Main Line School Night, part 4 – “Associated Adult School of Suburban Philadelphia

The Spring term of 1940 was the last which Wayne School Night operated alone. Plans were already well underway for the merger with Lower Merion and by September, 1940, catalogues advertised “The New Radnor-Lower Merion Center of Education, Culture, Fun, The Mecca of the Main Line.” Twenty-nine courses were offered, including one on the “Historic Main Line,” by Harry Emerson Wildes, author of “Valley Forge”, “The Delaware” and “Anthony Wayne.” Another course with a nostalgic backward look was the “Epic of American Transportation.” which featured talks on “Wayside Inns and Conestoga Wagon Days”, “Steamboats on the River,” “From Turnpike to Super Highway” and many others.

In contrast to these two courses one was called “America Looks Ahead”, which attempted to answer some of the questions to be raised by a war that was still only on the horizon as far as our country was concerned. Ten eminent students of world affairs discussed different aspects of America’s future. Among them were Dr. Felix Morley, president of Haverford College; Jesse H. Holmes, professor of Philosophy, Swarthmore College; Dr. Ernest Minor Patterson, president of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and Wilheim Sollman, formerly secretary of the Interior under Chancellor Stresemann of Germany. School Night was attempting to help its students to face the country’s problems squarely.

By this time the “Associated Adult Schools of Suburban Philadelphia” had held several area meetings under the leadership of Mr. Creutzburg, who had been elected president of that group of seven schools. These soon included Upper Darby, Nether Providence, Pitman, N. J., Swarthmore, Cheltenham and Narberth, in addition to the Main Line group. Organized originally as a discussion group when problems common to all the adult schools could be discussed, it had become an invaluable source of information and guidance for new adult schools as they were established.

The school when it went out of existence in 1942 was still operating under Mr. Creutzburg as president; Raymond P. Worrell as vice-president; R. Leland Smaltz as secretary; S. Eugene Kuen, Jr., Philadelphia, as treasurer, and an executive committee composed of Jason L. Fenimore, Wayne; Jacqueline Link, Merion; Wendell B. Stewart, Cynwyd, and Guier S. Wright, Bryn Mawr. These had been chosen from a Board of Directors made up of 15 representatives from Radnor and Lower Merion townships.

In the Spring of 1948, after a silence of almost six years School Night, “by popular request”, was again with us. A short term of six weeks started on March 18 in Lower Merion High School. Its success warranted the resumption of the once-popular adult education program with its Full term held in Radnor High School and its spring term at Lower Merion.

By the Fall term of 1948, the 11th semester for School Night, the even balance between representation from the two townships had again been struck on the Board of Directors. Assisting Mr. Creutzburg as president were R. D. Kreitler as vice-president, Robert W. Trout as secretary and Harry M. Buten as treasurer.

On Monday night of this week, Lincoln’s Birthday, the 16th semester of Main Line School Night inaugurated the first of its ten sessions at Lower Merion. Enrollment was almost 1000 by registration night on February 5, according to Walter Whetstone, Jr., the registrar. This will probably reach about 1300 by the beginning of the second class on February 19. While this does not reach the all-time high of 1612 students of one year ago, it is still an indication of the lasting interest felt in Pennsylvania’s first adult education school, founded in Wayne in February, 1938.

(For the material used in these few articles the writer is indebted to Mr. Creutzburg and to Douglas C. Wendell. The latter kept publicity scrap books concerning School Night which are of increasing value as the years go by.)