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Black Mountain College 1933-1934 catalogue

20th century
Medium & Support
Ink on paper
Object Type
Archival Documents
Credit Line
Black Mountain College Collection, gift of Barbara Beate Dreier and Theodore Dreier Jr. on behalf of all generations of Dreier family
Accession Number
In Copyright, Educational Use Permitted
Courtesy of the Theodore Dreier Sr. Document Collection, Asheville Art Museum

First Black Mountain College Catalogue. Letterpress on matte off-white paper, heavier cardstock for cover. Stapled pamphlet printed on both sides. First catalogue, includes "A Foreword" which describes the ethics and values of the school. Image is of front of catalog, cream colored paper with BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE in text across the center.

FALL TERM September 25 to December 16
Christmas Vacation December 16 to January 3
WINTER TERM January 3 to March 17
Spring Vacation March 17 to March 26
SPRING TERM March 26 to June 12"


Black Mountain College was founded in order to provide a place where free use might be made of tested and proven methods tried out in a purely experimental spirit. There is full realization, however, of the fact that experiment is, for the individual, also experience; hence, no experiment is being tried which is not submitted beforehand to the test of reasonable likelihood of good results. It is for this reason that the College is for the present content to place emphasis upon combining those experiments which have already shown their value in educational institutions of the western world, but which are often isolated and hampered from giving their full value because of their existence side by side with thoughtless tradition.

The College is at the same time a social unit. The members of the teaching staff, their families, and the students live in the same building, have their meals together and are in constant intimate contact with one another; as a result, the distinction is broken down between work done in the class-room and work done outside, and the relation is not so much of teacher to student as of one member of the community to another. This ease of communication restores one of the time-tested necessities of education. This does not mean that the disparity of interests between younger and older people is not recognized. On the contrary, it is understood that the ways of the scholar are not always those of the student; but an effort is being made to make the fields of common interest as wide as possible.

Another and equally important aspect of the life of the College lies in the relations of the students to one another. One of the implications of the accepted equality of men and women is that they should be education together; but co-education should mean something more than the unconsidered association of young men and women in college. Here they should learn to know that their relationship to each other, both while they are in college and afterwards, is to be, in the main, not one of opposites, but of those who live upon the common ground of humanity. Hence the attempt to keep the intellectual and social life of the College as much as possible on the same plane.

Of equal importance is the part played by the work that has to be done around the College. All od this, except that which requires the continuous attention of one person, is divided among volunteers from the student body and the teaching staff. For example, at meal times the food is served by volunteers, and when it is necessary to work on the roads or cut wood, volunteer crews do this under the supervision of a student. It would of course by misleading to suppose that all students are equally alert in their responses. When the student learns to assume full responsibility, one of the principal tasks of the College is done. The emphasis is upon seeing whether the student is actually becoming responsible, not upon whether he acts as if he were responsible. Punctuality, for instance, may be evidence of complete slavery or of complete self-control.

There is no discrimination between students who pay the full fee and those who pay less, and unless the latter choose to tell it themselves, no one knows that they are beneficiaries. No student works his way through Black Mountain College. To have some students servants to the rest is disruptive of community life.

Curricular and extra-curricular activities, as the words are usually employed, imply divided responsibility; that is to say, students are responsible to teachers for their curricular activities and to themselves and each other for their extra-curricular activities. No such sharp distinction holds in Black Mountain College, where there is full recognition of the fact that self-directed work is invaluable.

