Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the Hindman Settlement School Records, History

Accession Number: 41
Hindman Settlement School Records, 1899-1979
13 Microfilm Reels and 2998 Photographs
Online Catalog Record (BANC)

Part A - Selected Records
     Series I - Narrative Reports and Publications, 1899-1979
     Series II - Operational and Vital Records, 1902-1975
     Series III - Biographies and Works , 1900-1980
     Series IV - Ballads and Folk Songs
     Series V - Appalachian Reference File, 1902-1975
Part B - Selected Photographs
     Series I - Activities - Animals
     Series II - Architecture - Campus Buildings and Grounds
     Series III - Ceremonies - Events
     Series IV - Folk Arts - Music
     Series V - People - Staff
     Series VI - Special Programs/Outreach - Transportation


Hindman Settlement School traces its origins to education - recreation programs conducted in Kentucky's Knott and Perry counties by Katherine Pettit and May Stone during the summers of 1899-1901. They were funded by the Kentucky Federation of Women's Clubs and were aided by a group of women from urban areas. Programs were held in Hazard--1899 (Camp Cedar Grove), Hindman--1900 (Camp Industrial), and Sassafras in Knott County--1901. Working in large tents, the women offered classes in sewing, cooking, housekeeping, health and child care. They organized nurseries, taught Sunday School, and hosted evening socials for young people and adults.

These summer programs resulted in local citizens requesting Pettit and Stone to establish a permanent school in the region. The Hindman location was chosen, and on August 5, 1902, Hindman Settlement School officially opened with funding from the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Katherine Pettit and May Stone became the first Executive Committee of the school. The Settlement School remained under the sponsorship of the Kentucky WCTU until 1915. In that year, it was formally incorporated as a private, non-profit, non-sectarian, and non-denominational corporation. Its purpose was to "found, establish, carry on and maintain a school or schools for industrial, intellectual and moral training; to educate the youth of both sexes in habits of sobriety in the mountainous, destitute or needy portions of the State of Kentucky." From the beginning, the Hindman philosophy and purpose included a positive emphasis on regional traditions and cultual identity.

In order to accomplish their objectives, the school administration and staff developed an extensive curriculum and physical plant. The curriculum combined academic subjects with manual arts, home economics, agriculture, art, music, and folk art. The initial (1902) three acres and two buildings expanded into a physical plant that at various times included a high school, grade school, kindergarten, library, manual arts training shop, model farm, dairy, timber area and sawmill, hospital, and dormitories.

The settlement school staff extended their efforts into the community with programs such as a bookmobile, medical clinics, and recreational activities. A particularly successful health care effort was the trachoma treatment program organized by Dr. Joseph A. Stucky and Harriet Butler, which resulted in ridding the area of that serious eye disease. The school's Fireside Industries encouraged and promoted traditional arts and crafts by providing a sales outlet for items made by students and local residents. The school encouraged creative writing about area people and culture by providing a home and jobs for such writers as Ann Cobb, Lucy Furman, and James Still.

As a non-profit corporation, Hindman Settlement School has relied upon financial support by private sources from Kentucky and beyond. Local citizens supported the school with either money or services. Students paid minimal tuition, if they could afford it, and participated in a labor program, which provided work experience and helped to offset the cost of maintaining school grounds. Quite early (c.1910), the Knott County Board of Education began cooperating with the settlement school by providing funds for school buildings. By the forties, the board was paying teacher salaries. From the outset, Hindman Settlement School was meant to support, rather than displace, free public education. As the Knott County Public School System consolidated and assumed complete responsibility for educating the area's young people (mid 1950s) and as new roads made boarding facilities unnecessary (1960-early 70s), the school administration redirected its program. Currently, the school hires and provides room and board for art, music, and adult education teachers who conduct classes in the public schools. A public library and community center are located on the school grounds. Hindman Settlement School continues to promote Appalachian culture through various community activities, seminars, lectures, and workshops, such as the yearly Appalachian Writers Workshop and the Appalachian Family Folk Week.

Related Berea College Archives

Josiah Combs Collection, 1910-1960 , SAA 71
Hindman Settlement School Collection, 1899-1977, SAA 9
Katherine Pettit Papers, 1899-1937, SAA 11
Settlement Institutions of Appalachia Records, 1970-1982 , SAA 36
J.A. Stucky Papers, 1903-1956, SAA 23
Mary Wheeler Ballad Collection, 1917-1982, SAA 76

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