KENDALL T. BASSETT

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Staff/Personnel
Antioch College exchange program

Kendall T. Bassett
Teacher, 1926-1928 (Alternated with another student in the Antioch College co-op program)
Member, Advisory Board 1930s-1950s

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“I believe this picture was taken at or near Pine Mt. circa 1929/29 when my father, Kendall Bassett, was a teacher there [far left]. I grew up with his stories of his time there from Antioch College. He knew Ethel de Long well, worked with Mr. Zande in his shop, & I believe helped bury Mrs. de Long Zande. I don’t know who these people are/were but perhaps it might go into the archives. Beth (Bassett) del Negro. [The family is the Harrison Halcomb Family.]

In his Introduction to Progressives in the Kentucky Mountains: The Formative Years of Pine Mountain Settlement School, 1913-1930, James S. Greene, a longtime PMSS friend and trustee, acknowledged Kendall Bassett for his preservation of some of the most important records of Pine Mountain Settlement School:

I will always be indebted to the late Kendall Bassett for the great faith he showed in me and my project by turning over to the Ethel de Long Zande papers which had been entrusted to him at the wish of Helen de Long, who, along with her mother, Arabella de Long, had carefully preserved them with the desire that one day they be used in telling the story of their Ethel’s work. I only hope this history would have measured up to their dreams.

James Greene meticulously organized, archived and inventoried the papers of Ethel de Long Zande during the years that they were in his possession. (See Guide to the de Long-Zande Papers.)

In 2014, Green subsequently submitted the Ethel de Long Zande papers to the Pine Mountain Settlement School Collection, along with a fireproof filing cabinet in which to store them.

KENDALL T. BASSETT PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM

In keeping with Kendall T. Bassett’s later interest in preserving the history of the School, he donated a large photograph album that reproduced many photographs taken during his years at the School. They depict activities at the School as well as in the community at large. These historically valuable photographs are currently being digitized in order to be more easily accessible to those interested in the beginnings of the Pine Mountain Settlement School and should be available soon.

pmss001_bas006_mod

One of the earliest photographs of the Creech Cabin shortly after its relocation to the School campus. Kendall T. Bassett Photograph Album, [pmss001_bas006_mod]


Kendall T. Bassett

Kendall T. Bassett came to Pine Mountain in 1926 and remained until 1928. The two years at the school were a part of the Antioch College teacher training program that Pine Mountain had integrated into their educational institution. He alternated his time with another student while at the Kentucky school. When he came to Pine Mountain Kendall T. demonstrated a broad range of talents that he had gathered from his father, from the family travels, and from his own innate interest in progressive education, in craft, and social service. Deeply immersed in the industrial arts, in progressive secondary educational goals, and other innovative educational ideals, Kendall was an excellent fit with the needs and objectives of the institution.

Kendall Townsend Bassett was born on December 12, 1905, in the Bronx, New York City, to Harry and Hester Adeline (Brown) Bassett. His early years in New York City were, however, brief. In 1907 his father, Harry Kendall Bassett accepted a position at the University of Wisconsin in Madison where Harry and Adeline lived prior to moving to New York City and where Harry had received his higher education. The family lived in Madison until 1914 when Harry accepted an appointment as the Educational Secretary with the Bureau of Congresses of the Pan American Exposition in San Francisco and lecturer at the University of California Berkeley, across the Bay.

Adeline and the family’s four children were then moved to Berkeley and they remained there after the closure of the Pan American Exposition in 1916, when Harry accepted a teaching position at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, near Berkeley. Founded in 1907, by Frederick Meyer, a leader in education in the arts and a proponent of art and craft, the CCAC in Oakland is integrally tied to the national Arts and Crafts Movement that was particularly strong in the San Francisco Bay area during the first quarter of the twentieth-century.

The following year, in June of 1917, Harry developed appendicitis and did not survive the complications associated with the acute attack. His wife Adeline and the four children, Kendall, Philip, Hester and Jeanne, then made the decision to return to Wisconsin where Adeline’s parents lived and employment was more promising. Kendall, eleven years old at the time of his father’s death, was the oldest of the children and with them he entered the Madison school system to complete his early education.

In 1923 Kendall applied and was accepted at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and when his younger brother Philip was also accepted in 1924, their mother Adeline found a job at the college as the Admissions Secretary and the whole family was moved to Yellow Springs. It was Kendall’s Antioch experience that brought him to Pine Mountain on a two-year work program part of the cooperative agreement that Pine Mountain had struck with the unique school for teachers in training. Antioch, one of the so-called “work colleges” had a program that included a triad of work, service and learning. Pine Mountain benefited greatly from the “service” portion of that education, as well as the work and education preparation which served the needs of both institutions.

