Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 07: Directors

Director 1931 – 1942

“Mr. and Mrs. Morris [Glyn and Gladys Morris.   cobb_alice_048

TAGS:  Glyn Morris ; progressive education ; Gladys Jones Morris; Reinhold Niebuhr ; Chaplains’ Corp ; U.S. Army ; Harlan County Planning Council ; Southern Mountain Workers’ Conference ; Alice Cobb ; Council of Southern Mountain Workers ; Presbyterian Church ; Cooperative Store project ; Community Service program ; Guidance Council ; survey courses ; nutrition ; community life ; student government ; citizenship committee ;

In 1931, Pine Mountain searched and found a new Director for Pine Mountain Settlement School. With the hire of Glyn Allen Morris, born in Glyn Ceiriog, Wales, Pine Mountain entered into another decade of innovative change.  Born on February 20, 1905, the son of John and Emma Morris, Glyn came to the United States with his parents at the age of six and was a 1922 graduate of the James M. Coughlin High School, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. In 1931, Morris graduated from Albright College in Pennsylvania and Union Theological  Seminary in New York City.

Following Glyn Morris’ application to become the Executive Director of Pine Mountain he was faced with an enormous task  — win the heart of Angela Melville who was acting as Interim Director until the position could be filled, and pass muster with the remaining Search Committee! The comments of Miss Melville, to the School Search Committee are stated in her very plain English

He is  —- a plain man
very undersized
Nothing to look at

He is —- Sincere
Quietly enthusiastic
Gifted, I think

I think he can do the job. My only question would be the workers’ reaction to:

Social Station
Youth — He is only 26 .

I think the children would like him as soon as they got his feel. I did.

Darwin D. Martin, who was Chair of the Board of Trustees at Pine Mountian and Vice President of Larkin Company (a leading mail order house) and who had one of the largest salaries in the U.S. at that date, spoke to the hire in a letter to Evelyn K. Wells.

I am further encouraged to confidence in this young man in his twenty-seventh year by recalling the importance of my own work and responsibilities in earlier year, (I was but a boy of 18 when I had sufficient initiative to install what was, I believe, the first commercial — non-library  — card index ever used) 

Following additional letters from BOT members, Elizabeth Hench and Evelyn K. Wells, who expressed misgivings about Morris’ lack of “social background,” Martin then explains that he has also received a letter from another Board Member who speaks against the hire of Morris. A letter from Charles N. Manning did not change Martin’s mind. He says

I suppose I must be very hard-boiled not to be prostrated by the two blows. Well, the die is [underlined] cast, and I am betting my standing in Pine Mountain circles on the little cuss.

It was Darwin D. Martin who “cast the die” that brought Glyn Morris to Pine Mountain. Glyn Morris was hired and grew to become one of the strongest and most remarkable of the Directors of Pine Mountain Settlement School.

In reviewing his history it is little wonder that Glyn Morris found such affinity with Pine Mountain. Beginning his life in the slate-mining country of Wales and immersed in the coal-mining community of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Morris was no stranger to hard times. His early years provided a point of reference that seem to have given shape to his decisions throughout his life. Glyn Morris melded his heritage with the education he received at Albright College (A.B.) in Reading, PA, and later at Union Theological Seminary (B.D., 1931) in New York City where he was strongly influenced by Reinhold Niebuhr, the well-known theologian. The Pine Mountain Family Album 1943, describes his impact on Pine Mountain Settlement School as the new Director. He was only 26 years of age.

In 1931 Glyn Morris and his wife, Gladys came to Pine Mountain from New York City, where  Morris had just graduated from Union Theological Seminary and where Gladys had been nursing at the Henry Street Settlement. Lillian Wald, the founder and a leader in settlement work, had retired the year before in 1930 and had established one of the foremost programs in community nursing.

The Album then describes Morris as he left the School after a tenure of ten years.

In 1942 Mr. Morris enlisted in the Chaplains’ Corps of the U.S. Army. The school bears the stamp of his personality and enjoys the fruits of his brilliantly directed energy. During the … years Mr. Morris has carried Pine Mountain deeply into the whole educational program of the South, as well as into the social and economic life of the country, serving as Secretary of the Harlan County Planning Council and President of the Southern Mountain Workers’ Conference. Mrs. Morris has made her own unique contribution to the life of the school in countless practical and personal ways, as director of houses and grounds.

