I. Before Sept. 1945

 Our school methods, and to a very considerable extent our curriculum, are inherited from the period when learning and command of certain symbols, affording as they did the only access to learning, were all-important. The ideals of this period are still largely in control, even where the outward methods and studies have been changed. We sometimes hear the introduction of manual training, art, and science into the elementary, and even the secondary, schools deprecated on the ground that they detract from our present scheme of generous, liberal culture. The point of this objection would be ludicrous if it were not so effective as to make it tragic. It is our present education which is highly specialized, one-sided, and narrow. It is an education dominated almost entirely by the medaeval conception of learning. It is something which appeals for the most part simply to the intellectual aspect of our natures, our desire to learn, to accumulate information, and to get control of the symbols of learning; not to our impulses and tendencies to make, to do, to create, to produce, whether in the form of utility or of art. The very fact that manual training, art, and science are objected to as technical, as tending toward were specialism, is of itself as good testimony as could be offered to the specialized aim which controls current education. Unless education had been virtually identified with the exclusively intellectual pursuits, with learning as such, all these materials and methods would be welcome, would be greeted with the utmost hospitality.                           

                                               -- John Dewey, The Child and the Curriculum, (1902)    



A.  Intellectual.   Woodstock Country School will strive to stimulate in manifold ways intellectual curiosity, mental alertness, and pride in sound scholarship. The organization of classes, the type of men and women who will constitute the faculty, the close contact with real life thru (sic) work experience around the School itself and its farm, the weekend campus experiences made possible by the facilities of Camp Timberlake, participation in the community life of the town of Woodstock -- all these will serve to provide an environment broad and richly stimulating to a growing mind.  

B.  Religious.  The School will endeavor to emphasize a simple, genuine type of religion, first of all thru a faculty, which, while naturally differing widely as to individual point of view on religion, will share the conviction as to its validity and importance in their own lives and the lives of their students. Brief daily chapel services will be supplemented by frequent weekend visits of inspiring men and women from outside, and by participation in (not merely attendance at) church life in the town.  

C.  Physical.  The Greek idea of developing one’s body to its maximum healths strength, agility and beauty is a goal too frequently lost sight of in the pressure of interscholastic sports competition. Woodstock Country School may eventually develop teams and take part in games with other schools, but this type of activity, fine as it is in its place, will not be allowed to overshadow other reasons for athletics rugged health and physical fitness, skill in games and in athletic activities which may become hobbies later in life.  

D.  Social.   Among the precious intangibles which a school may give its students is that spirit of gay and generous cooperation which can come from living together, sharing common tasks, with kindly humor and Christian forbearance helping one another to grow in strength and breadth of character. Places like Pendle Hill, the Quaker graduate school near Philadelphia, Black Mountain College, Putney School, Bedales in England, and other fine institutions suited to the modern age, show that this can be done. The Nation needs more such places.

The education of boys and girls together, a feature of Friends education from the first, is more and more coming to be recognized as a most salutary and valuable experience. To know members of the other sex not only as the glamorous partners of the dance floor but in everyday situations, working and playing together, striving together for common objectives, is not only a wholesome experience but the best preparation for a sympathetic understanding of the other sex on which so much of later happiness is based.  

                                                    -- Ken Webb, WCS prospectus (2nd ed.), March 1945 


     In the fall of 1944, after years of dreaming and planning, Ken Webb took the first practical steps toward opening his own school for the following school year. He found a good site. He started writing a prospectus for students, teachers, and backers. And he put out his first, discreet feelers for local support. While succeeding in raising the necessary support to open the school, Ken would eventually pay an unanticipated price for his success: a position of compromised authority that he would come regret a few years later.  

     Kenneth Webb was born in 1902, in Springfield, Mass. He attended the public primary and secondary schools there before attending Harvard College, where he graduated with honors in Greek and English literature in 1924. Nine years later he earned a Harvard M.A. in comparative literature. He started teaching in 1925 at the Storm King School, later moving on to the American University in Beirut, the Peddie School (where he was head of the Latin Department), Vermont Academy, and the Baltimore Friends School (again heading the Latin Department), among others. A short, vigorous man of intense and serious demeanor, Ken believed deeply in the values which he wanted his school to embody. He expected Woodstock to be no less demanding of its students than he was of himself. Left with a limp by a childhood brush with polio, Ken pushed his body constantly to its limits, hiking, splitting wood, clearing brush, or working out at home with barbells. His diaries show him pushing his mind and spirit just as hard. A convinced Friend, he regularly exhorted himself to do more and to be a better person doing it.

