Los Alamos

Overview

Twenty-five years before the Manhattan Project created the town of Los Alamos, the Pajarito Plateau was home to an elite prep school for boys, ages twelve to eighteen. The Los Alamos Ranch School combined a robust outdoor life and a carefully cultivated wilderness experience with a rigorous academic program and the structured discipline of a Boy Scout troop, perfectly mirroring the Progressive Era's quest for perfection.

John Wirth's father, Cecil, taught at the school and ...

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Overview

Twenty-five years before the Manhattan Project created the town of Los Alamos, the Pajarito Plateau was home to an elite prep school for boys, ages twelve to eighteen. The Los Alamos Ranch School combined a robust outdoor life and a carefully cultivated wilderness experience with a rigorous academic program and the structured discipline of a Boy Scout troop, perfectly mirroring the Progressive Era's quest for perfection.

John Wirth's father, Cecil, taught at the school and directed its summer camp. John spent his early childhood at the school along with his brother Tim, later a U.S. Senator from Colorado. Drawing on oral accounts, memoirs, and archival documents, as well as John's firsthand knowledge and family lore, the authors situate the school within the educational trends of the day and New Mexico's cultural milieu.

Wirth and Aldrich examine the influence of the school's controversial director, Albert J. Connell, who was roundly disliked by two of the best-known students, Gore Vidal and William S. Burroughs. Many other students reported their time at the school to be a profoundly positive, often life-changing, experience. Additional chapters recount the growing-up experiences of ranch workers' children and the role the school played in their lives and those of area residents.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826328847
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Pages: 354
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author


The late John D. Wirth was a Latin America scholar and professor emeritus of history at Stanford University. He made his home in Santa Fe.

Linda Harvey Aldrich is a long-time resident of Los Alamos and former archivist at the Los Alamos Historical Museum.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Pt. I The Los Alamos Ranch School
Prologue: Pathways to Pajarito 3
1 A School with Nature as a Textbook: Beginnings 11
2 Everything for a Reason: The Los Alamos Program 35
3 Everyone Must Do His Part: The School Community 69
4 An Inspired Partnership: The Leadership 99
5 We Ride! We Ride!: The Los Alamos Summer Camp 127
6 A War Casualty: The Closing of Los Alamos 155
Pt. II Families at Los Alamos Ranch
7 Los Ricachones: Hispanic Families at Los Alamos 173
8 It was a Good Time and Place to Be a Boy 198
9 Remembering the Ranch 222
10 Conclusion: A Sense of Place 250
App Salute to Hitchcock 259
App Los Alamos Ranch School Song 260
App Horses in the Ranch School Inventory, 1942 261
App Biographies of the Los Alamos Masters 263
Notes 271
Selected Bibliography 295
Index 301
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