You might pass Vassar College on a pretty regular basis, but what do you know about the person who's idea it was to start this hallowed 'institution' that present day has a Quidditch team?

Matthew Vassar made it to the Poughkeepsie are with his parents after arriving from England at the age of 4. His Dad and older brother were all about their brewing business, which Matthew wanted no part of, so his mom (at the old age of 15) helped him to defy his father and he ran away, to Newburgh.

After learning a trade and earning money for a few years, he made it back to Poughkeepsie, where he decided it was time to join his Dad and brother in the family brewing business, only to have it burn down shortly after he rejoined the family.

Matthew was able to establish many new businesses throughout the years and eventually married in 1813, living in a house on the corner of Noxon and Academy Streets in the City of Poughkeepsie. He and his wife later spent time at their Springside estate. 

Throughout the years Matthew spent time working his way through many successes of the brewery when his step-niece came to the area. She was a teacher and had instructed many girls through her journeys. It was her coming back into his life that started the idea of what eventually became the Vassar College that we know today.

Matthew Vassar, who seemingly only had a third-grade education was the founder of one of the premier colleges in the United States?

This just barely touches on the contributions that Matthew Vassar made to the Poughkeepsie and Hudson Valley area. For more information, click here to visit the Vassar archives.