Following Kendall’s departure from Pine Mountain in 1928 and his subsequent graduation from Antioch College, he took a job at Chateau de Bures, an American School outside of Paris, where he worked from autumn 1928 until the spring of 1931, teaching math, “manual training” and dramatics. During the summers he returned to the US where he worked at a boys’ camp.

In 1931, Kendall came full circle, returning to New York City where he was invited to teach science and to serve as the head of the middle school program at Fieldston School in the Riverdale part of the Bronx. That same year he married Catharine Pratt whom he had met on his voyage to France.  Catharine was a graduate of  Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and, like Kendall, was an educator.  Following her graduation, she taught in Marquette, Michigan and was embarked on additional study at the Sorbonne when she and Kendall met. The two remained at Fieldston School until Kendall’s retirement in 1970.

In the 1940 U.S. Census, Kendall is recorded as living with his wife Catharine P. Bassett on Berkshire Road in Yonkers, New York. Later, the family moved to a home in Pleasantville, NY. where the children grew up.

Workingman’s School

The return to New York brought Kendall T. Bassett back to his birth city and in close contact with the early work of his father, Harry Kendall Bassett. Harry Kendall, a noted educator came to New York to teach in 1905. Though he remained only for a short time teaching at the progressive school in the Bronx area of New York City it was an important incubator for his later education and that of Kendall, his son. Called first the Workingman’s School, the unique institution was chartered in 1880 and later took the name of the society that supported it, the Ethical Culture Society and finally assumed the name, the Ethical Culture School. The early school operated on many of the same principles as the urban settlement houses found in Chicago, New York and Boston. In 1899 the school had established a secondary program where Harry Kendall Bassett taught. Today, Fieldston School is no longer associated with the Ethical Culture Society and is independently run as an elite progressive school in the Riverdale area of the Bronx.

When Kendall T. was invited by Fieldston School in 1931 to teach science and to develop an enriched secondary program, he brought with him many of the educational principles of the Ethical Culture School and the California College of Arts and Crafts, passed along by his father. He also benefited from his training at Antioch College in Ohio and later at the Kentucky settlement school. Many of these experiences placed him at the forefront of secondary education. His was a rich legacy. His teacher training program at Antioch was established as part of his service experience at the school and one he shared with other Antioch teaching interns who participated in the cooperative program at Pine Mountain. With Kendall’s educational training came a sensitive understanding of how education is a part of place.  His brief stay at Pine Moutain was formative but his investment in the institution was profound. It was his belief in the ideals and the history of the institution that seems to have informed much that he did in his later instruction. What he left with the School was significant, but what the School left with him appears to have been life-long.

Kendall Townsend Bassett

While he contributed so very much to our history, little was found at Pine Mountain of Kendall Townsend Bassett’s personal life. Except as noted in correspondence and other personal memoirs, information available in the public record was thin and though his extensive photographic album is rich with early photographs of the School, it provided little insight into his full life there or following his departure. We were fortunate, however, to have re-connected with his daughter Elizabeth (Beth) dal Negro, one of the three children of Kendall and his wife, Catharine Pratt Bassett. Beth dal Negro has furnished us with additional biographical information regarding her father and his work at Pine Mountain Settlement School and beyond, which greatly expands what we now know of his work before, during and after Pine Mountain. We are greatly indebted to her generosity and the generosity of her father and the Bassett family. The biography provided by Beth dal Negro, which we used in the preparation of our material, follows:

Bio of Kendall Townsend Bassett (or K.T. Bassett)
Submitted by his daughter, Elizabeth (Beth) Bassett

Statistics:
Born: December 12, 1905 in NYC
Died: November 30, 1980
Wife: Catharine Pratt Bassett
Children: Kendall Harry Bassett, Jeanne Bassett Prewitt, Elizabeth (Beth) Bassett dal Negro

Parents: Harry Kendall Bassett (H.K. Bassett) and Hester Adeline Bassett (known as Adeline or Addie). H.K. Bassett was teaching at Ethical Culture School in downtown Manhattan when dad was born (taught there from 1901 to 1907).

