Black Mountain Mountains





Pitchers
JAlbers Bentley Creeley Evarts JJalowetz Olson du Plessix
JRice Shepard EStraus
Infielders/Outfielders
AAlbers Dreier Gregory HJalowetz Jennerjahn Kaiser Levi
Litz Lowinsky NRice Richards TStraus Wallen Wunsch
Manager Coaches G.M. Owner Home Park
Cage Cunningham Duncan Oppenheimer Fuller Duberman Supine Dome
Outer Links



The 1998 BLACK MOUNTAIN MOUNTAINS are a new cosmic team. They were created October 29, 1997. The MOUNTAINS will compete in the CBA Underleague during the 1998 season.

The players were all members, at one time or another, of the Black Mountain College community in north Carolina. Black Mountain College (B.M.C.) existed from 1933 until 1956. Robert Creeley, who was both a student and a teacher at Black Mountain. called it a "decisive experimental school".

The genesis of the college began when John Andrew Rice, controversial classics professor at Rollins College in Florida, decided to create a college "based on an idea of community among individuals working and learning together." A collection of buildings owned by the Blue Ridge Assembly of the Protestant Church in Black Mountain, North Carolina became the physical home for this idea.

A remarkable number of artists and teachers from a wide variety of fields passed through Black Mountain during the school's 23 year history. At its essence, Black Mountain was an experiment in communal education. Boundaries between teacher and student were redefined as were most of the precepts of traditional western pedagogy. The innovations at Black Mountain are today accepted conventions.

Black Mountain remains a pioneering effort in the annals of the history of American progressive education. The intensity of its community is still with us and probably on the verge of being reignited in some meaningful and transformed way. Afterall, there is a growing consensus that our current educational system is failing in its mission to develop socially conscious and productive individuals.

The story of Black Mountain College has been told in vivid detail by Martin Duberman in his history of the 23 year life of the school, Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community (E.P. Dutton, New York. 1972.) Much of the research for the team was completed using Mr. Duberman's history of Black Mountain College. Most of the photographs on this plate are also from his excellent book. Grateful acknowledgment is made to Mr. Duberman.






Josef Albers
Pitcher

Painting teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1933
Husband of Anni Albers

Albers, hired in 1933 to teach art, remained at the college for 16 years, finally departing in 1949. For the last six months of his tenure he was Rector of the college. His students included Robert Rauschenberg and Kenneth Noland. Another student, the novelist Peggy Bennett Cole said that Albers was "like a fatherly lover to each and every one of us, male and female alike. Stern, just, yet appreciative."















Anni Albers
Firstbase

Weaving teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1933
Wife of Josef Albers

Because Anni was Jewish the Alberses decided to leave their native Germany and go to America. Trained as a weaver she eventually taught that art at Black Mountain. Her style was innovative and experimental and she created weavings as art objects instead of "functional" products.














Eric Bentley
Pitcher

Literature teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1942

A colleague wrote in his recommendation of Bentley that his "personality is uncompromising and his mind is original to the point of giving offense...He is a stormy petrel-- a conscientious objector, a political radical, and a person who is not disposed to permit flabby or conventional opinions to go unchallenged in his presence."














Robert Creeley
Pitcher

Poetry teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1954

He has written that his experience at Black Mountain was profound: "I never learned more, let's say, about teaching as an activity than I did there...I never found a more useful context for being a teacher than I did there." Creeley also was responsible for the creation of the Black Mountain Review a magazine Charles Olson had suggested would help the college publicize itself. The Review published writers such as Olson, Robert Duncan, Joel Oppenheimer, Fielding Dawson, Ed Dorn, all who had spent some time at Black Mountain. But also writers such as C.G. Jung, Jorge Louis Borges, William Carlos Williams, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Louis Zukovsky appeared in the seven issues between 1954 and 1957.














Theodore Dreier
Secondbase

Physics teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1933

An original member of the faculty, and significant force in the development of Black Mountain College. Dreier helped draw up the original Bylaws for the college. With some bitterness he left the Black Mountain community in April, 1949 as the various power centers adjusted. He did write later that Black Mountain was "...a wonderful place...in spite of all the difficulties and problems. I think we blazed some new trails and I believe there will be others elsewhere who will pick them up."














