November 6, 1881|
|Died||December 29, 1982
Chevy Chase, Maryland
|Period||1914 - 1979|
|Genre||non-fiction, poetry and religious|
|Subject||education and Bahá'í Faith|
|Spouse||Ida Nayan Whitlam|
He was born in Newton, Massachusetts to Darius Cobb - a Civil War soldier, artist and descendent of Elder Henry Cobb of the second voyage of the Mayflower - and Eunice Hale (née Waite) - founding president of the Ladies Physiological Institute of Boston and mother of Cobb's four sisters and two other brothers. He studied first at Dartmouth College, where he was valedictorian of his 1903 or 1905 graduating class, and then at Harvard Divinity School, earning an A.M. in philosophy and comparative religion 1910. His thesis work, Communistic Experimental Settlements in the USA observed that every such settlement had failed within a generation because of an inability of communism to get people to subordinate their own desires for the good of the group. In 1919 he married Ida Nayan Whitlam. Cobb was a member of several literary associations and of the Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C..
Cobb lived internationally for some years before settling in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where he died.
Career as educator
In 1907–1910, Cobb taught history and Latin at Robert College in Constantinople (now Istanbul), followed by several years teaching in the US and Europe. He later headed the English department at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland (1914–15), taught at Asheville School in Asheville, North Carolina (1915–16), and was instructor of history and English at the United States Naval Academy (1916–19). Frustrated by the teaching experience at the Academy, Cobb heard a lecture by Marietta Johnson who helped marshal and crystallize his thoughts on education practice and curriculum theory. As a result, in 1919, Cobb founded the Chevy Chase Country Day School, of which he was the principal until his retirement, and, active in the progressive education movement in the United States, became a founder and motivating force, first secretary, and eventually president (1927–1930) of The Association for the Advancement of Progressive Education, later renamed in 1931 as Progressive Education Association (PEA) and then American Education Fellowship. The first president was Arthur E. Morgan. Later the influential John Dewey served as president. Cobb resigned the Presidency in 1930 following the influx of supporters of George Counts who moved the focus of the Association from a student-centred learning approach to one of a social policy oriented approach to education theory. However, between the enormous impact of World War II on all thought and the involvement of many members of the PEA in communism and the general atmosphere of Anti-communism in the United States the achievements of the PEA both before Cobb's resignation and after were largely lost and ended the efforts of the Association shortly after the Carnegie Foundation and Rockefeller Foundations withdrew their support.
Life as a Bahá'í
After looking at Theosophy and Reform Judaism and other themes in religion Cobb investigated the Bahá'í Faith after a series of articles in the Boston Transcript on the religion attracted his attention. He pursued the interest to Green Acre conference center in Eliot, Maine in 1906 during his studies at Harvard Divinity School seeking to be a Unitarian minister. Sarah Farmer much affected Cobb and Thornton Chase was giving a series of talks. It was on that occasion that he became a Bahá'í.
Between 1909 and 1913 he met with `Abdu'l-Bahá five times (twice in Akka and several times during the latter's travel to Europe and the US). In 1911 Cobb and a number of others gave talks in honor of the personal invitation by `Abdu'l-Bahá to pilgrimage of Louis Gregory.
Cobb was a founding member of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Washington D. C. in 1933, and served on various committees (for example Cobb was Chairman of the Teaching Committee in 1935) and edited two Baha'i journals: Star of the West in 1924, and World Order from 1935-39.
Cobb was a prolific writer. Among his books were:
- The Real Turk, ISBN B000NUP6SI, 1914, The Pilgrim Press Publisher, (Summarized in The Bookman: A Review of Books and Life")' p. 429.)
- Ayesha of the Bosphorus, 1915, Boston Murray and Emery Co. Publisher (Available online)
- The Essential Mysticism. 1918 Four Seasons Publisher, (republished 2006 by Kessinger Publishing, LLC as ISBN 978-1-4286-0910-5)
- Simia, A Tale in Verse. 1919 Cornhill Publisher
- The New Leaven: Progressive Education and Its Effect upon the Child and Society. 1928 (Guy Thomas Buswell review published in The Elementary School Journal, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Nov., 1928), pp. 232–233).
