Lucy Morgan describes some of the industrial activity associated with Antioch – bronze, bookplates and shoes.
Picture of Amos Mazzolini working on the bust of Paderewski taken from Why They Came (an index of entries to the book can be found by clicking the “Blog Multi-Part Series” tab above).
Bruce Rogers also did a design for the Antioch Bookplate Company (with a horizontal variation) that was ordered by institutions throughout the life of the company
A previous post on Antioch Shoes (with an illustration) can be found here.
THE ANTIOCH FOUNDRY had a rather interesting start. A Mr. Paulo of New York wrote Arthur in 1925, asking if he might do a bust of him, and saying that it would take only a few days. It was arranged he should do it at “Jacob’s Pillow,” the abandoned Berkshire farm we had bought in 1915 as a place in which to start our educational experiment, not yet sold to Ted Shawn. The only hitch in the plan seemed to be that Mr. Paulo was so glad to be out of New York and in the mountains that he stayed on and on, but paid well for his board by doing for me a lovely relief head of our daughter Frances. Arthur was at that time searching for possibilities of small industries for the Antioch environment. Mr. Paulo described the “lost wax” process of bronze casting. This appealed to Arthur as an ancient art on which almost no modern research had been done. Of course, Mr. Paulo knew “just the man to run it.” That man was an Italian with a wife and nine children, then living in Rome. By much effort Arthur secured permission for them to come to America, and they quite added to the interest of village life. It turned out that he only wanted Arthur’s help to get to America, and he soon left to work for the Roman Bronze Works in Brooklyn. As he declined to learn English, it was a real relief to have Amos Mazzolini take over. The bust of Arthur by Paulo was cast at the foundry.
In 1924, when Arthur was hunting for help for Antioch, Bruce Rogers, the famous printer who was then associated with William Rudge, offered to provide the whole design for Antioch Notes, including the drawing of the towers, and the selection of type first used. This design was used for the first ten years or more of Antioch Notes. Also Rudge offered to take a pair of student “co-ops.” The fist of these were Walter Kahoe and Ernest Morgan. This training made them such ardent printers that the Antioch Press, the beginning of which we owe to Philip Nash, used them both in the early days, Walter during its largely formative time. As students these two had started the Antioch Bookplate Company, of which Ernest is now president. Theses are two of Yellow Springs’ small industries that have persisted.
One noteworthy small industry never came to the point of locating its factory at Yellow Springs, but it has the Antioch name, and has had a remarkable influence in American life. In 1926 there appeared at Antioch a man who was an efficiency expert in shoe factories. He knew both the last manufacturers and the shoe makers, and was convinced it was not malice on the part of anyone that caused women’s shoes to be so different in shape from the feet that were to wear them. Each side told him they would like to see the shoes improved. This man, Edward Mathews, cared so much for feet that he was known to take off the street and into a store to be fitted some strange child whose feet he could see were being badly cramped by poor shoes. At the same time Arthur, through his talks with the college physicians and with foot specialists, had become concerned over the effect of high heels on student health, and had been looking vainly for a make of shoes that would be both good-looking and hygienically right. Not finding any such shoes he was considering the possibility of a shoe factory at Antioch.
So Edward Mathews’ coming was opportune. When he heard of Arthur’s dream of a self-supported college he proposed that if Antioch would contribute the name and the management, he could supply the know-how and we would have a factory at Yellow Springs that would largely suffice to run the College. He has already made well-modeled shoes for his wife, and as my feet were the same size he got me some too. They were a wonderful relief to me. Arthur asked Mathews to go around among the eastern trustees to get their opinions of him and the idea. He won them all to his plan. In the Antioch Shoe he introduced to America women’s shoes that were both beautiful and healthful. Nearly everyone now forgets that up to that time there were no attractive shoes for women that were built with any regard for what feet are like, and that almost no designers or manufacturers of style shoes had any knowledge or interest in the anatomy of the human foot. In an amazingly short time he had so effectively labored with and educated the shoe industry that a revolution in shoe design took place. This did not financially benefit Antioch, but the women of America owe Edward Mathews a debt of gratitude, and Antioch Shoes are still a credit to the name.