DEAR FRIEND Letters 1934

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 17A: Publications – Publicity and Fundraising
“Dear Friend” Letter – March 28, 1934


March 28, 1934, Pages 1 – 3

DEAR FRIEND LETTERS 1934 include these subjects: A story about doctor tending to a birth in crude conditions ; description of living and health conditions in community ; PMSS provides both health and education services ; description of community-run health association started by the School ; ex-students will return after studying medicine ; the School is training 100 young people better health practices ; the School needs your continued sympathy and aid ; signed by Glyn A. Morris ;



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Darwin D. Martin
Marine Trust Bldg., Buffalo, N.Y.

Glyn A. Morris

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


March 28, 1934

Dear Friend:

“I’m glad you come, Doc — though we wuz gettin’ along all right.” A local midwife greeted the Pine Mountain School doctor with great relief as he dismounted and entered the dark cabin where seven or eight women stood about the room hushing restless babies. Three small children huddled in the corner farthest from the bed and the patient herself stood upright in the middle of the floor, taking painful steps back and forth to encourage the “misery”. For it turned out to be twins, and the first little fellow had come two hours before. By the light from the fireplace and the open front door, the second was born. Thus, in darkness, and filth, and with crude means used 150 years ago, many of the mountain children are still brought into the world.

Picture an area of about 300 square miles of rough mountain country where some 200 families have their homes — cheerless little one, two and three room cabins, ill-lighted, with no ventilation. Hogs and chickens wander at will through the houses, there are usually no sanitary facilities, diet is one-sided, (the best that can be drawn from the steep hillsides, and from hogs and cows which have never been looked at by a veterinarian) hookworm is rampant, and trachoma a common sight; there is a high birth rate and a correspondingly large infant mortality. To quote Uncle William, our founder: “Hit’s rough to say, but hit’s the truth, and hit ought to be said”. Small wonder that our doctor has little rest, and that he and his wife, astride Sunny Jim and Queen, are a familiar and welcome sight.

Hand in hand with Pine Mountain’s education of over a hundred boys and girls goes this important service to the community. The story of the medical work which Pine Mountain has done since its beginning would fill many thrilling pages. Yet it is only one of the functions which the school has been able to perform in this isolated section of the Kentucky Mountains.

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We know that our health work must be of a partly charitable nature, but in order not to present it to our people as charity, we have organized the community health association. The members call it the “Good Health Association.” Each family pays ten dollars a year, which insures them of the doctor’s services whenever they are needed. Fifty-three families already belong. Rules are drawn up by the men themselves, and the president is Henry Creech, one of Uncle William’s sons. Through the health association we are beginning to weld our individualistic neighbors into a community organization which has far-reaching possibilities both for better health and an improved social outlook.

[Photograph caption: “Members of the Health Association Leaving the School House”]

Fees are payable in cash, but many of the members must work them out at the school. Thus the total cash collected pays only a small part of our doctor’s very meager salary. The remainder must come from the school budget. It is a startling demand upon our limited funds — but the reward is greater than the cost.

And lest the picture be too dark — Dillard and Oma, our alumni, graduate this year from Louisville Medical School, and will be back to lend a hand in the pressing need among their people. Charlie will graduate from Pine Mountain in May, and start working his way through college and medical school next fall; Nan looks forward from her sophomore year here to studying medicine some day. And today a hundred young people in the school are being taught the ways of clean, healthful living, with special courses in home-nursing, personal hygiene, dietetics, home-making, baby care. Our methods are slow, but they are sure, and the results are good, as many of the homes, and the careers of former students will attest.

I wish I could talk to you intimately of our need, as we endeavor to turn the deadening effects of isolation and social…

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…deterioration into larger life, opportunity and happiness. This letter must convey to you our great need for your continued sympathy and aid.

Faithfully yours,
[signed] Glyn A. Morris

[Photograph caption: “The Doctor”]