Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel
Hazel Helen Mackay Staff
Medical Settlement, Big Laurel

Nurse, Medical Center at Big Laurel, September 1924 – January 1925

TAGS: Hazel Helen Mackay, Medical Settlement Big Laurel, Ethel de Long Zande, nurses, public health work, Johns Hopkins Training School, Henry Street Settlement, National Organization for Public Health Nursing, Dr. Alfreda Withington, Mary Breckenridge, R.N., Kentucky Committee for Mothers and Babies, Inc., Grenfell Mission, Mackay family, immigration, naturalization

HAZEL HELEN MACKAY: Applying for a PMSS Position

Hazel Helen Mackay had recently completed training in public health and was open to offers of employment. Yet she wasn’t sure she was qualified to accept the position at Pine Mountain Settlement School that Director Ethel de Long Zande described in a June 17, 1924, letter:

 In October we shall want a public health nurse for our Medical Settlement, real pioneer work out in the country, living four miles away from here, with the doctor (a woman) and one or two other workers. I do not know how much you know about conditions in the mountains, but there is everything to be done in a physical way for the people around us….A knowledge of horseback riding is necessary, also very robust health. Of course, the most effective work is done by people who are simple and thoroughly friendly with the country people.”

Letter to Miss Hazel Helen Mackay at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, from Ethel de Long Zande, Pine Mountain, KY, June 17, 1924.

Although Hazel felt the position “would be a wonderful experience and most satisfactory work,” she felt she was inexperienced in rural public health. However, Mrs. Zande was impressed with her education as a graduate of Johns Hopkins Training School in Baltimore, Maryland, and her experience of 13 months of field experience with the Henry Street Settlement in New York City. As Hazel described the latter,

“The field in New York is very wide and includes antepartum and postpartum care as well as a general nursing service and I feel the experience I had there is invaluable and a good foundation for further public health work.”

Letter to Mrs. Zande from Hazel H. Mackay, July 12, 1924, page 2.

(Founded in 1893 as the “Nurses’ Settlement,” the administrative offices of this non-profit agency continues to exist in the Settlement’s original federal row houses on Henry Street. Today, the Henry Street Settlement provides social services, arts programs and health care services to New Yorkers of all ages through its 17 program sites throughout the area.)

As far as other qualifications, Hazel informed Mrs. Zande that she can ride horseback, has excellent health and would accept at least a $100 salary. She did state that she can only work until June 1925.

Mrs. Zande had learned about Miss Hazel Mackay from Anna L. Tittman, Vocational Secretary at the National Organization for Public Health Nursing in New York City, after asking Miss Tittman for assistance in finding qualified nurses. She wrote to Hazel that she need not worry about her inexperience in rural health, since she would be working under a doctor’s direction. In addition, she assured Hazel, her experience in public health work, in general, was needed in the mountains.

Hazel, working at the time at Tripp Lake Camp in Poland, Maine, and Mrs. Zande continued to exchange correspondence concerning salary ($100 plus $25 for living expenses, per month was agreed upon), the date of Hazel’s arrival, appropriate clothing and the train route she should take to get to Pine Mountain. Finally, Hazel arrived at the School in September 1924 to begin work at Big Laurel Medical Settlement under the supervision of her “superior officer,” Dr. Alfreda Withington.

HAZEL HELEN MACKAY: After Pine Mountain

Hazel’s correspondence with Ethel de Long Zande in the PMSS Archives ends when she begins her nursing position at the School. In July and August 1925, soon after Hazel left the School, Mrs. Zande wrote two letters to Hazel, telling her how the School staff missed her, asking about her trip to Labrador and providing the latest campus news. However, the Archive files do not contain Hazel’s responses, if any were made.

Over a year later, in September 1926, Mrs. Zande received a letter from Mary Breckenridge, R.N., in Hyden, KY, on a letterhead for the Kentucky Committee for Mothers and Babies, Inc. Breckenridge asks Zande for her impressions of Miss Hazel Mackay, stating:

“She has just spent the summer with the Grenfell work in Labrador and as she has had an unusual rural experience and is interested in qualifying in midwifery later, we are corresponding further with her.”