The following is an excerpt from a biography provided by Miss Alice Cobb, Field Secretary for Pine Mountain at the time, to the Council of Southern Mountain Workers, when Glyn Morris became Executive Secretary (1945-1946) for the Council. The biography was part of an article titled “Executive Secretary” in Mountain Life & Work, vol. 21, no. 2 (Fall 1945).…

[Glyn Morris] grew up in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he had the experience of working in the coal mines. This was, of course, invaluable in his later work in Harlan County. [After attending college, he] came almost immediately to Pine Mountain as Director, and served until 1942, when he entered the army as a Chaplain. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Morris built up the educational and vocational programs at Pine Mountain in a dramatic way. He introduced the Cooperative Store project, the Community Service program as part of the school curriculum, and the plan for Guidance Counsel which has made the school unique, and which, along with other progressive features of our program, has been discussed in Mountain Life and Work.

His influence was (and is) strongly felt all through Harlan County. Through the Pine Mountain Guidance Institute the school secured its position of leadership, educationally and socially, in county activities. Mr. Morris was a strong leader in the Harlan County Planning Council, which was one of the more widely known outgrowths of the Institute. ….

In the collections at Berea College, [ aid&id=42&q=rootcontentid=49793] is found a history written for the Guide to the Pine Mountain Settlement School Records including a description of Glyn Morris’s service to Pine Mountain, as follows

…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.

All was not easy for Morris, nor were his accomplishments appreciated by all. In 1937 after a startling number of accomplishments, he stumbles and questions whether he should stay on at the School given a recent barrage of complaints against him and growing threat from the Harlan County community that identified him with Union activity following a brief but innocent encounter with a former school mate who had come to Harlan County advocating for the Union and who had well-known Communist leanings.

Morris handled the incident well, but it left him shaken and cautious for the remainder of his work at the School. In January of 1937, he wrote to his mentor and former professor, Dr. Arthur Swift, Jr.,  at Union Theological Seminary, that he and Gladys were both inclined to leave their positions at the School. He cited as the most important reason that neither he nor Gladys “… can bring ourselves around to a firm conviction that what we are doing is really worthwhile.” He then goes on to describe in detail the reasons that pressed so strongly upon the couple. [To read this pivotal letter see GLYN MORRIS 1937 Correspondence, January 25, 1937.]

Morris had convinced himself that “any possibility of social reform was out of the question in Harlan County. This place is utterly vicious. Every town in the county is owned by an operator. It is a county of families, and justice of any sort can only be obtained with a pistol.” He asks Dr. Swift to “… tell us in all frankness just what you think.” Swift does that quite frankly and salvages Morris and his wife from their deep uncertainty. They remain at Pine Mountain until late 1941, finishing out ten years with the institution.

What Glyn Morris found in the intervening years was an aptitude for designing educational programs and for bringing people together. His skills at enriching the Pine Mountain Settlement educational programs and his work at creating the Rural Youth Guidance Institute both became recognized as model programs by educators across the country. He literally put Pine Mountain on the map of Progressive education in the country.  For example, some of this innovation may be seen here

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.

Capt. Glyn Morris and Gladys Morris, c. 1944.

The entry of the United States into WWII deeply affected Morris and in 1941 he announced that he would leave Pine Mountian to join the war effort as a Chaplain in the Army. Concerning Morris’ request to temporarily leave PMSS and serve in the Army during WWII, History PMSS Summaries 1941-1942 records the following:

Mr. Morris submitted to the November 15 [1941] Board of Trustees meeting a written request for leave of absence to join one of the services for the duration of the war, in the event of the United States’ entry. After careful consideration, the Board pointed out its hope that he would again weigh most carefully the relative values of his service to the country and the school. Subsequently, Mr. Morris volunteered as Chaplain in the U. S. Army and left for service on May 15, 1942. He asked for a leave of absence for one year, with the understanding that if he is not able to return at the end of the year the Board would be free to appoint a permanent successor. A leave of absence without salary, for a year from his May 15, 1942, departure from PMSS, was voted at the June 13, 1942 Board Meeting.

