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Richard Gothe     

Date/place of birth:
11 May 1900

Date/place of death:
October 1968

Relationship to the college:
Assistant Professor of Economics and Sociology and Director of the Lake Eden Work Program




Richard Gothe attended elementary school in Berlin. From 1914-18 he was trained as a machinist and  toolmaker. He served as a private in the German army from 1918-19. From 1919-28 he worked as a tradesman in Germany, Brazil and the United States. On his return to Germany, he studied economics and sociology at the Universities of Kiel and Berlin from 1929-34 (Ph.D. Economics, University of Kiel, 1934). During this time he organized and directed twenty Voluntary Labor Camps in northern Germany with emphasis on the education program. He founded the Workers and Students Community House in Kiel in 1932.

From 1934-36 Gothe was a nonpolitical journalist in Berlin, and from 1936-38 he did research on leisure time in Berlin and London. From 1934-35 he was a Researcher for the Notgemeinschaft Deutscher Wissenschaft.

Gothe arrived in the United States on October 15, 1938. From 1938 through 1940, he did research for the American Council on Education. In February 1939 he did research with the American Youth Commission Implementation Study of Civilian Conservation Corps, National Youth Administration Resident Centers, and Private Work Camps. He was a member of the National Youth Commission and Co-founder and Secretary of the Work Camps for America. He spent the summer of 1940 at Goodrich Farm and the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee. In the United States directed summer work camps for the American Youth Commission

Gothe was invited to visit Black Mountain in the spring of 1940. While there, he lectured on “Experience with Youth at Work and Study” and “Economics in Everyday Life.” He was appointed Assistant Professor of Economics and Sociology and Director of the Lake Eden Work Program for 1940-41. His salary was paid through a fellowship with the General Education Board of the American Council on Education.

After the war, Gothe was living in California. His work after he left Black Mountain is unknown.

Richard Gothe, “Student Work Program at Black Mountain College,” Work, 1/3 (December 1940):1ff.

Photograph: North Carolina State Archives, Black Mountain College Papers


This biography was funded by a grant from the Graham Foundation for a study of architecture at Black Mountain College.

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