Mary Leue's Biography
and Curriculum Vitae

My aunt used to tell a story about plays she and her siblings would put on for their elders. One such involved a sailor husband who was absent from home for twenty years on a globe-girdling voyage, who finally returned and recounted to his wife the story of his exploits and travails. At its end, his wife exclaimed to him proudly, "I too have not been idle!" and, with a grand gesture of her arm, swept away a curtain concealing a long row of children of all ages!

Is there something not quite "comme il faut" (even if one does not label it as such) about boasting about one's accomplishments, particularly when one is a woman? I feel strangely awkward in giving a full account of my sixty-odd years since the halcyon days of undergraduate Bryn Mawrtyrdom. Yet I am pleased with my more than half-century's doings, and really want to share them.

Actually, the "careless love" which created my family of five is the most acceptable form of self-revelation for a woman, is it not? Of course, one is not supposed to give details about how such an indiscretion occurred! Too unladylike, no doubt. But then, I have always had trouble being "a lady." Four brothers and four sons, a father, a husband and a lover, all of whose freedoms and realms of power I longed to share while avoiding the pitfalls and pains of masculinity, probably conditioned me early and late to yearn in the direction of non-ladylike accomplishments.

At any rate, aside from such female considerations as reproduction, I append my "vita" to the biography below. Do I feel proud of all this? I do, I do!

