Accession Number: 42
Pine Mountain Settlement School Records, 1911-1983
Selected Photographs, 1864-1984
Part A - Selected Records
Series I - Board
Minutes and Reports, 1913-1983
Series II - Director's
Office Files, 1911-1949
A - Correspondence, 1916-1949
B - Subject Files, 1911-1949
Series III - Student
Records, c. 1919-1949
Series IV - Library
Part B - Selected Photographs
Kentuckian Katherine Pettit and Smith College Graduate Ethel DeLong
finalized the incorporation of Pine Mountain Settlement School
(Harlan County, Kentucky)
in 1913. Land for the school was donated by William and Sally Dixon Creech, early
settlers who wanted wider educational opportunities for area children. Katherine
Pettit had helped found Hindman Settlement School in 1902. As stated in its Article
of Incorporation, the purpose of Pine Mountain Settlement School was to provide
an education that focused on "industrial, intellectual and moral training --dominated
by a Christian spirit and influences but entirely free from anything of a sectarian
or denominational character."
The first classes were held in an open-sided schoolroom and housing was makeshift.
However, with the help of architect Mary Rockwell Hook, buildings of native stone
and wood were soon constructed. (Several of Mrs. Hook's buildings were still
in use in 1980).
From the beginning, the school produced much of its own food, provided its own
electricity, heat, recreation and entertainment. Until 1949, Pine Mountain was
a boarding school. Students were required to work in order to help run the school,
meet their educational expenses, and develop useful skills. The school also encouraged
the learning and sharing of traditional music and dance. The academic program
was a standard one for its time. However, many of the teachers attracted to the
school were above average in education and interested in educating the whole
Community health services provided by Pine Mountain included vaccination, trachoma,
dental, and maternity clinics. Health education was carried on in rural schools
and extension centers that also offered homemaker's groups, community recreation,
and Sunday Schools.
Death and/or retirement of the founders brought Glyn Morris to the directorship
in 1931. Instead of solving socioeconomic problems with special services, he
sought to address such problems through the school program itself. Morris and
the staff emphasized the uniqueness of each student and focused on preparing
them for the realities of life after leaving Pine Mountain. Staff restructured
the curriculum and with the help of students, rewrote texts. First year students
were given a survey course covering all areas of learning offered by the school.
Second year students managed the cooperative store, sold shares, kept accounts,
stocked shelves, and analyzed the nutritional value of foods sold. Third year
students studied community life in the classroom and served as aides to health
workers, teachers, and recreation workers. The fourth year was spent in intensive
preparation for the work each student planned to pursue after finishing at Pine
Mountain. Students also shared in the making and enforcing of rules governing
student life through an elected Citizenship Committee.
This approach continued throughout the Glyn Morris years and to a large extent
through the administrations of William D. Webb, 1942-44 and H.R.S. Benjamin,
1944-49. However, during the 1940s, the school began suffering acute financial
problems, which eventually led to its coming under the direction of the Berea
College Board of Trustees. With the end of the boarding program in 1949, Pine
Mountain became part of the Harlan County school system.
During the directorship of Burton Rogers (1949-1972), Pine Mountain recruited
and housed teachers, provided facilities and organized extracurricular activities
for Harlan County children and young people. Settlement School staff started
a preschool program, "The Little School," in 1963. A medical program continued
until 1960, and later, space was provided for clinics run by the Harlan County
Health Department and the Frontier Nursing Service.
In the 1960s the county school system decided that a larger public
school would be built several miles from the Pine Mountain campus.
In assessing facilities, capabilities, interests and educational
needs of the day, Pine Mountain staff and the Board of Trustees
concluded that they would begin to focus primarily on environmental
education. Under the directorship of Alvin Boggs (1973-1983) formal
programming began with school land used as the primary classroom.
Programs are offered for adults as well as school-age groups. The
School also began to host retreat groups, church camps and civic
organizations, and since has sponsored such special programs as
a class for emotionally disturbed children, an annual Christmas
play, and a number of short courses and workshops.
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Mountain Settlement School Records