Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff
Dr. Abby Noyes Little, PMSS Doctor, 1916-1918
Dr. Abigail Noyes Little (1972-1953)


(Restored version.) Angela Melville Album II – Part V. “Dr. [Abby] Little.” [melv_II_album_201x.jpg]

TAGS: Dr. Abby Noyes Little, Dr. Abigail Noyes Little, PMSS medical staff, physicians, Pole House, Clara Davis, hookworm, trachoma, fly-borne diseases, Old Log, Infirmary, medical settlements, Big Laurel KY, Line Fork KY, World War I, Mary Rockwell Hook, Katherine Pettit, Ethel de Long


Medical Doctor 1916-1918

Dr. Abby Noyes Little was the second provider of medical support at Pine Mountain Settlement School. She followed Miss Clara Davis, a nurse whose pioneering efforts in eradicating hookworm, trachoma, and fly-borne diseases was a model adopted by many of her successors, including Dr. Little.  

Before Pine Mountain

As a young woman, Dr. Abby Noyes Little studied at Children’s Hospital training School for Nurses in Boston, then at Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia, graduating as a doctor in 1894. After graduation, she returned to her hometown of Newburyport, Massachusetts, to set up a private practice and serve on the staff of Anna Jacques Hospital. When her parents died in 1916, Abby accepted a position at Pine Mountain Settlement School.

At Pine Mountain

Prior to the arrival of Dr. Little, Clara Davis had ridden into the Pine Mountain valley shortly after Miss Pettit and Miss de Long established Pine Mountain Settlement School in 1913. Mary Rockwell Hook, the School’s architect, came later in 1913 to set up the School and can be described as the “founder” of plans for the School’s built environment.

Dr. Little came to Pine Mountain in 1916 from Newburyport, Massachusetts, and remained until 1918. She picked up the health literacy that had been started by Clara Davis and moved it forward in the now working institution. She lived in Pole House, and held her clinics in Old Log, a space that was a challenge in its capacity to serve the ever-growing population of patients as well as children who were in attendance at the School.

 After Pine Mountain

World War I was in progress at the time that Dr. Little left Pine Mountain Settlement School in 1918 to serve as hospital worker for the Red Cross, first in France for six months, and later in the Middle East for four years. Her work in tending soldiers overseas was mentioned in this October 1918 letter written by Dr. Augusta G. Williams to The Radcliffe Quarterly, the Cambridge college’s alumnae magazine:

Ten days ago Dr. Fitch put me, with Dr. Abby Little of Newburyport who has joined us, in charge of a big tent of wounded Algerian and Moroccan French soldiers to do all the dressings and have complete authority.

As of 1929, Dr. Little was employed as assistant physician at the Laconia (New Hampshire) State School, an institution for people with developmental disabilities. A year before her death in 1953, she was honored by the citizens of Laconia for her years of caring for children with disabilities.

Just two years after Dr. Little’s departure from the Pine Mountain Settlement School, an Infirmary was built in 1920. This rural hospital coordinated its outreach with the new medical settlements at Big Laurel, some four miles from the School on Greasy Creek, and on Line Fork, some six miles east of the Pine Mountain campus.


PMSS’s Archive Collection holds correspondence between Dr. Abby Noyes Little and PMSS directors, dated 1926 through 1947, while she was living in Laconia, New Hampshire. She often sent donations of money and books for the library and visited the School again in October 1926. In particular, she provided financial support for the 1926 relocation and renovation of Aunt Sal’s Cabin, Angela Melville‘s summer 1939 work at the Medical Settlement and, in 1946, PMSS’s plans for the Creech Memorial Hospital.


Dr. Abigail (Abby) Noyes Little was born on January 5, 1872, in Newbury, Massachusetts, to William Little, a farmer and milk dealer, and Ellen Maria (Carleton) Little. 

Dr. Little died on May 28, 1953, at the age of 81 in Laconia, New Hampshire. As she requested, her ashes were spread on the outgoing tide of the Merrimack River. A newspaper account of her passing remarked on her “long life, rich in giving and in sharing….”

See Also:
Dr. ABBY NOYES LITTLE Correspondence

For more about Dr. Abigail Noyes Little, go to:
“Dr. Abby Noyes Little.” FIND A GRAVE (Accessed 2023-10-01)

Notable women left their mark on city’s history.
Dyke Hendrickson, Staff Writer, Newburyport Daily News, August 15, 2014.
(Accessed 2023-10-01)

Dr. Abby Noyes Little: GALLERY


Alt. Title

Dr. Abigail Noyes Little

Dr. Little, Dr. Abby Noyes Little ; Dr. Abby Little ;




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt, Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Dr. Abby Noyes Little ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; physicians ; Pole House ; Clara Davis ; hookworm ; trachoma ; fly-borne diseases ; Old Log ; Infirmary ; medical settlements ; Big Laurel, KY ; Line Fork, KY ; World War I ; Dr. Augusta G. Williams ; Radcliffe Quarterly ; Dr. Fitch ; Laconia State School ; Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Newburyport, MA ; Cambridge, MA ; Laconia, NH ; Mary Rockwell Hook ; Katherine Pettit ; Ethel de Long ;

Subject LCSH

Little, Dr. Abby Noyes, — 1872-1953.
Davis, Clara.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Rural health services — Appalachian Region — History.
History of Medicine — Biography


2013-11-10 hw


Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY




Text ; image ;


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


Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff 




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff 

Coverage Temporal


Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Newburyport, MA ; Cambridge, MA ; Laconia, NH ; Big Laurel, KY ; Line Fork, KY ;  


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 Dr. Abby Noyes Little ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Dr. Abby Noyes Little ;




“[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

2013-11-10 hhw ; 2013-12-02 aae ; 2018-03-03 aae ; 2020-08-10 aae ; 2023-10-01 aae ; 


“Dr. Abby Noyes Little.” FIND A GRAVE. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/144559338/abby-noyes-little. Narrative submitted by George Aghjayan. Internet resource.

Abby Noyes Little Correspondence.” Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“Eighteenth Biennial Report of the New Hampshire State Board of Public Welfare.” Granite State Press, Manchester, N. H. (June 30, 1930): 52.http://archive.org/stream/eighteenthbienni00unse/eighteenthbienni00unse_djvu.txt (accessed 2013-12-02). Internet resource.

Notes from the Pine Mountain Settlement School. XVI.II (October 1943): 3. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“Radcliff War Records.” The Radcliffe Quarterly. Radcliffe College, Cambridge, MA. (December 1919): 17 – 20. Extracts from Letters to the Chairman of the War Work Committee from Dr. Augusta G. Williams, Hospital Complementaire, No.2, Ereux. (Accessed 2023-10-01). Internet resource.

See Also:
Dr. ABBY NOYES LITTLE Correspondence
MEDICAL – Introduction

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