CPC History Talk at the 50th Reunion in 1988

CPC History Talk at the 50th Reunion in 1988
by Ann Lauderdale

FMB: This is my transcript of a video of Ann Lauderdale’s talk. When I have a good link to the video, I’ll post it here. For now, here’s an image of Ann giving her talk.

It was just fascinating, but they did fall into some categories. And I’ll talk about that later.

Circle Pines – as I am convinced, as all of us would be, if we review the history – has had its roots deeply embedded in two extraordinary social movements. One was for educational reform, and the other was a movement for evolutionary change towards a world of peaceful cooperation.

The older movement is that of the Danish Folk School. I went to the library to find some information on the Danish Folk School. I am the only person in the history of the Western Michigan University Library to check out two books. My name is the only name on these two books on the Danish Folk School Movement written by the founders of the Danish Folk School. (0:47/2:49) The Danish Folk School, as it was experienced and exemplified in the Ashland Folk School in Grant Michigan, from 1882 to 1938, had a profound influence on the development of Circle Pines.


The more recent movement is the American Cooperative Movement, which is based on the British Rochdale principles of cooperation. The Cooperative Movement found enthusiastic and sustaining support among the leadership and participants of the Ashland Folk School, many of whom were involved thereafter in the establishment of Circle Pines Center.

Also involved in influencing the development of Circle Pines was the work and the understanding of the Quakers who early on came here to put up some of the buildings that are here. (1:47/2:49)

Circle Pines Center has an elusive quality about it that makes precise definition difficult – and, I think now, impossible.

In his Circle Pines diary, David Sonquist wrote, concerning his experiences at the Asland Folk School: “I do not believe that anyone who attended those cooperative schools will ever forget them.”


“The lilt and lift of the folk melodies, and the dancing where the whole community joined with the school to make every evening filled with joyous activity and goodwill. In the mornings and afternoons, we attacked seriously the problems of cooperative organization and education.”


Here it was that the writer, David, first studied the course of cooperative thinking, another term for the cooperative process, which spread to cooperative groups all over the country. It was here that the search for truth led us into discussions on all the major issues of the day, and we really did feel enlivened to go forth and build a cooperative world.

3 thoughts on “CPC History Talk at the 50th Reunion in 1988

  1. Wow! More work to do! The rubric was “cooperative recreation” skirting the Quaker aversion to “dancing” as distinct from “folk games” (as we called them in Olney). Batt was a terrific folk-games caller. I’m too old to write more. All the details were in my submissions to the IRS. Especially re creating a culture of cooperation to carry out education through demonstration, etc. The first thing you cooperate on is answering, What else is worthy of our collaborative or distributed intelligence?


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