New Lincoln School

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New Lincoln School
31 West 110th Street
New York, New York 10026
 United States
School type private, progressive
Established 1948
Status closed
Closed 1988
CEEB code 333845
Grades K-12
Average class size 20
Color(s) blue and gold
Newspaper Lincoln Live Wire

The New Lincoln School was a private experimental coeducational school in New York City enrolling students from kindergarten through grade 12.


Its predecessor was founded as Lincoln School in 1917 by the Rockefeller-funded General Education Board as "a pioneer experimental school for newer educational methods," under the aegis of Columbia University's Teachers College. In 1941 Teachers College merged Lincoln School with Horace Mann School, which it operated as a demonstration school. When Teachers College closed down the combined school in 1946, parents of Lincoln School enrollees established the New Lincoln School in 1948 to carry on the tradition of progressive, experimental education, concentrating on the individual child, offering an interdisciplinary core program as well as electives in elementary grades, and emphasizing the arts.

In 1956, the school acquired the former Boardman School on East 82nd Street and moved its Lower School (through second grade) to that campus, under the coordination of Terry Spitalny.

In 1974, the school moved to 210 East 77th Street.[1] The school merged with the Walden School in Fall 1988 to become the New Walden Lincoln School,[2] which ultimately closed in Summer 1991.


The New Lincoln School building had previously been the 110th Street Community Center.[3] An eight-story building that had been recently renovated and had a swimming pool in the basement, it was further renovated to meet the new school's needs of a cafeteria, classrooms, laboratories, and a library.

Today, the West 110th Street site is home to the Lincoln Correctional Facility, a minimum-security work-release center.[4] The East 77th Street campus has been occupied by the Birch Wathen School since 1989.[5]


The curriculum revolved around "Core," a theme around which social science and English instruction was structured. Field trips and class plays were integrated with Core. Core topics included the Dutch in New York, China, India, Japan, and American History. Some Core programs were linked to a grade, while others varied from year to year. Science and Math were taught more conventionally, though Math classes were smaller, broken down within groups by level.

Instruction was highly individualized, with individual exploration and small work groups greatly encouraged. Seating plans were generally informal, and most teachers were called by their first names, though they could choose more formal modes of address. Foreign language instruction, French and Spanish, began in the fifth grade. English grammar was not taught.

The arts were stressed. An extensive studio art program was headed by Lois Lord ("Lordy"), assisted later by Doris Stahl and others, explored many media. The ceramics program, which featured kilns and a wide range of glazing materials, was run by "Axie" Axelson. Music was taught by Hugh McElhenny. Hugh used a great variety of instruments in teaching, and students played on autoharps, temple blocks, marimbas, gongs, to mention a few. Song lyrics were displayed with a slide projector against the wall during group singing, and the range of music ranged from folk and work songs to Broadway tunes. All students, regardless of gender, took Wood Shop and Home Economics.

While grade levels were conventional, the Middle School combined fifth and sixth grades and seventh and eighth into two or three groups each. Grades were labeled alphabetically, so that Group A corresponded to first grade, Group B to second ... Groups K, L, M to seventh and eighth.

Notable alumni[edit]

Former directors[edit]

  • Dr. John J. Brooks (1948–1959)
  • E. Francis Bowditch (1959–1960)[12]
  • Dr. Gerhardt E. Rast (1960-)[13]
  • John J. Formanek (1964–1968)
  • Dr. Harold C. Haizlip (1968–1971)[14]
  • Collin Reed (1973-)[15]
  • Edgar S. Bley
  • Verne Oliver (-1987)
  • George Cohan (1987–1988)[16]

In popular culture[edit]

A benefit concert for the school on April 19, 1959 at Carnegie Hall by Harry Belafonte was one of two such concerts recorded and released as Belafonte at Carnegie Hall. The other benefit concert, for the Wiltwyck School on April 20, netted $58,000 for that school.[17]



  1. ^ "Moves Change Tenantry At Fifth Ave. and 47th St.; News of the Realty Trade School Moving Shoe Store". New York times. 1973-09-02. p. 242. The New Lincoln School has purchased the eight-story building at 210 East 77th Street from Felko Associates, which had recently acquired it... 
  2. ^ "Private Schools". Education Week. 1988-06-22. Two New York City schools--the Walden School and the New Lincoln School--plan to merge as a way of fighting rising costs and shrinking enrollments. The schools' boards approved the merger last month, choosing as the combined institution's name the New Walden Lincoln School. 
  3. ^ "New School Set Up as an Experiment; Group in Horace Mann-Lincoln Protest to Open Classes at Community Center". New York Times. 1948-07-30. p. 14. The Experimental School, Inc., will be opened Sept. 20 at the 110th Street Community Center, 31 West 110th Street... 
  4. ^ Risen, Clay (2002-07-09). "Prison on the Park". The Morning News. 
  5. ^ Waite, Thomas L. (1988-12-18). "POSTINGS: School Conversion; Lesson in Change". New York Times. And the Birch Wathen School will move into the New Lincoln School building at 210 East 77th Street in July when Lincoln merges with the Walden School. 
  6. ^ Murphy, Mildred (1958-02-25). "SCHOOL WELCOMES LITTLE ROCK GIRL; Director Greets Expelled Negro Pupil Here -- She Hopes for Calm Stay". New York Times. p. 29. Minnijean Brown attended school here for the first time yesterday since her expulsion a week ago from Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. 
  7. ^ "Shirley Clarke, 77; Filmmaker Who Won An Academy Award". Boston Globe. 1997-09-25. She attended the Ethical Culture School and the New Lincoln School in New York. 
  8. ^ "Golden touch; in Harlem, Thelma Golden has big plans for contemporary art". New Yorker. 2002-01-14. In her last two years of high school, when she was commuting to the New Lincoln School, on the Upper East Side, she worked as an intern at the Metropolitan... 
  9. ^ Lewis, Jo Ann (1991-06-22). "Images That Get Under the Skin; Artist Adrian Piper, Fighting Racism With 3 Exhibits". Washington Post. ...and adolescence at the exclusive New Lincoln School in New York City (on which her parents lavished their limited funds)... 
  10. ^ Robotics Online
  11. ^ Wallace, Michele (1979). Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman. London: John Calder. p. 3. ISBN 9780714537818. 
  12. ^ "Former Dean at M.I.T. To Head Lincoln School". New York Times. 1959-09-04. p. 22. The New Lincoln School, 31 W 101st Street, has named E. Francis Bowditch director. 
  13. ^ "Director Is Announced At New Lincoln School". New York Times. 1960-05-07. p. 13. 
  14. ^ Carmody, Deidre (1968-09-01). "Negro Educator Named Director Of the New Lincoln School Here". New York Times. p. 43. 
  15. ^ "New Lincoln School Names New Director". New York Times. 1973-10-28. p. 60. 
  16. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (1988-05-10). "Planned Merger to Cut Costs For Two Private Day Schools". New York Times. 
  17. ^ Bollard, Bob. liner notes for Belafonte at Carnegie Hall. RCA Victor Records LOC-6006

External links[edit]