Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel
Hazel Helen Mackay Correspondence
Nurse, Big Laurel Medical Settlement,
September 1924 – January 1925
Hazel Helen Mackay Correspondence, June 1924 – October 1926
TAGS: Hazel Helen Mackay correspondence, application for PMSS employment, nurse at Big Laurel Medical Settlement, medical care in 1920s Kentucky, Johns Hopkins Training School, Henry St. Settlement, National Organization for Public Health Nursing, Dr. Alfreda Withington, Labrador, Mary Breckenridge
CONTENTS: Hazel Helen Mackay Correspondence
[Note: All letters from PMSS staff are carbon copies, typewritten, unsigned and meant for the Office files. The initials at the bottom left of most PMSS letters indicate the writer (along with initials of the secretary). For example “EZ” is for Ethel de Long Zande. The transcriptions are in chronological order and not necessarily in order of the image numbers. All letters sent to PMSS were original and typewritten unless indicated otherwise.
001 June 28, 1924. Application Blank completed by Hazel Helen Mackay of Tripp Lake Camp, Poland, ME.
Education – Complete courses: High School: Commercial Courses; Graduate Johns Hopkins Training School
Education – Partial courses: Field (13 mos.) work Henry St. Settlement, New York City.
What line of work at Pine Mountain interests you? Public Health
Training and experience? 13 mos. Henry St. Settlement
Volunteer or salaried position? Salaried, [at least] $100
How did you become interested in work at Pine Mountain? Your literature
[Miss Mackay provides the names and addresses of three references.]
002 June 17, 1924. To Miss Linda Meirs in Newark, NJ, from EZ, Having learned from the National Organization for Public Health Nursing that Miss Meirs is open for offers, EZ provides her with information about 2 positions at PMSS. “In August we shall need a resident school nurse, to take care of our family of a hundred children and some twenty workers, giving public health and home hygiene instruction to them, in charge of our infirmary, and doing what country work she has time for. 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.”
EZ encloses a questionnaire, PMSS literature; pay is $100 a month and living expenses. Offers to arrange a meeting with a former PMSS nurse who is now in Brooklyn.
003 N.D. A reference concerning Linda Meirs from [unsigned], including birth year, education and experience. “Most efficient executive and splendid nurse I have ever known. Beyond praise….unfailing good spirits…devotion to duty….Croix de Guerre with bronze star and citation….Weak points, lack of training in record making and public speaking which she dislikes…..”
003a [DUPLICATE OF 003.]
005 June 11, 1924. To Mrs. Zande from Anna L. Tittman, Vocational Secretary on letterhead for the National Organization for Public Health Nursing, NYC. In response to Zande’s request for assistance in finding qualified nurses, she enclosed the professional histories of Miss Hazel Mackay and Miss Linda Meirs; describes their personalities. Also mentions two other possible candidates: Miss Diroohi Mahshigian and Miss Irene Fenwick.
004 June 17, 1924. To Miss Hazel Helen Mackay at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, from EZ. Having learned from the National Organization for Public Health Nursing that Miss Mackay is open for offers, EZ provides her with information about 2 positions at PMSS. “In August we shall need a resident school nurse, to take care of our family of a hundred children and some twenty workers, giving public health and home hygiene instruction to them, in charge of our infirmary, and doing what country work she has time for. 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.”
006 June 24, 1924. Handwritten letter to Mrs. Ethel de Long Zande from Linda Weirs in Somerville, NJ. Interested in the work but “unable to work for the salary you pay.”
007-007a June 30, 1924. Two-page handwritten letter to Mrs. Zande from Hazel H. Mackay at Tripp Lake Camp, Poland, ME,  responding to Zande’s letter of June 17. Although Mackay feels the position “would be a wonderful experience and most satisfactory work,” she questions whether she is qualified, since she is inexperienced in rural work. She does ride horseback, has excellent health and would accept a $100 salary. [007a] She has had other offers but feels the PMSS position would be satisfactory to her. Encloses her completed application blank.
008 July 4, 1924. To Miss Mackay from [unsigned, likely EZ], who assures Mackay that the Medical Settlement work would be easier than at the school. Although Mackay feels inexperienced, she would be working under a doctor’s direction. Suggests a lower salary amount, stating that “this is an enterprise supported entirely by voluntary contributions and the workers here feel themselves to be so much a part of the work that they do the best they can in their salary requirements.”
009 July 8, 1924. To Miss Mackay from EZ. Asks whether she can arrive in the first week of September if she accepts the position.
010-010b July 12, 1924. Three-page handwritten letter to Mrs. Zande from Hazel H. Mackay,  who apologetically declines the salary because she has “several obligations to meet.” She also clarifies that, although she has no experience “in rural public health, she has had thirteen [010a] months field experience with Henry St. Settlement, New York.” and describes the work in New York. She can only work at PMSS until June 1925. Asks about clothing. [010b] Asks if she can arrive in the middle of September.
