The Lucy Maynard Salmon Chair of American History, honoring the pioneering social historian and founder of Vassar's history department, was established through alumnae gifts. Very little history was taught at the college before 1887, when Professor Salmon (1853-1927) established the department of history. It's chairman for nearly forty years, Salmon urged students to "go to the sources" and to consider "history" not only as contained in the acts and texts of governments and nations but also as revealed in the evidence of everyday life, as exemplified in her 1913 study History in a Back Yard.