Rubye Lipsey

Crop of Rubye Lipsey, by Helen Post. Courtesy of Western Regional Archives.

Kitchen staff, by Helen Post. Courtesy of Western Regional Archives.






1933 - 1944



Madison, GA


Charlotte, NC

Jack and Rubye Lipsey were both cooks at the Blue Ridge Assembly and joined Black Mountain College when the lease transferred to the College. The couple was referred to as graceful and wonderful people. Correspondence of faculty and students back to the college often pass along regards to Jack and Rubye.

Rubye lived in Atlanta in the mid-1940s where she taught shorthand at Reed Business College and attended classes, most likely at Atlanta University. She wrote of Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, “If he’d smile, I honestly believe his face would break all to pieces.” In the same letter to Barbara Dreier she says that she was “enjoying school life once more,” and it was “the experience she needed."

Written by Western Regional Archives


Husband: Fellow BMC staff, Jack Lipsey

Asheville Art Museum Collection

Writings about Rubye can be seen in digitized college bulletins on Asheville Art Museum's collection website: They can be found by searching these accession numbers:

2017.40.024 September 1943 bulletin, "Rubye Lipsey, a familiar figure in the Black Mountain College Kitchen and Dining Hall for the first ten years of the institution, has decided to prepare herself for office work. She has enrolled in the Business Department of Morris Brown College of Atlanta University."

2017.40.026 January 1944 bulletin, "Rubye Lipsey is now teaching three classes in shorthand in the Business Department of Morris Brown College of Atlanta University."

2017.40.083 November 11, 1942 bulletin, "Rubye Lipsey will return to the College on Friday. She is recovering from a tonsillectomy."

2017.40.140a-c January 17, 1944 bulletin, "Rubye Lipsey writes from Atlanta, Georgia: “I have not taken any time to rest yet, but I really feel rested because I am so much interested in my work and find such a pleasure in it. I have taken all the required examinations at Reid College but filing and bookkeeping but will do that next month. In the meantime I am teaching three classes in shorthand. I have been assigned to take down addresses at two meetings of the N.A.A.C.P. and one meeting of a Georgia Insurance Company. My first time on the assignment I was so scared I didn’t get through deciphering my shorthand notes until 2:30 A.M. Maybe that stage fright will pass as I do more of that kind of work.”

2017.40.189 a-c February 12, 1945 bulletin, "Rubye Lipsey writes from Atlanta, Georgia: “I do enjoy reading the Bulletin so much; it keeps me up to date with the College happenings....Winston is liking his work very much. He has seven cooks and two bakers with him. They serve an average of 2100 meals per day, so, you see, he is kept busy, though he doesn’t have much cooking to do. Most of his time is spent telling the cooks how things are to be fixed and seeing that, as he terms it, they do not cook the food to death. Three days a week he has a class of student dietitians. They study meat cutting and where each cut is found. The class changes every six weeks. Winston goes to work at 7:00 A.M., has a rest period from 12:30 P.M. until 4:00, then gets off at 6:00 He has every other Sunday off all day....I am still at the business work, still teaching shorthand. I go on duty at 8:30 A.M. and get off at 11:00 A.M. as short as this time is, I am worn to a frazzle by the time I finish. You see, I haven’t learned to take the “Take-It-Or-Leave-It" attitude. I put everything I have into my work and sometime I think I am more anxious for the students to learn than they are to learn. I cannot understand how grown people can be content to through away their time and money when every minute is precious and the world is needing their services..”

Rubye Lipsey in the kitchen.Rubye Lipsey in the kitchen.

Help us uphold the legacy of Black Mountain College by supporting our yearbook project by donating today. Every donation fuels our efforts to expand our digital archive and enhance the accessibility of this invaluable resource.

To contribute research, photos, or to ask questions about our project, email

© 2024 Black Mountain College Yearbook. Created by Amanda Hartman and Robert Martin. All rights reserved.