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University of Melbourne Collection Edit


Finding Aid Author
Lisa Petrillo
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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  • 1929-2014 (Creation)


  • 3.84 Cubic Feet (Whole)

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  • Abstract

    This collection contains the personal papers of Ralph Borsodi, chancellor of University of Melbourne, FL, and materials relating to the University of Melbourne from 1929 to 2014.

  • Biographical / Historical

    Ralph Borsodi was born in 1886. He was interested in self-sufficient living and wrote several books about his homesteading experiences and philosophy. He wrote National Advertising vs. Prosperity: A Study of the Economic Consequences of National Advertising (1923), The Distribution Age: A Study of the Economy of Modern Distribution (1927), This Ugly Civilization (1929), Flight from the City: The Story of a New Way to Family Security (1933), Prosperity and Security: A Study in Realistic Economics (1938), Inflation is Coming (1948), Education and Living Vols. I and II (1948), The Challenge of Asia: A Study of Conflicting Ideas and Ideals (1956), Pan-Humanist Manifesto (1958), The Education of the Whole Man (1963), The Definition of Definition: A New Linguistic Approach to the Integration of Knowledge (1967), and Seventeen Problems of Man and Society (1968).

    Borsodi established the School of Living, a non-profit rural educational institute, in 1935 in Suffren, NY. Borsodi also spearheaded Bayad Lane Association, also called the Suffren Housing Project, a small experimental cooperative community on 40 acres of land, which consisted of 14 houses each with about 2 acres of land. The homes were owned individually, the land cooperatively. Borsodi went on to establish a second homesteading community called Van Houten Fields, a 110-acre farm in West Nyack that consisted of 66 home sites. Both projects were done under Borsodi’s business called the Independence Foundation. Suffren and Nyack were the first successful demonstrations of independent co-operative homesteads for the city worker.

    Borsodi moved to Melbourne Village, Florida in 1949. In 1953, Borsodi, Virginia Wood, Elizabeth Nutting, and Margaret Hutchison shared a vision of founding a university. Borsodi wanted to model the small graduate school after the School of Living, which closed in 1951, focusing on a universal point of view, and he wanted to have visiting faculty from foreign embassies. A quarterly journal, The Journal of Praxiology, would be published to define the problems of living, provide commentary, and review books. A Board of Regents was created and made up of T. J. Wood, Jane Button, Shirley O’Donnell, Ralph Borsodi, Tom Sweeting, Clare Borsodi, Virginia Wood, Elizabeth Nutting, and Margaret Hutchison. Nutting was elected as dean.

    Borsodi was not able to secure land for the university from the City of Melbourne, but in 1954, V. C. Brownlie donated 40 acres to the university, which was located just outside Melbourne’s city limits. On October 6, 1955, the cornerstone of the building was laid. The first seminar, entitled “Man is the Problem?” was held December 27, 1955 to January 1, 1956. Borsodi, Willis Nutting, Paul Tillich, Joseph Wood Krutch, and Philip Wylie were speakers. The second seminar, “The Challenge of Islam: The Problem Created for the Free World,” was held later that January. The third seminar, “The Challenge of Socialism, Communism, and World Revolution,” was held in February of 1956.

    The university’s official opening was September 23, 1956. Don Gospil was the only full-time student to attend. Borsodi resigned on July 20, 1957 stating it was due to extreme ill health. William Byl acted as head of the university until the position could be filled, but it was never filled. In 1959, the Board of Regents of the University of Melbourne agreed to lease land and provide use of the administrative building and library to the Brevard Engineering College (BEC).

    Material in the collection.

    Crepeau, Richard, Melbourne Village: The First Twenty-five Years (1946-1961). Orlando: University Presses of Florida, 1988.

    Long, Craig, Bayard Lane: The Borsodi Experiment. N.d. Accessed August 5, 2015.

    Sharp, Bill, New School of Living: Ralph Borsodi and The School of Living, July 3, 2013. Accessed on August 5, 2015.

  • Scope and Contents

    The University of Melbourne Collection consists of files kept for the University of Melbourne, located in Melbourne, FL, Ralph Borsodi’s personal scrapbook of news clippings primarily relating to his publications and the University of Melbourne, and other materials relating to the University of Melbourne. The campus of the university was later sold to Brevard Engineering College (BEC) which became Florida Institute of Technology. Some materials pertain to Melbourne Village, FL. The collection contains three wood-handled stamps, cancelled checks, index dividers, photographs, records, invoices, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and handouts relating to University of Melbourne dating from 1945-1958 with the majority of materials dating between 1955-1957. The scrapbook created by Ralph Borsodi contains news clippings about his publications and the founding of University of Melbourne dating from 1929 until his resignation in 1957. The collection came to us through private donations and is not a complete representation of the records generated by the University of Melbourne.

  • Arrangement

    The collection has been arranged to the file unit level. Series 1, 4, and 6 are in alphabetical (file units), and chronological (items) order. Series 2, 3, and 5 follow original order, which is alphabetical (file units) and chronological (items) order. The collection has been divided into six series:

    Series 1: Administrative and Financial Materials

    Series 2: Borsodi Personal Papers

      A: Notes

      B: Scrapbook

    Series 3: Correspondence

      A: Correspondence of Ralph Borsodi

      B: Correspondence of Arthur W. Calhoun

      C: Other Correspondence

    Series 4: Histories and Chronologies

    Series 5: Photographs

    Series 6: Publicity and Programs for University of Melbourne

      A: Seminar “Man is the Problem?”

      B: News Clippings on University of Melbourne, BEC, and Florida Tech

  • Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open for research.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    Photocopies, photographs, and scans of items in this collection may be made by users or by library staff on behalf of users for the following purposes: personal, research, scholarly, educational, and other nonprofit use. It is the responsibility of the user to abide by any and all applicable copyright laws in their use of material from the Harry P. Weber University Archives. Florida Tech is not responsible for any copyright infringement resulting from improper use of research copies or scans created by or provided to users.

  • Preferred Citation

    “Item and date.” University of Melbourne Collection, UA-UML003. Harry P. Weber University Archives, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL.

  • Language of Materials


External Documents