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New Schools Exchange records

Call Number: MS 889

Scope and Contents

The New Schools Exchange records document the activities of the New Schools Exchange specifically and the free school movement of the 1960s and 1970s generally. Among files documenting the NSE, the collection includes a complete run of the New Schools Exchange Newsletter, which printed articles, notices, classified advertisements, and other pieces of information relating to individuals, organizations and schools in alternative education. Individual files documenting over seven hundred free schools located around the world but primarily in North America, comprise a large series. The records also hold a broad selection of ephemeral publications relating to educational alternatives that serve to place the activities of the New Schools Exchange into the broader context of the free school movement. The collection also documents the counter culture of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as related movements for peace, social justice, racial and gender equality, and civil rights.


  • 1968-1978




Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the New Schools Exchange, 1978.


Arranged in three series: I. General Files, 1969-1978. II. School Files, 1970-1977. III. Publications, 1968-1977.


25 Linear Feet

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The records consist of publications, correspondence, writings, school directories, and other information documenting the New Schools Exchange specifically and the schools, individuals, and other organizations of the free school movement generally. The collection includes hundreds of files documenting individual schools in the United States, Canada, and abroad, as well as many ephemeral newsletters, journals, and other publications relating to alternative education.

Biographical / Historical

The New Schools Exchange was formed at the First New Schools Conference in Menlo Park, California in March 1969. Organized by Harvey Haber and located in Santa Barbara, California, the Exchange's mission was to provide a clearinghouse for resources and information relating to the free school movement.

The free school movement blossomed in the late 1960s as hundreds of community based schools were started nationwide. The new schools sought to provide children an alternative to the public education system, which was increasingly criticized for large school and classroom sizes, impersonal atmospheres, authoritarian methods of discipline, and rigid and archaic curricula. Although the philosophies and practices of individual schools varied, most free schools were small, private and innovative institutions organized on a grass roots level. They generally based their practices on ideas of children's freedom, self-governance and social justice. The free school movement also encompassed free universities, which applied these values to higher education, although they usually existed within established colleges and universities. Free school activity peaked in the early 1970s and declined steadily thereafter.

The New Schools Exchange served as an organizing locus for this movement by collecting information and publishing school directories and the New Schools Exchange Newsletter, a widely read publication within the alternative school network. The newsletter printed a wide variety of materials including school directories and other educational resources, reports from schools, job openings and letters from subscribers. Many issues also contained more formal articles on educational issues written by Exchange staff members, including Allan Graubard, Kat Marin, Peter Marin, Michael Rossman and Tim Affleck. Haber served as managing editor for the newsletter until the Fall of 1971, when Kat Marin assumed these duties.

In early 1973, the organization changed hands once more, when Bill Harwood and Grace Dailey took on the bulk of NSE's duties and moved the organization to St. Paris, Ohio. In 1974, Harwood and Dailey moved the Exchange to Pettigrew, Arkansas, where they integrated communal living and subsistence farming into the continuing educational work of the group. The New Schools Exchange published its final newsletter in 1978 and ceased operations due to financial shortcomings.
Guide to the New Schools Exchange Records
compiled by Tom Hyry
January 1999
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)