     His wife Susan was born Susan Howard in 1908 in Burlington, Vermont. Her mother, Dr. Susan E. Howard, was a suffragist and Burlington's first woman doctor, whom the male medical establishment barred from the local hospital. The younger Susan’s paternal grandfather, Oliver Otis Howard, had served as commissioner of the Freedman's Bureau following the Civil War, and had founded Howard University in Washington, D.C. Growing up in a strong Quaker family with powerful traditions of independent thought and social responsibility, Susan developed a quiet drive that would carry her, in "retirement" in the 1970s, into an eight year career as a Vermont state legislator. She attended local public schools as a girl, then graduated from the University of Vermont in 1930.  A slim, vigorous, forthright young woman determined to make a useful contribution to the world, she met Ken Webb the following year, as she was at Radcliffe College completing work for her M.A. in classics.  Years later Susan recalled her and Ken’s instant rapport -- both classicists, both teachers, both socially concerned: "We talked all the first evening that we met, and we never stopped talking for fifty-two years."

     Ken and Susan Webb married in 1932, and for the rest of their lives together, theirs was a relationship based on equality, partnership, and mutual respect. At first they pursued joint teaching careers, but always with the thought that they would some day start their own, progressive school when they could raise the money. Meanwhile they did what they could afford.  In 1939, they started an all-boys Camp Merlicht (“more light” in German) -- soon changed to Timberlake -- in Plymouth, Vermont, about 15 miles west of Woodstock.  Ken was the director of the first camp, but two years later they added Indian Brook Camp for girls, that Susan directed until she and Ken retired in 1973.  They kept addindg camps over the years eventually creating the complex known Farm and Wilderness Camps that was still going strong more than 70 years later.  Based on a philosophy of cooperation and equality, all the camps had relatively rugged regimens, designed to foster both individual and group self-reliance. At the same time, the camps, while non-sectarian,  were deeply influenced by the Webbs' Quaker beliefs and global concerns.

     By the fall of 1944, when started writing his school prospectus, he and Susan had moved to Woodstock with their three small children. They had given up their teaching positions to devote all their energies to establishing Farm and Wilderness Camps on a solid base. Now Ken felt secure enough to turn to a new enterprise. He was 42 then, he had been thinking about and planning his own school for more than a decade, he was confident of his own abilities, he had a successful record of educational achievement. With Susan committed first to their children, and still a partner in the Farm and Wilderness enterprise, Ken felt he needed an assistant -- but he was not looking for another partner.  And he certainly wasn't looking for a 32 year old stranger like David Bailey, even if David was a fellow teacher who believed in progressive education. During the summer of 1943, David had suddenly started talking to family and friends about starting his own school in Woodstock, which he considered his hometown. Ken knew only that David had an unimpressive academic record, a spotty teaching career, and a reputation for impracticality. None of this was enough to persuade him to join David in a mutual venture.

     But Elizabeth Forrest Johnson was.



We must seek clarity of definition, precision of thinking, we are not helpless, nor are we without power. Every time we ally ourselves with activities impelled by understanding altruism, we find that the sails of our craft are full of wind and that we can steer in the direction to which we would go.... I say "understanding altruism," for the head and the heart must work together. We despair equally of the well-meaning fool and the selfish intellectual.

Leadership in our confused world situation we must have.  The fundamental difference between leadership and dictatorship should not escape us.  The real leader knows that strength and power and true worth come from the group rather than from himself.  He can call out these powers because he understands and loves the group, and from this generous attitude of his the power of the group grows.  He is not in a hurry.  He knows that it is this growth of group thinking, planning, and doing that counts.  

In such group living there is a sense of mutual give and take.  In a family that so lives, the parents derive strength from the children as well as give it.  In a school there is the same mutual strengthening between teachers and students.  No one is thinking of himself more highly than he ought to think.  The atmosphere is of group joys, group responsibilities.  I am sure that only in such an atmosphere can we attain sound progress in our present complicated civilization . . . .

It is a revolution to which you go out.  Gone is the pioneer America of the '70s, gone the confident America of the '90s, gone the smug America of the post-war period. There are things in the new America finer and fairer than in any of the earlier Americas.  For such a group as you, this new America will be a very special challenge, for it will be an America in which there will be a less favored place for you and the families and friends whom you represent.  Where will be the center of gravity of your lives?  In yourselves or in others?  I come to be increasingly sure that only the generous and the sensitive can grow and be happy and indeed live fully under the impact of modern life. The selfish and the hard are doomed to sorrow and defeat. 