John Evarts
Pitcher

Music teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1933
Original faculty member

In describing his reaction to the physical location of the college, Evarts wrote: "I remember being overwhelmed by the beauty of the view of the mountains from the porch of Lee Hall-- the beauty of the autumn colors and especially the rich red of the dogwood leaves." Evarts taught music at Black Mountain until he enlisted in the Army in 1942.













Molly Gregory
Outfield

Art teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1940

From New England Molly Gregory started as an assistant to Albers in his art classes. She later taught furniture design and woodworking. She ran the college's farm, administered the gasoline rationing program at the school during World War II and "won widespread admiration for her integrity and plain-spoken decency." Gregory was very much involved in the "work program" that attempted to establish individual responsibilities to the community. Her theory of leadership: "Understand your workers, help them plan, sing with them when necessary to them into the rhythm of the work, etc." She left the college in 1947, somewhat disillusioned in the community and in Albers. She felt the "old timers" such as Albers were becoming too possessive of the school, and she felt this worked against the forging of a successful educational community.














Heinrich Jalowetz
Catcher

Music teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1939
Husband of Johanna Jalowetz

Duberman writes that Heinrich Jalowetz was the "single most beloved figure in Black Mountain's history". A disciple of the composer Arnold Schoenberg, Jalowetz worked throughout Europe as a conductor, before emigrating to the United States and landing a job at Black Mountain. He died in 1946 while still teaching at Black Mountain and his remains are buried there.














Johanna Jalowetz
Pitcher

Voice teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1939
Wife of Heinrich Jalowetz.

After her husband died she stayed on at Black Mountain until 1953 giving voice lessons and teaching a class in bookbinding which "students took simply because they loved her."














Warren Peter Jennerjahn
Outfield

Student
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1946
Studied printing and art.

Jennerjahn came to Black Mountain as a student on the G.I. bill and eventually was promoted to a staff position. He taught several art classes in printmaking and color theory. He left the college in 1950 with his wife Betty to spend a year in Paris.














Betty Kaiser
Infield

Student
Arrived Black Mountain College: ?

Betty Kaiser was Charles Olson's student at Black Mountain. Olson fell in love with her, divorced his first wife, Constance, and had a child with Betty in the middle 1950s. Kaiser gave up her career as a pianist and actress when she married Olson. She died in an automobile accident in 1964.














Albert W. "Bill" Levi
Catcher/infield

Philosophy teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1945

Arrived with his wife Mary Caroline Richards from University of Chicago to teach philosophy. He was appointed Rector of the College in 1947 and resigned that position the following year. Intimately and actively involved in the college's affairs he is described by Duberman as "cagey, didactic and patronizing; a man ambitious to be the charismatic figure-- to have natural authority in his person and to be loved for it..." After nearly five years of constant controversy, Levi left Black Mountain in 1950 without his wife.














Katherine Litz
Shortstop

Dance teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1950

Danced with the Humphrey-Weidman Company before being recruited by Black Mountain. In the summer of 1951 she invented a dance inspired by Charles Olson's interest in Mayan culture. Litz also did the choreography for a student-written musical called Flabbergasted.














Edward Lowinsky
Leftfield

Music teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1942

A musicologist, Lowinsky was instrumental in getting Black Mountain college to racially integrate during the 1940s. Considered part of the "European contingent" that included Albers and Jalowetz his departure in 1947, a year after Jalowetz's death, decimated Black Mountain's fabled music department. He left Black Mountain after accepting a Guggenheim Fellowship and went on to teach at Queen's College in New York.














Charles Olson
Pitcher

Poetry teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1948

Known as the "father" of the Black Mountain school of poets, Olson first appeared at Black Mountain as a visiting teacher in 1948. He taught three-day seminars called "Reading" and "Writing". Olson returned as a full time teacher during the summer of 1951 and remained until the college closed in 1956. The innovative, "final desperate illustrious years" of Black Mountain are, according to Duberman, "above all the story of Charles Olson's influence within it." What had been a college organized around the visual arts in the 1930s and 1940s, became in the 1950s a school most known for a literary movement, led by the 6'7, 250 pound Olson. Robert Creeley, both a student and teacher at Black Mountain was greatly influenced by Olson. It was Olson's idea to publish The Black Mountain Review as a way to gain publicity for the college. Creeley was the primary force in getting the publication out. Olson was also Black Mountain's last Rector, overseeing its demise. While at Black Mountain, Olson divorced his wife, Constance, after he fell in love with one of his students, Betty Kaiser.














