Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff
MARGUERITE EMERSON Housemother, c. 1927-1929
Model Home (Practice House)
Marguerite Eliza Emerson (1883-1969)

WELLS RECORD Country Cottage

Country Cottage (Practice House, Model Home). Four women on porch. [II_7_practice_house_314.jpg]

TAGS: Marguerite Emerson, PMSS staff, Ethel de Long Zande, Smith College, Model Home, YWCA Camp Alniseda, homemaking and housekeeping classes


Applying to Pine Mountain

Marguerite Emerson and Ethel de Long Zande, then Co-Director of Pine Mountain Settlement School (PMSS), had something in common. Each had attended Smith College, an elite private liberal arts women’s college in Northampton, Massachusetts. That fact was likely one of the reasons that Mrs. Zande offered Marguerite a position at Pine Mountain, knowing that Smith College had provided Marguerite with an excellent education.

The position in question was supervising Model Home, a house on PMSS campus where she would provide an intensive course in housekeeping and homemaking. Classes would include such subjects as cooking, sewing, weaving, and home economics. Marguerite would be paid $35 a month plus living expenses. Mrs. Zande’s offer of June 2, 1926, came to Marguerite while she was doing summer work as a camp matron at the YWCA Camp Alniseda in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. Accepting Mrs. Zande’s offer, Marguerite wrote that she would be available around September 23, adding, 

…[T]he work as the Model Home appeals to me strongly. The only objection I have is the name, for I am afraid my housekeeping would never live up to such a standard as to be called Model!

Pine Mountain Settlement School wasn’t new to Marguerite. In her response letter, she thanked Mrs. Zande for the School’s hospitality during her earlier visit. In the same letter, she enclosed a check for the “wooden wares” souvenirs she had purchased, as well as a donation. 

MARGUERITE EMERSON Staff: At Pine Mountain

Not much has been found to date in the Archives regarding Marguerite’s stay at Pine Mountain. In May 1927, Marguerite was in Cambridge, possibly during a summer vacation, when Mrs. Zande wrote her that

The nicest thing is that you think Pine Mountain has meant a good deal to you….But do let me tell you that Pine Mountain feels that you have meant everything to it. We are so happy that you are coming back with a still wider scope for your influence and ability.

The next document in her file is her July 1927 correspondence with Mrs. Zande about studying at Simmons College in Boston and her intent to return to Pine Mountain.

During Marguerite’s time at Pine Mountain, the name of the Model Home was changed to Country Cottage. (The building was also known as Practice House.) Harriet Crutchfield, a fifth grade teacher from 1928 to 1930, often wrote about Marguerite and Model Home in letters to her family. In September 1928 letters she described living in Country Cottage:

(Sept. 2, 1928, 001, page 1) I find myself at Country Cottage, being the only other teacher there besides Miss Emerson. I have a nice room on the second floor, with three windows. I’m sorry I brought the electric lamp as this is one of the two houses with no electricity, but no telling. I may be moved. We use oil lamps & wash in nice cold water in tin basins. The school is in a valley & my house is perched way up on one side with a lovely view.

(Sept. 8, 1928, 013, page 3) I live in the “Country Cottage,” where three girls practice keeping house for 6 weeks at a stretch. They all live in one room downstairs and Miss Emerson, who is in charge of the Cottage, lives in another; Then there is the kitchen, and the living room and dining room combined, and a nice porch. I live upstairs, all by myself. 

 Harriet also described Marguerite to her family in a September 23, 1928, letter:

(053, page 7) …Thursday evening, Miss Emerson invites different friends to come in to sew & she has given me a standing invitation. We always have a good time talking and towards the end, we are fed with nectar & ambrosia. Miss E. is a wonderful cook &, being in charge here at the practice house, she always has the kitchen at her disposal. Consequently, you can imagine we look forward with pleasure to Thursday evenings

(068, page 12) Miss Marguerite Emerson, in charge at Country Cottage….. She must be around 40 and is a peach. I am mighty lucky to have gotten such a nice companion since we are the only two workers in this house. She has been here 3 years, I believe.


By May of 1929, Marguerite’s letters indicate that she was living with her brother in Duxbury, Massachusetts, and keeping house for him and his two young daughters. She wrote:

The possibility of returning to Kentucky looks very remote…. I shall always be interested in the welfare of the school and shall hope to keep in touch with you all…. [Thank] you for your kindness at the time of my departure and for my pleasant years at the school.


Marguerite Eliza Emerson was born on February 23, 1883, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her Parents were William Herbert Emerson, an investment banker, and Helen Louise (Shearer) Emerson. She had eight siblings. Marguerite died on December 9, 1969, in Barnstable, Massachusetts.

Title  Marguerite Emerson
Alt. Title  Marguerite E. Emerson
Creator Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.
Alt. Creator Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;
Subject Keyword  Marguerite Emerson, PMSS staff, Ethel de Long Zande, Smith College, Model Home, YWCA Camp Alniseda, homemaking and housekeeping classes
Subject LCSH Emerson, Marguerite E., — 1883-1969.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
ural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Date 2022-07-26 aae
Publisher Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.
Contributor n/a
Type Collections ; text ; image ;
Format Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet.
Source Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff 
Language English
Relation Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: BIOGRAPHY.
Coverage Temporal 1883-1969
Coverage Spatial Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Northampton, MA ; Ashburnham, MA ; Boston, MA ; Cambridge, MA ; Duxbury, MA ; South Yarmouth, M
Rights Any display, publication, or public use must credit the 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, writings, and administrative papers of Marguerite Emerson ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Marguerite Emerson ;
Acquisition n/d
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  2022-07-27 aae ; 
SOURCES Marguerite Emerson Correspondence ; Harriet Crutchfield Journal Transcribed Part 1 ; Harriet Crutchfield Journal Transcribed Part 2. Series 09: BIOGRAPHY. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“United States, GenealogyBank Historical Newspaper Obituaries, 1815-2011”, database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 July 2022), Entry for Miss Marguerite E Emerson and Marquerite Emerson, 1969. Internet resource.

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