Lots of love,
This biography, originally written in 1993 by two members of The Free School staff for me for a newspaper article in the Albany Times-Union, was added to, corrected and updated, first in 1996 and then in 2009:
In her eighty-nine years, Mary M. Leue, mother of five, grandmother of thirteen, great-grandmother of seven, has been a Maine farmer, registered nurse, teacher, civil rights and anti-war activist, lay midwife, leader in both alternative education and natural childbirth movements, therapist, community organizer, editor, writer, desktop publisher and bookseller. She has published a number of articles in national and international journals of education and psychotherapy, including the Journal of Orgonomy, Energy and Character, Holistic Education Review, SKOLE, the Journal of Alternative Education, which she created nine years ago, as one of eight co-editors of the Journal of Family Life, later re-named the Journal For Living; and an online bookstore and publisher (Down-to-Earth Books), with twenty-nine titles in print: ten as author, the remaining nineteen as editor.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Mary graduated with an A.B. in history from Bryn Mawr College in 1940. In 1943, she received her graduate nursing degree from The Children's Medical Center Hospital School of Nursing in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1950, she became a member of a committee of distinguished Boston doctors and other medical professionals working (fruitlessly, in the end) to create a national heath service. At that time she also served as secretary-treasurer of a committee of tenured professors from Harvard and MIT (and others) which had been formed in defense of an MIT mathematician, Professor Dirk Struik, a Marxist accused by the Massachusetts Un-American Activities Committee of advocating the violent overthrow of the American, raising $13,000 on his behalf. Professor Struik's case never came to trial!
In the early 1950's she accompanied her husband, then a young Harvard University PhD and professor of philosophy, to Denton, Texas, where she raised five children, taught at a small private school and did graduate work in English literature and education at Texas Woman's University. The family moved to Albany in the early 1960's, where Mary began training and experience in a number of therapeutic individual and group modalities including neo-Freudian, Transactional Analysis, T-grouping, Gestalt, Orgonomic, Bioenergetic, Past Lives Therapy (Deep Memory Process), Marital Counseling and Jungian group techniques - in addition to doing graduate work in psychology at the State University of New York, where she is now an Associate Fellow of the Center for Arts and Humanities.
Following a Sabbatical year at Oxford University in England in 1968-69 with her husband and two youngest children, and returning to Albany, Mary responded creatively to the distress of her ten-year-old son, who was now suffering badly in Albany's public schools, by allowing him to drop out of his overcrowded class. Her (and his) decision to create The Free School and locate it in the inner city was influenced by the educational philosophies of New England Transcendentalist Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May Alcott of Little Women fame), Wilhelm Reich and A. S. Neill, as well as the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and the father of anarchism, Prince Pyotr Kropotkin. Mary firmly believed that open, democratic education should be available to the children of the poor as well as to those of the middle and upper classes. When she had consulted with A.S. Neill, founder of Summerhill, a democratic school in England, about such a possibility, his response was pure Neill: "I would think myself daft to try."
In 1969, Mary proceeded to gather an entire group of "daft" individuals, many of whom are still together in 2009 (although none of them still teaches in the school), having joined her in her vision of living and working in genuine community in a post-industrial world. The school they created and developed together as they went along, learning from experience and adapting their programs to the needs and enthusiasms of the actual children who were members of the school at any one time, is still staffed by a group of self-chosen teachers and interns who believe deeply in what they are doing, and have continued most of the policies in practice during the early years of the school..
Mary saw clearly from the start that such an experiment would need to have its own internal economy based on self-help, simple living and shared, peer-level leadership, and that it would depend on ongoing emotional honesty for its long-term survival. Guided by Wilhelm Reich's concept of "work democracy," Mary and the others began creating a series of small-scale community institutions to both broaden the school's mission and support the health and growth of community members. They dedicated their first community-owned building as The Family Life Center, to use for supportive activities - which included a shared investment and loan program, The Money Game; a medically-supported midwife-managed pregnancy, birth and parenting program, The Matrix Birth Center; a weekly growth group, simply called The Group, which enabled its members to create lifestyle changes by working out conflicts, enhancing both their interpersonal skills and their basic joie de vivre; an adult educational program entitled the Adult Learning Exchange; a small bookstore, Down-to-Earth Books (which has since become the online bookstore and publishing company mentioned above), and an organic foods store, The Down-to-Earth Store, supporting their needs for a healthy lifestyle.
As more new community members stayed on and became pregnant, Mary had begun offering home birth for a few families, assisted by Betsy Mercogliano, a teacher in the school. Betsy dropped out of teaching to take a full course of nurse's training, and subsequently, one in midwifery from a national accrediting organization. She and Mary organized the birth center together, including the publication of a monthly birth news periodical whch also offered locally-built birth stools for sale. Two community members, Howie Mittleman and Frank Houde, had set up a wooden boat-building shop they called North River Boatworks in the garage next door to the school, where they were building prize-winning wooden boats and restoring "woodie" station wagons. For Matrix they created and built several hundred simple but very effective birthing stools. Matrix is still going strong under Betsy's able leadership, and supports many families in pre-natal, doula and parenting support as well as occasional births in the center's birth pool.
Finally, the awareness developed in Mary and others that a vital community needs a celebratory spiritual basis - and what has evolved is multifaceted, drawing from many diverse sources including Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Sufism, Wiccan and native American traditions. The women of the community even spent one summer digging a kiva behind the school.
The community also wanted to offer school children as well as community members more experiences in a natural setting, and bought a lodge and land on a small lake in the Taconics which they called Rainbow Camp, half an hour's drive from Albany. They paid for this by offering a very successful weekend workshop program conducted at the lodge for many years. The community also serendipitously inherited a large tract of wooded land a few miles away by paying off the unpaid county taxes on the land. This land had once been original Mohican homeland, and, long before that era, had been a Neolithic site dotted with dolmens and stone piles. Here they developed a wilderness preservation and teaching program for both adults and children from nearby public schools including a high ropes course and a wilderness shelter deep in these untouched and magnificent woods.
Next door to this land was the site of a Nipponzan Myohoji (Japanese) Buddhist Peace Pagoda, a structure closely linked in its creation with both native American rights and international peace movements - and was worked on by many members of the Free School community throughout its development, including the children of the Free School. All this land had been the property of Hank Hazleton, a supporter of both Native Americans and Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhism, who had donated the site of the pagoda to them.
Mary retired from the school in 1985, and left the community in 1998 to live on family land, along with two of her five families, in Ashfield, Massachusetts, a small hilltown in the Berkshires. Until 2002 she was a member of the Council on Aging for four hilltowns including Ashfield, driving seniors who needed transportation to the doctor in nearby cities, and helping to organize senior housing. She was also a member of the Board of the local newspaper, The Ashfield News until 2006.
During the late 80s Mary taught herself webmastering, in order to create her own web site to acquaint a wider public with the work of alternative education, to offer books on the subject hard to find elsewhere, and a wide choice of articles and reviews. She has also written and published three volumes of her memoirs, both online and in book form. She calls her reminscences Trying to Get it Right This Time: Confessions of a Survivor of a Large Family.
Mary heats her farmhouse with wood cut by her son Mark, raises a fair amount of her own food in a joint garden with her son Tom and his wife Nancy and boils the sap from her family's trees to make maple syrup in early spring.
MML CURRICULUM VITAE (Note: see the Review link on the Home page for my writings.
MARY MACOMBER LEUE, born December 21, 1919, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, one of six children of Dr. Donald Macomber (Harvard College 1905, Harvard Medical School, 1909, HMS faculty member, OB-Gyn, Sexuality, 1920's-30's; practicing MD Ob-Gyn, Boston, MA, 1920-50) and Harriet Seaver Macomber (Bryn Mawr A.B. 1907).
Primary and secondary schools in West Newton, Lincoln and North Quincy, MA.
A.B. Bryn Mawr College, 1940
R.N. Children's Medical Center Hospital, Boston, MA
Graduate School:
M.A. Texas Woman's University, Denton, Texas (English, psychology, Teacher Ed.)
(ABD) SUNYA (psychology), on a part-time basis 1955-57 and 1966-68.
Three additional graduate courses in teacher ed. and nursing during the 1970's.
Married William H. Leue, 1943.
5 children: William, 1944, Peter, 1946, Thomas, 1948, Ellen, 1954, Mark 1958. Three miscarriages, one stillbirth.
Has lived in Brunswick, Maine, West Newton, Massachusetts, Denton, Texas, Albany, New York, Eynsham, Oxfordshire, England (Sabbatical year at Oxford University).

