Tuesday, January 09, 2018

New School founders

Meanwhile in New School history, a friend found a 1967 letter in an archive in Philadelphia with this rather vertiginous logo on the letterhead. I asked our archivist about it. She quickly ID'd it as the New School Founders' Medal introduced in 1962, with the heads of the school's first directors Charles Beard and James Harvey Robinson (who resigned after three years) and Alvin Johnson (who served 1922-46). She also directed me to the press release about it (a draft!) and the New School Bulletin about the medal and its first recipient, architect and 1956-61 chairman of the New School Board of Trustees, Ralph Walker.
Turns out the New School Archives have just digitized 1800 of these Bulletins for any and all to peruse online, a treasure trove for understanding New School history as it happened. Said special issue of the Bulletin, for instance, gives us a telling snapshot of what the New School thought it was and should be at a crucial juncture. America's First University for Adults, it bills itself, and offers the following interesting historical overview. Here you notice both that many of the New School's presidents have been historians - Beard and Robinson, but also Bryn Hovde (1946-50) and Henry David, whose stint as president had just begun in 1961 - and would be ended by the board soon thereafter!

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