As an inevitable result of the point of view, Dramatics, Music, and the Fine Arts, which often exist precariously on the fringes of the curriculum, are regarded as an integral part of the life of the College and of importance equal to that of the subjects that usually occupy the center of curriculum. In fact, in the early part of the student's career, they are considered of greater importance; because, in the first place, they are, when properly employed, least subject to direction from without and yet have within them a severe discipline of their own; and also because of the conviction that, through some kind of art-experience, which is not necessarily the same as self-expression, the student can come to the realization of order in the world; and, by being sensitized to movement, form, sound, and the other media of the arts, gets a firmer control of himself and his environment than is possible through purely intellectual effort. This ia s theory, but a theory which has met the test of experience. It has already been shown to satisfaction of those who have had a share in it that the direct result of the discipline of the arts is to give tone and quality to the intellectual discipline. It is experienced that the way can be found to use other fields of activity, Science, for instance, as it is proposed to use the Arts. In the meanwhile, the student is encouraged on entering to reverse the procedure to which he has usually become accustomed and to put the same faith in doing that he has been taught to have in absorbing. The effort is not always successful, but the fact that the whole community takes part is persuasive.

As a corollary to this belief, there are no required courses. The student is free to choose whatever courses he pleases, provided only he has the prerequisite knowledge that is necessary.

This extreme freedom of choice would in many cases result in confusion if it were irresponsible, but one of its purposes is to place responsibility where it belongs; namely, on the student. However, he is not thrust into an incomprehensible world and told he must find his way by trial and error, for there are always nearby older and more experienced people ready to help. But in the end the choice is with him. In consequence, there have been set up two points in the career of the student at which he must face comprehensive tests of his failure or success in meeting responsibility. The curriculum of the College is divided into two parts, the Junior Division and the Senior Division. Before passing from the Junior to the Senior Division the student must pass on of these tests, and before graduation, the other.

The student's stay in the Junior Division is a period of discovery, of himself and for himself, and of exploration. Here it is expected that he will come into contact with the fields of Science, Social Science, Literature, and the Arts in a way that will enable him to form an intelligent opinion about them; for one of the principal purposes of the Junior Division is to allow the student to make a wise selection of a field of knowledge in wihch to specialize during the latter part of his career in college. But there is no prescription as to how he shall come to this choice. On his entrance to college, a plan of work for the first term is made out with each student individually, and thereafter each term while he is in the Junior Division. At first he may take entirely new subjects, or a combination of new subjects with some with which he is already acquainted, or he may work in the field of his immediate interest. It is expected, however, that as this interest grows and expands, he will see how it touches other subjects; so that, by the time he has completed his work in the Junior Division, he will have acquired an attitude toward Science, Social Science, Literature and the Arts that is based upon knowledge rather than ignorance.

When the student, after consultation with his teachers, decides that he is ready to enter the Senior Division, he presents to the Committee on Admissions to the Senior Division a detailed statement of what he has accomplished and what he knows, and a plan of the work he proposes to do in the Senior Division. If the committee is satisfied with the quality of these statements, that is to say, if the statement of accomplishment and knowledge indicates that the student has an adequate foundation for his proposed specialization, and if his plan of work shows an understanding of what lies ahead, he is required to take comprehensive examinations, oral and written. These examinations, set by the Committee on Admissions to the Senior Division, are devised to test capacity as well as knowledge. The record that the student has made in college is also considered an important criterion of his fitness.

The student on entering the Senior Division, begins to work in a special field and closely related fields of knowledge. By the time it is assumed that he is sufficiently mature to assume responsibility for his work, and this is made easier by having him work under the supervision of one or more tutors. What courses he will take or whether in a given terms he shall take any courses at all, is matter to be determined on consultation with his tutor. It is not expected, however, that his special subject will take up much more than half his time, leaving the rest for related subjects and other interests.

When the student, on consultation with his tutor, thinks that he is ready to graduate, he will submit to the faculty a statement of what he has accomplished and what he knows; if, in the opinion of the faculty, this statement is satisfactory, the candidate for graduation will be required to take comprehensive examinations, oral and written, covering the work he has done in the Senior Division. These examinations will be set by professors from other colleges and universities, and their opinion of his work will be the principal criterion of his fitness to graduate. The use of outside examiners tends to change the relationship of teacher and student, to put their work on a more agreeable footing, and increases the student's willingness to work hard.

