Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 7: Director’s Files
Series 9: Staff/Personnel


Burton Rogers: 
Counselor, Teacher 1942 – 1945
Counselor, Teacher, Principal 1947 – 1949
Director 1949 – 1973

Burton Brush Rogers

Burton Brush Rogers. [rogers_mod.jpg]

Burton Rogers, Director of Pine Mountain Settlement School from 1949 to 1973, was the longest occupant of that office in the history of the School. In his role as Director he helped to shepherd the School through some of its most complex changes and re-positioning, assisting the institution and staff as it moved from a residential boarding school to a community school and then through the closure altogether of the public education program on the school grounds.

With his wife, Mary Blagden Rogers, he built a new direction for the School in the Environmental Education programs and multiple community outreach initiatives.

Burton Brush Rogers was born May 3, 1909, on a farm in Sherman, Connecticut. In 1930, he received an undergraduate degree in American History from the Yale College of Yale University in New Haven, CT. Upon graduation, he went to China for eight years as a member of the staff of the Yale-in-China program, where he taught in the English as a Second Language program at the Yali Union Middle School in Changsha.

He left China in 1934 to study for his master’s degree in education at Yale University. He completed one year at Yale and the remaining three terms at the University of London in England. After graduation, Burton returned to China and provided four additional years of instruction at Yali Union Middle School.

Burton met Mary Blagden during his time in London, and when he returned to China, he continued to write to Mary. In the summer of 1940 he traveled to India where Mary was an instructor at a school in Murhu, India, near Ranchi, where they were married. Mary and Burton then returned to China where they both taught for another year before the political climate became too hostile and the Chinese Civil War too dangerous to continue working there.

Burton and Mary Rogers and son, Christopher. [1X_100_workers_2654]_mod.jpg

Burton and Mary Rogers and son, Christopher. [X_100_workers_2654_mod.jpg]

By 1941 Burton and Mary had returned once again to Yale University where Burton began work on a doctorate of religious education at the Yale Divinity School. During that time, Burton and Mary explored work placements in rural locations. According to information provided by the family of Burton and Mary, they were interested in “a rural setting that offered education beyond standard academics.” They found that workplace at Pine Mountain Settlement School and, in April of 1942, came to Pine Mountain, Burton as a counselor and teacher, and Mary as a housemother.

They continued their interest in China, but never were able to visit or work there again. In 1945, however, Burton traveled back to India to serve two years as staff for the American Friends Service Committee. [Click here for images and transcription of Rogers’ 1945-1946 report of his first year back in India.]

By 1947 they returned to Pine Mountain where they were to remain for approximately the next forty-six years. For the first several years he worked again as a counselor/teacher and then as principal of the School. In 1949 he assumed the role of Director, a position he held until 1973.

When Mary died in 1993, Burton moved to Lexington, Kentucky, near his youngest son, Peter Rogers, and family. In Lexington, he continued to be active in the community, particularly the Lexington Friends Meeting circle, and regularly attended local concerts, recitals, and plays. When able, he was a regular visitor to Pine Mountain and frequently entertained Pine Mountain guests in his home in Lexington. Burton died on June 18, 2007. He was 98 years old.

GALLERY – Burton Rogers

Click on image for full view.



A table of Burton Rogers’ Director files held at Pine Mountain. Contains records largely from 1941 until 1973, when Burton stepped down from the position of Director. Files and correspondence with Board of Trustees are  particularly rich with history, biographical details and description of the educational programs at the School. Files are still in processing and many are not available to the public at this time.