Francine du Plessix Gray
Pitcher

Student
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1951

Attended Black Mountain during the summer sessions of 1951 and 1952. Originally went to Black Mountain to study painting but ended up taking a writing class with Charles Olson. She was a contentious student. "I critizised [Olson] always on his failure to accept the limitations of language-- which I think by essence brings a dichotomy between the act of writing and what you're writing about." Despite her criticisms of Olson, she writes: "I really think if I ever get anything done in writing it will still be thanks to Olson-- whatever I say against him."














John Andrew Rice
Pitcher

Classics teacher
Founded Black Mountain College: 1933

An iconoclast, John Andrew Rice "sought controversy more then most men seek repose..." It was Rice who was the primary force in the creation of Black Mountain College when in 1933 he left his teaching position at Rollins College under a dark cloud of controversy. He was no less controversial at Black Mountain where he was both admired and resented by different factions of the experimental educational community he helped create. With Theodore Dreier and Frederick Georgia, Rice wrote the original "Bylaws" of the college and served as an original member of the Board of Fellows. He became Rector of the college in 1934. However, by March of 1938 he had become effectively a persona non grata at Black Mountain, as much because of his abrasive personality as for his romantic affair with a student. Rice would later write a critically acclaimed autobiography. A charismatic and controversial figure, the origins of Black Mountain are intimately connected with Rice and his ideals of community and education.














Nell Rice
Rightfield

College librarian
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1933

Nell Rice was associated with Black Mountain longer then any other individual. Arriving with her husband, John Andrew Rice in 1933, she stayed on after his ouster in 1939. She became associated with the so-called "cultural conservative" faction at the college and by 1954 she had become effectively isolated and finally broke her ties with Black Mountain in 1955.














Mary Caroline Richards
Outfield

Writing teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1945

She arrived at Black Mountain with her husband Bill Levi from the University of Chicago. She was hired to teach literature and writing. Among her students was the poet Joel Oppenheimer. She weathered an attempt in 1950 by the Board of Fellows (then dominated by the "cultural conservatives") to dismiss her and she stayed at Black Mountain when her estranged and defeated husband left in December 1950. Duberman writes that in 1951 Richards was the "single person most responsible for coaxing [Charles] Olson back to Black Mountain College." After Black Mountain closed Richards went to the experimental community at Stony Point, founded by a former colleague at Black Mountain, Paul Williams. A committed teacher she commented on the students at Black Mountain: "I know there are people who think that the students who came to Black Mountain were different from other students elsewhere. But this isn't my view. Wherever I have taught...I have always felt that...there is no unalive student, if that's the kind of relationship you create."














Flola Shepard
Pitcher

Linguistics teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1950

Shepard arrived at Black Mountain after resigning her teaching position at Olivet College, when that college was taken over by a conservative administration. At Black Mountain she was socially and politically active in a number of local civil rights causes. Duberman writes that after her resignation from Black Mountain in 1954 "all semblance of direct engagement with social issues vanished."














Erwin Straus
Pitcher

Psychology teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1938

Arriving from Germany in 1938 when he was 46 years old, Straus and his wife Trudi remained at Black Mountain for six years. At the center of many of the community's controversies, notable the 1943 debate about whether to racially integrate the College. Along with other "conservative" members of the community, Straus argued against integration. The conservative faction's arguments had more to do with timing then any perceived bigotry, although there was some speculation that Straus might be a racist. Duberman writes that while researching his book about Black Mountain he met Straus in 1967. His notes written after his initial meeting with Straus indicate that there was something Duberman didn't "quite trust or like about him; the geniality isn't wholly believable. Traces of arrogance, archness; even a clever cruelty seems possible." Straus was one of Eric Bentley's great rivals while the two were at Black Mountain.














Trudi Straus
Infield

Arrived Black Mountain College: 1938

In writing about his impressions of Trudi Straus after meeting her in 1967, Duberman writes: "A very simple, sweet soul. Authentically nice. No question her large heart, her tenderness...No question, either, that she is used to serving him [Erwin Straus, her husband]. Doubt if she has near the intellect to have held his interest; at times he seemed contemptuous of her..."