The departure of Glyn Morris from Pine Mountain brought this tribute in the October 1942 Notes when William Webb came to campus to replace him:

Volume XV
Number 11
EARLY last spring Rev. Glyn A. Morris, Director of Pine Mountain, volunteered as Chaplain in the army, and left for service on May 15th, on leave of absence for one year. Mrs. Morris joined him three weeks later, in Joplin, Missouri. Mr. Arthur Dodd, Principal of the School, and for ten years a worker here, was asked by the Board of Trustees to assume leadership until August 1st, when Mr. William D. Webb came to Pine Mountain as Acting Director. … … The friends who have followed Pine Mountain through so many hard readjustments in the past, will share with us now another new experience. We realize the great loss the school will suffer in Mr. Morris’ absence. We also that in making such a sacrifice for the interests of this country, Pine Mountain has moved farther in the direction of the idealism determined by its leadership from the beginning, and has contributed to a national emergency in the most way possible.

Since Mr. Morris’ departure, those of us who carry on have been increasingly aware of the fine piece of constructive organization to which we belong. It is tribute to the devoted work of this decade that the school stands unshaken, in every department equal to the crisis of a change of administration. Finally, we are grateful for the tact and graciousness with which the Webbs have come into our fellowship. In a community so small, and in many ways so self-sufficient, it is very difficult for a new personality to enter at the head. The spirit of the past ten years’ leadership has strengthened us to accept and welcome the new, and the good will of the new acting administration has made the welcome easy for us. Pine Mountain, braced by the same pioneering spirit which came with Katherine Pettit and Ethel deLong in 1913, faces the future with confidence, “business as usual.”

After distinguished service in Europe in World War II from 1942 to 1944, Glyn Morris wished to return to Pine Mountain, but the bargain he had forged with the Board did not allow him to return. Instead, he furthered his studies at Columbia University Teachers College, New York City, NY, obtaining his doctorate degree in education in 1951. He taught there and at other universities, and served on several national commissions on education and on the Advisory Board of Asheville-Biltmore College, the pre-cursor of UNCA. His friend Edmund Wilson was a strong influence on Thomas Wolfe and following the death of the Asheville author, Wilson edited and published Wolf’s unpublished works.

Not yet done with Harlan County, however, Morris returned to Evarts in 1947 at the invitation of County Superintendent of Schools,  James A. Cawood to be Principal of the Evarts schools. His return to Harlan County was a victory for both Morris and for the County. He served with distinction and his characteristic ingenuity in the position until late 1950. From that date forward, his career took him away from Harlan County and into ever-increasing responsibilities.  (See the vita below).

His life included two marriages, first to Gladys Jones (born c. 1901 in Vermont), who was with him at PMSS and worked as an assistant in the library, in addition to her nursing assignments mentioned above. After Gladys’ death from cancer, he married Barbara Hoskins, a home-economics teacher who remained with him until the end of his life in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

In 1970, Morris returned to Wilkes-Barre, where he continued writing the last of his books on education and where he established a long-standing relationship with the critic, Edmund Wilson, and his circle.* The Wilkes-Barre years are well covered in his autobiography, Less Travelled Roads. New York: Vantage Press, 1977.

In 1976 Glyn Morris made his last trip to Pine Mountain. Before coming he established an itinerary which included many of his friends from the 1930s and 1940s and a trip to Evarts, where he spent his final years in Harlan County. He wrote to Alice Cobb, a teacher who was a close friend at Pine Mountain, about his trip. In his letter one can see the continuing deep attachment to the School and his concerns for its future. A copy of the letter was sent by Morris to Fern and Bill Hayes with whom he kept in continuous contact over the years. The letter is a list of his recommendations for re-mediating some of the issues he saw at the school on his visit. See

Glyn Morris Letter To Alice Cobb, 1976

Glyn Morris died on October 8, 1993, in Wilkes-Barre, and was buried at Mount Greenwood Cemetery in Trucksville, PA. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Gladys, his sister, Lillian Morris, and brother, Walter Morris.

