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Friends of the Modern School Annual Gathering Features Vivian Gornick, Biographer of Emma Goldman

October 19, 2017
Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman was one of the original organizers of the Ferrer Association in New York that led to the founding of the Modern School.

Anna Schwartz and children

Anna Schwartz leads a wood shop class, ca. 1950.

Rutgers University Libraries are delighted to cosponsor the 45th annual gathering of the Friends of the Modern School. The Modern School was a democratic school and anarchist community located in the North Stelton area of Piscataway Township from 1915 to 1953. The Modern School provided an alternative education—encouraging students' creativity and self-reliance—based on the principles of Spanish anarchist Francisco Ferrer, who founded the first Modern School in Barcelona in 1901. In 1973, the Friends of the Modern School was established to celebrate and preserve this legacy. One of the Friends’ first projects was the donation of the archives of the Modern School to Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers.

This year’s gathering will feature feminist writer Vivian Gornick, author of Emma Goldman: Revolution as a Way of Life (Yale University Press, 2011). Goldman was one of the original organizers of the Ferrer Association in New York that led to the founding of the Modern School. Vivian has taught English at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Hunter College, the New School, and was a distinguished visiting professor of English at the University of Iowa. She was a writer for many years for the Village Voice, The Nation, the New York Times and the Atlantic. Vivian Gornick has written 14 books and has received wide recognition for her work. Her most recent book is the memoir The Odd Woman and the City (2015).

The program will also include a talk by Alex Khost, a children’s rights advocate and activist. He will talk about his involvement in various free schools and activities related to children’s education. Alex was a founder of the Teddy McArdle Free School and cofounder of Playground NYC, a junkyard playground for children. He is currently working on Voice of the Children, a young people’s civil rights organization, inspired, in part, by the books that were written by the children of the Modern School of Stelton.

The introduction to our program will feature a short documentary film by Alexander Hilerio entitled The Ferrer Colony. Alexander graduated from Rutgers with majors in political science, history, and film. He now lives in New Brunswick.

The Friends of the Modern School gathering will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Friday October 27, 2017 in the Remigio U. Pane Room on the first floor of the Alexander Library. Light refreshments will be served. Parking is available without permits in the College Avenue Deck (enter from George Street) or in Lot 30 behind the College Avenue Gym.  For more information, please contact Fernanda Perrone at