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Stephen H. Forbes Papers


Stephen H. Forbes (1910- ) attended Black Mountain College from 1935-1938 and from 1940-1942. Later, he became a friend and financial supporter to the school.His papers include correspondence dating from 1937 to 1959 concerning administration of the college, faculty changes, campus and physical plant development, operating finances and issues relating to property owned by the college. Other materials in the collection include pages from a journal kept by Forbes; class notes and exams; and notes on financial situations and other issues.

Title

Stephen H. Forbes Papers

Collection Number

PC.1885

Date(s)

1935 - 1967

Language

English

Physical Description
Items
192
Genre/Physical Characteristic

manuscript and typescript letters, notes, and journal

Abstract

Stephen H. Forbes (1910- ) attended Black Mountain College from 1935-1938 and from 1940-1942. Later, he became a friend and financial supporter to the school.

His papers include correspondence dating from 1937 to 1959 concerning administration of the college, faculty changes, campus and physical plant development, operating finances and issues relating to property owned by the college. Other materials in the collection include pages from a journal kept by Forbes; class notes and exams; and notes on financial situations and other issues.

Physical Location

For current information on the location ofthese materials, please consult the Public Services Branch, State Archives of North Carolina.

Creator

Forbes, Stephen Hathaway

Repository

Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina


Available for research.


Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.


Processed by George Stevenson, October, 2000

Encoded by Ashley Yandle, May 30, 2002; additional encoding, May, 2010


Stephen H. Forbes (1910- ), son of Mr. and Mrs. Waldo E. Forbes, and a native of Milton, Massachusetts, was educated at Milton Academy (1923-1930), Harvard College (1930-1934), Black Mountain College (1935-1938, 1940-1942), and Temple University. Looking backward nearly 30 years later, Forbes recalled his time at Black Mountain College as the happiest of his life.

Black Mountain College was an experimental school located in Black Mountain, N.C. Established in 1933 by John A. Rice and others, the purpose of the college was to educate the whole person, with an emphasis on the role of the arts and creative thinking. Despite the fact that Black Mountain College could rarely offer faculty more than room and board, a number of important teachers and artists were drawn to the school as part of the regular faculty or to participate in the school's Summer Institutes. Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Robert Creeley, Merce Cunningham, Max Dehn, Joseph Fiore, Buckminister Fuller, Edward Lowinsky, Robert Motherwell, Charles Olson, M.C. Richards, and Xanti Schawinsky were only a few of those who taught at Black Mountain College. In addition, the success of several of the college's students (such as Ruth Asawa, Edward Dorn, Kenneth Noland, and Robert Rauschenberg) helped to further the college's reputation in the area of the arts and the avant garde.

The character and focus of Black Mountain College shifted over time, according to the make-up of the faculty and students. Personal and ideological conflicts were common and sometimes lead to major changes in the college community. Lack of funds added to the stress of the situation, as did the school's physical isolation and its sometimes strained relations with the local population. Eventually, the student enrollment and available funds dwindled until the college was forced to close in 1956.


Stephen H. Forbes (1910- ), son of Mr. and Mrs. Waldo E. Forbes, and a native of Milton, Massachusetts, was educated at Milton Academy (1923-1930), Harvard College (1930-1934), Black Mountain College (1935-1938, 1940-1942), and Temple University. Looking backward nearly 30 years later, Forbes recalled his time at Black Mountain College as the happiest of his life.

Black Mountain College was an experimental school located in Black Mountain, N.C. Established in 1933 by John A. Rice and others, the purpose of the college was to educate the whole person, with an emphasis on the role of the arts and creative thinking. Despite the fact that Black Mountain College could rarely offer faculty more than room and board, a number of important teachers and artists were drawn to the school as part of the regular faculty or to participate in the school's Summer Institutes. Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Robert Creeley, Merce Cunningham, Max Dehn, Joseph Fiore, Buckminister Fuller, Edward Lowinsky, Robert Motherwell, Charles Olson, M.C. Richards, and Xanti Schawinsky were only a few of those who taught at Black Mountain College. In addition, the success of several of the college's students (such as Ruth Asawa, Edward Dorn, Kenneth Noland, and Robert Rauschenberg) helped to further the college's reputation in the area of the arts and the avant garde.

The character and focus of Black Mountain College shifted over time, according to the make-up of the faculty and students. Personal and ideological conflicts were common and sometimes lead to major changes in the college community. Lack of funds added to the stress of the situation, as did the school's physical isolation and its sometimes strained relations with the local population. Eventually, the student enrollment and available funds dwindled until the college was forced to close in 1956.


[Identification of item], PC.1885, Stephen H. Forbes Papers, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC, USA.


Gift, Stephen H. Forbes, 1998.


Additional information on topics found in this collection may be found in the Manuscript and Archives Reference System (MARS)  http://mars.archives.ncdcr.gov.