Letter to Mrs. Zande from Mary Breckenridge, R.N., in Hyden, KY, September 30, 1926.

A description of the Grenfell Mission, according to Wikipedia:

“The Grenfell Mission was a philanthropic organization that provided medical and social services to people in rural communities of northern Newfoundland and Labrador. It was founded by Sir Wilfred Grenfell in 1892 as a branch of The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen based in Britain. … It functioned … until 1981 when responsibility for health services in the region transferred to the provincial government.”

“Grenfell Mission.” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenfell_Mission. [Accessed 09-2020.]

Mrs. Zande responded to Miss Breckenridge’s request by telling her that ““Miss Hazel Mackay is a young woman of a good deal of charm of personality and unusual breadth of interest. She has good health and energy and we liked her very much.” Mrs. Zande stated that Hazel was occasionally too eager to diagnose a case before the doctor had seen it; she wasn’t always exact in the details of nursing, and was apt to use supplies extravagantly. “But we did like her, on the whole, and she undoubtedly did better than many nurses…and quite equal to the vigorous life…in the mountains.”


Hazel Helen Mackay Staff

Hazel Helen Mackay photo on her Petition for U.S. Citizenship, February 15, 1932. In the records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 – 2009. National Archives at New York.

Hazel Helen Mackay was born in Riverton in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia on March 27, 1893. Her parents were John Bain Mackay (1862-1920), a farmer, and Isabel Christine (McPhee) Mackay (1862-1948). She had seven siblings: Everett Earl, Myron Franklin, Walter G., Arthur Buchanan, Dorothy May, Jan and Chalmers.

At age 26, Hazel emigrated to the United States from Stellarton, Nova Scotia, to live in the Canadian/U.S. border town of Vanceboro, Maine, in February 1919. By the time she was 43 years old, she was granted U.S. citizenship by the Southern District of the U.S. District Court in New York.



See Also: HAZEL HELEN MACKAY Correspondence
Return To: BIOGRAPHY – A-Z


Hazel Helen Mackay

Alt. Title

Hazel Mackay 




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Hazel Helen Mackay ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; Medical Settlement Big Laurel ; Ethel de Long Zande ; nurses ; public health work ; Johns Hopkins Training School ; Henry Street Settlement ; National Organization for Public Health Nursing ; Dr. Alfreda Withington ; Mary Breckenridge ; R.N. ; Kentucky Committee for Mothers and Babies ; Inc. ; Grenfell Mission ; Mackay family ; immigration ; naturalization ;

Subject LCSH

Mackay, Hazel Helen, — 1893 – [?].
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Nurses — Kentucky — Biography
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Women in medicine — Appalachian Region — History.


2020-09-07 aae


Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY




Collections ; text ; image ;


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


Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel.

Coverage Temporal

1893 – 1948

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Labrador, Nova Scotia, Canada ; Riverton, Nova Scotia ; New York, NY ; Baltimore, MD ; Gilley, KY ; Hyden, KY ; Stellarton, Nova Scotia ; Vanceboro, ME ; Poland, ME,


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.




Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Hazel Helen Mackay ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Hazel Helen Mackay ;




“[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




“Hazel Helen Mackay Correspondence.” Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“Mackay Family Tree.” FamilySearch Affiliate Library. https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/L5NV-SMJ [Accessed 09-12-2020.] Internet resource.

Grenfell Mission.” Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenfell_Mission. [Accessed 09-12-2020.] Internet resource.

“Henry Street Settlement.” Wikipedia; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Street_Settlement
[Accessed 09-11-2020.] Internet resource.

“New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824-1946”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:79RX-RBPZ : Also, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:79RX-RBN2Accessed 12 September 2020) Internet resource.

“Nova Scotia Delayed Births, 1837-1904,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVRF-5XWJ : Accessed 12 September 2020), Hazel Helen Mackay, 27 Mar 1893; citing Birth, Riverton, Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada, certificate number 506, Nova Scotia Archives, Halifax.

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