The purpose of both these examinations, to enter the Senior Division and to graduate, is to find out whether the student knows what he professes to know, and how he can use this knowledge. This is one reason why the oral part is considered important, in that it tests the capacity to follow thought in motion. Another is that it is prepared for by intelligent conversation.

Every teacher has complete freedom in choosing methods of instruction; as a consequence, a visitor will find classes conducted as recitations, lectures, tutorials, and seminars. One of the experiments that is being made is in the conduct of the latter. At the present time there are three seminars, one in philosophy, one in writing, and another in English literature and history, in which there are four or more instructors who attend every meeting and who represent in their training several fields of knowledge. The intention is to let the student see the way in which an idea, a movement, a period in history, an art form, appear to a group of specialists, and also to get the student away from the habit of trying to please the teacher. Most of these seminars meet in the evening from eight o'clock on, in order to have plenty of time to follow an idea. Sometimes they are in session for less than an hour, sometimes for more than three hours. Other classes meet at some time between eight-thirty and twelve-thirty in the morning or between four and six in the afternoon. This allows a period after lunch for getting out of doors, and during this time no classes are scheduled. There is no prescription as to how often in the week a class shall meet; this is left to the discretion of the teacher.

As the faculty attempts to place responsibility on the students for their conduct, so also it assumes full responsibility for the government of the college. The Board of Fellows, elected by the faculty and consisting, at least as to majority, of members of the teaching staff, is like the governing bodies of Oxford or Cambridge colleges and those of some of the older colleges of this country in their early history. There is no legal control of the college from the outside world, an Advisory Council has been established on which there are representatives of the educational world and the world of affairs. The Board of Fellows works in close cooperation with the Advisory Council, keeping the Council continually informed as to what is being done in the solution of difficult problems.

The Board of Fellows also keeps in constant communication with the student body through a committee of three students, who meet with the Board at least once a week. Most of the questions that come up are settled at these meetings, but when a matter is considered sufficiently important, there is a meeting of the whole College community. Here the question is discussed until a decision is reached. If this cannot be done in one session, the discussion continues at later meetings until the community moves as a whole. The development of the habit of self-government is at first slow; but, as principles of action are disclosed, skill and speed follow, both in the individual and in the social unit.

Mrs. H. Edward Dreier Brooklyn, N.Y.
Col. Arthur S. Dwight Great Neck, L.L., N.Y.
Mr. J. Malcolm Forbes Milton, Mass.
Miss Sarah Goodwin Concord, Mass.
Mr. T. W. Surette Concord, Mass.
Mr. Edward Yeomans West Point, Mass.

John Dreier
Theodore Dreier
Frederick Raymond Georgia
John Andrew Rice

Frederick Raymond Georgia
Rector and Secretary
Theodore Dreier
Elizabeth Vogler

Josef Albers Professor of Art
Helen Elizabeth Boyden, A.B. Instructor of Economics
Theodore Dreie, A.B., S.B. in E.E. Associate Professor of Physics and Mathematics
John Evarts, B.A. Instructor in Music
Frederick Raymond Georgia, B. Chem., Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry
William Wheeler Hinckley, M.A. Instructor in Psychology
John A. H. Keith, M.A., Ph.D. Instructor in Romance Languages
Hilda Margaret Loram, M.A. Instructor in English and Dramatics
*Ralph Reed Lounsbury, B.A., L.L.B. Professor of Government, Public Law and History
Joseph Walford Martin, B.A. (Oxon.) Instructor in English
John Andrew Rice, B.A. (Oxon.) Professor of Classics
Frank Howard Richardson, M.D., F.A.C.P. Professor of Hygiene and Consulting Physician
Emmy Zastrow Instructor in German
*Deceased October 16, 1933.