                        -- Elizabeth F. Johnson, Baccalaureate, Baldwin School, June 1937


[Elizabeth Johnson] was an extraordinary person.... She never married. She was a very strong indeed, intelligent, active woman. She had a house on Mountain avenue and a lovely garden and at one time I think she ran for selectman and didn't win because in those days you didn’t have women, and personally she was just too such of a fireball for the selectmen.... She was a very wise person, and surprisingly considering that she had ran a girl's school and that she had never married, she was surprisingly broadminded, about certain things. She was also extremely intelligent and good at figures and so she became the treasurer of the school for at least the first two years I think, she did it entirely for love and she ran the school on a very tight schedule. That is, whenever a bill came in, she sat down and wrote a check for it. She never let things pile up. She was a trustee, but she was also treasurer, and also active in the day to day management.... She was really in some ways, I suppose a new woman.  

                                                                     -- Peggy Bailey, Interview, June 21, 1982


     When Elizabeth Forrest Johnson retired to Vermont in 1941, she was still a vital and active person who immediately immersed herself in local affairs. Having summered in Woodstock since 1933, she was familiar with the community and eager to contribute to it in a myriad of ways. Years later, after more than two decades of Miss Johnson's community work, her close friends in Woodstock wrote in her obituary, "One could say that over the years practically no good purpose of importance was carried out without her participation."  

     Born in Frederick, Maryland, in 1881, Miss Johnson graduated Phi Beta Kappa in mathematics from Vassar College in 1902 and took her M.A. there the following year. At 22 she accepted a position at the Baldwin School for girls in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, where "I had a corridor, I taught mathematics and current events, I was assistant secretary, I did odd jobs of all sorts." She earned $3,000 a year, on which she supported herself and her parents, who lived with her in a tiny cottage off campus.  

     Miss Johnson remained at Baldwin for 38 years, first becoming Assistant to the Head, and then Headmistress in 1915. Under her leadership for the next 26 years, the school more than doubled the size of its faculty and student body, while achieving institutional security on its own property, which it had previously only rented.  During these years, Miss Johnson also ran a girls camp on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire and served as a Vassar trustee. A stocky, plain woman of great energy and intelligence, Miss Johnson was a formidable presence in any company. And a contradictory one, as well, for she was both forward-looking in fostering personal independence, as well as accustomed to having people obey her mere suggestions.  

In her Woodstock retirement, Miss Johnson worked with the Town selectmen and the Village trustees on budget analysis and planning. She took an active role in creating local institutions including a recreation center, a health center, and a nursing home, in addition to the Woodstock Country School. At the St. James Episcopal Church she served as a member of the Vestry, as Treasurer, as President of the Women's Auxiliary, and in the Sunday school. And she sustained her interest in world affairs through the Woodstock Community Forum where concerned citizens considered such issues as "the negro question," "Zionists in Palestine," and "national sovereignty and a durable peace." Miss Johnson herself spoke on the problems of Japanese Americans, who were then still incarcerated in internment camps.  The Community Forum, a small, somewhat isolated group in a reflexively unquestioning Republican town and state, comprised most of Woodstock's progressive thinkers, including Ken Webb and Ruth Bailey, who was David's mother and Miss Johnson's good friend.

     During the fall of 1944 Miss Johnson took increasing interest in Ken Webb's emerging plans for a local school and gradually became his mentor in the project.  In late October, Ken noted in his diary that his plans for a school were progressing nicely.  He described going to inspect the suitable site he'd found on Church Hill, a large old house called Greenhithe, with 19 rooms, and a nearby tight barn which could probably serve as a boys' dorm and classroom building.  The buildings were set on forty acres of fields and woods above the village, but still within the village line, just a few minutes walk to "down street." Greenhithe itself was wonderful, a three story Victorian mansion set on the brow of the hill. Wrapped on three sides by a wide porch that was welcoming in summer and sheltering in winter, Greenhithes various rooms and corridors surrounded the wide central staircase which led in three graceful stages from the front hall to the comfortable floors above. Everything about the place was on a human scale -- homey, lived-in, warm, cozy and spacious all at once.  (David Bailey also approved of Greenhithe: "as a child I grew up right across the mowing... I skied in the moguls and gentle slopes there.... Mrs. Moore who owned it was in deep trouble financially -- and there was a driveway lined on both sides with nice maples, and she couldn't pay her taxes, so she'd been cutting down, every so often, every other maple to sell them -- and so we got the place for something like $11,000.")   Greenhithe wwould become the new school’s central building, and the only such comfortable, welcoming central building the school would ever have.  

