Vassar College (/ ˈ v æ s ər / VASS-ər) is a private liberal arts college in Poughkeepsie, New York, United States. Founded in 1861 by Matthew Vassar , it was the second degree-granting institution of higher education for women in the United States, closely following Elmira College .
In 1897, Webster entered Vassar College as a member of the class of 1901. Majoring in English and economics, she took a course in welfare and penal reform and became interested in social issues.  As part of her course she visited institutions for "delinquent and destitute children".