According to the Vassar Online Encyclopedia, “As the students only had a day off for Thanksgiving, very few chose to leave campus. Emma Logan McCoy described the event to her parents in 1872. Apparently, they ate an elaborate turkey feast at dinner, which was followed by a dance. President Raymond then read “The Merchant of Venice” until eight, when the students went to a reception with the teachers in the president’s parlor where the vocal teachers sang and the instrumental teachers played. The students were served ice cream in the dining hall at the rather late hour of ten-thirty before they were told to go to sleep.”
Read more about social life on campus in the early days of the college and see a slideshow of the dinner menus, courtesy of college archivist Laura Streett, Archives and Special Collections Library.