Fall Term 1933-1934
Applegate, John C. Toledo, Ohio
Bagwell, J.T. Blue Ridge, N.C.
Baily, David W. Cambridge, Mass.
Carter, Sydney H. Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Chapin, Anne H. Great Neck, L.I., N.Y.
Cramer, I. Doughten Moorestown, N.J.
Dwight, E.E. Summit, N.J.
Dwight, Margaret Summiet, N.J.
Fisher, Laura Belle Tampa, Fla.
French, Nathaniel S. Kendal Green Mass.
Jenks, Edward N. Haverford Penn.
Johnson, Chandler W. Cambridge, Mass.
McGraw, John G. Black Mountain N.C.
Martin, Marcella E. Summit, N.J.
Orr, Robert Yonkers, N.Y.
Rice, Frank A. Blue Ridge N.C.
Spaulding, Elizabeth Weston Mass.
Swan, Alice Lee Oshkosh Wis.
Sylvester, Sarah Jacksonville Fla.
Weston, Norman B. Wilton Conn.
Young, Mary Elizabeth Sebring Fla.


Black Mountain College came into existence in the fall of 1933 as the result of the interest of a group of teachers and students in the idea of a college which should be free from outside control and in which there was a candid recognition of the importance of participation in responsibility by students as well as by faculty.

When the College was incorporated its charter was drawn in such fashion as to place direction of its affairs in professional hands. The faculty members exercise direct control over matters of educational policy and discipline, and ultimate control over other matters by electing members of the Board of Fellows for definite terms.

The Board of Fellows, a majority of whom are resident members of the faculty, make appointments to the faculty and have control over the business affairs of the Cooperation. The Board is presided over by a Rector chosen by the faculty from among the Fellows for a term of one year. A Secretary and a Treasurer are elected by the Board.

The students elect a Committee of three officers for the governing of their own affairs. These officers also meet frequently with the Board of Fellows to consider matter which affect both students and faculty. No decisions affecting the students are made without consulting them or their representatives. The benefits of outside opinion and contrasting points of view on college affairs are provided by an Advisory Council, composed of friends of the College competent to offer expert advice on special aspects of its work.

Black Mountain College is located in the mountains of North Carolina near the town of Black Mountain and about eighteen miles east of Asheville. The property contains 1619 acres of land, most of which is wooded, and a considerable number of buildings well adapted to the needs of the College. The Black Mountains and the Craggy range directly north of the main building furnish one of the best and most interesting of the mountain views for which the region is well known.

The region offers unusual opportunities for both the geologist and the biologist. The great variation in altitude found within a short distance of Black Mountain provides conditions favorable to a great variety of plant and animal forms.

The winter climate is stimulating without being severe and the summer months are enjoyable cool.

The town of Black Mountain is on one of the main lines of the Southern Railroad and is easily accessible by motor car and buses.

A library of over eight thousand volumes, meeting present needs in a fairly adequate manner, has been provided by pooling the private collections of the faculty.

In addition the students have loaned or donated books and a library of about four thousand volumes belonging to the Blue Ridge Association is at the disposal of the College.

Scientific apparatus and laboratory equipment are at present meager, but as the deman grows for work in Science, they will be built up sufficiently to give adequate training in Physics, Chemistry, Geology, and Biology. As much as possible of the apparatus will be built by students themselves, because it is believed that something is gained that is usually lost where the latest and most expensive apparatus is provided.

Nearly everyone gets out of doors for about two hours in the early afternoon. This part of the day is sometimes devoted to athletic games but is also frequently given to some kind of outdoor work, such as wood cutting or to walking on the mountain trails, of which there are many miles on or near the property. Many of the trails are excellent for horseback riding and horses may be rented in the village nearby. There is a large outdoor swimming pool and also a small lake suitable for swimming and other water sports. There is also an athletic field, several tennis courts, and a well equipped gymnasium, including hand ball and basket ball courts.

The health of the college community is under the supervision of the Professor of Hygiene and Consulting Physician. With him are associated in an advisory .capacity a number of physicians in the neighboring city of Asheville, which is well supplied with modern hospital facilities.

