Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the Henderson Settlement Records

Accession Number: 49
Henderson Settlement Records
Selected Records c. 1925-1981
2 linear ft.
Online Catalog Record (BANC)

Part A - Selected Records

Series I - Operational and Vital Records, c. 1925-76
Series II - Historical Sketches and Publications
Part B - Selected Photographs
Series I - Activities
Series II - Animals - Buildings, Grounds
Series III - Ceremonies - People
Series IV - Portaits - Portraits, Staff
Series V - Sports - Transportation

Access and Use:

Provenance: This collection was compiled by the Settlement Institutions of Appalachia / Berea College Research Resources Project, and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The project was developed in 1979 in order to organize and preserve the original records and photographs of the Settlement Institutions of Appalachia (SIA) and to copy those of historical value to form a central research collection at Berea College.

Henderson Settlement records were collected and organized in 1982-1983. Those possessing administrative, legal or historical value were microfilmed at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives and the originals returned to Henderson Settlement. The resultant microfilm master negative is owned by Berea College, and a use copy is available in Hutchins Library's Department of Special Collections and Archives. Photographs selected for inclusion in this collection came from the University of Louisville Photographic Archives as well as Henderson Settlement. Photographs were copied by Project staff. The resultant copy negatives and one set of copy prints are owned by Berea College and are available in Hutchins Library's Department of Special Collections and Archives.

Copyright Restrictions: Permission has been granted by the University of Louisville and Henderson Settlement for Berea College to reproduce all or part of the school's photographs and to use them in slide or film presentations, display them or loan them for displays, and to allow their use by researchers for reproduction and publication. Berea College does not own the copyright for the manuscripts and printed documents included in this microfilm edition. Therefore it is the responsibility of the researcher to secure permission to publish from Henderson Settlement or its successors and assigns.

Preferred Citation: The proper credit line for Part A shall be: "Henderson Settlement Collection, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, Ky." The proper credit line for Part B shall be: "Henderson Settlement Collection, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, Ky., courtesy of the John Ellington Collection, University of Louisville Photographic Archives."

Overview of the Collection

Part A: Selected Records

The Henderson Settlement Collection consists of the institution’s non-current records dating primarily from 1950-76. There are some pre-1950 records, but most date from 1950, the year that founder Hiram Frakes left. Most of the information on the Frakes years is in the form of publications and historical sketches that Frakes compiled during the 1960s-1970s. Post-1950 administrative staff and program are documented through general correspondence, financial records, deeds, leases, and files dealing with community service and economic development projects. Administrators during this time include Stanley P. Mahan (1950-52), H. Ward Barter (1925-53), Glenn Evans (1953-66), Kenneth Fineran (1966), Robert Fulton (1966-70), James L. Reitz (1970-71), and Donald Stillwell (1971-79).

Part B: Selected Photographs

The 769 prints in this section reproduce photos taken between 1925 and 1984. Most of those taken before 1950 come from the John Ellington Collection, documenting the earliest years of the Settlement. Of 850 loose prints at the University of Louisville, 419 have been selected for this collection. The rest, except for a few that predate 1950, come from loose prints and 35mm slides taken from 1950 through the mid 80s that are owned by Henderson Settlement. Three hundred and forty-nine have been selected for inclusion in this copyprint collection.

The prints are arranged alphabetically by subject, and numbered. An in-house guide further identifies them by secondary subject, date, and original series.

Related Archives

Annville Institute Records, 1900-1980, SAA43
Hindman Settlement School Papers, 1899-1977, SAA 9
Hindman Settlement School Records, 1899-1979, SAA 41
Pine Mountain Settlement School Collection, 1913-1975, SAA 10
Pine Mountain Settlement School Records, 1913-1984, SAA 42
Red Bird Mission Records, 1920-1985, SAA 44
Settlement Institutions of Appalachia Records, 1970-1982, SAA 36


Hiram Frakes, a Methodist minister, founded Henderson Settlement in 1925, chiefly as a community center and educational institution. It is located in southern Bell County, Kentucky, a few miles northeast of Jellico, Tennessee. The area was quite isolated at the time and had come to be known locally as “South America.”

Frakes was educated in Kansas and southern Indiana and, before becoming a minister, had worked as a telegraph operator for the Santa Fe Railroad. A chance hearing of despairing remarks about the community by a Bell County judge piqued Frakes’ interest in the area as a possible mission opportunity.

Local residents were accepting of his proposal to start a school. Several donated land for the project, including Scott Partin (16 acres) and Bill Henderson (68 acres). Bertha Reil, graduate of the Chicago Training School, heard of Frakes' project and came to work as a teacher. By fall of the first year, a class of 13 students was meeting in an old plank house that belonged to the Partin Family.

The institution was first called Partin Settlement School, but the name was soon changed to Henderson in order to honor two men named Henderson who were instrumental in the school’s founding. These were Bill Henderson, who donated the largest piece of land, and Bishop Theodore Henderson, of the Ohio Methodist Conference, who had backed Frakes’ efforts from the start.

Dormitories and boarding facilities soon followed. Frakes organized a traveling quartet named “The Sunbonnet Girls” that appeared with him as part of quite successful fund raising efforts over a wide area. A U.S. post office was eventually established at the Settlement School and named after Frakes.

Developments after World War II led to a change of program focus. Improved roads and the assumption by county school districts of more responsibility for public education programs led to the repurposing of the boarding facilities as a center for the care of dependent children (the main program focus in the early 1980s, when this collection was compiled). During the 1950s, Henderson Settlement responded to unemployment resulting from coal mine automation by helping develop services for the immediate physical need of the people.” These services included a day care center and used clothing store. In 1966, staff became involved in efforts to attract new business to the area. When a new county elementary school was built in 1970 to complement the existing Settlement-owned high school, aid was provided to the Bell County School System to provide specialized teachers in areas such as languages, arts, and guidance counseling. Other community betterment efforts have included the establishment of a volunteer fire department, primary care clinic, crafts marketing outlet, and lending library.

Series I Correspondence (1899-1935) Box 1


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