
  • Folder 4.3 Correspondence — Rufus Babcock to John H. Raymond, n.d.
  • Folder 4.4 Correspondence — Antoinette Blackwell to John H. Raymond, 1875
  • Folder 4.5 Correspondence — Edward Bright to John H. Raymond, 1873
  • Folder 4.6 Correspondence — S.M. Buckingham to John H. Raymond, 1872
  • Folder 4.7 Correspondence — Charles Collins, J.C. Lockhart, et al to John H. Raymond, 1865
  • Folder 4.8 Correspondence — Henry Fowle Durant to John H. Raymond, 1874-1876
  • Folder 4.9 Correspondence — Charles S. Farrar to John H. Raymond, n.d.
  • Folder 4.10 Correspondence — James Harper to John H. Raymond, 1868
  • Folder 4.11 Correspondence — Benson Lossing to John H. Raymond, 1867-1868
  • Folder 4.12 Correspondence — Benson Lossing to John H. Raymond, 1872-1873
  • Folder 4.13 Correspondence — Benson Lossing to John H. Raymond, 1874-1875
  • Folder 4.14 Correspondence — Benson Lossing to John H. Raymond, 1876-1878
  • Folder 4.15 Correspondence — Elias Magoon to John H. Raymond, 1873
  • Folder 4.16 Correspondence — Samuel F. B. Morse to John H. Raymond, 1871
  • Folder 4.17 Correspondence — Benson Lossing to Mrs. John H. Raymond, 1878-1883
  • Folder 4.18 Correspondence — E.E. Poppleton to and from John H. Raymond, ca. 1875
  • Folder 4.19 Correspondence — Ephraim Powell to John H. Raymond, 1873
  • Folder 4.20 Correspondence — Pratt to John H. Raymond, 1866
  • Folder 4.21 Correspondence — Cyrus Swan to John H. Raymond, 1873
  • Folder 4.22 Correspondence — C.W. Swift to John H. Raymond, 1869
  • Folder 4.23 Correspondence — Rezin A. Wight to John H. Raymond, 1875, 1893
  • Folder 4.24 Correspondence — Dr. Woolworth to John H. Raymond, 1866
  • Folder 4.25 Correspondence — Mrs. John H. Raymond to Cornelia M. Raymond, 1885-1886
  • Folder 4.26 Correspondence — Mrs. John H. Raymond to unidentified man, 6 Sep 1864
  • Folder 4.27 Miscellanesous correspondence and notes relating to Vassar College, 1866-1868
  • Folder 4.1 Appointment to Vassar Presidency - Extracts from Trustee meeting minutes, 29 Apr 1864
  • Folder 4.28 Raymond's death and memorials, 1878, 1896, n.d.
  • Folder 4.29 Publications
  • Folder 4.30 Verse, etc.
  • Folder 4.33 Sermons
  • Folder 4.34 Sermons
  • Folder 4.35 Sermons
  • Box 5 Songs of Devotion
  • Folder 4.31 Sketchbook
  • Folder 4.32 Loose items removed from sketchbook
  • Box 1 Scrapbook on "Woman's Education, Woman's Work, Woman's Rights," 1869