Stanwood Cobb Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanwood_Cobb

Stanwood Cobb
Born(1881-11-06)November 6, 1881
Newton, Massachusetts
DiedDecember 29, 1982(1982-12-29) (aged 101)
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Genrenon-fiction, poetry and religious
SubjectEducation and Baháʼí Faith
SpouseIda Nayan Whitlam

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

He was born in Newton, Massachusetts, the son of Darius Cobb and his wife, née Laura Mae Lillie. Darius and his twin brother Cyrus Cobb were Civil War soldiers and artists, and descendants of Elder Henry Cobb of the second voyage of the Mayflower. Their mother was Eunice Hale Waite Cobb, founding president of the Ladies Physiological Institute of Boston. Darius Cobb and his wife had four daughters and three sons.[1] Stanwood Cobb studied at Dartmouth College, where he was valedictorian of his 1903 or 1905 graduating class, and then at Harvard Divinity School, earning an A.M. in philosophy and comparative religion 1910.[2][3][4] His thesis work, Communistic Experimental Settlements in the USA, observed that every such settlement had failed within a generation because of an inability of communism to get people to subordinate their own desires for the good of the group.[5] In 1919 he married Ida Nayan Whitlam.[2] Cobb was a member of several literary associations[2] and of the Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C.[4]

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

Career as educator[edit]

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.[2] 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 in history and English at the United States Naval Academy (1916–19).[2] Frustrated by the teaching experience at the Academy, Cobb heard a lecture by Marietta Johnson who helped marshal and crystallize his thoughts on education practice and curriculum theory.[6] As a result, in 1919, Cobb founded the Chevy Chase Country Day School, of which he was the principal until his retirement,[2] and, active in the progressive education movement in the United States, became a founder and motivating force,[6] first secretary, and eventually president (1927–1930)[2] of The Association for the Advancement of Progressive Education, in 1931 renamed Progressive Education Association (PEA) and then American Education Fellowship.[7][8][9][10] The first president was Arthur E. Morgan.[11] Later the influential John Dewey served as president.[12] Cobb resigned the presidency in 1930 following the influx of supporters of George Counts who moved the focus of the Association from a student-centered learning approach to one of a social policy oriented approach to education theory.[11] However, between the enormous impact of World War II 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.[6]

Life as a Baháʼí[edit]

After looking at Theosophy and Reform Judaism and other themes in religion'[13] Cobb investigated the Baháʼí 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 preparing for the Unitarian ministry. Sarah Farmer much affected Cobb,[13] and Thornton Chase was giving a series of talks.[14] It was on that occasion that Cobb became a Baháʼí.[4]

Between 1909 and 1913 he met with ʻAbdu'l-Bahá five times (twice in Akka and several times during the latter's travel to Europe and the US).[4][15] In 1911 Cobb and a number of others gave talks in honor of the personal invitation by ʻAbdu'l-Bahá to pilgrimage of Louis Gregory.[16]

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[17]) and edited two Baha'i journals: Star of the West in 1924, and World Order from 1935–39.[4]

Books and articles authored[edit]

Cobb was a prolific writer. Among his books were:

  • The Real Turk. 1914, The Pilgrim Press, ISBN B000NUP6SI.
  • Ayesha of the Bosphorus. 1915, Boston Murray and Emery Co.
  • The Essential Mysticism. 1918, Four Seasons, (republished 2006 by Kessinger Publishing, LLC as ISBN 978-1-4286-0910-5).
  • Simla, A Tale of Love. 1919, The Cornhill Company.
  • 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)..
  • The Wisdom of Wu Ming Fu. 1931, Henry Holt and Company.
  • Discovering the Genius Within You 1932, John Day Publisher, and again, World Publishing Co., Cleveland, 1941.
  • New Horizons for the Child. 1934, Avalon Press.
  • Security in a Failing World. 1934, Avalon Press.
  • The Way of Life of Wu Ming Fu. 1935 (reprinted 1942), Avalon Press.
  • Character - A Sequence in Spiritual Psychology. 1938, Avalon Press.
  • Symbols of America. 1946, Avalon Press.
  • Tomorrow and Tomorrow. 1951, Avalon Press.
  • The Donkey Or the Elephant. 1951, Avalon Press.
  • What is Man?. 1952.
  • Sage of the Sacred Mountain; a Gospel of Tranquility. 1953, 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, Avalon Press.
  • What is Love?. 1957, Avalon Press.
  • Islamic Contributions to Civilization. 1963, Avalon Press.
  • Memories of ʻAbdu'l-Baha. 1962, Avalon Press.
  • The Importance of Creativity. 1967, Scarecrow Press.
  • Life With Nayan. 1969, Avalon Press.
  • Radiant Living. 1970, Avalon Press.
  • The Meaning of Life. 1972, Avalon Press.
  • Thoughts on education and life. 1975, Avalon Press.
  • A Call to Action: Develop Your Spiritual Power : Man's Fulfillment on the .... 1977, Avalon Press.
  • 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 was anthologized by:

as well as

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Register of the Malden Historical Society Vol 6, 1919-20 by Mass Malden Historical Society, Frank S. Whitten Printer, p.70-3
  2. ^ a b c d e f g John F. Ohles, ed. (1978). Biographical Dictionary of American Educators. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 275–6. ISBN 978-0-313-04012-2.
  3. ^ McLean, J.A., Pilgrim's Notes (blog), "What Stanwood Cobb Told Me About ʻAbdu'l-Bahá," Sunday, August 12, 2007
  4. ^ a b c d e The Baháʼí World, Vol 18, Part 5, "In Memoriam: Stanwood Cobb, 1881–1982"
  5. ^ Cobb, Stanwood (1979). A Saga of Two Centuries. Washington, DC: Avalon Press. p. 33.
  6. ^ a b c Alternative Schools: Diverted but not Defeated Paper submitted to Qualification Committee, At UC Davis, California, July 2000, By Kathy Emery
  7. ^ Historical Dictionary of American Education ed. by Richard J. Altenbaugh, 1999 Greenwood Press Publisher, Progressive Education Association by Craig Kridel, p.303-4, ISBN 0-313-28590-X
  8. ^ University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development, "Timeline: 1910s" Archived 2008-05-06 at archive.today
  9. ^ Time Magazine, "Progressives' Progress," Monday, Oct. 31, 1938
  10. ^ Beck, Robert H. 1959. "Progressive Education and American Progressivism: Margaret Naumburg" (book review). Teachers College Record 60(4): 198-208
  11. ^ a b The Struggle for the American Curriculum by H. Kliebard, p. 168, published by Rutledge, 1955
  12. ^ Encyclopedia of Chicago - Progressive Education
  13. ^ a b Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality by Leigh Schmidt Cobb, published by HarperCollins, 2005, p. 218
  14. ^ Minutes of the House of Spirituality, 1 Sept. 1906
  15. ^ McLean, J.A., Pilgrim's Notes (blog), "Corrections to Blog on Stanwood Cobb...," Sunday, August 12, 2007
  16. ^ Biography of Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Louis George Gregory
  17. ^ Alain Locke: Faith and Philosophy by Christopher Buck, Studies in Babí and Baháʼí Religions - Volume 18, p.168

External links[edit]