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The Windsor Mountain School was a coeducational boarding high school in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Windsor Mountain School
Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Lenox MA.jpg
Boston University Tanglewood Institute
Typehigh school
Color(s)no uniform


The school was established in Lenox in 1944 by German Jewish educational reformer Max Bondy and his wife Gertrud Bondy.[1][2] The Bondys had earlier established an international school in Germany, initially in Gandersheim and later in Marienau.[3][4] When the rise of Nazism threatened their enterprise, they left Germany, re-establishing their school in Switzerland in 1937.[3] In 1939, they moved to the United States, reopening their school in Windsor, Vermont, and then later in Manchester, Vermont at the site of the Wilburton Inn, before moving it to Massachusetts.[5] Shortly after art collector Grenville Lindall Winthrop's death in 1943, they purchased his Carrère and Hastings-designed mansion in Lenox and opened their new school.[6]

In 1951, after Max Bondy's death, his son Heinz succeeded him as headmaster.[7] Heinz Bondy led the school for 25 years until it closed in the mid-1970s.[8]

Operated according to progressive education principles, the school was unusually democratic in its governance, with a student government that was empowered to make all nonacademic rules. As of 1970, there was no dress code, student publications were not censored, and there were no restrictions on student political activities. The school's philosophy held that the exercise of freedom would help students become responsible, self-directing people.[7]

Among the prominent Americans who sent their children to Windsor Mountain School in the 1960s were musicians Harry Belafonte, Thelonious Monk, and Randy Weston,[9] civil rights lawyer Clifford Durr and his wife, activist Virginia Foster Durr.[10] and Judge George W. Crockett Jr.[11]

As of 1970, Windsor Mountain had about 250 students, including about 40 African Americans.[7]

Educator Hans Maeder, who was later to establish and lead the Stockbridge School, taught at Windsor Mountain School for a year in the 1940s. Poet Gerald Hausman taught at Windsor Mountain School from 1969 to 1976.[12]

Eric "Rick" Goeld, who attended Windsor Mountain from 1961 to 1963, recently published "People of Windsor Mountain," which is a history of the school spanning the years 1920 to 1975. The book includes many remembrances and personal stories of alumni and former faculty.

There is also another recently published book By Roselle Kline Chartock, a retired professor of education from nearby Great Barrington, titled Windsor Mountain School A Beloved Berkshire Institution. This book is centered on Windsor, referencing several other schools of the era and area which focuses on progressive education as practiced by the Bondys.

The school closed in 1975.[13] The schoolhouse now belongs to Boston University.[6]


  1. ^ Schools: Triple-Speed Learning, Time, January 11, 1963
  2. ^ Pink Horwitt and Bertha Skole (1972), Jews in Berkshire County, page 39.
  3. ^ a b Schüler auf den Spuren der Reformpädagogen, Welt Online, October 12, 1999. (German language)
  4. ^ Das sind wir, Schule Marienau website, accessed September 26, 2010. (German language)
  5. ^ Windsor Mountain School brochure, undated; retrieved from, September 25, 2010
  6. ^ a b "GROTON PLACE – 45 WEST. ST., COMPLETED 1905". Lenox History. Lenox Historical Commission and Lenox Historical Society. September 27, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c de Lone, Richard H. and Susan T., John Dewey is Alive and Well in New England, Saturday Review, November 21, 1970, pages 69-71. Included in: The New World of Educational Thought, Frank A. Stone, editor (Ardent Media, 1973. ISBN 0-8422-0282-X, ISBN 978-0-8422-0282-4), pages 182-189.
  8. ^ Colman McCarthy, The Soul of a School, The Washington Post, May 4, 1996
  9. ^ Robin D. G. Kelley (2009), Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-684-83190-2, ISBN 978-0-684-83190-9. Page 387.
  10. ^ John A. Salmond (1990), The conscience of a lawyer: Clifford J. Durr and American civil liberties, 1899-1975. University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173-0453-3, ISBN 978-0-8173-0453-9. Page 192.
  11. ^ I was a Windsor Mountain student during 1955-56 and George W. Crockett III was the School President
  12. ^ "Gerald Hausman". Children's Book Manager Advisors. Archived from the original on October 6, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  13. ^ "More on Windsor Mountain School". Lenox History. November 2, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2010.

Coordinates: 42°21′19″N 73°17′27″W / 42.35528°N 73.29083°W / 42.35528; -73.29083