Examining the “Top Hat Scandal” provides insight into Jewett and Vassar’s relationship and raises questions: how were these two men able to accomplish such a project as establishing a college, yet split over a seemingly minor issue? How did Jewett manage to persuade Vassar to spend his fortune in women’s higher education, an idea that went against popular sentiment, and a project to which his nephews objected? A description of Jewett in the journal of Benjamin Moran from 1862, an acquaintance of Jewett, expressed the view that there was nothing particularly prepossessing about him...
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...ge, $2500 of books, only to see it sit around, unused. Have the years taken such a toll on him and made him unable to finish his enterprise?
Jewett also tried to persuade Vassar that it would make him happy to open in 1864. Walking through the library and grounds of the college he had given his life’s fortune to would be the greatest source of enjoyment for him. Only if the college was in operation could he suggest further improvements for the gardens and buildings. Finally, he urged Vassar to consider the honor he would receive upon completing this endeavor. He would have made a great contribution to America’s higher education, for Vassar College would be unparalleled and he would be praised for his role as a benefactor to young women. Regardless, the same headstrong determination Jewett used to urge Vassar to build Vassar College was his downfall.
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