     After Ken Webb first visited Greenhithe in October 1944, his diary recorded, he went "Then to see Miss Johnson by invitation, to talk about the School.  She says the Giles, Mr. Moon -- and Mrs. Moon -- the McDills might be interested, that it should be incorporated at low-interest bearing bonds, deferred retirement.  David Bailey much beloved in town, not so impractical as was. Wants to found a school which will have the spirit of Black Mountain College."  Typically brief and oblique, the entry says no more.  But the gist of the meeting seems clear: Miss Johnson will help Ken start his school -- on her terms. The promised help was basic: money.  Miss Johnson was experienced at grooming the wealthy to contribute to her causes -- the three families Ken mentioned, with fortunes derived primarily from ink, newspapers, and railroads respectively, would soon become some of the school's most important benefactors.  Miss Johnson’s quid pro quo for this help was that Ken make room for David Bailey in the enterprise.  

     Ken's diary does not make this bargain explicit, but Susan Webb remembers Miss Johnson insisting that David be part of the school.  Ken's own recollection is that, despite David's loyal following in Woodstock, no one, including Miss Johnson, quite trusted him to start a school on his own; that he needed someone with Ken's experience, ability, and steadiness to make it work.  Ken would have had to do most of the groundwork in any event, since David was then occupied with his duties as a housemaster and teacher at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. Whatever the precise nature of Ken's understanding with Miss Johnson, he promptly obeyed her suggestion. He wrote David the very next day, outlining the new school's brochure and seeking David's counsel.

     For her part, within a week of their formal interview, Miss Johnson arranged for Ken to meet with Owen D. Moon, Jr., at his home at Upwey Farms in South Woodstock. A Pennsylvania Quaker, Owen Moon had graduated from Swarthmore College in 1894 and later married the daughter of the president of the Scott Paper Company, a position in the family business he assumed himself in 1927. In the meantime he had built a fortune of his own through such enterprises as a suburban trolley line, several newspapers, and a pioneering radio station. In 1910 he bought the first piece of what was to become his 2,000 acre Upwey Farms, named after the home of his wife’s English ancestors. Over the years, with the help of professional farm management, Upwey became an internationally known horse and dairy cow showplace, on which the gentleman farmer also built terraced, formal gardens and a replica of a Greek amphitheater enclosed by cypress trees. During his later years, the multi-millionaire grew less entrepreneurial and more philanthropic in his interests. In 1942 he sponsored a non-profit organization for local improvement, the Woodstock Associates, of which Elizabeth Johnson was a trustee.

     In preparation for his meeting with Owen Moon, Ken Webb spent most of the next week polishing his school proposal and preparing a financial plan based an enrollment of 25 boarders and 15 day students for the first year. Ken's long term goal then was to have a school of 50 boarders and 50 day students, though he also thought perhaps 100 boarders would be possible after some building. Miss Johnson reviewed and approved these plans as they developed, and Owen Moon found them worthy of his support. On Halloween he signed the papers pledging to put up $10,000 to secure Greenhithe and its 40 acres for the school. Ken next approached another of Woodstack's great benefactors, and Miss Johnson's Mountain Avenue neighbor, Mrs. Marianne G. Faulkner, who had inherited her husband's $3 million fortune derived from importing fine fabrics. She, too, supported the Woodstock Associates and would later provide most of that organization's endowment. Ken had met Mrs. Faulkner some time earlier, shortly after he cameto the area.  He tutored her informally in French and become her friend.  She gave him $5,000 for his school. Owen Moon's South Woodstock neighbors, Howard and Evelyn Carter Giles, of the Carter ink family, promised another $1,000.  And still another $1,000 came from Julia McDill, a member of the Billings family whose Northern Pacific Railroad fortune had been reshaping Woodstock since the late 19th century.  There were several lesser donors as well, including Ken's friend Gerald Cabot, who put up $600 to cover current expenses.  According to Ken's diary, "Gerald says the School sounds pretty nearly sure-fire, much better than the camp. He thinks we have got something there."

     Two days after meeting with Owen Moon, Ken was in Lawrenceville to confer with David for the first time face to face. No record of that meeting exists beyond Ken's spare diary entry, which also notes that he had supper at the Baileys' house and spoke at one of David's Bible classes the next morning.  David was not a diary-keeper, but rather kept his own counsel so closely, often his wife did not know what he truly thought. In later years, neither man would ever explain the reasons for their collaboration either clearly or convincingly.

