Stanwood Cobb

Stanwood Cobb

Infobox Writer
name = Stanwood Cobb

imagesize =
caption =
pseudonym =
birthdate = birth date|1881|11|06
birthplace = Newton, Massachusetts
deathdate = death date and age|1982|12|29|1881|11|06
deathplace = Chevy Chase, Maryland
occupation = educator
nationality = US
period = 1914 - 1979
genre = non-fiction, poetry and religious
subject = education and Bahá'í Faith
movement =
spouse = Ida Nayan Whitland
partner =
children = none
relatives =
influences = Bahá'í Faith and childhood education
influenced =

website =

Stanwood Cobb (November 6, 1881December 29, 1982) was an American educator, author and prominent Bahá'í of the 20th century.

He was born in Newton, Massachusetts to Darius Cobb - a Civil War soldier, artist and descendent of Elder Cobb of the second voyage of the Mayflower - and Eunice Hale (née Waiten) - founding president of the Ladies Physiological Institute of Boston and mother of Cobb's four sisters and two other brothers. [ [,M1 "The Register of the Malden Historical Society"] Vol 6, 1919-20 by Mass Malden Historical Society, Frank S. Whitten Printer, p.70-3] He studied first at Dartmouth College, where he was valedictorian of his 1903 or 1905 graduating class , and then at Harvard Divinity School, earning a A.M. in philosophy and comparative religion 1910 . [ Oates, John F. 1975?. "Biographical Dictionary of American Educators", Vol. 1, pp. 275] ] [ [ McLean, J.A., "Pilgrim's Notes" (blog), "What Stanwood Cobb Told Me About 'Abdu'l-Bahá," Sunday, August 12, 2007] ] [ "The Bahá'í World", Vol 18, Part 5, "In Memoriam: Stanwood Cobb, 1881-1982"] ] In 1919 he married Ida Nayan Whitland.

Cobb lived internationally for some years before settling in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where he died.

Career as educator

In 1907–1910, Cobb taught history and Latin at Robert College in Constantinople (now Istanbul), followed by several years teaching in the US and Europe. He later headed the English department at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland (1914-15), taught at Asheville School in Asheville, North Carolina (1915-16), and was instructor of history and English at the United States Naval Academy (1916-19). Frustrated by the teaching experience at the Academy, Cobb heard a lecture by Marietta Johnson who helped marshal and crystalize his thoughts on education practice and curriculum theory. [ Alternative Schools: Diverted but not Defeated] Paper submitted to Qualification Committee, At UC Davis, California, July 2000, By Kathy Emery] As a result, in 1919, Cobb founded the Chevy Chase Country Day School, of which he was the principal until his retirement, and, active in the progressive education movement in the United States, became a founder and motivating force, first secretary, and eventually president (1927-1930) of The Association for the Advancement of Progressive Education, later renamed in 1931 as Progressive Education Association (PEA) and then American Education Fellowship. ["Historical Dictionary of American Education" ed. by Richard J. Altenbaugh, 1999 Greenwood Press Publisher, "Progressive Education Association" by Craig Kridel, p.303-4, ISBN 031328590X] [ [ University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development, "Timeline: 1910s"] ] [ [,9171,883101-2,00.html "Time Magazine", "Progressives' Progress," Monday, Oct. 31, 1938] ] [ [ Beck, Robert H. 1959. "Progressive Education and American Progressivism: Margaret Naumburg" (book review). "Teachers College Record" 60(4): 198-208] ] The first president was Arthur E. Morgan."The Struggle for the American Curriculum" by H. Kliebard, p. 168, published by Rutledge, 1955] Later the influential John Dewey served as president. [ [ Encyclopedia of Chicago - Progressive Education] ] Cobb resigned the Presidency in 1930 following the influx of supporters of George Counts who moved the focus of the Association from a student-centred learning approach to one of a social policy oriented approach to education theory. However, between the enormous impact of WWII on all thought and the involvement of many members of the PEA in communism and the general atmosphere of Anti-communism in the United States the achievements of the PEA both before Cobb's resignation and after were largely lost and ended the efforts of the Association shortly after the Carnegie Foundation and Rockefeller Foundations withdrew their support.

Life as a Bahá'í

After looking at Theosophy and Reform Judaism and other themes in religion"Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality" by Leigh Schmidt Cobb, published by HarperCollins, 2005, p. 218] Cobb investigated the Bahá'í Faith after a series of articles in the Boston Transcript on the religion attracted his attention. He pursued the interest to Green Acre conference center in Eliot, Maine in 1906 during his studies at Harvard Divinity School seeking to be a Unitarian minister. Sarah Farmer much affected Cobb and Thornton Chase was giving a series of talks. [ [ Minutes of the House of Spirituality, 1 Sept. 1906] ] It was on that occasion that he became a Bahá'í.

