DEAR FRIEND Letters 1931

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 17: PMSS Publications (Published by the School)

Dear Friend Letters 1931

CONTENTS: Dear Friend Letters 1931 April

Dear Friend Letters 1931 consists of one 2-page letter that includes the following subjects:

imagining an ad for PMSS in magazines (progressive boarding school ; 100 boys and girls over 14 ; classes and actual work ; extra activities ; buildings made by students and local labor with natural materials ; electricity, coal mine, fire protection, swimming pool ; Christian but not Sectarian) ; modern education ; examples of ex-students at work or college ; activities of current students ; building character through working and learning ; acquiring standards for the future ; School is sound investment ; request for help ; signed by Evelyn K. Wells on behalf of the Board of Trustees ; ends with names of president, treasurer, secretary, and board members ;

CONTENTS: Dear Friend Letters 1931

TRANSCRIPTION: Dear Friend Letters 1931

Page 1 [dear_friends_1931_04_001]


April 1, 1931

My dear Friend:

An advertisement of Pine Mountain in the magazines might read something like this:

“In the heart of Appalachia, at the headwaters of the Kentucky River, across the mountain from towns, railroads and motor highways; a progressive boarding school for one hundred boys and girls over fourteen. Farming, dairying, carpentry, weaving, household arts learned through class instruction and actual work on the place. Athletics, folk-dancing and singing, dramatics. Living cottages, school, church and all other buildings of native materials, put up by student and local labor and furnished from the school work shop. Electricity, steam head, coal mine, fire protection, swimming pool. Christian but not Sectarian.”

Such an advertisement would bring applications from parents all over the country willing to spend thousands to find the right educational atmosphere for their children. And it would not be the first time we have been asked to name our price for taking children from “the outside world.”

Pine Mountain represents many of the best elements of modern education, working always from the material and experiences at hand. As we see our young graduates falling into line we know we have helped fit them for life. Here is Boone, running the workshop and keeping the place up, Emily feeding the school family beautifully, Becky May [Becky May Huff] teaching dyeing and weaving. Carrie [Carrie Day], to whom for six years Pine Mountain was the only home and school she had ever known, writes from her hospital training, “Pine Mountain put me where I am today. Not that I’m in such a high position or anything like that!” Oma [Oma Creech] and Dillard [Dillard Turner], first-year medical students, are bound to go on, in spite of the expense, the long course, and many younger brothers and sisters to be raised. Bill [Bill Hayes], studying agriculture at Berea now, wants sometime to be Pine Mountain’s farmer. And the present generation, as…

Page 2 [dear_friends_1931_04_002]

…they straighten creek-beds against future floods, make new openings for the coal-mine, fill up the cray-fish holes in the floor of the reservoir before the next drought, and pursue the routine of cooking and housekeeping and farming, prove daily the soundness of Uncle William’s key-text, “Hit’s better for folkses char-ac-ters to larn ’em to do things with their hands.”

Characters are shaping in the classroom too. One group which through the far-seeing educational insight of a friend, has the income of a small sum to spend annually, voted it for Red Cross relief this year for our terribly drought-ridden countryside. Here is a contribution to a discussion in Civics, from the descendant of fearbound, lawless generations. “A feller that obeys the laws ain’t got nothin’ to be afeard of, but the feller that breaks the laws, he has to be a-dodgin’.”

Emerging from generations of simple living into the crude industrial civilization which has invaded their mountains, children at Pine Mountain spend the important years of adolescence in adding to the sturdiness and native culture of their background, standards for the future: Christian ideals for society, the ability to think straight, a recognition of character values, economic stability.

This year most of us have thought a good deal about our investments, spiritual as well as financial. We, as Trustees of Pine Mountain, write you this April ourselves, that you may know we think of our School in its relation to the need everywhere in the world; and so thinking, still find it a sound and thrilling educational venture. Scholarships at Pine Mountain have not gone up, — and our workers turn down better offers to stay on. Will you not be, as a child at Pine Mountain recently described Martin Luther, “A far-minded, clear-seeing citizen of the day,” and help us again?

Very sincerely yours,
[signed] Evelyn K. Wells
For the Board of Trustees

Mr. D. D. Martin, Marine Trust Building, Buffalo, N.Y.

C.N. Manning, Security Trust Co., Lexington, Ky.

Miss E. C. Hench, Laurel, Miss.

Mrs. Caryl Holton [Celia Cathcart], London, Ohio
Mrs. Inghram D. [Mary Rockwell] Hook, Kansas City, Mo.
Miss Angela Melville, New York, N.Y.
Miss Katherine Pettit, Lexington, Ky.
R. E. Samuels, Pineville, Ky. *
Miss Evelyn K. Wells, Summit, N.J.