     Throughout November and into December, Ken put most of his energies into the school -- raising more than $20,000, developing the articles of association and by-laws, publishing the first brochure, working with contractors to modify Greenhithe, lining up teachers, visiting other schools, and laying the groundwork for getting students by the following September.  He spent a day at the Putney School, where he consulted with Carmelita Hinton, one of the legends of the progressive education movement.  Later, after he'd visited the more traditional Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Ken observed in his diary, "Went to the evening meeting, and saw the 101 boys. What a contrast after the sensitive, alert faces at Putney."  In another of his prospecting visits, Ken talked to a friend who was a chemist turned screenwriter, who offered an observation Ken took to heart -- and one that David Bailey would repeat many times over the years: "In a faculty of a secondary school we want personalities, men and women who want to teach children rather than subjects." This was a guiding principle of the Country School for most of its life.

     Recalling this period 37 years later, David Bailey was sparing in his acknowledgement of Ken's part in starting the school: "Ken Webb and I were brought together by a mutual friend, who became the most important trustee of the school, and we got together and found some ideas in common. The most important idea perhaps was that the school should be located in Woodstock.... we were in general agreement philosophically about high schooling.  We agreed obviously about co-education and we agreed on having a relaxed, socially informal school, with disciplined, academic standing."  On an earlier occasion, but also well after he had retired, David responded to questions about the school's beginnings by telling the 1973 faculty that "it wasn't very interesting, really.... We mostly disagreed, Ken and I, but we agreed on coeducation, which was awfully daring for those days."

     Ken's retrospective view of the partnership was more nuanced: "We grew up in the era of progressive education, before progressive education had a very unfortunate interpretation and meaning.  Both David Bailey and I subscribed to the best tenets of progressive education. We wanted to see them implemented. But aside from that similarity there was nothing to draw us together.  We looked at everything differently.... For him, progressive education meant a great deal of permissiveness.  And I don't go along with that at all.  So we should have explored each other's thinking more before we hooked up, just as some people wouldn't get married who went into the characteristics of each before taking the jump.”  

     In reality, a careful exploration of each other's philosophy was not a practical option in 1944, not only because time was short until September, but perhaps moreso because Miss Johnson was eagerly pushing ahead without such "clarity of definition, precision of thinking." By the end of November, Ken and Miss Johnson agreed that they had progressed so far that, before pushing on, they should wait for David Bailey to come home for his Christmas vacation, so that he could play a more active role in the planning.  Ken "got off a four page letter to David, which capitulates [sic] all progress to date."  When David returned to Woodstock in mid-December, the school was largely defined along lines Miss Johnson had suggested, but consistent with Ken's original plans. David had contributed little to that definition, and he and Ken still hardly knew each other. They had their first formal meeting about the school three days after David's return. They were an unexpected match at best, David 32 years old and tall, Ken 42 years old and shorter.  Both were thin.  David was languorous and poetic, something of an afghan to Ken's terrier directness and persistence. Ken was constantly exercising, pushing his body to its limits, while David's natural poses were leaning and lounging. And David smoked, almost chain-smoked, while Ken abstained. Nor was there ever any great warmth between them that anyone recalls, they had little in common, and they really didn't like each other.  But they were on their best behavior then, for Miss Johnson's sake, for without her, each feared there would be no school.   And so Ken would write optimistically of their discussion: "Historic day. David and I talked from nine thirty to three thirty, eating a sandwich lunch up stairs.... I feel that David and I have gone along quite far with this affair now; we still see eye to eye. Worked on discussion of the first items of budget, then stopped to talk over teachers, then classes. Planned the whole curriculum, working out the classes and the day's schedule, idea of ten lectures during the winter on subjects which wouldn't be taken up at other times: understanding human personality, Chinese literature or history, Egyptian history or archeology, archeology everywhere, popular astronomy, etc."

     This was largely wishful thinking on Ken's part, and testimony to Miss Johnson's authority in shaping the school. No wonder that when Miss Johnson died in 1963, David wrote that she "was as responsible as anyone for the foundation of the school and the preservation of it in its first years. As former Trustee and Treasurer and as general educational godmother, she was of invaluable assistance to the school."  At the same time the Trustees, making a formal contribution to the town in her memory, recognized "that her service to the community of Woodstock was outstanding both in its generosity and its sagacity. Her integrity, her concern for her fellow man, her noble practicality, her strong adherence to the highest ethical standards combined with a deep understanding of human frailties have served as an inspiration and example to us all."  A brief biography of Miss Johnson prepared by the Baldwin School in 1963 reported with lighter touch and ironic inexactitude, "When Miss Johnson retired in 1941 she bought a small cottage in Woodstock, Vt., and of course almost immediately amused herself by giving -- whatever the female form of avuncular advice is -- to a young couple who were just starting a new progressive school there. As a mathematician, I believe she taught them a bit about how to keep their financial records in a realistic form."  