Affiliations and organizations :

Pine Mountain Guidance Institute, Pine Mountain, KY;
Secretary, Harlan County (KY) Planning Council;
Graduate, Chaplains’ School at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA;
Executive secretary and quarterly editor for the Council of Southern Mountain Workers, Berea, KY, c. 1944 – 1946;
Supervising principal, Evarts (KY) Schools, KY, 1947 – 1950;
Assistant superintendent of curriculum and guidance, Sole Supervisory; District in Lewis County, NY, 1951 – 1968;
Title 1 Director of Sole Supervisory District of Lewis County, Lyons Falls, NY, director of research and special projects, 1965 – 1969;
Teacher at the University of Kansas City (KS), Fredonia (NY) State College, University of Maine (Orono, ME), University of Buffalo (NY), St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY), Columbia University (NYC) and Syracuse (NY) University, summers 1952 – 1969;
Teacher at Western Maryland College (Westminster, MD) for one year after retiring in 1969;
Life member, American Personnel and Guidance Association and the Rural/Regional Education Association;
Commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by Gov. Julian Carroll, 1976;
Member, University of North Carolina Advisory Board (Asheville Biltmore College), 1960s.



GLYN MORRIS “1940 General Statement of History and Philosophy of PMSS for Staff ...”

See revision by Arthur Dodd, 1946. “General Statement of History and Philosophy of Pine Mountain Settlement School.”

GLYN MORRIS “Philosophy of Secondary Education” 
A position paper for staff workers at PMSS

GLYN MORRIS 1940 Is There Any Further Need for a School Like Pine Mountain Settlement School? 

GLYN MORRIS 1939 “Progressives in the Kentucky Mountains.”


Glyn Morris 1931 Board Report
Glyn Morris 1932 Board Report
Glyn Morris 1933 Board Report
Glyn Morris 1934 Board Report
Glyn Morris 1935 Board Report
Glyn Morris 1936 Board Report
Glyn Morris 1937 Board Report
Glyn Morris 1938 Board Report
Glyn Morris 1939 Board Report
Glyn Morris 1940 Board Report

Glyn Morris. “General Review for the Board of Trustees on Work at Pine Mountain Settlement School, 1931-1941” 
Cumulative report by Morris of his 10 years at Pine Mountain


         GLYN MORRIS Correspondence 1937 (Arthur Swift Letters)


Guide to Rural Youth Guidance Institutes by Year

Series 13: Education – Rural Youth Guidance Institutes

Findings of the Rural Youth Guidance Institute, Washington D.C., November 1-3, 1937

1941 Pine Mountain Rural Youth Guidance Institute (Newspaper clipping)

SEE ASO: Related Material



AUGUST ANGEL Correspondence
Includes a letter from Angel that describes meeting Morris in Europe during their WWII tours of duty.





              GLYN MORRIS TALKS 1937 ‘Tight Places‘, including a prayer.

GLYN MORRIS Community Service in the Curriculum 1939



Title Glyn Morris
Alt. Title Glyn Allen Morris
Creator Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY
Alt. Creator Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;
Subject Keyword Glyn Morris ; Glyn Allen Morris ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; administrative staff ; directors ; education ; progressive education ; John and Emma Morris ; coal mining ; slate mining ; Reinhold Niebuhr ; PMSS Family Album, 1943 ; Henry Street Settlement ; Chaplains’ Corp ; U.S. Army ; Harlan County Planning Council ; Southern Mountain Workers’ Conference ; Miss Alice Cobb ; Council of Southern Mountain Workers ; Mountain Life & Work ; Presbyterian Church ; Cooperative Store project ; Community Service program ; Guidance Council ; Pine Mountain Guidance Council ; UNCA Advisory Board ; Asheville Biltmore College ; Edmund Wilson ; Lillian Morris ; Walter Morris ; curriculum ; survey courses ; coop store ; nutrition ; community life ; student government ; citizenship committee ; William D. Webb ; H.R.S. Benjamin ; Gladys Jones ; Barbara Hoskins ; American Personnel and Guidance Association ; Rural/Regional Education Association ; Kentucky Colonel ; Governor Julian Carroll ; Harlan County, KY; Glyn Ceirog, Wales ; Wilkes-Barre, PA ; Reading, PA ; New York City, NY ; Berea, KY ; Trucksville, PA ; Cambridge, MA ; Evarts, KY ; Lewis County, NY ; Lyons Falls, NY ; Kansas City, KS ; Fredonia, NY ; Orono, ME ; Buffalo, NY ; Canton, NY ; Syracuse, NY ; Westminster, MD ; Asheville, NC ;
Subject LCSH Morris, Glyn Allen, — February 20, 1905 – October 8, 1993.
Educators — Biography.
Education counseling.
School principals.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Rural schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Schools — Appalachian Region.
Date 2004-06-26
Publisher Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY
Contributor  n/a
Type Text ; image ;
Format Originals and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet
Source Series 7: Director’s Files
Language English
Relation Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 7: Director’s Papers
Coverage Temporal 1905 – 1993
Coverage Spatial Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY; Glyn Ceirog, Wales ; Wilkes-Barre, PA ; Reading, PA ; New York, NY ; Berea, KY ; Trucksville, PA ; Cambridge, MA ; Evarts, KY ; Lewis County, NY ; Lyons Falls, NY ; Kansas City, KS ; Fredonia, NY ; Orono, ME ; Buffalo, NY ; Canton, NY ; Syracuse, NY ; Westminster, MD ; Asheville, NC ;
Rights Any display, publication, or public use must credit Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Donor n/a
Description Core documents, correspondence, writing, and administrative papers of Glyn Allen Morris ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Glyn Allen Morris ;
Acquisition n/d ; 1930s and early 1940s ;
Citation “[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.
Processed by Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;
Last updated 2008-10-30 hhw ; 2013-10-05 hhw ; 2013-10-08 aae ; 2015-09-07 hhw ; 2016-09-04 hhw ; 2018-05-21 hhw; 2019-03-28 hhw

