A Very Brief History

In the 1920’s Ralph Borsodi became concerned with the problems of urbanized society and left the city to build his first homestead. He founded the School of Living in 1934 to empower others to achieve a more fulfilling and self sufficient life. He was soon joined by Mildred Loomis who continued and expanded the work until her death. Our current collective continues to work actively for the fulfillment of many of the ideals and movements to which we have been dedicated for many years. SoL’s area of study touches on every aspect of people and society. Historically we have played a pivotal role in movements supporting: organic agriculture, consumer rights, cooperatives and worker owned businesses, tax abolition, geonomics, appropriate technology, neighborhood and community rights and control. Today SOL is actively engaged in: community land trust, intentional community support, permaculture, ecological use of resources, human scale and local self reliance, appropriate technology, alternative education, consensus decision making, non-exploitive banking, and social justice.

Remarks by Ralph Borsodi on the dedication of the first School of Living building (1936)

The School of Living is not truly a school; it is even less an institution; it is least of all just a building. It is true that when spelled with capitals it is all of these things. But long before it materialized into any of them, it was first of all an idea. But it has become more than an idea. It is now an attitude towards life and toward the problems of society; above all toward the problems of human nature — particularly between those who love one another. To make of all living a problem in education is to adopt a definite philosophy of life.

When we moved out of the city and into the country, we made a startling discovery. We, who were proud of our educations, who had achieved a measure of success in the competitive struggle called New York, discovered how little we knew. Chickens were problems, a sow a dangerous beast, a garden a great mystery. Property was something about which we white collar proletarians knew nothing at all. Everything we discovered in the country convicted us of ignorance.

We began to slowly suspect that we who were so proud of our science and our knowledge, might be equally lacking in knowing what we should know as citizens, as parents, as husband and wife. We suspected even more, that our relatives and friends, that people generally, were equally ignorant – that what was really of first rate importance was being neglected by society for what was of secondary importance; that in some manner we moderns had confounded means and ends, and that not living, but manufacturing, was the subject of modern education.

So the Borsodis decided to go to school again. But we decided that the school should not consist of a class room; that it should have neither teachers nor pupils; that it should have no courses and no graduates. We decided that the school should be everywhere that we lived; that we should teach one another and learn from one another; that the subject of our study should be living, and that there should be no graduation from this school until we graduated from life itself.

Life has come to mean to us learning how to live. That it may come to mean that to our friends, and to all people everywhere is our wish as we join here in dedicating our new building.

Statement of Purpose (September 3, 1934)

  • To associate a selected group of artists, craftsmen, and teachers in a demonstration of the contribution which decentralized, self-sufficient living in the country may make to redress the economic and psychological insecurities of our industrialized age;
  • To study and develop the possibilities of the home and homestead as a productive and creative institution;
  • To offer those who may be able to come only for short visits a place to study homesteading, and their part in making life more meaningful here and now.

Mildred J. Loomis Tribune

Since the mid-1930s Mildred J. Loomis and others have committed their lives to the Ralph Borsodi and Henry George movements, homesteading, and community living. Much has expanded since then to encompose a more wholesome life, free of polution, with a better communial relationship with our mother earth. What we hope to accomplish in this on-line resource is to collect proses, poetry, articles, art and more. Some may have been previously printed or included in the Green Revolution, others are current that reflect the movement of today.

A Brief Biography of Mildred Jensen Loomis by True Ritchey

Mildred Jensen Loomis, Decentralist, writer, editor and co-founder along with Dr. Ralph Borsodi of the School of Living, over 50 years ago. Born January 5, 1900 on a farm near Blair, Nebraska, of Danish/English ancestry. Father, Nels Marten Jensen; mother Anna Truhlsen Jensen. Mildred had three brothers and two sisters. Surviving are one brother, Dr. Marshall N. Jensen of Longwood, Florida and her sister, Myrtle Ross of Cory, Colorado, three nieces and four nephews. Deceased are brothers Harold and Alton, and sister Enid Wardell.

Mildred Loomis served as Director of School of Living Centers at Lane’s End near Dayton, Ohio from 1943 to 1968, at Heathcote, MD from 1968 to 1972, at Sonnewald Homestead near Spring Grove, PA from 1972 to 1975, and at Deep Run near York, PA from 1975 – 1985. Throughout this period, she wrote various self-reliance and decentralist topics, and at times, edited the School of Living journal, known variously as The Interpreter, Balanced Living, A Way Out, and The Green Revolution. As a speaker, at many conferences and workshops she gained wide acclaim in the U.S. and aboard.

Besides the School of Living publications, her writings appeared in numerous avant-garde periodicals, including Free America, Christian Century, Let’s Live, The Messenger, The Anvil, Resurgence, Mother Earth News, and The Whole Earth Review. Her published books include Alternative Americas and Go Ahead and Live The former is an exposition and chronicle of the decentralist movement, while the latter addresses approaches to healthful, self-reliant ways of living. Two others, Ralph Borsodi: Reshaping Modern Culture, and Borsodi As I Knew Him, are in preparation. Loomis was in the process of writing another book about women in the Henry George movement at the time of her stroke on October 1, 1984.

Loomis’ educational background included a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska in 1924, followed by a Master of Science degree in Education and Religion from Columbia University and Union Seminary in 1932. She taught at Quaker summer work camps and at the Quaker Center in Pendel Hill. She assisted Ralph Borsodi at the School of Living in Suffren, NY in 1939 and 1940.

In 1940, she married John Loomis. Together, they established Lane’s End Homestead at Brookville, Ohio where they lived in a relatively self-reliant lifestyle until John’s death in 1968. Throughout this period, Loomis tutored and instructed people in homesteading, organic gardening, nutrition, healthful living and decentralist economics.

Throughout her long life, Mildred Loomis has inspired countless people, not merely by what she said and wrote, but how she lived her life, practicing healthful, decentralist principles daily and joyfully.


Mildred Loomis Tribute Issue Green Revolution: Vol_35_No_5_June-1978.pdf