Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the Annville Institute Records, History

Accession Number: 43
Annville Institute Records, 1900-1980
21 Microfilm Reels and 1155 Photographs
Online Catalog Record (BANC)

Part A - Selected Records
        Series I - Historical Sketches and Scrapbooks, 1916-78
        Series II - Operational and Vital Records, 1909-1979
        Series III - Alumni Files, ca.1910-1978
        Series IV - Publications, ca.1904-1978
        Series V - Student Records, 1911-1978
Part B - Selected Photographs
        Series I - General File, ca. 1910-ca. 1978
        Series II - History of Annville High School, ca. 1920-ca. 1940
        Series III - D.C. Nehorir Photographs, ca. 1930s
        Series IV - Lisa Overturff Photographs, ca. 1970-1979
        Series V - Alma Hacker Photographs, ca. 1920-ca. 1970
        Series VI - John E. and Mary Moore Photographs, ca. 1920-ca. 1940


Annville Institute was an early outgrowth of the work begun in Jackson County, Kentucky, by the Women's Board of Domestic Missions of the Reformed Church of America. In 1900, New York based missionaries, Cora A. Smith and Nora Gaut chose Mckee as the site of the first RCA Mission in Kentucky. By 1909, a church and school had been established at Mckee and several Sunday schools elsewhere in the County. Rev. Issac Messler, Superintendent of RCA Kentucky work, had purchased a 75-acre tract of land in Annville for the Church. At Rev. Messler's suggestion, it was decided to turn the Mckee Academy over to the county to run as a high school and to establish an industrial school at Annville. Student minister William A. Worthington moved to Annville late in 1909 to begin setting up the school. He was joined in December by his bride, the former Henrietta Zwemer Tekolste, who had been principal of Mckee Academy.

Deciding that at that time, basic educational skills were more urgently needed than industrial training, the Worthington's opened a school for grades 1-8 early in 1910. Annville Institute never became an industrial or technical school, but under the leadership of the Worthington's and others, a program was established which aimed at teaching practical as well as academic skills. By 1924, all 12 grades were being offered and state-accreditation achieved. Extracurricular offerings included clubs, sports, religious activities, choir, orchestra, a school newspaper and literary society.

The school's first twenty years saw its most concentrated expansion. The establishment of the Bond Foley Lumber Company and it's extension of the railroad from East Bernstadt to Bond, a mile away from Annville, resulted in a sudden population growth that dramatically increased Annville's enrollment from 1914 until around 1920. After that time, enrollment leveled off to an average of about 300 students per year until 1931.

By the 1912-13 school year the entire tract of land except for the campus and a small woodland was being farmed. Male students were involved in farm related work / learning programs that emphasized efficient land use that included projects directed at demonstrating the value of advanced methods to local farmers. By 1913, there was also a dairy herd, a pair of registered hogs, a blacksmith shop and small icehouse. By 1930, the school was generating it's own electricity and in addition to the grounds, housing, and classrooms, the physical plant included an infirmary, administrative offices, dining hall, church, workshop and gymnasium.

By 1935, the boys were being trained in agriculture, plumbing, auto mechanics, mechanical drawing, sheet-metal work, and electrical plant operation; the girls in weaving, laundry operation, cooking, sewing, canning, and home nursing.

Although religious education and evangelism were always stressed at the school, it was during the Worthington years that evangelism was articulated as being a central part of the education progress:

"If we train a student at Annville through regular high school courses only to become a teacher in the state school, our work is in no sense evangelical. However, if we inspire such a student with the desire to become a teacher in the state school in order that he or she may in turn satisfy the desire of pupils for spiritual development, our work is evangelical and such a teacher is just as definitely an evangelist as are we who are in the employment of the mission board." ("Educational Evangelism," Scrapbook Entry #336, January 1940.)

The 1930's and 1940's were more difficult times for the school. The Depression made it necessary to cut the maintenance budget by more than half in 1933. For the duration of the Depression years and on into the 1940s, it was not possible to admit as many students or to hire as many staff people as during the earlier more prosperous years. A notable development of the mid 1930s was the move toward fewer classes, longer class periods, and more hours spent in the work program, with a continued emphasis on such extracurricular activities as art, music and sports. By 1942, the school had stopped offering grades 1-7, but resumed these grades in 1959.

By the late 1950s the school had seen several changes. It had weathered the Great Depression but had lost perhaps the most pivotal figure in its history. William Worthington and his wife Henrietta, had died and several staff people who had held key positions had retired. Soon after Worthington's death in 1941 there was a series of changes in administrative structure that ended up not working well. There continued to be budget problems and questions as to what the primary focus of the RCA work in Jackson County should be. By the late 1940s, the labor program was reported to have become less successful as a bona fide training program than it had been previously, and it had become clear that the program needed to be rejuvenated or discontinued.

The labor program was continued however, as well as the Institute's focus on qualitative academics, extracurricular activities, and Christian evangelism. All of this was still seen as the foundation of the educational / work program. Nonetheless, the 1960s and 1970s continued to be a period of evaluation and transition. The Administrative Council, which had been the governing body beginning with R.B. Drukker's directorship through that of Rev. Floyd Nagel's, was disbanded. The school was lead by a series of directors, but the New York based Board of Domestic Missions continued to be a major source of funding as well as the group, which possessed administrative powers.

By the 1970s, the public school and transportation systems were improved to the extent that Annville was no longer the singular opportunity that it had been for many students. At the same time that enrollment began to decrease, it was becoming increasingly expensive to maintain the physical plant for the relatively small number of students and other programs participants. In 1978, the RCA General Program Council voted for only what amounted to a basic maintenance budget, making it financially impossible to open school that Fall. Although the school has never reopened, a small staff operating under the auspices of a local RCA-related corporation, Jackson County Ministries, maintains the facilities and coordinates a number of recreational programs for church-affiliated groups of various ages (1980s).

In addition to the Annville on-campus program, the RCA countywide missionary activities included Tanis Chapel, the Reformed Church at Annville; a number of Sunday schools in the surrounding area and various religious organizations for young people. Programs to meet social needs included a medical clinic, senior citizens recreational activities, adult education classes, counseling programs, preschool and after-school childcare, a community center at Sand Gap, and used clothing store. The Annville staff did much toward the establishment of the Jackson County Health Department (1939) and the Pond Creek Volunteer Fire Department (1970s).

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