Morgan, Colin, and Glyn Morris. Good Teaching and Learning: Pupils and Teachers Speak. New York: Open University Press, 1998. Print.

Morgan, Colin, and Glyn Morris. “The Student View of Tutorial Support: Report of a Survey of Open University Education Students.” Open Learning: the Journal of Open and Distance Learning. 9.1 (1994): 22-33. Print.

Morris, Glyn A. “A Challenge for Today.” Mountain Life & Work. (Winter 1942). Print.

Morris, Glyn, and Ernest Gosline. Mobilizing a Rural Community for Mental Health: A Report. Lyons Falls, NY: Lewis County Board of Cooperative Educational Services, 1964. Print.

Morris, Glyn, and Evarts (KY) High School. Guidance Methods for the Principal. Teachers College, Columbia University, 1951. Print. ( Ed.D thesis).

Morris, Glyn. A Guidance Program for Rural Schools. Chicago: Science Research Associates, 1955. Print.

Morris, Glyn. The High School Principal and Staff Study Youth. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1958. Print.

Morris, Glyn A., and Judith Wheater. Born for Joy: A Unique Summer Program for Disadvantaged Children During July, 1966. Lyons Falls, NY: The Board of Cooperative Educational Services, 1967. Print.

Morris, Glyn. Less Travelled Roads. New York: Vantage Press, 1977. Print.

*Morris, Glyn. Nights and Days with Edmund Wilson: An “Upstate” Friendship. Typescript draft of Glyn Morris’ memoir of his friendship with Edmund Wilson (1895-1972) from roughly 1950 to 1970. Gift of Barbara Morris to Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, in 2000. Unpublished Print.

Morris, Glyn. Practical Guidance Methods for Principals and Teachers. New York: Harper, 1952. Print.

Morris, Glyn. “Private Schools and Democracy.” The American Scholar. 11.2 (1942): 251-252. Print.

Morris, Glyn. “Progressive Education in the Kentucky Mountains,” Mountain Life & Work. 06 (October 1937): 5. Copy is re-print for PMSS.

Morris, Glyn. “Rural Guidance: Its Special Problems.” Vocational Guidance Quarterly. 3.2 (1955): 35-37. Print.

Morris, Glyn. “A Search for Pupil Viewpoints: How 5 Schools Made Plans Based on Pupil Needs.” The Clearing House. 29.3 (1954): 131-134. Print.

Morris, Glyn. A Study of Industrial Relations in the United States of America. 20th Century Press for the United States Information Service, 1964. Print.

Morris, Glyn. Using a Timetable in Educational Guidance. Washington: Dept. of Rural Education, National Education Association, 1961. Print.

Strang, Ruth May, and Glyn Morris. Guidance in the Classroom. New York: Macmillan, 1964. Print.

“United States Census, 1940.” index and images, FamilySearch. (accessed 06 Jan 2014). Gladys Morris in household of Glynn Morris, Magisterial District 4, Harlan, Kentucky, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 48-33, sheet 61A, family 416, NARA digital publication of T627, roll 1314. Internet resource.

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