During my research, it was a delight to discover that there was a popular art teacher at Vassar. If I had known when I was writing that Henry van Ingen
was so romantically sensitive in appearance, I suppose I might have given Jeanette a full-scale crush on him. It might have helped prepare for her interest in an older man. Then again, the student author of Letters from Old-Time Vassar, Written by a Student in 1869–70
(Poughkeepsie, 1915) wrote home that “we never think of our teachers as men or Miss Lyman wouldn’t have them here” (p. 70).
A photograph of van Ingen
, cigarette in hand as he talks to a girl in the art gallery, captures some of the sly humor I believe the man had. I admit, however, that I pictured him as pudgier and more avuncular. (more…)