Modern School (United States)

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The Modern School, by Francisco Ferrer, translated by Voltairine de Cleyre in 1909
The NYC Modern School, ca. 1911–1912, Principal Will Durant and pupils. This photograph was the cover of the first issue of The Modern School magazine.
The Modern School magazine, Spring, 1920

The Modern Schools, also called Ferrer Schools, were schools in the United States, established in the early twentieth century, that were modeled after the Escuela Moderna of Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, the Spanish educator and anarchist. They were an important part of the anarchist, free schooling, socialist, and labor movements in the U.S., intended to educate the working-classes from a secular, class-conscious perspective. The Modern Schools imparted day-time academic classes for children and night-time continuing-education lectures for adults.

The Modern School, New York City[edit]

The first, and most notable, of the American Modern Schools was founded in New York City, in 1911, two years after Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia’s execution for sedition in monarchist Spain on 18 October 1909, and housed children of strikers from the 1912 Lawrence textile strike and 1913 Paterson silk strike.[1] Commonly called the Ferrer Center, it was founded by notable anarchists — including Leonard Abbott, Alexander Berkman, Voltairine de Cleyre, and Emma Goldman — first meeting on St. Mark's Place, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, but twice moved elsewhere, first within lower Manhattan, then to 103 East 107th Street in Harlem. The Ferrer Center opened with only nine students, one being the son of Margaret Sanger, the contraceptives-rights activist. Man Ray enrolled in the autumn of 1912 as a night-time continuing-education student[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] taking life drawing classes supervised by Robert Henri and George Bellows.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]

Starting in 1912, the school’s principal was the philosopher Will Durant, who also taught there. Besides Berkman and Goldman, the Ferrer Center faculty included the Ashcan School painters Robert Henri and George Bellows, and its guest lecturers included writers and political activists such as Margaret Sanger, Jack London, and Upton Sinclair.[21] Student Magda Schoenwetter, recalled that the school used Montessori methods and equipment, and emphasised academic freedom rather than fixed subjects, such as spelling and arithmetic.[22]

In July 1914, radical anarchists who frequented the Ferrer Center, and loosely associated with its adult education program, plotted to bomb the mansion of tycoon industrialist John D. Rockefeller. On failing to enter the Rockefeller estate, they took the bomb back to the Lexington Avenue apartment of Louise Berger (a school habitué and a Latvian anarchist who edited Emma Goldman's Mother Earth), where it exploded, killing four people, including three of the bombers, and wounding many others, and brought political notoriety upon the Ferrer Center.[23]

Other Modern Schools[edit]

After the 4 July 1914 Lexington Avenue bombing, the police investigated and several times raided the Ferrer Center and other labor and anarchist organisations in New York City.[23] Acknowledging the urban danger to their school, the organizers bought 68 acres (275,000 m²) in Piscataway Township, New Jersey, and moved there in 1914, becoming the center of the Stelton Colony.[24] Moreover, beyond New York City, the Ferrer Colony and Modern School was founded (ca. 1910–1915) in Piscataway, New Jersey as a Modern School-based community, that endured some forty years.

In 1930, the Mohegan Colony[25][26][27][28] at the South end of Lake Mohegan at Mohegan Lake, in Westchester County, 50 miles from New York City,[29] was established[30] by Harry Kelly with a Modern School and had 300 families,[31][32][33][34][35][24][36][37][38][39][40][41][31][42][43][44][45] including Moritz Jagendorf and Rudolf Rocker.

In 1933, James and Nellie Dick, who earlier had been principals of the Stelton Modern School, founded the Modern School in Lakewood, New Jersey,[23] which survived the original Modern School, the Ferrer Center, becoming the final surviving such school, lasting until 1958.[46]

The Modern School magazine[edit]

