Ralph Borsodi, Mildred J. Loomis, and the School of Living, 1946-1986

Collection Overview

Title: Ralph Borsodi, Mildred J. Loomis, and the School of Living, 1946-1986

Predominant Dates: 1979-1986, undated

Arrangement: Arranged in three series: 1) Material by and about Ralph Borsodi; 2) Material by and about Mildred Loomis; and, 3) Miscellaneous Material Related to the School of Living

Biographical Note

With his family and neighbors, Manhattan-born Ralph Borsodi (1886-1977) purchased 40 acres in rural Rockland County, New York in 1933 to build an ideal community based on the teachings of Henry George and his own observations about the problems plaguing modern society. The community became known as Bayard Lane.

The 40 acres that comprised Bayard Lane were held in a community land trust. Each homesteader paid a small annual rental to the trust for title to use a small acreage upon which they built, paid for, and thus owned, a home. In 1934, Borsodi established the School of Living, located at the center of the community, to, among other things, “study and develop the possibilities of the home and homestead as a productive and creative institution.”

In a dedication address to the School’s first permanent building in 1936, Borsodi explained,

…we decided that the school should not consist of a class room; that it should have neither teachers nor pupils; that it should have no courses and no graduates. We decided that the school should be everywhere that we lived; that we should teach one another and learn from one another; that the subject of our study should be living, and that there should be no graduation from this school until we graduated from life itself.

Today, the School of Living, which has sense expanded into other areas, supports community land trusts, intentional community building, non-exploitive banking, and other causes.

Mildred J. Loomis (1900-1986) enrolled at the School of Living shortly after it opened. Together with Borsodi, she helped establish and run centers of the School of Living in Dayton, OH, Heathcote, MD, and York, PA. Loomis also taught classes at the Henry George School-Dayton, OH.

Like Borsodi, Loomis subscribed to the philosophy of “decentralism,” which Borsodi defined as, “…that method of implementing human desires which encourages individualism and discourages institutionalization.” Through the School of Living, Borsodi and Loomis promoted decentralization in six areas: production, ownership and control, education, government, and population.

Collection Content

Series One: Material by and about Ralph Borsodi

Shyam Sundar Chawla, “Ralph Borsodi in India” (1960)

Ralph Borsodi, Property and Trusterty: A Study of the Professional Problem (February 1964)

Ralph Borsodi, A Decentralist Manifesto. Edited by Mildred Loomis (1978; orig. 1958)

“Celebrating Ralph Borsodi’s 100th Year” (School of Living, November 24-25, 1984)

Ralph Borsodi, “Land Tenure” in the American Review (undated)

“Ralph Borsodi: A Pioneer in Natural Foods and Organic Farming” (undated)

“Ralph Borsodi’s Unique Global Peace Plan” (The School of Living, undated)

“A Man for Our Time: Dr. Ralph Borsodi” (The School of Living, undated)

Don Werkheiser, “Review of Decentralism: Where it Came From” (undated)

Ralph Borsodi, A Pan-Humanist Manifesto: “Liberty, Justice, Humanity” (Bombay: Libertarian Social Institute, undated)

A Collection of Essays about Ralph Borsodi (undated)

Series Two: Material by and about Mildred Loomis

Mildred Loomis, “What is a Free Society.” The Christian Century (September 4, 1946)

Mildred Loomis, “A Decentralist Answer.” Reprinted from The Christian Century (April 30, 1947)

Mildred Loomis, “Basic Reforms in Land and Money Appeal in India” (August 14, 1979)

Mildred Loomis, “Review of Henry George: Citizen of the World (1981)”

Mildred Loomis, “Ralph Borsodi: Overcoming Difficulties to Social Change.” Acres (January 1982)

Mildred Loomis, “Four Worlds in Economics” (August 2, 1981)

“Theory Embodied in Lives: Review of Mildred Loomis’ Alternative Americas,” Manas (September 22, 1982)

Mildred Loomis, “The Santa Claus Myth” and “Ralph Borsodi: Activist First, Writer Second” (1983)

Mildred Loomis to Pat (April 23, 1984)

Mildred Loomis, “Ralph Borsodi: Father of modern decentralism” Nomos (May/June 1985)

Mark Sullivan to Mildred Loomis (June 30, 1986)

Mildred Loomis, “The Humanization of Humankind” and other documents (undated; orig. 1948)

Mildred Loomis, “Guidelines for the 1980s Decentralism” (undated)

Mildred Loomis, “An Optimistic Statement about Georgists and Georgism” (undated)

Mildred Loomis, “Clarifying the Economics of Peace” (undated)

Mildred Loomis, “Finding a Life-Style Consistent with Religious Liberalism” (undated)

Mildred Loomis, “From Clarifying the Economics of Peace” (undated)

Mildred Loomis, “Henry George: Eliminating Land Monopoly.” From Alternative Americas (undated)

Mildred Loomis et al., How Can Community Members Increase Effectiveness in Wider Social Change? A Study-Action Guide (undated)

Mildred Loomis, “Land Liberation” (undated)

Series Three: Miscellaneous Material Related to the School of Living

Moving into the Front Ranks of Social Change: Complete Proceedings of the Labor Day ’73 Conference (Hinsdale, IL: R. Bruce Allison, 1973)

Cynthia Edwards and Board to School of Living Members (March 18, 1986)

True Ritchie and Board to Dr. Leland Park (December 22, 1986)

Clear Marks to Mark Sullivan (December 27, 1986)

Don Werkheiser, “On New Human Relations” (undated)

Journal of the School of Living (Suffern, NY, undated)

“Quotes from Decentralization: The Way Out of This Mess” in School of Living Journals (undated)