TRAVEL: British Isles, Holland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, 1964.

British Isles, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Andorra, 1969.
Hawaii, 1984.
British Isles, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Crete, 1985.
British Isles, France, 1986-66, four trips.
Switzerland, Israel, Turkey, 1987-88.
Switzerland, India, Ladakh, 1989.
Japan, Thailand, India, 1992.
England, Germany, Israel, Japan, Maui, California, visiting schools and school people around the world, 1998.
England and France, 2001.
England, 2002.
6 months Freudian psychiatric counseling, Dallas Texas, 1953.
5 years individual and group Freudian psychiatric therapy, 1962-67.
T-group 1965-8.
Bioenergetic Reichian body work, London, England, 8 months 1968-9.
Marital counseling, Satir-trained therapist, 1970-3.
Orgonomic Reichian Body work, Philadelphia, 1972-5.
Transactional Analysis/Gestalt individual and group therapy, 1974-77.
EST training, 1977.
Option (Barry Kaufman), individual and group 1984-5.
Past Lives Therapy training, Roger Woolger, Oxford University, Jung Institute, Zurich, 6 months, 1986.
Marital counseling, Elizabeth Doyle, 1970-72.
Counseling, Deborah Fine, family therapist, 1999-2003, 2008-9.
Tutoring bedridden children, Brunswick, Maine Public Schools, 1948-9.
Evening duty obstetrical/pediatric nurse, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Massachusetts, 1950-1.
Teacher, Latin, French, History, administrator of testing program, Denton Preparatory School (now Selwyn School), Denton, Texas, 1955-8.
Religious Education teacher, Denton Unitarian Fellowship, 1956-8.
Religious Education Director, DUF, 1958-9.
Religious Education teacher, First Unitarian Church, Albany, New York, 1965-6.
Founder, The Free School, 1969.
Co-director, The Free School, 1969-84.
Therapist, Reichian, marital, parenting, women, individual and group, 1974-1998. Past Lives, 1986-7.
Pediatric and Public Health consultant, 1974-1998.
Teacher, French, Sex Education, History, History of Religions, The Free School, 1986-1996.
Founder, Pregnancy and Childbirth Support Group, 1978.
Founder and Co-coordinator, Family Life Center, 1979.
Labor coach, childbirth educator, pregnancy/fertility consultant, midwifery teacher 1977-1996.
Member, National Coalition of Alternative Community Schools
Member, Board of Directors, National Coalition of Alternative Community Schools, 1981.
Managing editor/publisher, SKOLE, the Journal of Alternative Education 1985-1999.
Founder, Down-to-Earth Books, 1984, the Lorax Bookstore/Mail Order Service, 1985.
Co-founder and co-coordinator, MATRIX, a primal birthing center, 1987-94.
Co-founder, co-editor/publisher, the Journal of Family Life, 1994, runner-up Utne Reader awards for new innovative periodicals, 1995.
Associate Fellow of the Center for the Arts and Humanities, State University of New York at Albany, NY, 1990-1996.