Between 1909 and 1913 he met with `Abdu'l-Bahá five times (twice in Akka and several times during the latter's travel to Europe and the US). [ [ McLean, J.A., "Pilgrim's Notes" (blog), "Corrections to Blog on Stanwood Cobb...," Sunday, August 12, 2007] ] In 1911 Cobb and a number of others gave talks in honor of the personal invitation by `Abdu'l-Bahá to pilgrimage of Louis Gregory. [ [ Biography of Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Louis George Gregory] ]

Cobb was a founding member of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Washington D. C. in 1933, and served on various committees (for example Cobb was Chairman of the Teaching Committee in 1935 ["Alain Locke: Faith and Philosophy" by Christopher Buck, Studies in Babí and Bahá'í Religions - Volume 18, p.168] ) and edited two Baha'i journals: Star of the West in 1924, and World Order from 1935-39.

Books and articles authored

Cobb was a prolific writer. Among his books were:

*"The Real Turk", 1914, The Pilgrim Press Publisher, (Summarized in "The Bookman: A Review of Books and Life " [,M1] p. 429.)
* [ Ayesha of the Bosphorus] , 1915, Boston Murray and Emery Co. Publisher (Available online)
* [,M1 The Essential Mysticism] . 1918 Four Seasons Publisher, (republished 2006 by Kessinger Publishing, LLC as ISBN 9781428609105)
*"Simia, A Tale in Verse". 1919 Cornhill Publisher
*"The New Leaven: Progressive Education and Its Effect upon the Child and Society". 1928 (Guy Thomas Buswell review published in The Elementary School Journal, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Nov., 1928), pp. 232-233).
*"Discovering the Genius Within You" 1932, John Day Publisher, and again, World Publishing Co., Cleveland, 1941.
*"New Horizons for the Child". 1934 The Avalon Press Publisher
*"Security in a Failing World". 1934 The Avalon Press Published
*"The Way of Life of Wu Ming Fu". 1935 (reprinted 1942) The Avalon Press Publisher
*"Character - A Sequence in Spiritual Psychology". 1938 The Avalon Press Publisher
*"Tomorrow and Tomorrow". 1951 The Avalon Press Publisher
*"The Donkey Or the Elephant". 1951 The Avalon Press Publisher
*"What is Man?". 1952
*"Sage of the Sacred Mountain; a Gospel of Tranquility". 1953, The Avalon Press
*"Magnificent Partnership". 1954, Vantage Press Publisher (Warren S. Tryon review published in The New England Quarterly, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Sep., 1955), p. 429)
*"What is God?". 1955
*"What is Love?". 1957, The Avalon Press, Publisher
* [ Islamic Contributions to Civilization] . 1963 (Available online)
*"Memories of 'Abdu'l-Baha". 1962, The Avalon Press Publisher
*"The Importance of Creativity". 1967, Published Scarecrow Press
*"Life With Nayan". 1969, The Avalon Press Publisher
*"Radiant Living". 1970, The Avalon Press Publisher
*"The Meaning of Life". 1972, The Avalon Press Publisher
*"Thoughts on education and life". 1975, The Avalon Press Publisher
*"A Call to Action: Develop Your Spiritual Power : Man's Fulfillment on the ...". 1977, The Avalon Press Publisher
*"A Saga of Two Centuries" 1979 (Autobiography)

Similar to his books, the focus of Cobb's articles has been education and Baha'i oriented - he has contributed to or anthologized by:
*The Atlantic Monthly (Feb 1921)
*The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research by the American Society for Psychical Research,
*The School Arts Magazine by Davis Press,
*Childhood Education by the Association for Childhood Education International
*Child Study by Child Study Association of America
*The New England Magazine by the Making of America Project
*"The Path of Learning: Essays on Education" by Henry Wyman Holmes, Burton P. Fowler, Published 1926 by Little, Brown and Company
*Progressive Education by Progressive Education Associationas well as
*The Baha'i World (see Baha'i Periodicals for information)
*World Order

Other information

Cobb was a member of several literary associations and of the Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C.. [ "The Bahá'í World", Vol 18, Part 5, "In Memorium: Stanwood Cobb, 1881-1982"] ]


ee also

*Bahá'í views on Communism
*International journal of progressive education
* [ Association for Childhood Education International]
*Education reform
*G. Stanley Hall
*Ayesha (novel) for a similar novel, though Cobb uses the personal romance as a spring board to examine the teachings of the Baha'i Faith in the context of the period after the Young Turk Revolution and liberal Islam.

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