Series 9: Staff/Personnel
Florence Reeves: Housemother 1922

Florence Reeves was at Pine Mountain Settlement School only for a short time in 1922.  Her experience at the School, however, had a lasting impression on her and the School was fortunate that some of her personal collection was shared with the School.

Very little is known of Florence Reeves.  Her letter to Miss Pettit suggests she was living in Ward 2 103 Claremont Avenue, Montclair, Essex, New Jersey and according to the census records, she is probably the Florence Reeves in the 1940 census for Montclair. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles I. Reeves, a prominent family in Montclair.  She was born in 1880 and her age at Pine Mountain was 42.  Likely her experience as a director of a kindergarten made her a good choice for the work at Pine Mountain.

In her letter of June 7th, 1934, to Miss Pettit she reflects on her time at Pine Mountain and notes that she has published a small article about her experiences at the School and her encounters with “Aunt” Phronie.  The article is included in her collected materials that were sent to the School.  She was friend of Pine Mountain worker, Edna Fawcett with whom she stayed in contact through the years. Fawcett was a weaver and she continued to weave after leaving Pine Mountain. Phronie was well known for her knowledge of natural dyes and for her weaving.

She was apparently a graduate of Smith College in 1901 at age 21 and was employed for a time as director of a public school kindergarten in Montclair, New Jersey.

1922, the brief time that Frances was at the School, was a formative year for the institution, as many key staff departed for other work and some previous staff members, such as Miss Melville returned to the School to assist with its administration. There was considerable staff turn-over during this time. It is not know if Miss Reeves was hired as a short-time worker or if she did not find the work environment agreeable.

The materials that Florence Reeves left to Pine Mountain capture the fascination she and others had for the community that surrounded the School.  Many of the workers had had little opportunity to work with populations such as those in eastern Kentucky and many of the cultural traits held special fascination for them .  Florence Reeves was one such staff member.  She had a special ear for ballads, language and the many stories and conversations that swirled around her as she worked with the children at the school as their Housemother and with the parents of many of the children.  Her notes and letter reflect her profound experiences as she sought to both be observer and participant.



Florence Reeves

Alt. Title


Permalink: https://pinemountainsettlement.net/?page_id=15975


Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Pine Mountain Settlement School ; folk tales ; folk songs ; folk dancing ; education ; farm work ; kitchen ; hospital ; gardening ; canning ;

Subject LCSH

Reeves, Frances
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY


The Family of Florence Reeves


Collections ; text ; image ;


Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet


Series 9: Staff/Personnel




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 9: Staff/Personnel

Coverage Temporal

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, 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 Florence Reeves.

Documents, images and ephemera donated by the Reeves Family. Includes transcription of conversations, ballads, stories and anecdotal information on contacts with children and community while Frances Reeves was serving as Staff at the School.

Agreement and inventory list not received.




Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers, Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated

2014-10-25 hhw




Notes of the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Pine Mountain, KY. . 4. Internet resource.

PMSS Staff Database, Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections. Internet resource.


Ethel de Long Correspondence

[prior to March 9, 1919]  [Florence Reeves] to Ethel.  “Ethel, my dear,— On Wednesday morning I mailed three boxes to you containing ‘hit’s things’—I hope they reach you safely and in time.”  [three index cards in envelope to Arabella postmarked March 9, 1919]