There is no desire to limit students in their choice of a physician. It is, however, expected that any student ill enough to absent himself from meals will report this fact to the Rector who will use his judgement about notifying the Consulting Physician.

The prevention of disease by all known methods, important as this is, is not the sole concern of the Professor of Hygiene. Health is conceived of and taught not as an inactive affair of freedom from illness, but rather as the active interplay between a sound body and a sane mind. The faculty advisor for every student makes this a reality without the self-conscious mechanism that so frequently makes attempts at mental hygiene irritating to the student.

The idea held in the College regarding athletics as a life-long rather than a college-long advocation, brings this form of college activity within the scope of the work in hygiene, determining fitness for participation in sports, helping in the improvement of nutrition and posture, and teaching health concepts through seminar and conference rather than by lecture or quiz.

During his first week in college the student is expected to choose an advisor from the faculty, who will help him to decide on what courses he will take and thereafter act as general supervisor of his work.

It is assumed that in most cases the applicant will have satisfactorily completed a four-year course in a secondary school approved by a recognized accrediting agency or the equivalent as shown by examination by a recognized college entrance examining board.

In the case of candidates who have neither had the usual four-year secondary school work, nor taken examinations set by a recognized college entrance examinating board, there will be an examiniation set by Black Mountain College so gauged as to make sure that the candidate is adequately prepared to carry on the work of the college curriculum. Black Mountain College is cooperating with the Progressive Education Association's Commission on the Relation of School and College in waiving the usual College Entrance Examinations, and will substitute the recommednations of the thirty experimental schools which have been chosen by the Association to participate in the new plan for the entrance to college.

Therefore the College requires
1. A statement on a form provided by the college from the school principal or some reputable person in whose hands the applicant's education has been, regarding:
a. the quality and quantity of scholastic work accomplished.
b. personal characteristics and interests as shown in the applicant's participation in extra-curricular and summer activites.
c. the results of scholastic aptitude tests, intelligence tests, and achievement tests wherever available.
2. A piece of work done by the applicant in the field of writing, such as an essay, a poem, a letter, or a story written by the applicant in his own handwriting. The applicant may also submit a specimen or a description of work done in a field of special interest.
3. A personal interview, if possible, with a respresentative of the college.
4. A small photograph; and a certificate of physical examination made by a reputable physician.
Students may enter at any time.

Transfer students will be accepted at any time but will be subjected to quite as careful investigation as students who are entering college for the first time. Transfer students will enter as Junior Division students but will be admitted to the Senior Division as soon as they can demonstrate their qualifications for such admission.


Admission to the Senior Division depends upon:
1. A detailed statement of accomplishment in the Junior Division.
2. The record of the student.
3. A comprehensive examination based on the work of the Junior Division.
4. A satisfactory plan of study for the Senior Division.

Graduation depends upon:
1. The satisfactory completion of the work outlined in the student's plan of study for the Senior Division.
2. The record of the student.
3. Comprehension examinations based on the work of the Senior Division given by examiners from outside the College.

Some idea of the nature of the Senior Division examinations can be obtained from an outline of the proposed examination for students specializing in the field of English Literature:

A. English Civilization
One examination of not more than three hours in which the candidate will be permitted to demonstrate his knowledge of one of more of other aspects of English Civilization, such as:
Political History
Economic History

Part or all of this examination may be oral, at the option of the candidate; and the written examination may be followed by an oral examination at the option of either the candiate or the examinar.

B. History of English Literature:
1. One paper of not more than three hours in which the candidate will be expected to write on at least one question in each of the following groups:
History of the English Language
Medieval English Literature
Elizabethan Literature
Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Literature
Nineteenth Century Literature

II. One paper of not more than three hours in which the candidate will have free scope to treat the broader aspects of the history of English literature, either by trading the development of a literary form such as blank verse or the novel, or by discussing the intellectual content of various literary works and the philosophical questions they raise.

