The Observatory was completed. Charles S. Farrar, professor of chemistry and physics at Elmira Female College, who oversaw its design and construction, subsequently became Vassar’s first professor of mathematics, chemistry and physics.  Built by William Harloe, the building was 80 by 50 feet with an octagonal center 27 feet in diameter. 

The Sanitary Fair was held at Poughkeepsie in an unoccupied coach factory loaned by Matthew Vassar. Mr. Vassar was among those exhibiting plants and cut flowers. 

Rev. John H. Raymond, a charter trustee who had taught at the Hamilton Theological Institute and the University of Rochester before his appointment as president of the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute, accepted the presidency of Vassar Female College at a salary of $4,000 per annum. 

Milo P. Jewett resigned as President of Vassar following a difference of opinion with the Founder about when the college should open.  Jewett wanted to begin as soon as the physical plant was ready, while Vassar insisted on waiting for the end of war, both so that his experiment could start in as calm and favorable a public climate as possible and so that the unruly financial fluctuations caused by the war could subside.

 A letter sent by Jewett to several trustees, in which he described the Founder as "vacillating and growing daily more childish and fickle," was brought to Matthew Vassar's attention. He declined to have any further dealings with Jewett and demanded his resignation. 

Matthew Vassar wrote to the Rev. Elias L. Magoon, a charter trustee, confiming his purchase of Magoon's art collection as the nucleus for Vassar’s art gallery. "I am," he wrote, "to have from you your entire collection as it is—complete—Art itself & all matters relating to art—descriptive historic & otherwise just as it is in your house as I regard all such matter printed & otherwise as making the completeness of your collection for my purposes which are illustrative & educational.  We need no express contract—I rely upon you as a christian man."    Elizabeth Hazelton Haight, ed., The Autobiography and Letters of Matthew Vassar.

This collection, made by Magoon in England and purchased for $20,000, consisted of over 400 oils and water-colors by contemporary artists, American and English, including four original water-colors by Turner. The pictures were accompanied by a library of nearly 1,000 volumes. 

From its outset, in 1861, Matthew Vassar had taken, as Vassar's founding president, John Raymond, later observed, "the leading and responsible part in the direction" of the construction of Main Building.  Delays—including the bankruptcy of the builder, William Harloe—plagued project, and the public, curious to see the immense new building where Vassar's "experiment" would take place, frequented the site. As the opening of the college drew near, Vassar, as chairman of the Executive Committee, signed an order banning visitors from the college’s building and grounds "in consequence of frequent interruptions to the workmen." 

Lincoln was re-elected president.

Matthew Vassar noted in his diary: “Very Rainy Day—Matthew gone to N Y on ‘Williamsburg’ Lot business and partly on College sale of Bonds.  ‘Swan’ in office this morning Took ’Harloe’ Contract for Building Gate-Lodge expect Renwick today….

“Returns from Every Union State of the Election which gives Lincoln an overwhelming Majority.  The whole passed off, very Quietly.”     Elizabeth Hazelton Haight, ed., The Autobiography and Letters of Matthew Vassar