Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections
Series 09: Staff/Personnel
Dietician, Teacher, Housemother, Community Study


Housemother, Teacher, Community Study Participant 1940-1944; Dietitian 1944-1946

TAGS: Birdena Bishop, boarding high schools, Jane Bishop Hobgood, James (Jim) Bishop,  Pine Mountain Settlement School, James (Jim) Bishop, dietician, dietetics, education, foodways, community sociology, Roscoe Giffin, Berea College, Conference of Southern Workers,


Birdena Bishop. 1935 graduation photo in Berea College yearbook, The Chimes. [pmss_archives_birdena_bishop.jpg]

Birdena Bishop came to Pine Mountain in 1940. She held a variety of responsibilities at the School during the boarding high school years. As a widow with two adolescent children, she knew well how to cope with adolescents and had been well-seasoned by similar employments prior to Pine Mountain Settlement School (PMSS). She was a 1938 graduate of Berea College (Kentucky), a close affiliate of Pine Mountain School, and retained her connections with the college throughout her life. She was also employed by Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina for several years and became a much-admired housemother and participant in the farm school life.


When Birdena came to Pine Mountain she brought her two children, ages 11 and 12, with her from Berea, where she was working as the assistant cashier for the college. Both Mary Jane Bishop and her brother, James (Jim) Monroe Bishop, became PMSS students and later, like their mother, they graduated from Berea College. Jane served many years on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana. She was also a long-time member of the PMSS Advisory Council to the Board of Trustees and the Pine Mountain Association of Alumni & Friends (1976-2002).  Jim made a career with American Airlines. She lovingly collected photographs and memorabilia related to the Pine Mountain years in her Photograph Album.

Birdena was also a skilled speaker and writer and often called upon to share her educational experience with various institutions. Her work with Roscoe Giffin on the important Pine Mountain Study conducted in 1950, was fundamental to the understanding of the community surrounding Pine Mountain Settlement School and how it contributed to the work of the settlement institution.


Birdena was a talented speaker and motivator who was often asked to talk before large and small groups. While at Pine Mountain Settlement School her talks were centered on Pine Mountain Settlement School and her passion for education, industrial training and for life in Appalachia. Several of her talks were more philosophical. Her short inspirational talk, “A Philosophy of Freedom,” for the 1942 commencement at Pine Mountain Settlement perhaps captures best her personal drive and heartfelt convictions regarding her work and life and what she hoped for in the students at Pine Mountain.

She generally wrote out her speeches in longhand or in detailed notes. Her talks and her notes are included in a large scrapbook which she assembled and presented to Pine Mountain Settlement School by her family following her death in 1989. The BISHOP SCRAPBOOK captures life at the School during the early 1940s when the School was undergoing rapid change under the leadership of Director Glyn Morris. These were also the war years and the impact of WWII on the School is well documented. The ephemera she gathered in the scrapbook covers special events at the School, routine rule changes, administrative guidelines instituted by Glyn Morris and a rich assortment of correspondence and evidence of her work with the educational program at the School.

BIRDENA BISHOP: Community Study Participant

She also participated in the “Community Study” of Pine Mountain which included correspondence, survey questionnaires, data tabulations, a draft report, and published articles relating to the socio-economic study of the area in 1950 by  Dr. Roscoe Giffin, a Berea College Sociology professor. The study attempted to document the location of households and life-styles of the community surrounding Pine Mountain. Birdena created a large map of the community and located family homes on the map for the study. She also contributed to the narrative and data assembled in the study. The full study is gathered in the Berea College archive, Guide to the Pine Mountain Community Study Records, 1948-1965.

Birdena (Belle Russell) Bishop was born approximately 1900 in Gillespie, Illinois. On July 21, 1923, she married James Monroe Bishop (1897-1933), who was born in Newfound, Kentucky. Both of their children were born in Oak Park (Cook County), Illinois: James Monroe Bishop Jr., birth date October 30, 1927, and Mary Jane Bishop, birth date January 16, 1929.


See also: 


       BIRDENA BISHOP Correspondence 1940 – 1946

BIRDENA BISHOP Correspondence 1947 -1962

BIRDENA BISHOP 1944 Kitchen Reports

PINE MOUNTAIN Community Study [Berea College archive] 

COMMUNITY STUDY MAP (Created by Birdena Bishop)

BIRDENA BISHOP Guide to Scrapbook Collection

BIRDENA BISHOP Chapel Talk (PMSS) November 22, 1942

BIRDENA BISHOP Women’s Assembly Talk, Berea College, March 28, 1942

BIRDENA BISHOP A Philosophy of Freedom Talk 1942 Commencement at PMSS.

BIRDENA BISHOP Jane and Jim Progress Reports 1940-1943

BIRDENA BISHOP Photograph Album


Alt Title

Birdena Bishop

Birdena Belle Russell Bishop



Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Birdena Bishop; boarding high schools ; Jane Bishop ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; speakers ; motivators ; industrial training ; commencement speeches ; Glyn Morris ; war years ; community studies ; surveys ; socio-economic studies ; dietitians ; scrapbooks ; housemothers ; education ; Dr. Roscoe Giffin ; maps ; Berea College ;  Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Berea, KY ;

Subject LCSH

Bishop, Birdena, — 1899-1989.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Women — Appalachian Region, Southern — Intellectual life.
Mountain people — Appalachian Region.
Women — Appalachian Region.
Mountain people.
COOKING — Regional & Ethnic — American — Southern States.
SOCIAL SCIENCE — Agriculture & Food.
Appalachian Region, Southern — Social life and customs.
Folk dance music — Appalachian Region.

Date digital



Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY




Text ; image ;


Originals and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet and large scrapbook.


Series 09: Staff/Personnel




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 27: Scrapbooks and Series 09: Staff/Personnel

Coverage Temporal


Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Berea, KY ;


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.




Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Birdena Bishop ; clippings, photographs, by or about Birdena Bishop ;




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

Processed by

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last updated

2014-11-29 hhw, 2015-04-29 aae, 2016-06-14 aae, 2016-08-14 hhw, 2021-01-09 hhw,



Pine Mountain Community Study of 1950. OCLC Number: 191916785. Description: 3.2 lin. ft. Partial copy held at Pine Mountain Settlement School, Harlan County, KY. Archival material.


“Illinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1940,” database, FamilySearch ( : 18 May 2016), Birdena Belle Russell in entry for James Monroe Bishop, 30 Oct 1927; citing Oak Park, Cook, Illinois, United States, reference/certificate 2062, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm. Internet resource.

Staff Directory 1913 – Present ” Series 09; Staff/Personnel. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 17 May 2014), Mary Jane Bishop in household of Birdena B Bishop, Berea, Magisterial District 6, Madison, Kentucky, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 76-18, sheet 11B, family 259, NARA digital publication T627 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012), roll 1337. Internet resource.

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