In 1907 [the] family moved back to Madison, Wisconsin where H.K. had taken a job at the University of Wisconsin. [The] Family subsequently moved (in 1914) to Berkley, CA where H.K. had been appointed the Educational Secretary with the Bureau of Congresses of the Pan American Exposition and lecturer at [the] University of California Berkley. When the Exposition closed, H.K. joined the faculty of the California School of Arts and Crafts [in nearby Oakland]. H.K. died in June 1917 of appendicitis – dad (K.T. Bassett) was 11, the oldest of four children (siblings: Philip, Hester, and Jeanne).

When his [Kendall Bassett’s] dad died his mother moved the family back to Wisconsin where her parents lived. I won’t go into details of their life other than to say it was a difficult time for my grandmother raising 4 kids under the circumstances. However, she was tough and resourceful – buying her uncle’s insurance agency which she ran for 7 years.

K[endall] T. Bassett (my dad) enrolled in Antioch College in 1923. In 1924, when dad’s brother Phillip decided to enter Antioch, my grandmother got a job as Secretary of Admissions at Antioch and she moved the family to Yellow Springs, OH.

Dad worked at Pine Mountain Settlement School during two of his work sessions at Antioch (I believe these were 1926 and 1928 although I’m not sure of the exact time frame). He loved his time there and we as children heard many stories of life there, including his story about the death of Ethel Zande and the undertaker who was drunk.

Upon graduation from Antioch in 1928 dad took a job at Chateau de Bures, an American School outside of Paris, where he worked for three years (fall of 1928 – spring of 1931) teaching math, “manual training” and dramatics. During the summers he worked at a boys’ camp in the US (I’m not sure where).

In the fall of 1931 Dad went to teach at the Fieldston School (the Ethical Culture School in the Bronx). He taught science and was head of the middle school. Dad taught at Fieldston from 1931 till his retirement in 1970.

My parents were married December 31, 1931, and went to live initially in the Bronx. (They ultimately moved to Pleasantville, NY, where dad built our house.) During his years at Fieldston dad also:

• Taught wood working and design to returning veterans at the War Veteran’s Art Center through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC (1944-1948). After the Veteran’s Center closed the program became the People’s Art Center offering a wide variety of classes to the public. Dad again taught woodworking & design. Some of these classes were for fathers and sons together. (My brother participated in some of these with my dad.)
• Directed the Summer Play School for neighborhood children held at the Ethical Culture School in NYC between 1935 -1942.
• Helped develop an arts program at the Fieldston School for the community.
• Was director of Camp Wildwood, a girls camp in ME [Maine] during the summers circa 1946 -1950.

Summers from 1950 till 1970 were spent in Maine where he and the family built a log cabin.


Kendall T. Bassett died on November 30, 1980, in Boston, MA.

Pine Mountain will always be deeply indebted to Kendall T. Bassett for his very early photographs of the School, for his deep affection for the de Long family and for the invaluable donation of letters of Ethel de Long Zande and her family that forms the backbone of the historical record of the Pine Mountain Settlement School.


**Notes on Harry Kendall Bassett and the Ethical Culture School, NYC

Kendall Bassett’s father, Harry Bassett, instructor of English at the Ethical Culture School in Manhattan, received his B.L. at the University of Wisconsin in 1887. In 1914 he is listed as an Assistant Professor of English at his alma mater. While at Wisconsin he was active in the formation of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Founded in 1911, the Council was created when many independent schools, both colleges and high schools, became dissatisfied with the standards for English instruction and for the requirements for course acceptance in higher education. Some of the first agitators were the faculty at the Ethical Cultural School. In the first draft for the creation of the new NCTE, Harry Bassett was elected as Treasurer and though most of the officers were from colleges and universities, they all supported the development of an independent high school course in English and soon founded a journal, the English Journal. Within the first year the journal had some 19 affiliates and over 5,000 members nationwide. [See: “Tradition and Reform in the Teaching of English: A History,” by Arthur Applebee (1974) in the NCTE English Journal.].

A brief description of the Ethical Culture School in the Bronx in New York City is important as it draws both a sharp contrast with rural settlement schools but also provides a parallel history with the educational values later adopted and subscribed to in the rural school in Eastern Kentucky. Founded by Felix Adler, the son of a Jewish rabbi at the Temple Emanu-el in New York City, the Ethical Culture Society was focused on social reform but with a non-sectarian flavor. Adler had been strongly influenced by Emanuel Kant (Neo-Kantianism) while a student in Heidelberg, Germany, and from Kant he developed a strong belief that “morality can be established independent of theology.” This became a central tenet of Adler’s New York Society for Ethical Culture and the non-sectarian beliefs mixed well with the non-sectarian experiences that Bassett found at Pine Mountain Settlement School. Also, Adler’s philosophical belief that “deed rather than creed” should lead progress led to the establishment of a home-visit program for nurses and doctors that served many of the tenements and poor areas of the Bronx. Adler’s ideas strongly influenced the staff at the Fieldston School and were later incorporated into the New York City health system. In a short time Adler gained the recognition of Columbia University where, in 1902, he was invited to a chair of political and social ethics at the University. He taught at Columbia until his death in 1933 and while there was a strong voice in social as well as educational reform.

