Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel
Winifred Powell – Staff


Housemother, Boy’s House, August 1931 – 1934
Line Fork Settlement, August 1937
Housemother, Big Log, August 1937 – June 1939
English Teacher, September 1938 – 1939

TAGS: Winifred Powell, Mrs. William Ackland Powell, Winifred Adams Bell, Miss Pal, Sidney Lanier Camp, Evelyn K. Wells, housemothers, Boy’s House, Big Log, Line Fork Settlement, English teachers, references, progressive education, William Ackland Powell

While Mrs. Winifred Powell was working with young girls at Sidney Lanier Camp in Eliot, Maine, she heard about Pine Mountain Settlement School (PMSS) from her friends, Evelyn K. Wells (also a worker at Lanier Camp) and Marian Kingman.

Both women knew the Kentucky boarding school well. Miss Wells had served at PMSS as a secretary from 1915 until 1931 when she became acting head of the School until a permanent director could be appointed. She left when the new director, Glyn A. Morris, arrived, although she remained connected with the School and served for a time on the PMSS Board of Trustees. Miss Kingman was a teacher at Pine Mountain and the School’s pianist from 1928 until 1932. She, too, served on the Board in the 1950s.

WINIFRED POWELL Staff: Application for a PMSS Position

Following her friends’ advice, Mrs. Powell, sent an application for a PMSS position to Glyn Morris, expressing interest in working as a housemother. She must have felt that “housemother” would best match her work experience. She wrote in a letter dated July 13, 1931, “…I have been hostess of our great house, which is a center where our young people congregate…the life here in our rural community is much like that at Pine Mountain…. In the Church of the Ascension…I had a choir of children and a young girls’ discussion group and have since my husband’s death chaperoned in a private school for girls.” She explains in a letter to Glyn Morris, dated July 30, 1931, that her professional work was “of short duration. Until my husband’s death five years ago I have been in my own home where I managed my household in connection with a vocal class of girls who follow us to our summer house on Long Lake, Maine.”

Glyn Morris offered her the housemother position at Boy’s House at a salary of $75 and maintenance which she accepted, starting in August 1931 and remaining there for the next four years. She returned to work as a housemother at Big Log from August 1937 until June 1939 and teach English in 1938-1939. She also worked in the summers, at Lanier Camp in 1932, at YWEA in Chicago in 1933, at Pine Mountain in 1934, and at PMSS’s Line Fork extension in 1937. For six weeks in May and June 1935, she served as a substitute for Miss Cold, the dietician in Laurel House who was on vacation.

She welcomed the chance to teach English and literature for the 1937-1938 term, writing that “I find I don’t function well unless I have something definite to what I am pleased to ‘name’ my mind. I have ever been beset by a desperate urgency to grow mentally. In my beloved adopted tongue — ‘C’est plus fort que moi.’ Hence, I feel that I would do a better job of house-mothering if I could fit into [your] scholastic plan.”

According to her references and indications in her correspondence, Winifred Powell, at age 61[?] in 1931, was “dignified, good-looking, not an ‘old maid,’ friendly and sensible.” and “has an eternally young spirit…is keen for the Pine Mountain experience…her humor is unfailing.” Miss Wells wrote, “Mrs. Powell is a social person, in the best sense of the word. … Much at Pine Mountain will be new to her, but I believe she can adapt herself and she expects it to be different and would come with an open mind.”

Glyn Morris also provided a reference for Mrs. Powell when she was applying to New York City for “neighborhood welfare work” in 1934. He wrote, “charming and cultured…During her first year here she did an excellent piece of work…. Personally I like her very much and she makes an excellent companion, and is very stimulating in a group. She had had rich and varied experiences.” Although Morris, as her employer, did have a few discipline issues with Mrs. Powell’s sometimes impulsive nature, he appeared to enjoy her as a friend.

