Iowa History.

Lee and I used to live in West Branch, Iowa, birthplace of President Herbert Hoover. The town is also the home of Scattergood Friends School, a college-prep school run by the Iowa Yearly Meeting of Friends (Conservative) (that is, by Quakers).

From 1938-1943 it was also run as a hostel for Jewish people and political refugees from Europe:

By July of 1939 Scattergood Hostel seemed settled enough for the first family to arrive. By August the targeted population of 30 “guest” (the term used in preference to the more loaded “refugees”) and 10 or so staff was mostly in place. At that point, daily life at Scattergood Hostel began to reflect more closely the AFSC’s goal of providing a place where refugees “could go for a few weeks or months to recover from their effects of their recent experiences, regain their confidence , improve their English, learn to drive a car, and, if needed be, start retaining themselves for some new line of work before seeking a permanent place in American society.” True to Quaker aversion to organized hierarchies, from the beginning attempts were made to run the project as consensually as possible, with continual input from those being helped.


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1 Comment

  1. Boulder Dude

    West Branch?


    Wow, I have been to the Hoover Museum there. Small world. 🙂

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