At least one question on each examination must be written; and the written examination may be followed by an oral examination at the option of either the candidate or the examiner.

c. Texts:
1. Three examinations of not more than three hours each on the important works of three different authors, chosen by the student on the basis of reading which has begun in regular college courses, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Dryden, Swift, Pope, Dr. Johnson, Fielding, Sterne, Woodsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Scorr, Dickens, Thackeray, Tennyson, and Browning are some of the classic English authors suggested as suitable subjects for such a study; but the student's choice is by no means limited to any set list.

These examinations must be written, byt may be followed by an oral examination at the option of the examiner.

II. One examination of not more than three hours upon a subject of special study along the line of the student's particular interest. This may take the form either of an intensive investigation of some special literary problem connected with one of the student's three major authors, or it may concern itself with entirely different material which happens to be of unusual interest to the candidate.

The examination is to be written with an oral examination following, at the option of the examiner.

III. In place of (or in addition to) an examination on a special subject, the candidate may submit to the examiners a piece of creative writing, taking the form of fiction, poetry, drama or essay.

Graphic records showing the quality and quantity of work done, and the application, aptitude and development of the student are kept instead of the more usual records in which results are recorded by numbers or letters. Except for purposes of transfer, credits will not be evaluated in terms of courses or credit hours, as it is desired to put the emphasis upon accomplishment over a longer period of tiime than is usually covered by these.

In the number of subjects in which it offers instruction, Black Mountain College does not attempt to go beyond what is usually regarded as the proper province of a Liberal Arts College. At present, work is offered in the fields of Chemistry, Dramatics, Economics, English, Fine Arts, French, German, Greek, History, Itialian, Latin, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, and Spanish. Work will shortly be offered in Biology and Geology, and additioal work in the field of History.

The following is a list of courses offered to students during the fall and winter terms. It is to be expected that this list will gradually be increased.

Chemistry: Introduction to Chemistry, General Chemistry, Qualitative Analysis, Quantitative Analysis, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry.

Physics: Elementary Survey of Physics, General Physics, Elementary Optics, Electricity, Electro-Magnetic Theory and Application to Radio, Electrical Machinery, Mechanics, Modern Physics.

Mathematics: Trigonometry, Analytical Geometry, Differential and Integral Calculus

Psychology: General Psychology, Educational Psychology, Mental Testing, Philosophy of Education, Psychology of Character, Psychology of Religion, Social Psychology, Psychology of Family Relationships, Educational Problems for Psychological Study.

Economics: Elementary Economics, Economic History, Philosophies of Social Reconstruction, Evolution of Economic Theory, Labor Problems.

History: Ancient History, Intellectual History of the Middle Ages.

Fine Arts: Drawing, Color, Werklehre (The development of the feeling for material and space).

Music: Appreciation of Music, Elementary Harmony and Music Dictation, Eighteenth Century Music, Seminar in Music History, Nineteenth Century Opera.

English: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Contemporary Drama, Milton, The Restoration, Seminar in Writing, Elements of English Composition, Dramatics.

French: Elementary French, Advanced French, Civilization of France, Studies in Medieval Literature, Studies in French Literature of the Seventeenth Century, Introduction to French Conversation, Rousseau and his works, Seminar.

Spanish: Elementary Spanish, Advanced Spanish.

Italian: Elementary Italian, the works of Dante.

German: Elementary and Advanced, Translation and Composition.

Greek: Elementary Greek, Plato.

Latin: Virgil, Latin Lyric Poetry, Latin Comedy.

Board and Room $500.00
Tuition 500.00
Matriculation Fee 20.00
Contingent deposit for breakage (refundable) 25.00

Two double blankets and bed linen are furnished and the latter is laundered by the college. Students may have personal laundry done at the college laundry at prevailing rates.
The matriculation fee is charged only on admission.

For information concerning the College communications should be adressed to: The Rector, Black Mountain College, North Carolina."

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