The John Guy Vassar Chair of Modern Languages and John Guy Vassar Chair of Natural History were established through the bequests of John Guy Vassar, nephew of the Founder and a charter trustee. These chairs were first held by Jean C. Bracq, Professor of French, 1891-1918, and William B. Dwight, Professor of Natural History and Curator of the Museum, 1878-1906.

John Guy Vassar’s will restricted the named chairs—as did that of his brother, Matthew Vassar, Jr.—to male occupants, a fact that had troubled Maria Mitchell.“ Poor Mr. Vassar!” she had written to a friend when she learned of Vassar, Jr.’s proviso, “I pity him that he could leave no more generous-spirited legacy; but he wasn’t born to be generous.  We wonder if John [Guy] will do the same.”     MS letter

The John Guy Vassar Art Fund was also established at this time.