Where and how will you find the strength to meet the challenge of your lives, of our common American life, of the common world life of which you are a part?  

You cannot fail to be puzzled and anxious. You see wrong triumphant in too high places. You see stupidity and fear in the saddle, riding headlong. Outside of America you see the apparent history of points of view which all Americans abhor; inside America you see a bitterness of struggle between irreconcilable forces, all claiming to be the true and right American way....  

Somehow you must find experiences that will integrate these contradictions. So only can you live purposefully and effectively. To achieve this integration is the real challenge of adulthood. I want to suggest to you -- and I hope that I can do so in a way that will seem usable to you, that the faith which leads us to live our lives as in the presence of God is that unifying experience.  

One real difficulty in making this seem real and significant to you is that you are still to some extent under the sway of the eighteenth-century conviction that Christianity is a safe, easy, and respectable way to live. In actual fact -- and I mean this literally – Christianity is revolutionary and in every period of history when it has been vital and moving, and in every human life where it is dominant, there is revolution.   

               -- Elizabeth Forrest Johnson, Baccalaureate, Baldwin School, June 1938


Enrollment of students at the Country School already has begun, it has been announced by Kenneth B. Webb, co-director of the new day and boarding school which is scheduled to begin this coming fall.  

The catalog, recently published by the Elm Tree Press, gives information about the school, lists the curriculum, gives organization of the school day and other pertinent facts. As stated in the catalog, the aim of the institution mill be to provide a high standard of scholarship and effective instruction in various arts and crafts.

Students will do most of maintenance plus learning to care for livestock and do other farm activities. The 400-acre Timberlake Camp in Plymouth will be used for additional farming activities and for week-end camps....

David M. Bailey, now at the Lawrenceville School for Boys in New Jersey, will act as co-director and will teach classes in English and social studies. Mr. Webb, co-director, will teach general language, Latin and Greek....

Two women teachers and several part-time assistants will be announced later.

-- Ken Webb, press release in the Vermont Standard, Woodstock, March 8, 1945


     The Woodstock Country School, Inc., came into legal existence on the winter solstice of 1944 with the signing of its articles of association and first by-laws by the incorporators: Ken, David, Owen Moon, Julia Lee McDill, and Elizabeth F. Johnson. The simply-stated purpose of the corporation was to establish and maintain "a school for the education and training of boys and girls, with power and authority... to do any lawful act which is necessary or proper to accomplish its purposes."  At this time the school became a profit-making capital corporation (like the Webbs' camps), which planned an initial capitalization of $50,000 through a stock offering of 500 shares at a par value of $100 per share.

     As 1945 began, Ken Webb looked ahead optimistically: "The beginning of what should be an even finer year than the previous. The first six months, then the two of camp, will be perfect. Then the School with all its promise, all its unknown challenge. The greatest satisfaction of the moment is the fact of finding remunerative work right here which makes possible my staying in town the rest of the season and also doing something which will be pleasant, even thrilling."  

Several weeks later he added with his usual shorthand spelling, "Looked back the other day thru some 1940 diaries, and found how surprisingly fertile my ideas were then. Most every page had a treatise on something. Now I scarcely have time to write in this diary. Not a decline in fertility, but I am putting into action, creating, so many of the things I could only dream about. And my thots now and visions are so much more clear, feasible, and detailed. Experience has helped, and I must not forget the part that prayer has played, nor let it play less; rather much more."

     Much of Ken's time and energy during that winter went into organizing the camps in Plymouth for the following summer. Still he managed to remain attentive to Susan and their three small children, he taught Sunday school, he continued fund raising for the school, he took recruiting trips, he shoveled snow off the roof at Greenhithe ("stripped to the waist and enjoyed it greatly"), and led an active social life, including serving on the steering committee of the Woodstock Community Forum which sponsored a March program on the question, "Are we doing too much for our youth?" Ken reported: "Good discussion, with half a dozen boys present from the group who are going to start the youth center. I spoke informally on the therapeutic value of work. Think we must give more attention to this, which is really central in our philosophy. The joy of creative work, the kinesthetic pleasure of work, etc."  All during the winter Ken was also writing and rewriting the first Woodstock Country School catalogue, with such help as David could provide through the mail. The first edition (referred to in Ken's press release above) has not survived. But the second edition, revised in the spring, is the clearest, fullest statement of what Ken had in mind for his and David's school. The catalogue begins with a statement of the school's goals (quoted at the beginning of this chapter), then continues on the following four tightly-typed, single-spaced pages with the relatively mundane details of school life, occasionally punctuated by further illuminations of intent. For example, in the midst of an otherwise unremarkable discussion of the barn and a nearby foundation of an earlier barn now vanished, the reader suddenly learns that "One of the major projects of the second or third year of the school should be the rebuilding of this barn as a snug and roomy place to house the eventual herd from which the school should get its milk (when a small pasteurizing plant can be managed)."  This would never come about.  Instead, a few years later, that old barn foundation became part of a new headmaster's house -- for David and Peggy Bailey.  