John Wallen
Centerfield

Psychology teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1945

In an application letter for a teaching position at Black Mountain, Wallen wrote, "The prime function of knowledge and education, then, is to make living meaningful-- both in terms of personal values and of interpersonal relations (if there is any distinction)." After arriving at Black Mountain, Wallen attempted to put into practice his non-traditional ideas. The "conservative" elements of the community again mobilized fearing another take over by radicals. In particular, Josef Albers was suspicious of Wallen's motives for change. Wallen was unable to implement his vision of communal living at Black Mountain and he submitted his resignation in 1947. Subsequently, in 1948, he attempted another experiment in communal living with a group of people in Oregon. This experiment disbanded in 1951. In 1968, Duberman asked Wallen and his wife, Rachel, would they again like to participate in a communal environment. Rachel said no, but Wallen answered, "I'd be very interested."














Robert Wunsch
Outfield

Drama teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1939
Became Rector of Black Mountain College in 1939.

Departed B.M.C. in disgrace in 1945 after having been arrested in his car with a marine. After he left the college he went to California and disappeared. "The only rumor about Wunsch anyone from Black Mountain has heard from that day to this is that he went to work as a mail clerk in a post office." (Duberman, p. 227).















John Cage
Field Manager

Music teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1948

Cage studied with the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg but abandoned the latter's 12-tone compositional style in the 1940s. Cage used rhythm and percussive textures as his prime concerns and experimented with accidental sounds. His work has been called "neodadaist." He used sounds of radios, animals, bicycles, etc. in his compositions. He is considered one of the first major figures in the genre of modern, experimental music. Examples of his work include Imaginary Landscapes (1942-1951), Sonatas and Interludes (1946-1948), Water Music (1952), Speech (1955), Etudes Australes (1974-1975). Cage frequently collaborated with Merce Cunningham. Much of their collaboration was done at Black Mountain.














Merce Cunningham
Coach

Dance teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1948

Cunningham began dancing at age 8. From 1939-1945 he performed with the Martha Graham dance company. He choreographed Mysterious Adventure (1945) a dance that used an absence of motion as its technique. He frequently collaborated with John Cage and together they taught at Black Mountain. Cunningham is considered one of the major figures of modern dance. Examples of his creations include Sixteen Dances for Soloist and Company (1951), Summerspace (1958), Winterbranch (1965), and Tango (1978),














Robert Duncan
Coach

Poetry teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1956

Early on in his career, as a student in Berkeley in the mid 1930s Duncan recognized his need for a community of poets. After Berkeley, in New York he was part of a literary circle that included Anais Nin, Kenneth Patchen and George Barker. When he returned to Berkeley in the mid 1940s his circle of poets included Kenneth Rexroth, Jack Spicer and Robin Blaser. In 1956, Duncan had already been exposed and influenced by Charles Olson's "Projective Verse" theories when he arrived at Black Mountain to teach poetry.














Joel Oppenheimer
Coach

Poetry teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1950

Oppenheimer was born in Yonkers, NY and arrived at Black Mountain at the age of 20 after having been kicked out of Cornell and the University of Chicago. He originally came to Black Mountain as a painting student but after taking classes with Charles Olson he decided to be a writer. After Black Mountain he lived among the poets and artists of Greenwich Village, and was a columnist for The Village Voice from 1969-1978.














Richard Buckminster Fuller
General Manager

Engineering teacher
Arrived Black Mountain College: 1948

A nonconformist from a traditional New England family, Fuller described himself as an "explorer in comprehensive anticipation design." He used technology and basic geometric principles to explore and design structures for the future. In 1927 he conceived of the Dymaxion house as a solution to the emerging housing problem. The Dymaxion automobile, a jet-like, three-wheeled vehicle never got off the drawing board. At Black Mountain he designed and attempted to erect the Supine Dome, a structure, under 100 pounds, that would be a "beautiful geometric pattern of varied colors and four types of triangles, and would soar fifty feet." But alas, the Supine Dome collapsed under its own weight before it could be completely erected. His later "geodesic" dome design was used for the United States' Pavilion at the Montreal Expo in 1967. Fuller wrote several books including Ideas and Integrities: A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure (1963).














Martin Duberman
Team Owner

Historian

At the time that Duberman wrote his excellent history of Black Mountain College, Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community (1972) he was the Distinguished Service Professor of History at Lehman College, City University of New York. Born in New York City he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard.














Supine Dome

Home Park
Capacity: 112



















Black Mountain College Links



















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1998 Black Mountain Mountains
URL: http://www.cosmicbaseball.com/98bmr.html
Published: November 5, 1997
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