Pine Mountain Settlement School


TAGS: Catherine Rittenhouse; photograph collection; Mary Dana;

Catherine Rittenhouse with children. X_100_workers_2531.jpg

Catherine Rittenhouse with children. X_100_workers_2531.jpg

Catherine Rittenhouse came to Pine Mountain Settlement School with her friend Mary Dana in 1914, one year after the founding of the school. Both were volunteer workers for approximately six weeks.  As a volunteer at the school she was engaged in many activities. While there she recorded her work, her reflections, and the life of the school in both letters home and in photographic images. Following her death in 1958, her husband, Leroy V. Sanford, sent her early letters and her images to Pine Mountain Settlement School to be added to the archive.

Note: As was common among workers at Pine Mountain, individuals at the school and community members were either referred to by a simple letter, i.e. “Miss R” (Dora Hill Reed Goodale), “Miss L” (Ethel De Long), etc. Or, names were disguised, as was the case with the names of community folk. A cryptic guide to personal identification was included on the envelope that was used to mail the Rittenhouse letters to the school. The images and letters were accompanied by a letter from Mr. Sanford who describes his wife and her years at the school.


Minneapolis, Minnesota
April 24, 1958

The recent death on March 22nd of my wife, Mrs. Catherine Rittenhouse Sanford, has prompted me to write you this letter.

In the summer of 1914, shortly before our marriage which occurred in 1915, Mrs. Sanford — then Miss Catherine Rittenhouse — and a close friend and distant relative of hers, Miss Mary Dana (who later became Mrs. C.V. Kennedy and is now deceased) spent about six weeks as voluntary workers at the Pine Mountain Settlement School which had been started shortly before that time. As you can well imagine, they worked under very primitive conditions doing some teaching and performing such other tasks as were necessary at the time.

Mrs. Sanford often spoke of the time she spent down there, which she regarded as one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences of her entire lifetime. She always followed the gradual development of the school with great interest and has sent small contributions from time to time at the Christmas season.

At the time of her death, my daughters and I suggested memorials to Plymouth Congregational Church of this city, of which my wife and I have been members for over forty years. Out of the amount received, I have requested the Church to forward to you the sum of $25 as a memorial to Mrs. Sanford.

I am enclosing a transcript which Mrs. Sanford made of the letters which she wrote to her parents while she was down there. She often spoke of Mr. William Creech who, as I understand it, was one of the founders of the school, and must have been a very interesting character. I trust you will find this of interest. In any event it is yours for such disposition as you see fit.

** Miss Mary Dana  [1879 – 19??]  married Charles V. Kennedy.  In 1930 she was living in Dade, FL.

A second short letter from Mr. Sanford arrived on June 3, 1958, accompanied by photographs taken by Catherine Rittenhouse and possibly other staff. He describes the second donation:

I have discovered something else which I am sure will be of interest to you and which I am enclosing herewith — namely, a collection of photographs which Mrs. Sanford took while she was down there in 1914 and which are sufficiently identified on the back so that I believe they will be of interest. As I remember it, Miss Pettit, Miss Read, and Miss de Long were all in charge of the various activities of the school in 1914. It is hard to realize that the children show in these pictures are now middle-aged adults.




Catherine Rittenhouse Collection

Alt. Title

Catherine Rittenhouse Sanford ; Catherine Rittenhouse ;




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

L.V. Stanford

Subject Keyword

Catherine Rittenhouse ; Catherine Rittenhouse Sanford ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; education ; Mary Dana ; volunteers ; L.V. Sanford ; Dora Reed Goodale ; Ethel De Long ; Miss R ; Miss L ; Mrs. C.V. Kennedy ; Plymouth Congregational Church ; memorials ; William Creech ; photographs ; donations ; Katherine Pettit ; 

Subject LCSH

Sanford, Catherine Rittenhouse, — born (n/d) – died March 22, 1958.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.


Digital: 2007-06-26 ; Date of photographs: 1914 ;


Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY




Collections ; text ; image ;


Original and copies of photographs, documents, and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet.


Series 07: Staff and Personnel ; Photograph Series ;




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 07: Staff and Personnel ; Photograph Series ;

Coverage Temporal

1914 – 1958

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Minneapolis, MN ;


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.


Mr. L.V. Sanford, husband of Catherine Rittenhouse (1958).


Core documents, correspondence, writing, and photographs of Catherine Rittenhouse, a volunteer worker at Pine Mountain Settlement School for six weeks in 1914.




Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers, Pine Mountain Settlement School, KY.

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated

2007-07-12 hhw ; 2013-10-13 hhw ; 2014-01-07 aae ;


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