For over 100-years Pine Mountain has been focused on enriching lives and connecting people through Appalachian place-based education for all ages.


 An in-depth digital look at the ARCHIVE at Pine Mountain Settlement School. The collections include photographs, documents, biographies, objects, video and other materials that describe the institution from its beginnings in 1913 to the present day. Many documents are available in FULL TEXT.
Work is ongoing.

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The Vision of the Pine Mountain Settlement School Archives is to provide a voice that will encourage transformations in our relationship to the culture of the Appalachian region through access to a unique and extensive body of material about a rural settlement school within the region. The rural settlement school movement and its impact on the people of Eastern Kentucky and the Southern Appalachians is a story that has sometimes been misrepresented, romanticized, or only partially understood. We envision an accessible, deep, vibrant and vital resource that will encourage exploration and collaborative dialogue about the hidden and sometimes contested history of rural settlement schools. We envision a broader dissemination of research materials across all public, private, and federal sectors interested in Southern Appalachian culture and life.

Our archival resources encompass over 105 years of the history of Pine Mountain Settlement School and its community. Access to regional rural settlement school archives has often been limited by the need to travel to collections or by their limited accessibility once on site. As a  record of the forces that helped shape the Southern Appalachians these archives hold a wealth of history and memory.  Further, the communities that formed the history and the memories have rarely been offered easy access.

Online resources now offer an opportunity to broadly share primary sources. With our digital offering of biographies, photographs, documents, media, commentary, and more, we seek to provide an engaging resource’  It will work to open a virtual window to one corner of a little-understood movement and history.  The rural settlement movement in Eastern Kentucky was a large movement but it was not uniform in mission or vision across the individual institutions. For example, Pine Mountain Settlement School, unlike many of its neighbors, was non-sectarian, highly experimental, and progressive in its educational programs. It remains committed to this foundation.

Today, we seek partnerships and collaborations that will enrich and enable broader dialogs on Appalachian culture and that will ensure that no one voice will erase the many. We are committed to sharing the memories and the disparate voices of Pine Mountain Settlement School and its community as they have moved forward for over a century together in new times and new worlds. While our collections are focused on the twentieth-century, and a narrow geography, our future is in the twenty-first-century and as part of the global community. We are committed to a vision that will seek out new ways to grow our memories forward as vital and energetic educational models  —To ” Enrich lives and connect people through Appalachian place-based education for all ages.”  


The Pine Mountain Settlement School archival mission supports the institutional mission and strategic planning goals. Our mission continues a history of multiple educational and social enrichment programs centered on the local community and beyond. Once a boarding school with a progressive educational curriculum, Pine Mountain  School’s recent educational programming has moved away from residential education to multi-faceted offerings of short-term environmental, cultural, medical, social, agricultural, and art and craft programs and workshops. But, the archive has not moved away from nor, will it move away from a commitment to place.

The programs at Pine Mountain Settlement School are evolving to meet the changing needs of the community and region. Today’s programming continues its focus on environmental education and educational support for students in local schools, as well as long-term partnerships with Appalachian centered programs and short-term workshops for all ages and all geographies.

“Hidden” and largely inaccessible for many years, the materials in the rich local archive are being organized, digitized and offered through this growing website. Current work with the archive is a volunteer effort. The efforts of Helen Wykle and Ann Angel Eberhardt grew out of their direct and early childhood association with the Schoo. They began their digitization efforts in 2000 and have continued their efforts since that time. The digital offerings are comprised of their selections and the recommendations and inquiries of users of the material. The digital  record echos life in the Pine Mountain valley and in many parts of the Southern Appalachians from 1913 until the present. It highlights settlement school staff, surrounding community, buildings, journals, letters, farming practice, linguistics, weaving, dancing, singing, drinking, funeralizing, politicking, and much more. It is our mission to reach out to a broad range of interests including those of former students, former workers, new visitors, old visitors, coal miners, environmentalists, farmers, teachers and the broader public. We are eager to encourage new scholarship, new insights, new research directions and new friends for Pine Mountain Settlement School. We are always appreciative of contributions to keep our efforts maintained.

To visit the main page for the School click the link below. To access the Archive go to  INDEX TO ARCHIVAL COLLECTIONS.. (Also at the top of the page)






"On Big Laurel" Christmas card. n.d. [1940's?] Christmas card to Arthur Dodd and to PMSS staff.