011 July 17, 1924. To Miss Mackay from [image of second page is missing]. Agrees to $100 salary plus $25 for living expenses; her experience in public health work is needed in the mountains. EZ hopes she will be permanent, even though she may have to leave in June 1925. Encloses traveling directions and other information. Advises about clothing: “I advise you to plan to ride [a horse] in knickers and a skirt, since you will be going into homes where there is still some prejudice against women riding in knickers alone.” Provides address for Dr. Alfreda Withington, Mackay’s “superior officer,” for more information. [IMAGE OF NEXT PAGE IS MISSING]
012 July 19, 1924. To Miss Mackay from EZ, who agrees to Mackay’s arrival on October 1.
013 July 29, 1924. To Miss Mackay from EZ. Suggests that Mackay arrives after Withington returns from her Louisville conference; also, EZ will “be leaving for a month in the west” in mid-October. Asks if she knows of any possible nurses to work at PMSS; mentions hearing from Mackay’s friend Miss Oberlin who Miss Pettit may hire for extension center work during Pettit’s vacation.
014 [DUPLICATE OF 013]
015-015a August 11, 1924. Handwritten two-page letter to Mrs. Zande from Hazel Mackay.  Recommends Miss Zoa Heney for the PMSS vacancy, now at the Hamilton Center of Henry St. Settlement in NYC. Mackay is willing to fill in the vacancy if Zande is unable to hire anyone for it. [015a] Closing and signature.
016 August 26, 1924. To Miss Mackay from EZ. Mackay will be needed by September 15th if possible, since the position at the school has not been filled yet.
017 September 4, 1924. To Miss Mackay at Johns Hopkins Nurses Home, Baltimore, MD, from EZ. Mackay is still needed by mid-September, to temporarily fill in the vacancy for two weeks.
018-018a September 8, 1924. Handwritten two-page letter to Mrs. Zande from Hazel H. Mackay on letterhead for Ravine House, Randolph, NH,  who will come to PMSS October 1 unless she hears otherwise. [018a] Provides her address in Brooklyn, NY.
019 July 20, 1925. To Miss Mackay in Brooklyn, NY, from EZ. Mentions Mackay’s plans to go to Labrador [with Miss Alberta Childs]. “…[W]e are hoping that for you it will be as dear an experience as Big Laurel was.” Miss Vallette is telling EZ “how wonderful she thinks your kiddy-coops are” others from Big Laurel tell EZ “how much they loved you.” EZ describes how poorly the men at the “Camp” are paid by Inter-Mountain and how that affects their children’s opportunities. Mentions some of the students: Robert, Floyd, Arthur, Boggs children, Elsie Turner at Berea, for whom EZ is trying to get a scholarship. EZ tells about the new teacher and his wife who arrived on July 19. Dr. Withington left for her vacation; mentions Miss Vallette, Mrs. Alderman. “Mr. Crit preached yesterday against base ball on Sunday. Isn’t it too bad? A fine game between Big and Little Laurel was played. I think perhaps if there is no playing at all during service that he may relent.”
020-020a August 13, 1926. Two-page letter to Miss Mackay — “and shall I say Childs too?” — in Labrador, Newfoundland, from EZ,  who asks about Mackay’s Labrador trip. PMSS has so many student applicants, they must turn many away. Encloses a booklet that is sent to applying children. EZ gives updates about PMSS: including “a lovely memorial fountain for Uncle William, built out of the quaintest limestone rocks. The playground is twice as large, for Luigi [Zande] and the boys have been changing the course of the creek.” The Medical Settlement’s playhouse has burned down around Christmas and a new building will serve as a clinic house as well as replacing the playhouse. Miss Brockschlager, who has a “very peaceable disposition” is the housekeeper and cook at the Medical Settlement. EZ tells of other updates at Big Laurel and mentions Aunt Judy, new babies, the new railroad. [020a] Visited Mrs. Nolan and Uncle John. EZ describes her children, Berto and Elena, who “are growing along” and Elena, who has an “imperious and bad-mannered” temperament, “but we have hopes!”
021 September 30, 1926. To Mrs. Zande from Mary Breckenridge, R.N., in Hyden, KY, on letterhead for Kentucky Committee for Mothers and Babies, Inc. Breckenridge asks Zande for her impressions of Miss Hazel Mackay, who was at PMSS from September 1924 to January 1925. “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.” Breckenridge ends by saying how she longs to return to PMSS and visit EZ, Pettit and Berto. In a postscript, she asks EZ for information about the railroad that crosses Pine Mountain to PMSS. Breckenridge’s organization wishes to relocate, possibly by rail, a 23,000-pound portable Alladin house from Pineville to their next center at the junction Beechfork and Middle Fork creeks.
022 October 8, 1926. To Mrs. Breckenridge from EZ. “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.” Contrary to a reference’s statement, she is not lacking in initiative but sometimes was too eager to diagnose (wrongly) a case before the doctor had seen it; she wasn’t always exact in the details of nursing and 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.” EZ refers Breckenridge to L.D. Smith, agent of the Intermountain Coal and Lumber Company in Putney, concerning freight. EZ will be at Baptist Hospital in Louisville for an operation soon and suggests that she and Breckenridge can meet there.
GALLERY: Hazel Helen Mackay Correspondence
See Also: HAZEL HELEN MACKAY Staff – Biography
Return To: BIOGRAPHY – A-Z