Adler’s innovative ideas grew out of his early work at the Fieldston School and the Ethical Culture Society but they were also largely modeled on the urban settlement houses of the time, particularly Jane Addams’ Hull House. The urban school for children of working-class parents in New York, shared many of the same social needs as the rural environment which became the training ground for the young Kendall Bassett, just as the early New York school had been his father’s training ground. For most of his life, Kendall Bassett seems to have pursued his ideals of social justice for all people and his work with many of New York City’s immigrants and minorities did much to move racial integration forward in the city.


GALLERY

ALSO SEE;

KENDALL T. BASSETT CORRESPONDENCE

KENDALL T. BASSETT VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE PROGRAM

KENDALL T. BASSETT PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM

FULL PAGES WITH PHOTOGRAPHS

PART I [in process]

PART II

PART III

PART IV 

PART V 

PART VI


Title

Kendall Bassett

Alt. Title

Kendall T. Bassett ; Kendall Townsend Bassett ; K.T. Bassett ;

Identifier

KENDALL T. BASSETT

Creator

Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Kendall Bassett ; Kendall T. Bassett ; K.T. Bassett ; Kendall Townsend Bassett ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; photographs ; photography ; Ethel de Long Zande papers ; James S. Greene ; photograph albums ; Progressives in the Kentucky Mountains ; historical preservation ; Helen de Long ; Arabella de Long ; Harry Kendall Bassett ; Hester A. (Brown) Bassett ; Progressive Movement ; Catherine P. Bassett ; Kendall Harry Bassett ; Jeanne Bassett ; Beth Bassett ; educators ; Workingman’s School ; urban settlement houses ; Ethical Culture Society ; Ethical Culture Fieldston School ; instructors ; University of Wisconsin ; National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) ; English Journal ; Felix Adler ; Temple Emanu-el ; social reform ; New York Society for Ethical Culture ; home-visit programs ; New York City health system ; Columbia University ; immigrants ; racial integration ; urban settlement houses ; Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Yonkers, NY ; Boston, MA ; Heidelberg, Germany ; Bronx, NY ; Antioch College ;

Subject LCSH

Bassett, Kendall Townsend, — 1905 December 12 – 1980 November 30.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Photography.

Date

Date digital : 2015-10-08

Publisher

Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Contributor

Elizabeth Bassett dal Negro

Type

Collections ; text ; image ;

Format

Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet. Photograph album, Boy’s House Library.

Source

Series 09: Staff/Personnel/Community ; biography of Kendall Bassett submitted by Elizabeth Bassett dal Negro ;

Language

English

Relation

Is to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: Staff/Personnel/Community

Coverage Temporal

1905 – 2015

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Yonkers, NY ; Boston, MA ; Heidelberg, Germany ; Bronx, NY, NY ;

Rights

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.

Donor

Kendall T. Bassett ; Elizabeth Bassett dal Negro

Description

Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Kendall T. Bassett ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Kendall T. Bassett ;

Acquisition

n/d

Citation

“[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

2014-11-16 hhw ; 2015-08-18 aae ; 2015-12-29 hhw ; 2016-02-14 hhw ; 201-02-16 aae;  2016-02-17 hhw ;

Bibliography

Sources

PMSS Staff Directory 1913-present & Series 09: Staff/Personnel/Community. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VZTQ-DNH : accessed 18 August 2015), Kendall T Bassett, 30 Nov 1980; from “Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003,” database, Ancestry(http://www.ancestry.com : 2005); citing Boston, Massachusetts, death certificate number 009058, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Health Services, Boston.

“New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WDX-9Z1 : accessed 18 August 2015), Kendall T. Bassett, 12 Dec 1905; citing Birth, Bronx, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,023,139.

“United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KQ3R-GVK : accessed 18 August 2015), Kendall Bassett, Ward 10, Yonkers, Yonkers City, Westchester, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 68-107, sheet 4B, family 73, NARA digital publication T627 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012), roll 2866.


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