Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Visitors
Albert G. Weidler, Berea College Dean
and Department Chairman, 1918-1952
Albert Greer Weidler (1882-1957)
TAGS: Albert G. Weidler, Albert Greer Weidler, Berea College, Labor Program, credit unions, Frenchburg Mission School, Presbyterian ministers, Dean of Labor, Berea Labor Program, Berea Labor Day, cooperative consumerism, Josephine Mary Corbin Weidler, pioneer industries
ALBERT G. WEIDLER Visitor
Early Years, 1911-1918
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Albert Greer Weidler remained in his home state to further pursue his education. He attended Westminster College in New Wilmington, receiving his undergraduate degree in 1902. He went on to complete post-graduate work in 1910 at the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Weidler’s first employment after college was with the Frenchburg Mission School in Frenchburg, Menifee County, Kentucky. The mission was established in 1909 as a combined educational and religious institution. When the mission’s first superintendent left in 1911, Weidler was appointed his successor. He served in that position for seven years.
During this time, he also served as an ordained Presbyterian minister. His 1911 marriage record lists his occupation as “minister.” According to his U.S. World War I draft registration card, he was minister at Union Church in Berea, Kentucky, as of January 1918.
Berea Labor Program
It was also in 1918 when Weidler was recruited by the president of Berea College, William G. Frost, to teach Latin. Two years later, he became Dean of Labor under President William J. Hutchins, in a department which focused at the time on the college’s physical plant. However, Weidler had a more far-reaching vision for the department, formulating the College’s student labor policy that included traditional craftsmanship. His ideas of thrift, “the dignity of labor,” and pioneer industries such as broom-making and woodworking became a central part of Berea’s educational program and remain so to this day. The school’s current Labor Program, combined with academics, provides students with practical work experience along with their degree.
To celebrate the work achievements of Berea’s students and staff, he started the tradition of observing Labor Day on campus, beginning in May 1922.
This belief in work-study education mirrored that of Katherine Pettit and Ethel de Long Zande, co-founders and co-directors of the Pine Mountain Settlement School. They, too, were intent on preserving the crafts and culture of the early pioneers and on providing students with work skills as well as book learning. This educational program continued throughout the boarding school days, from the school’s founding in 1914 until 1949 when local one-room schools were consolidated and based on the PMSS campus.
Berea Credit Union
As a Berea College faculty member, Weidler observed the students’ need to acquire small loans for their everyday necessities without having to visit loan sharks or to withdraw from school. Consequently, in 1922 he assisted in the passage of a state credit union act. A year later, he founded the Berea Credit Union, the first credit union chartered in Kentucky. At its beginnings, students made up 40% of the membership while 60% was faculty.
Later in the 1920s the Berea Credit Union changed to a focus primarily on faculty and staff. The union lasted until 2016 when it merged with Park Community Credit Union.
A strong supporter of cooperative consumerism, Weidler also organized several other cooperatives around Berea, including the Berea Building and Loan Association.
The idea of a consumer cooperative resonated across the early administrations of the Pine Mountain Settlement boarding school curriculum. By 1937, the idea of cooperatives had found a new emphasis at the School as part of the progressive movement and had captured the attention of education. A co-op store was established on campus that sold groceries and school supplies and, modeled on the Rochdale principles, served as a basis for the sophomore curriculum. For more on the subject, go to EDUCATION Consumer Cooperative Curriculum.
Weidler served for almost thirty years as Dean of Labor and also as a professor, chiefly teaching Economics and Sociology, until 1952. During these years, Weidler’s wife, Josephine Mary (Corbin) Weidler, taught at Berea in the college’s Academy and Foundation schools.
Albert Greer Weidler was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, on January 24, 1882, to Albert W. Weidler and Margaret (“Maggie”) Luella (Pollock) Weidler. His only sibling was Pearl L. (Weidler) Shattuck (1886-1962).
On August 24, 1911, Albert G. Weidler married Josephine Mary Corbin (1876-1960) in Harbor Creek, PA. She was born in Phillipsville, PA.
Dr. Albert G. Weidler died on October 18, 1957, and was buried at Berea Cemetery.
|Title||Albert G. Weidler|
|Alt. Title||Dr. Albert Greer Weidler ; Dr. A.G. Weidler ;|
|Creator||Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.|
|Alt. Creator||Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;|
|Subject Keyword||Albert G. Weidler, Albert Greer Weidler, Berea College, Labor Program, credit unions, Frenchburg Mission School, Presbyterian ministers, Dean of Labor, Berea Labor Program, Berea Labor Day, cooperative consumerism, Josephine Mary Corbin Weidler|
|Subject LCSH||Weidler, Albert Greer, — 1882 – 1957.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Credit unions Kentucky.
|Publisher||Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.|
|Type||Collections ; text ; image ;|
|Format||Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet.|
|Source||Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Visitor|
|Relation||Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Visitor.|
|Coverage Temporal||1882 – 1957|
|Coverage Spatial||Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; New Wilmington, PA ; Pittsburgh, PA ; Frenchburg, KY ; Berea, KY ; Harbor Creek, PA ; Phillipsville, PA ;|
|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.|
|Description||Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Albert Greer Weidler ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Albert Greer Weidler ;|
|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 ;|
“Albert Greer Weidler.” FamilySearch Family Tree. Internet resource.
“Albert Greer Weidler Papers.” Berea College Special Collections and Archives, Berea, Ky. https://bereaarchives.libraryhost.com/repositories/2/resources/105. Accessed August 15, 2023. Internet resource.
“Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch (: accessed 13 Aug 2023), Albert Greer Weidler, 1957; Burial, Berea, Madison, Kentucky, United States of America, Berea Cemetery; citing record ID 8383621, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com. Internet resource.
“Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VFQK-WYZ : accessed 13 Aug 2023), Albert G. Weidler and Josephine M. Corbin, 24 Aug 1911; citing Marriage, Erie, Pennsylvania, United States, multiple County Clerks, Pennsylvania. Internet resource.
“United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYRT-3WBJ?cc=1968530&wc=9FW9-K68%3A928311601%2C928760301 : accessed 13 Aug 2023), Kentucky > Menifee County; A-Z > (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). Internet resource.
Weidler Albert G. 1937. Labor Learning and Leisure at Berea College Kentucky : Labor Day Address May 17 1934. Berea Ky: Berea College. Print book.
ALBERT G. WEIDLER Economic Program at Berea 1940
BIOGRAPHY – A-Z