The Modern School magazine originally began as a newsletter for parents, when the school was in New York City, printed with the manual printing press used in teaching printing as a profession. After moving to the Stelton Colony, New Jersey, the magazine’s content expanded to poetry, prose, art, and libertarian education articles; the cover emblem and interior graphics were designed by Rockwell Kent. Artists and writers, among them Hart Crane and Wallace Stevens, praised The Modern School as “the most beautifully printed magazine in existence.”[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "May Day Parades By 50,000 Workers". New York Times. May 2, 1913.
  2. ^ Francis Naumann; Conversion to Modernism: The Early Work of Man Ray; Rutgers University Press; ISBN 0-8135-3148-9 (2003).
  3. ^ Mundy, Jennifer (1 March 2016). "Man Ray: Writings on Art". Getty Publications. Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "The Modern School and Ferrer Colony". princeton.edu. 27 August 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  5. ^ Avrich, Paul (14 July 2014). "The Modern School Movement: Anarchism and Education in the United States". Princeton University Press. Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Man Ray - Bio". phillipscollection.org. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Man Ray and the Société Anonyme, New York -". trompeteler.com. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  8. ^ Glueck, Grace (7 March 2003). "ART REVIEW; Emmanuel Radnitzky, Before He Was Man Ray". Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via NYTimes.com.
  9. ^ "History of Art: Man Ray". all-art.org. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  10. ^ "Man Ray". Hollis Taggart Galleries. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Robert Henri and His Influence". tfaoi.com. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  12. ^ Crow, Kelly (11 May 2012). "The Surreal Selling of Man Ray". Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via wsj.com.
  13. ^ "Man Ray: The darling of the revolutionary set (art revolution that is)". gvshp.org. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Man Ray (photographer; painter/draughtsman; American (USA); Male; 1890 - 1976)". British Museum. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  15. ^ Mundy, Jennifer (1 March 2016). "Man Ray: Writings on Art". Getty Publications. Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ Weir, David (1 April 1997). "Anarchy & Culture: The Aesthetic Politics of Modernism". Univ of Massachusetts Press. Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  17. ^ Burke, Carolyn (25 July 1996). "Becoming Modern: The Life of Mina Loy". Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ "Man Ray: Dada Artist, Surrealist Photographer". visual-arts-cork.com. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Pre-Abstract Expressionist Artist". The New York Times. 18 September 1988. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  20. ^ "The unholy trinity - Tate". tate.org.uk. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  21. ^ Avrich, Paul, The Modern School Movement, AK Press (2005), p.212: At the Ferrer Center, Berkman was called “The Pope”, Goldman was called “The Red Queen”.
  22. ^ Avrich, Paul, Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America, “Interview with Magda Schoenwetter”, AK Press (2005), ISBN 1-904859-27-5, ISBN 978-1-904859-27-7, p.230: “What everybody is yowling about now — freedom in education — we had then, though I still can’t spell or do multiplication.”
  23. ^ a b c Avrich, Paul, The Modern School Movement. Princeton: Princeton University Press (1980); Avrich, Paul, Anarchist Portraits, Princeton: Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-00609-1 (1988)
  24. ^ a b "Ferrer Colony, Stelton - Fellowship for Intentional Community". ic.org. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  25. ^ Avrich, Paul (1 April 2018). "Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America". AK Press. Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  26. ^ Veysey, Laurence R. (1 November 1978). "The Communal Experience: Anarchist and Mystical Communities in Twentieth Century America". University of Chicago Press. Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  27. ^ Trahair, R. C. S. (1 April 1999). "Utopias and Utopians: An Historical Dictionary". Greenwood Publishing Group. Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  28. ^ Grumet, Robert S. (26 June 2013). "Manhattan to Minisink: American Indian Place Names of Greater New York and Vicinity". University of Oklahoma Press. Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  29. ^ "Mohegan Colony Association to Grand Central Terminal". Google Maps. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  30. ^ "Janice E. Holly, Doctor of Philosophy dissertation, 2007" (PDF). umd.edu. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  31. ^ a b Berger, Joseph (19 August 2007). "Workers' Paradise, and With a Nice View". Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via NYTimes.com.
  32. ^ "An Illustrated History of Mohegan - Part 3". yorktownhistory.org. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  33. ^ Veysey, Laurence R. (1 November 1978). "The Communal Experience: Anarchist and Mystical Communities in Twentieth Century America". University of Chicago Press. Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  34. ^ Avrich, Paul (1 April 2018). "Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America". AK Press. Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  35. ^ "Arguing the World -- The New York Intellectuals - Daniel Bell". pbs.org. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  36. ^ "Reunions". friendsofthemodernschool.org. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  37. ^ Zappia, Charles A. (1 January 1996). "Review of Avrich, Paul, Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America". h-net.org. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  38. ^ "Mohegan Colony. Photos by Valerio ISCA. - RAForum". raforum.info. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  39. ^ "Ferrer Center - RAForum". raforum.info. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  40. ^ "Bringing an Unfortunately Obscure Educational Movement to Life". c4ss.org. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  41. ^ "Harper's Monthly Magazine". Harper & Brothers. Retrieved 1 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  42. ^ SHARGEL, BAILA ROUND (1 April 1995). "Leftist Summer Colonies of Northern Westchester County, New York". American Jewish History. 83 (3): 337–358. JSTOR 23885514.
  43. ^ "Casetext". casetext.com. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  44. ^ "Mohegan Colony Association - JBFC EDU". education.burnsfilmcenter.org. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  45. ^ "Lake Mohegan". notjustpoker.com. 12 February 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  46. ^ AERO-GRAMME #11: The Alternative Education Resource Organization Newsletter Archived 2011-09-29 at the Wayback Machine.

Further reading[edit]

  • Avrich, Paul, Anarchist Portraits, Princeton: Princeton University Press (1988), ISBN 0-691-00609-1
  • Avrich, Paul, The Modern School Movement: Anarchism and Education in the United States. Princeton: Princeton University Press (1980) (AK Press edition)
  • Laurence Vesey, The Communal Experience (Anarchist and Mystical Communities in 20th century America), Univ.Chicago Press, 1973, Part 1 Chapter 2 The Ferrer Colony and Modern School of Stelton.

External links[edit]