     Another selling point for the school was the idea of "The Grand Campus," not merely the school's own 40 acres, but the surrounding reaches of Vermont countryside, which was then much less populous than it is today (now that the original campus has become a suburban subdivision). Over the years the land, the place, this "Grand Campus" (though few ever called it that) would make a profound impression on students, sometimes even moreso than curriculum, peers, and the rest of the school together.

     According to the catalogue, Woodstock's academic week would have six tightly-scheduled class days a week. The class day would begin with wake-up at 6:30 a.m., breakfast at 7:30, followed by five classes between 8 and 1. After lunch at 1:10 p.m. came a brief respite. But, the text ordered, "By two-thirty all students (including day students) will be dressed for the afternoon's activity, and should have reported to the person in charge. Varying with the season and the weather, these afternoon physical activities will include organized sports such as soccer, possibly football; skiing, skating and winter sports of all sorts; hiking, cabin building, etc. Approximately three of the afternoons each week will be devoted to sports, two to various work projects. Saturday afternoon and probably Sunday afternoon will be free, with each student reporting to a person in charge what his intentions are." At 4.'30 on class days, students were to be free to study, attend to their barn chores, get supper ready, take tea in the living room at Greenhithe, or just relax -- "general reading will be encouraged." After supper at 6, a brief vesper service along Quaker lines was to be followed by "a general assembly for any matters of school life needing attention; often two or three good songs, and dispersal to evening studies; or in case of some outside speaker or some special program, the assembly may be replaced by this program. Bedtime will be eight-thirty for the younger students, an hour later for the rest."

     Recognizing the demands that such a schedule makes on students and faculty alike, the catalogue explained: "Each subject will meet five times during the six day period, this with three purposes: 1. To enable each teacher to have one full 24 hour period free during the week, a time at which he should leave the place entirely, come back refreshed, eager to give his maximum. 2. To break to some extent the monotony of the week's classes. 3. To create some extra daylight study time. (Each student will take not over four courses, have one study hour each morning, two on four days of the week.)"

     The catalogue concluded with a brief epilogue: "Response both to the financial proposal and to the enrollment campaign - not yet really begun -- has been so splendid that there seems little likelihood of our not having registration to the capacity of the present accommodations (including the remodeled barn).... A recent visit to two schools founded on the modern ideal of making sound scholarship vital and the whole educational value of the environment realized makes it appear even more certain that there is a grand place for a school like this, which while being tharoly [sic]  modern and progressive academically, will still emphasize the religious values in the life of a growing youngster, and by reason of the unusually fine community of which the School will be a part, will establish a close relation with the activities and interests of the town."

     All this describes a school which embodies Ken's values more than David's -- -- particularly in its heavy emphasis on spiritual values and the idealization of physical work. Not surprisingly then, as Ken turned 43 that winter, he felt in control of his fate, his mood was close to euphoric, despite the workload that kept him chronically tired. As he recorded in his diary, "This eighth of March I have no enthusiastic plans, burning ideals to set down. Probably it is because I am too well satisfied with the way life is going anyway, too busy working out some of these ideals of long standing.

"Matters I have still to work out, tho, are these:

"1. How to keep life relaxed and joyous next year despite the evident demands on me. I will have to plan time off each afternoon; perhaps an hr. after lunch

"2. To get my feet so comfortable that I can hike again.

"3. A good, rugged, lithe, graceful frame, well muscled, obedient, joyous.

"4. Most important: a radiant personality, result of morning watch."

     The arrival of an early spring reinforced Ken's happy mood. By March 27 he was raking the lawn and tending flower beds at Greenhithe. Renovation of the barn had begun. Earlier in the month, the school had bought a house on the Green in the village to use for a boys dormitory. David's return to Woodstock during his spring vacation prompted another round of board meetings to deal with necessary but not unpleasant details. At the end of March, Ken predicted the school would have 50 students in September, 40 boarders and 10 day students. He wrote that "we have 15 day prospects, 24 boarding, 12 of them very good."

