Since its early days, the Ethical Culture Fieldston School has made use of its buildings for summer programs, both for enrolled students and the public. In 1919, the Summer Play School was founded in partnership with the New York Federation for Child Study, providing summer activities and meals for underprivileged children at the Ethical Culture School building on Central Park West. Today, the school still hosts summer programs on the Manhattan and Bronx campuses.
Further afield, the schools ran a sleep-away summer camp for boys and girls in Cooperstown, New York from 1923 until 1971. End-of-summer reports from camp directors described a variety of classic summer camp activities: swimming, boating, hiking, horseback riding, arts and crafts, baseball, tennis, and drama performances. During the 1950s, the camp added a dark room and kiln for artistic-minded campers.
A fun scrapbook from the early days of the camp shows campers and staff participating in several of these activities. Both the young campers and older staff seem to be having the time of their lives. These joyful, outdoorsy photographs encourage viewers to get out and enjoy the remaining days of summer. (And there’s plenty more inspiration in N-YHS collections!)
This post is by Project Archivist Alexanne Levengood. All images are from the recently donated archives of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. The collection is not yet accessible to researchers.