Lucy Maynard Salmon was born in 1853 in Fulton, New York. She entered University of Michigan in 1872, one year after it began to admit women. She taught high school in Iowa and then returned to Michigan and received a Master’s degree in History. She continued her studies at Bryn Mawr, and in 1887 was hired by Vassar College to establish the history department. Adelaide Underhill of Skaneateles, New York, was a senior when Lucy Salmon joined the faculty and quickly became a star pupil and ardent admirer. After she graduated in 1888, she attended the Library School at Columbia University and received her Master’s degree, and returned to Vassar as a librarian in 1892.