Manuscript - April 1950

Published by the Students of Manumit School, Bristol, Pa.

This is the first issue of Manumit’s new monthly to take the place of the CREATIVE MANUMISSION, formerly edited by only the Seniors of the School. The Editorial Board of this April issue has included Norman Leer, Mary Cohen, Neil Strong, John Muhlfelder, Donny Krooth, John Crowther, Joe Albert, Dorothy Bocala, Judy Wolfe, Susan Markow, Bianca Morehead, Louise Waylan, Margie Feldman and James Gavin. James Gavin has done the cartoon in this issue. Friends of Manumit will find a way that they may help the students continue this fine monthly publication by reading page 11 and acting upon the suggestion there.


A Monthly Magazine Published in the Interests of the Friends of Manumit School

Manumit School, R. D. #2, Bristol, Pennsylvania, is a non-sectarian, interracial, independent school located on Route 513, three miles east of Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Its Co-Directors are William Mann, Fincke and Benjamin G.C. Fincke.


– An Experiment In Sociometrics

By Norman Leer

DB 2 The ring of the hammer upon rotted wood, and a useless partition goes falling to the ground. In the barn a few feet away, where the horses have already been moved out and taken to the new barn, a group of students is washing the ceiling. This barn will soon be a library and a few dorms.

A smiling man wearing a pair of jeans, a weather-beaten jacket, and a pair of Army boots, walks around helping out in the project that he originated. Dixon Bush, the man who gavethe start to this example of sociometrics (the science of cooperative work in a group), is surveying the project.

To start with, let us take a look at Manumit which is an important center point in the intricate cog-wheel. It was founded about twenty-six years ago by the father of the present co-directors, Bill and Ben Fincke. Manumit has always been a cooperative project where staff and students work together to build up the school. In this way it has been able to charge much less than most boarding schools.DB 1

In 1945, following a fire at its old Pawling, New York site, it moved to its present site in Pennsylvania. Here there was an even greater need for Manumit’s pioneering spirit. Now it just happened that Dixon Bush had gone to Manumit in 1942 as a member of the work camp and that he also knew Dwight Rogers, a great friend of Manumit and a member of the board of trustees. It also came about that in1949 a very unusual thing happened at Manumit. ‘There was a little extra money on the budget.

DB 3A meeting was called and Dwight Rogers who had already been summoned, invited Dixon to come. It was at this historic meeting that Dixon brought up his plan. As a student at New York University, he had a thesis to write. He thought of the plan, and at the meeting he introduced it to the Manumit faculty. Most of the faculty naturally thought that many things should be ironed out, which was very true. After the staff had gone over the whole thing, it was presented to the student body who voted in favor of it after some controversy. This was in the spring of 1950

Another major problem was money, but, a contribution of about one thousand dollars was gathered up, which would be, enough to take the project through for one year. The problem now is’ whether the project will continue in all aspects in the following y ears. To quote from Dixon himself: “The proof of the pudding will be in whether the project will continue next year, the year after, and the year after that!”

There is no possible reason why the project should not work out except if money runs out. These are the amazing results which the project has brought about for the school in the past, half year that it has been in existence. Up until Christmas vacation, the high school boy had lived in the same barnyard with the horses. During the summer the work camp built a new barn. This past September the students started cleaning out the stable, washing and painting the, walls and ceiling and laying cement floors. They also made last minute adjustments in the new barn, and in December they finally got the horses in the new barn.DB 4

Three new classrooms have been built on the second floor of the old barn, now being used regularly by the high school. The first floor, as stated before, will be a library. The students have also completed a new shop in the old machine shed, and they have laid sidewalks in the barnyard witch will soon be planted with grass.

There is a ten year plan of what Manumit plan to do which will be published in a later issue.

DB 5The attitude of all the students toward the project is vastly improving. Some of the students who in the earlier days of the project were not too keen on putting in the working time, are now getting into the swing of things.DB 6

To all indications, we can get money, and if the morale of the students keeps up, the Manumit Community Project will continue to help make Manumit a better place in which to live, work and play as a growing cooperative community.


Pity the poor laborer
Dragging the crumbling rock,
Mourn for the young carpenter
Hammering the nail. watching the

High on the summit stands the
crew-cut one
With feverish glare in his eyes,
Time out to pray to the Mecca –
Crawl in reverence; damned the
one who fies.

Fidelity to the sanguineous one,
Hail his helpers inferior.
Praise the fatuitous oracle
Education of Jr. Siberia.
Gordo Gartrelle


By Neil Strong
A gay, high voiced, Hawaiian Woman sat up as I walked toward Kazue Watanabe in her picture draped hole in the wall. I made it very clear that I was going to quote what she said to me. Then as I enjoy traveling, I asked her about her trip to France which she took last summer. She said she had been to the Fountenbleau School of Fine Arts, where she stayed for two months. She could have models daily. Every morning she had the delight, of looking over the house tops from the balcony of the hotel, which belonged to the school. She took trips every week to different parts of France, where she saw many cathedrals, such as Chartres and Heims.

. The topic then changed from France to Manumit. I asked, what her advice was to people who find little or no interest in art. She said she had seen many children miss art periods and when she would ask them why, they would come in. with the usual, “Aw, you know, I can’t stand art.” Or else sometimes, “Well, Kazue, I’m not in the mood for art now.” Kazue says that if a person is enough amused in art he would not miss art period and then say “I’m not in the mood” all the time, as many people do. For these people she gave this advice, “Here at Manumit too many people have no interest in art for the simple reason that they have never found real enjoyment out of it.

For an interest in. art, the best thing to do is find, first, the form of art in which you can most express yourself; then work on that one form of art in any way you want. You will soon findthat you have in a short time developed a desire for art. ” In other words, “give art a chance.” In this way, those most opposed to art may become real art lovers.

What has she to offer Manumit’s children, was my next question. Kazue said that since art is everywhere and is everything, she is helping them find enjoyment in art with what art material Manumit has, and in that way find more appreciation in the things about them. She said a person should try to express himself in as many different fields of art as possible. That you should have the experience of being creative in different art forms is one of her beliefs.

With that, I then bid Kazue adieu and left the picture -draped hole in the wall in the staff house.

Return to Top

A stormy night descended down upon the cattle hovering in a bunch inthe hundred-twenty-five-acre pasture. The storm was wicked and cruel. The winds swept through the trees making the branches grab and claw at the air. The grass was a foaming sea of green; then, like a clap of thunder, every-thing was quiet again, like a ghost fleeing, leaving behind his evil and destruction.
Nancy Peake