              BURTON ROGERS Talks 1960s






Settlement Schools of Appalachia

Title Burton Rogers
Alt. Title Burton Brush Rogers
Identifier https://pinemountainsettlement.net/?page_id=2083
Creator Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY
Alt. Creator Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;
Subject Keyword Burton Rogers ; Burton Brush Rogers ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; education ; directors ; principals ; public education ; Mary Rogers ; environmental education ; community outreach ; Yale College ; Yale University ; Yale-in-China program ; English as a Second Language ; Lali Union Middle School ; University of London ; Chinese Civil War ; Yale Divinity School ; American Friends Service Committee ; Lexington Friends Meeting ; Pine Mountain, KY ; Sherman, CT ; New Haven, CT ; Changsha, China ; London, England ; Lexington, KY ; Edward V. Gulick ; Dr. Fritz Eitel ; Old Log ;
Subject LCSH Rogers, Burton Brush, — 1909 – 2007.
Educators — Biography.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Rural schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Schools — Appalachian Region.
Missions — China.
Date 2007-06-26
Publisher Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY
Contributor  n/a
Type Text ; image ;
Format Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet
Source Series 7: Director’s Files ; Series 9: Staff/Personnel ;
Language English
Relation Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 7: Director’s Files and Series 9: Staff/Personnel
Coverage Temporal 1909 – 2007
Coverage Spatial Pine Mountain, KY ; Sherman, CT ; New Haven, CT ; Changsha, China ; London, England ; Lexington, KY ;
Rights Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Donor n/a
Description Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers created by or addressed to Burton Brush Rogers ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Burton Brush Rogers ;
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 2001-05-28 hhw ; 2013-09-10 hhw ; 2013-10-29 aae ; 2014-07-28 hhw ; 2020-09-20 hhw
Bibliography Drake, Fred W., Ed. Ruth Hemenway: A Memoir of Revolutionary China, 1924 – 1941. University of Massachusetts Press, 1977. Print.
Elder, B J. The Oriole’s Song: An American Girlhood in Wartime China. Norwalk:EastBridge, 2003. Print.

Gulick, Edward V. Teaching in Wartime China: A Photo­ Memoir, 1937–1939. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1995. Print.

Gulick, Edward V. Peter Parker and the Opening of China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973. Print.

Morris, Glyn. Less Travelled Roads. New York: Vantage Press, 1977. Print.


The following is a list of individuals who served with Burton Rogers in China. Compiled by Edward V. Gulick and included in his autobiographical account of Teaching in Wartime China…, this list reflects the context and central figures who helped to shape Burton’s educational views and work at Pine Mountain. One of Burton’s close friends was the missionary Dr. Fritz Eitel of the Liebenzeller Mission whose work as a “medical pioneer” in China is detailed in the Gulick book.

Central figures at Yali, the Yale School in China

Hans Borchardt: a German military advisor to Chiang Kai­-shek
Minotte Chatfield: Yale ’36; Senior Bachelor
Dr. H. C. Chang: head of the Hsiang Ya Hospital
Rocky Chin: recent Yale Ph.D. in international relations; an American visitor
”Gerald”: my summer traveling companion in Southwest China in 1938
Phil Greene: member of the permanent staff; chief surgeon of Hsiang Ya
Ruth Greene: wife of Phil; mother of Anne, Ellen, Fritz, and Peggy
Jackson Ho: member of Yali faculty and athletic director
Frank [Francis S.] Hutchins: our “boss”; representative of the Yale-­in-China home office in New Haven
Louise Hutchins: medical intern at Hsiang Ya; wife of Frank
Edna Hutchinson: member of permanent staff; dean of the nursing school
Lao Ch’i­chiang: principal of the Yali Middle School
Dr. Walter Liebenthal: refugee from Nazi Germany; eminent Sanskrit scholar
Jeannette Lin: gynecologist; head of a tiny refugee clinic
Burton Rogers: Yale ’30; permanent staff; head of English department
Dwight Rugh: Yali chaplain; permanent staff
John Runnalls: Yale ’37; my traveling companion to China; Junior Bachelor
Preston Schoyer: “Fritz”; novelist; former Bachelor who returned to help out
Shao Tze­feng: member of Yali faculty; Confucian classicist; proctor
Sid Sweet: Yale ’36; Senior Bachelor
Dr. George Tootell: medical missionary at the Presbyterian Hospital in Changte
Ying K’ai­shih: dean of the Yali Middle School; one of China’s top educators

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