01. John A. Spelman III, “On Big Laurel” Christmas Card. n.d. [1940’s?] Christmas card to Arthur Dodd and to PMSS staff. spel_corrsp_001

Christmas is one of the most memorable times of the year at Pine Mountain Settlement School. The holiday is eagerly anticipated by the whole community, particularly the presentation of the NATIVITY PLAY, a community event given in the Chapel at the School. December 17, 2017  2:30 pm and 6:30 pm

Using a script written by founder Ethel de Long in the second decade of the twentieth century and costumed in mountain homespun and decorated with boughs of hemlock and pine from the nearby mountain, the solemn play is a simple and direct telling of the birth of Christ punctuated by Christmas carols and ballads. Within the setting of the small Chapel, the event is intimate and quietly inspirational.




“Harriet Crutchfield.” [kingman_086b]

In her short two years (1928-1929) as a teacher at Pine Mountain, Harriet wrote a series of letters home to family. The letters, later gathered in a JOURNAL form, provide a detailed account of the Pine Mountain School at the close of the Roaring 20’s. The time between the wars was one of rapid cultural change, cultural tension, and economic pressure and exuberance. The era can be read in her personal and powerful observations of railroad travel, foodways, staff colleagues, administrative arrangements. student activity, educational initiatives, political views, and perceptions of place. Her observations were spontaneous, eagerly formed reflections of a young and impressionable mind. She was not quite fully independent, but clearly shows more grit than most women of her day, Harriet kept the rails busy delivering her comfort foods and goods from home, while relishing the hardships of the remote School. As the daughter of J.S. Crutchfield, eventual President of the American Fruit Growers Association, she came from a family of privilege and power. Her father, later a PMSS Board of Trustee member, was followed in later years by Harriet as an Advisory Board member. While she was born privileged, Harriet’s values were, in many ways shaped by her Pine Mountain years and her family.  She placed a high value on service. Like her many colleagues, she came to make changes but like her pupils, she too, changed. Her journal eloquently captures the formative two years of her life.


 SEE WHAT’S NEW! ARCHIVE for older featured collections

Visit our partnering institution H-Net Commons and H-Kentucky.  

The partnership was launched June 1, 2016 with the assistance of  Dr. Randolph Hollingsworth, Assistant Provost, University of Kentucky; President, H-Net:Humanities & Social Sciences On-Line,H-Kentucky and currently editor of H-Kentucky.  On a visit to PMSS Dr. Hollingsworth described the goal of the H-Net network: [It] “…seeks to create an online collaborative environment to facilitate communication and the exchange or scholarly and pedagogical ideas among teachers, researchers, scholars, advanced students, and related professionals (e.g. local historians, librarians, archivists, genealogists), all in an open, democratic, respectful and non-partisan manner. H-Kentucky especially welcomes those who are interested in Kentucky, as well as those in any history/humanities field who live and/or work in Kentucky.”

For instructions on subscribing to H-Kentucky go to:


Comments and feedback regarding the material on this website or on the institutional history are welcomed. Comments directly on the website are not enabled.

Please contact or (606) 558-3571 with your inquiries and comments. We welcome your identification of people and activities on our site and, particularly, corrections to the record.











USE AGREEMENT (Reproduction Request Form)


Many of the texts included in this site have been automatically generated using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. In some cases, these texts have not been manually reviewed or corrected.

OCR enables searching of large quantities of full-text data, but it is not 100% accurate. The level of accuracy depends on the print quality of the original publication and its condition at the time of microfilming. Publications with poor quality paper, small print, mixed fonts, multiple column layouts or damaged pages may have poor OCR accuracy.


Any PUBLIC use of material must properly cite Pine Mountain Settlement School in the following manner:

 “[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. [date], Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. [date accessed]


The manuscript collections and archival records in the Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections may contain sensitive and/or confidential information that may be protected under federal and state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers who wish to publish and users who may share material from the Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections are advised by this notice that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in some collections within the Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. may be a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person.) for which Pine Mountain Settlement School assumes no responsibility.

If you believe that your privacy rights have been invaded please notify the following.

See INDEX TO COLLECTIONS for an overview of collections and series.