     But with the approach of summer, Ken's attention turned increasingly to his camps in Plymouth. Progress on the Country School slowed. In late June, now fully immersed in the seventh summer of Farm and Wilderness, Ken recorded one of his now rare trips to Woodstock in his diary: "Read mail, including one letter from [his friend and supporter] Tennien saying O.K. for $10,000 more. Praises be! Now our financial troubles are ended, for we can concentrate on enrollment; we can make the conversion to a non-profit; we can get in contributions from a wider area."  As for enrollment, he noted that there were now "about 16, or half" the students the school needed, a downward revision of his March prediction of 50. This was one of his last diary entries of any sort until the camp season was over.

     In May the board had decided to convert the school from a profit-making corporation to a non-profit, which was completed in August with Ken, David,, and Miss Johnson as the principle incorporators once more. The new articles of association stated that The Woodstock Country School, Inc., was formed "for the purpose of establishing and maintaining at Woodstock in the County of Windsor and State of Vermont a school for the education of boys and girls, exclusively for that public and charitable purpose.... The members of this corporation shall be the incorporators, the trustees when elected, and such other persons as the Board of Trustees may from time to time elect to membership. This corporation shall have perpetual existence."

     Coming home to Woodstock at the end of Lawrenceville's school year, David found himself more or less in charge of getting the school ready to open because Ken was busy running his camps.  But Miss Johnson still provided guidance and support.  As David recalled that summer, "I was always available for enrollment, for people who phoned inquiries or came there for interviews. I also supervised the alterations we were to make on Greenhithe and the barn. These included establishing one classroom for biology in the barn, and a second floor apartment where the groom's quarters had been, and then putting heat in the main building, Greenhithe. We also had to construct a two-story wooden stairway to run down to the ground as a fire escape." David also hired the last few teachers the school needed and handled the details of buying a house on the Woodstock Green which would serve as a boys dorm and residence for the Webbs. Meanwhile, David's mother and her friend, Mrs. Giles, worked long hours furnishing and decorating Greenhithe in the most tasteful and delicate fashion -- so delicate, in fact, that most of their work would not withstand the normal wear and tear of the following year.

     After the end of the camp season in September, Ken took stock, outlining a Five Year Plan for the school, the camps, and himself. Nothing in his plans suggests that he considered the possibility that he might be overcommitted. He wrote, "How different from college days and before, when I used to dream, but with a lurking sense of frustration because I couldn't see how to accomplish the things I dreamt of. Now I dream as much, but the foundations are laid for the realization of plans, and I have both the confidence in tested ability and the experience to know how to achieve what I wish.... What are some of these dreams? First, that the School will prosper, will become one of the choice little schools of the country, will make a significant contribution to the cause of better education: classes designed to stimulate intellectual curiosity, to awaken interests which will lead to the continuing process of self-education; an environment rich and varied, designed to teach the dignity and the satisfaction of labor, the joy of wholesome activity in the out-of-doors; a spiritual life deep and true enuf to give youngsters the anchorage they so vitally need, to help in building a fine, noble, and useful personality, at peace with God and man."

     By early September, the Country School enrollment was still far from full, with only 5  students more than had signed up in June. That signaled potential trouble for the school, but there was real trouble at the camps: they had lost money during the summer. Yet Ken's optimism remained undaunted: "it has been a fine summer: boundless goodwill and prospects for another year. Only the finances are bad, but we'll get that fixed with this fall and plan for a $10,000 profit next summer. At the moment School enrollment looks good: 21 yesterday, with three or four more pretty sure, one visiting last night."  

     The Webbs spent as much of September closing up the camps and moving into Woodstock as they did setting up the Country School for its first opening day. Ken went on another trip to visit other New England schools to glean ideas for Woodstock. He was particularly taken by the weaving program at Fireside and a local bird identification project at Indian Mountain. Ken's diary betrayed no anxiety about the prospect, nor did he record many details of preschool activities.  He stopped writing entirely the day before school opened. Only in the last week before opening did Ken immerse himself once more in the details of school business on campus. For three months he had left all that to David so that, although the abstract plan of the school was still largely Ken's, its physical and practical realization was largely David's. Only in the final week before opening day did Ken and David truly begin working together, side by side, making joint decisions on a daily basis, which required mutual respect and understanding. Time and circumstance had robbed them of the academic equivalent of spring training, and without it they found it difficult to remember always that they were supposed to be on the same team.  

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