  1.  List of Black Mountain College collections at the State Archives of North Carolina.  Black Mountain College Records, 1933-1956, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, N.C. (These records have been described in the online Manuscript and Archives Reference System (MARS). See link above.)  Martin Duberman Collection, 1933-1980, PC 1678, State Archives of North CarolinaRaleigh, N.C.  North Carolina Museum of Art, Black Mountain College Research Project, 1933-1973, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, N.C.

First as a student, then as a friend and financial supporter, Forbes maintained a close relationship with the college for nearly two decades. His files of correspondence relating to the school include letters dating from 1937 to 1959 concerning administration of the college, faculty changes, campus and physical plant development, operating finances and issues relating to property owned by the college. Three of the letters provide interesting insights into two faculty members who subsequently attained a degree of celebrity in the field of literary criticism, Alfred Kazin (December 7, 1944, and June 20, 1945) and Eric Bentley (August 15 and December 7, 1944). Others of the letters provide substantive information on Anni Albers and her weaving room at the college (March 16, 1944), theater productions (April 22 and May 29, 1944), the Summer Music Institute (July 10, 1944), and efforts by the college to bring a degree of racial intergration into its programs (March 11, 1943, February 25, 1944, and April 22, 1944). Correspondents include Ted Dreier, William Robert ("Bob") Wunsch, Natalya ("Natasha") Goldowski, David H. Corkran, Dan Rice, Nell Aydelotte Rice, Frank Aydelotte, Toni Dehn, Flola Lake Shepard, Charles Olson, and Wesley Huss.

Other materials in the collection include pages from a journal kept by Forbes during a visit to the college, November 19-25, 1949; class notes and exams from the period when he was a student in 1935-1938; notes on the 1935 financial situation of the college; Howard Haines Brinton's ten "Integrative Forces in Planned Communities" drawn from his experience at the Quaker institution, Pendle Hill, in Pennsylvania; notes on the remarks of a labor operative from the United Mine Workers of America concerning unions and coal strikes of the 1930's; notes of the meeting held at the time of the visit of Louis Adamic to Black Mountain College in 1935; notes on other meetings held at the college between 1936 and 1941; and a 1941 "Survey on Physical Labor" at the college.


First as a student, then as a friend and financial supporter, Forbes maintained a close relationship with the college for nearly two decades. His files of correspondence relating to the school include letters dating from 1937 to 1959 concerning administration of the college, faculty changes, campus and physical plant development, operating finances and issues relating to property owned by the college. Three of the letters provide interesting insights into two faculty members who subsequently attained a degree of celebrity in the field of literary criticism, Alfred Kazin (December 7, 1944, and June 20, 1945) and Eric Bentley (August 15 and December 7, 1944). Others of the letters provide substantive information on Anni Albers and her weaving room at the college (March 16, 1944), theater productions (April 22 and May 29, 1944), the Summer Music Institute (July 10, 1944), and efforts by the college to bring a degree of racial intergration into its programs (March 11, 1943, February 25, 1944, and April 22, 1944). Correspondents include Ted Dreier, William Robert ("Bob") Wunsch, Natalya ("Natasha") Goldowski, David H. Corkran, Dan Rice, Nell Aydelotte Rice, Frank Aydelotte, Toni Dehn, Flola Lake Shepard, Charles Olson, and Wesley Huss.

Other materials in the collection include pages from a journal kept by Forbes during a visit to the college, November 19-25, 1949; class notes and exams from the period when he was a student in 1935-1938; notes on the 1935 financial situation of the college; Howard Haines Brinton's ten "Integrative Forces in Planned Communities" drawn from his experience at the Quaker institution, Pendle Hill, in Pennsylvania; notes on the remarks of a labor operative from the United Mine Workers of America concerning unions and coal strikes of the 1930's; notes of the meeting held at the time of the visit of Louis Adamic to Black Mountain College in 1935; notes on other meetings held at the college between 1936 and 1941; and a 1941 "Survey on Physical Labor" at the college.


  • Adamic, Louis, 1899-1951
  • Albers, Anni
  • Aydelotte, Frank, 1880-1956
  • Bentley, Eric, 1916-
  • Brinton, Howard Haines, 1884-1973
  • Corkran, David H.
  • Dehn, Toni
  • Dreier, Theodore, 1902-1997
  • Forbes, Stephen Hathaway
  • Goldowski, Natalya (Natasha), 1907-1966
  • Huss, Wesley, 1918-
  • Kazin, Alfred, 1915-
  • Olson, Charles, 1910-1970
  • Rice, Dan
  • Rice, Nell Aydelotte
  • Shepard, Flola Lake
  • Wunsch, William Robert, 1896-
  • Black Mountain College (Black Mountain, N.C.)
  • College integration--North Carolina--History
  • Looms
  • School integration
  • Universities and colleges--North Carolina--Finance