- The Wisdom of Wu Ming Fu 1931, Henry Holt and Company
- Discovering the Genius Within You 1932, John Day Publisher, and again, World Publishing Co., Cleveland, 1941.
- New Horizons for the Child. 1934 The Avalon Press Publisher
- Security in a Failing World. 1934 The Avalon Press Published
- The Way of Life of Wu Ming Fu. 1935 (reprinted 1942) The Avalon Press Publisher
- Character - A Sequence in Spiritual Psychology. 1938 The Avalon Press Publisher
- Symbols of America. 1946, The Avalon Press Publisher
- Tomorrow and Tomorrow. 1951 The Avalon Press Publisher
- The Donkey Or the Elephant. 1951 The Avalon Press Publisher
- What is Man?. 1952
- Sage of the Sacred Mountain; a Gospel of Tranquility. 1953, The Avalon Press
- Magnificent Partnership. 1954, Vantage Press Publisher (Warren S. Tryon review published in The New England Quarterly, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Sep., 1955), p. 429)
- What is God?. 1955
- What is Love?. 1957, The Avalon Press, Publisher
- Islamic Contributions to Civilization. 1963 (Available online)
- Memories of 'Abdu'l-Baha. 1962, The Avalon Press Publisher 
- The Importance of Creativity. 1967, Published Scarecrow Press
- Life With Nayan. 1969, The Avalon Press Publisher
- Radiant Living. 1970, The Avalon Press Publisher
- The Meaning of Life. 1972, The Avalon Press Publisher
- Thoughts on education and life. 1975, The Avalon Press Publisher
- A Call to Action: Develop Your Spiritual Power : Man's Fulfillment on the .... 1977, The Avalon Press Publisher
- A Saga of Two Centuries 1979 (Autobiography)
Similar to his books, the focus of Cobb's articles has been education and Baha'i oriented - he has contributed to or anthologized by:
- The Atlantic Monthly (Feb 1921)
- The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research by the American Society for Psychical Research,
- The School Arts Magazine by Davis Press,
- Childhood Education by the Association for Childhood Education International
- Child Study by Child Study Association of America
- The New England Magazine by the Making of America Project
- The Path of Learning: Essays on Education by Henry Wyman Holmes, Burton P. Fowler, Published 1926 by Little, Brown and Company
- Progressive Education by Progressive Education Association
as well as
- Bahá'í views on Communism
- Education reform
- G. Stanley Hall
- International journal of progressive education
- The Register of the Malden Historical Society Vol 6, 1919-20 by Mass Malden Historical Society, Frank S. Whitten Printer, p.70-3
- Oates, John F. 1975?. Biographical Dictionary of American Educators, Vol. 1, pp. 275
- McLean, J.A., Pilgrim's Notes (blog), "What Stanwood Cobb Told Me About 'Abdu'l-Bahá," Sunday, August 12, 2007
- The Bahá'í World, Vol 18, Part 5, "In Memoriam: Stanwood Cobb, 1881-1982"
- Cobb, Stanwood (1979). A Saga of Two Centuries. Washington DC: Avalon Press. p. 33.
- Alternative Schools: Diverted but not Defeated Paper submitted to Qualification Committee, At UC Davis, California, July 2000, By Kathy Emery
- Historical Dictionary of American Education ed. by Richard J. Altenbaugh, 1999 Greenwood Press Publisher, Progressive Education Association by Craig Kridel, p.303-4, ISBN 0-313-28590-X
- University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development, "Timeline: 1910s"
- Time Magazine, "Progressives' Progress," Monday, Oct. 31, 1938
- Beck, Robert H. 1959. "Progressive Education and American Progressivism: Margaret Naumburg" (book review). Teachers College Record 60(4): 198-208
- The Struggle for the American Curriculum by H. Kliebard, p. 168, published by Rutledge, 1955
- Encyclopedia of Chicago - Progressive Education
- Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality by Leigh Schmidt Cobb, published by HarperCollins, 2005, p. 218
- Minutes of the House of Spirituality, 1 Sept. 1906
- McLean, J.A., Pilgrim's Notes (blog), "Corrections to Blog on Stanwood Cobb...," Sunday, August 12, 2007
- Biography of Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Louis George Gregory
- Alain Locke: Faith and Philosophy by Christopher Buck, Studies in Babí and Bahá'í Religions - Volume 18, p.168