Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 17A: Publications – Publicity and Fundraising
“Dear Friend” Letter – April 1948
DEAR FRIEND LETTERS 1948
CONTENTS: DEAR FRIEND LETTERS 1948
April 1948, Page 1 – 2
DEAR FRIEND LETTERS 1948 covers the following subjects: Letterhead lists names of director and treasurer ; Benjamin describes how power outages that occurred 7 times in 1948 affected the hospital, early-rising working students, resulted in the Laurel House fire ; credits Henry Creech for bringing the Rural Electrical Association to the School ; lists other powers as important as electricity, such as education, Christian faith ; School’s budget for 1949 is almost four times as much as promised income ; need $450 for a child’s tuition for a year ; School has been a transformer of visions into realities for last 35 years ; your dollars are rays of light for the students and generators of new energy for the workers ; signed by H.R.S Benjamin ;
GALLERY: DEAR FRIEND LETTERS 1948
TRANSCRIPTION: DEAR FRIEND LETTERS 1948
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PINE MOUNTAIN SETTLEMENT SCHOOL, INC
PINE MOUNTAIN * HARLAN COUNTY * KENTUCKY
I am writing this letter by the light of a kerosene lamp. The School grounds, usually at this hour a radiant spot in the dark hills, are plunged into gloom except for the flicker of an electric torch here and there; and up and down the Pine Mountain valley the little houses, lighted by Rural Electrification only the last few years, are dark. The power is off for the seventh time in this hard year of 1948.
One January evening at six the lights went out because of ice on the lines, and a message by way of the forester’s telephone brought needed repairs by ten-thirty. Imagine the relief of doctor and nurses, for at 11:10 a baby was born in our hospital. Three times the power has failed when a premature baby was in the incubator, and hot water bottles had to be rushed to save a life. The “barn boys” and “breakfast girls” rise at 4:30 to do their work, terribly handicapped when the power is off.
And once, several years ago, the failure of our limping Delco plant which preceded the days of the R.E.A., and the freezing of our water supply, brought the terrible catastrophe of fire, and Laurel House, heart of the school, burned down. A candle set the blaze.
The Delco took the place of 100 coal-oil lamps which must be cleaned each day. The R.E.A., cooperatively owned and managed, came to the valley largely through the public-spirited efforts of Henry Creech, son of Uncle William who founded Pine Mountain. It is a long jump from candle-light and coal-oil to the turning of a switch and the fluorescent bulb of today — longer in terms of convenience than in years. A neighbor said to me the other day, “How could our mothers have raised their families without electricity?” Yet she has had power in her home only a little over two years.
Important as this particular kind of power may be, we are interested in still another. You have enabled us for years to give our young people the power of education — of learning through study to develop their talents, to change standards, to raise goals, to discipline lives.
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We transmit also the power of Christian faith. This month three students were received into the fellowship of our school church on the testimony of their faith in Christ. Each year others have made the same confession. In these days of need this power will save them from pessimism and defeat.
Three weeks ago a preacher from an isolated part of Harlan County brought five children, eighth-graders in the district school, to see Pine Mountain and enter in the fall. They want more schooling than their parents ever had. But they have no money to pay their way. We cannot even ask them come and work out their tuition in the summer for we have no cash to pay them.
For like every other privately supported school in the country, Pine Mountain faces a crisis these days, when high operating costs force us to dip dangerously into our slender resources. Pare, cut, scrape, scrimp as we may, our budget for the coming year is almost four times as much as our promised income.
An old Pine Mountain boy, now a leading citizen in his community in a backward county has just sent us fifty dollars, a wonderfully generous gift. Three sums like this, $150.00, will pay a child’s tuition at Pine Mountain for a year, and take care of a boy or girl like our recent visitors.
This school has been a transformer of visions into realities for these thirty-five years. We need a new fuse in the transformer to maintain the continual flow of power. Send us your dollars, for they are rays of light for our boys and girls, and generators of new energy for us who work to provide the power and give it Christian direction. It is our friends who must supply the fuse, complete the circuit, and save us from return to the dark and dangerous level of education by candle-light and coal-oil standards.
[signed] H.R.S. Benjamin
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