WINIFRED POWELL Staff: Correspondence with Glyn Morris

Morris and Powell exchanged letters often during times that Mrs. Powell (or “Miss Pal or Mispal,” as she sometimes called herself) was absent from Pine Mountain. He would update her on PMSS news. Writing from various locations, including Eliot, ME, Chicago, IL, Columbus, OH, Ann Arbor, MI, Chambersburg, PA, New York City, Line Fork Settlement in Gilley, KY, and Ontario, Canada. She would describe Lanier Camp activities, her preparations for the next PMSS school term, friends they had in common, reading recommendations, and courses she was taking. She also wrote in support of Morris’s plan for progressive education.

Her sprightly letters to “le directeur” brought out Morris’ sense of humor that wasn’t always evident in his papers in the PMSS Archives. In July 1933, when discussing with Morris a possible PMSS position in 1934, Powell makes a strong case for an additional $5 to her monthly salary. He finally gives in, writing “In sooth, thou shouldst have been a solicitor, for who can resist your pleadings! You say that business is picking up, and so perhaps the psychological effect of giving you a little more salary will be beneficial — therefore, you win. Should I say, ‘Sold, at $40.00’? What price housemothers!”

WINIFRED POWELL Staff: Background

Winifred Powell (Mrs. William Ackland Powell) was born Winifred Adams Bell in 1870 in Detroit, Michigan. Her parents were Russell Edward Bell and Harriet Elizabeth Bell.

On May 1, 1899, at age 29, she married William Ackland Powell, the son of Webster Clay Powell and Elizabeth Ann Ackland. He was born in 1870 in Brooklyn, NY, and died in 1926 in Manhattan.

Winifred and William Ackland had two children. Their daughter, Nancy Bell Powell, was born in 1906 in Boston, Massachusetts, and died in 1993. William Ackland Powell Jr. was born in 1900 in Brooklyn, New York. According to Winifred’s letters, he was apparently a stage actor. He died in 1951.

Mrs. Winifred Powell died in May 1950.

See Also:
WINIFRED POWELL Correspondence I – 1931-1935
WINIFRED POWELL Correspondence II – 1936-1939


Winifred Powell

Alt. Title

Mrs. Winifred Powell, Mrs. William Ackland Powell ; Winifred Adams Bell ; Miss Pal ; Mis-Pal ; Mispal ;



Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Winifred Powell ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; Winifred Adams Bell ; Miss Pal ; Mis-Pal ; Mispal ; Sidney Lanier Camp ; Evelyn K. Wells ; housemothers ; Boy’s House ; Big Log ; Line Fork Settlement ; English teachers ; references ; progressive education ; William Ackland Powell ; William Ackland Powell Jr. ; Nancy Bell Powell

Subject LCSH

Powell, Winifred, — 1870 – May 1950.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.


2015-10-06 aae ;


Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY




Collections ; text ; image ;


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


Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel.

Coverage Temporal

1866 – 1993

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Eliot, ME ; Long Lake, ME ; Chicago, IL ; Columbus, OH ; Ann Arbor, MI ; Chambersburg, PA ; New York City, NY ; Gilley, KY ; Ontario, Canada ; Detroit, MI ; Brooklyn, NY ; Manhattan, NY ; Boston, MA ; 


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 Winifred Powell ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Winifred Powell ;




“[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

2015-10-06 aae ; 2020-10-08 aae


Sources PMSS Workers 1913 – 2000s GUIDE.” Series 09: Biography. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : (accessed 06 Oct 2020), Suffolk > Boston > Births 1906; citing Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, Boston. Internet resource.

“New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 06 Oct 2020), Winifred A. Bell in entry for William Ackland Jr. Powell, 31 May 1900; citing Manhattan, New York, NY, United States, reference 11354 New York Municipal Archives, New York. Internet resource.

“New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 06 Oct 2020), Webster Clay Powell in entry for William Powell and Winiferd (sic) Bell, 17 May 1899; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York. Internet resource.

“United States, Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 06 Oct 2020), (St. Louis: National Archives and Records Administration, 1985). Internet resource.

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