Lake Forest Academy: NOT a military school.

Lake Forest Academy: NOT a military school.

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

January 7th, 2018, 6:54 pm #1

One of the most common Bix myths is that he attended Lake Forest MILITARY Academy. Here are a few examples.

Fromhttps://www.allmusic.com/artist/bix-bei ... /biography
"He[Bix] was sent to Lake Forest Military Academy in 1921.

Fromhttp://www.document-records.com/show_ar ... offset=140
"... in 1921 they [Bix's parents] sent him away from home to be schooled at Lake Forest Military Academy."

Fromhttps://notablemusic.weebly.com/biograp ... becke.html
"When his family found out that he was failing school and about his interest in Jazz, they were furious and sent him to a military school called Lake Forest Academy in 1921."
ugh
Fromhttps://naxosdirect.co.uk/items/beiderb ... es!-143857
"His parents soon became so concerned about his lackadaisical attitude towards school that Beiderbecke was sent to Lake Forest Military Academy in 1921."

There are many many more examples, but the above should suffice.

This ad from Chicago Tribune, 26 Jun 1921, Sun, Page 89 demonstrates conclusively that Lake Forest was NOT, repeat NOT a military academy. The image courtesy of Bob Spoo. Thanks Bob.

https://img.newspapers.com/img/img?id=3 ... fefa7591d8

Albert
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John Coffin
John Coffin

January 7th, 2018, 8:30 pm #2

Its amazing how bogus details can persist in the face of hard data.

It is a slightly odd advertisement for the school, as if they had some special need to explain that they weren't military. Did the school have a reputation for 'straightening out' wayward sons? Recently, magazines like the New Yorker tended to have ads for schools that dropped all kinds of hints.

$950 tuition was nothing to sneeze at back in 1921.
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Bob Spoo
Bob Spoo

January 8th, 2018, 2:03 am #3

It may be that LFA was trying to correct a common misimpression that, because it was morally rigorous and enforced a strict honor code, it was also military in style. But it's also possible that this was just one of several categories or designations for prep schools of the period. For example, Thorpe Academy for Boys, also in Lake Forest, Illinois, indicated in newspaper ads that it was "Semi-Military . . . Uniforms worn" (Chicago Tribune, Sunday, 24 Jul 1921, page 77).

And, yes, $950 was a pretty penny in 1921. $1,000 in 1928 (a date I checked once) had roughly $15,000 worth of buying power in 2012 dollars. Not sure about the conversion from 1921 dollars to 2018, but it must be similarly impressive.
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John Coffin
John Coffin

January 8th, 2018, 2:46 am #4

Thanks. I hadn't thought beyond the school making a special distinction, rather than just labeling themselves to match a known category.

It does speak to the family's prosperity, and their concern for Bix. Strange that the school's contract specifically requested a promise not to use tobacco, but no mention of alcohol. Perhaps that was unthinkable in those circles.
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Bob Spoo
Bob Spoo

January 8th, 2018, 7:22 pm #5

I suspect that the honor code didn't require a promise not to consume alcohol because it was already illegal for most purposes in 1921 as a matter of federal law.
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Glenda Childress
Glenda Childress

January 8th, 2018, 11:09 pm #6

Its amazing how bogus details can persist in the face of hard data.

It is a slightly odd advertisement for the school, as if they had some special need to explain that they weren't military. Did the school have a reputation for 'straightening out' wayward sons? Recently, magazines like the New Yorker tended to have ads for schools that dropped all kinds of hints.

$950 tuition was nothing to sneeze at back in 1921.
The tuition at Lake Forest was not cheap. The CPI Inflation Calculator indicates that in 2017 dollars the modern equivalent would be $12,333.45.
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John Coffin
John Coffin

January 9th, 2018, 4:45 pm #7

I suspect that the honor code didn't require a promise not to consume alcohol because it was already illegal for most purposes in 1921 as a matter of federal law.
I'd not thought about prohibition adding to the 'unthinkable' aspect. I don't know what Illinois law was like in '21, but many states had/have age limits on tobacco access too.

My grandfather graduated the U of Illinois in '23. At that time alcohol was a named, specific cause for immediate expulsion.
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Alberta
Alberta

January 9th, 2018, 11:13 pm #8

One of the most common Bix myths is that he attended Lake Forest MILITARY Academy. Here are a few examples.

Fromhttps://www.allmusic.com/artist/bix-bei ... /biography
"He[Bix] was sent to Lake Forest Military Academy in 1921.

Fromhttp://www.document-records.com/show_ar ... offset=140
"... in 1921 they [Bix's parents] sent him away from home to be schooled at Lake Forest Military Academy."

Fromhttps://notablemusic.weebly.com/biograp ... becke.html
"When his family found out that he was failing school and about his interest in Jazz, they were furious and sent him to a military school called Lake Forest Academy in 1921."
ugh
Fromhttps://naxosdirect.co.uk/items/beiderb ... es!-143857
"His parents soon became so concerned about his lackadaisical attitude towards school that Beiderbecke was sent to Lake Forest Military Academy in 1921."

There are many many more examples, but the above should suffice.

This ad from Chicago Tribune, 26 Jun 1921, Sun, Page 89 demonstrates conclusively that Lake Forest was NOT, repeat NOT a military academy. The image courtesy of Bob Spoo. Thanks Bob.

https://img.newspapers.com/img/img?id=3 ... fefa7591d8

Albert
I have always thought Bix was being confused with Red Nichols, who I believe did attend a military academy. Red's playing even sounds like he went to a military academy. Bix's rarely does.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

January 9th, 2018, 11:58 pm #9

.... the Culver Military Academy in Indiana on a music scholarship. I believe he enrolled in 1919.

In 1920, Red was expelled when he got caught smoking!!!

Source:http://www.bigbandlibrary.com/rednichols.html

https://www.cardcow.com/images/set602/card00382_fr.jpg

Albert

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David Tenner
David Tenner

January 10th, 2018, 5:28 am #10

One of the most common Bix myths is that he attended Lake Forest MILITARY Academy. Here are a few examples.

Fromhttps://www.allmusic.com/artist/bix-bei ... /biography
"He[Bix] was sent to Lake Forest Military Academy in 1921.

Fromhttp://www.document-records.com/show_ar ... offset=140
"... in 1921 they [Bix's parents] sent him away from home to be schooled at Lake Forest Military Academy."

Fromhttps://notablemusic.weebly.com/biograp ... becke.html
"When his family found out that he was failing school and about his interest in Jazz, they were furious and sent him to a military school called Lake Forest Academy in 1921."
ugh
Fromhttps://naxosdirect.co.uk/items/beiderb ... es!-143857
"His parents soon became so concerned about his lackadaisical attitude towards school that Beiderbecke was sent to Lake Forest Military Academy in 1921."

There are many many more examples, but the above should suffice.

This ad from Chicago Tribune, 26 Jun 1921, Sun, Page 89 demonstrates conclusively that Lake Forest was NOT, repeat NOT a military academy. The image courtesy of Bob Spoo. Thanks Bob.

https://img.newspapers.com/img/img?id=3 ... fefa7591d8

Albert
From a 1930 article: "Notable among Midwestern schools for boys is Lake Forest Academy. Unlike its many neighboring institutions it is not a military school..."
http://content.time.com/time/magazine/a ... 48,00.html
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