PUBLICATIONS PMSS Black Book c. 1931-1942

Pine Mountain Settlement School
PMSS Black Book
Employee Manual
c. 1931-1942

PUBLICATIONS <yoastmark class=

TAGS: PMSS Black Book, rules and regulations, isolation, student labor, boarding school, students, personnel, discipline, community, staff input, church attendance, smoking, firearms, confidentiality, schedules, campus absences, guests, duties and responsibilities, discretion, interacting with students, procedures for student admittance, dining room etiquette

PUBLICATIONS PMSS Black Book c. 1931-1942

PMSS BLACK BOOK was a staff manual written and distributed during the directorship of Glyn Morris, 1931-1942. The booklet contained the School’s policies, rules and responsibilities. It appears that the term “Black Book” was used beyond Morris’s time. An undated letter from H.R.S. Benjamin (PMSS Director, 1944-1949), wrote to staff who lost possessions in the Laurel House I fire. He refers them to rule #26 in an amended Black Book concerning the safekeeping of personal valuables.

The Black Book covered how staff members should deal with a wide variety of issues, all the while reminding them to present a respectable appearance to the outside community. The Book stressed that this was particularly important since they were living closely together in an isolated location and also amid a culture that was possibly quite different from their own.

Ultimately, the Black Book’s rules and policies were established in order to maintain a pleasant and low-stress environment, a climate in which the achievement of the School’s objectives would be more easily realized.


[Cover and Title Page], pages 1-2
“My Dear Associates” [Introduction], pages 3-4
General Notes to Staff Members, pages 4-6
General, pages 7-11
Admittance, page 11
Dining Room, pages 12-14
Furnaces, page 14
Grounds, page 15
Infirmary, pages 15-16
Laundry, page 16
Mail, page 17
Requisitions, page 18
Sunday, pages 18-19
Swimming, page 19
Use of Electrical Equipment, pages 19-20
Workers, pages 20-21






* * *

Black Book

* * *




My Dear Associates:

Our little community, while small in number is very complex in structure. Away as we are from town and village we must rely upon ourselves for much that most people find already provided for them. We have to make our own electricity, worry about our water supply; provide for the digging of our own coal supply. Most of the labor incident to maintaining the school is done by children and young people under our care and supervision. Our physical welfare is left a great deal to our own resources. On top of this, we must not only provide for the spiritual and cultural welfare of our students, but also of ourselves. We live under pressure, and in close contact with one another.

A boarding school such as ours is not a normal situation. The life and work here provide joyful recompense in numerous ways, but such happiness requires a full understanding of all the factors involved in a life such as this, plus the discipline of ourselves…
[Page] 3


…and of our students necessary to preserve and add to our well-being. “Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.”

In this connection, it is well to keep in mind that we are under constant scrutiny by our community and are often subject to misunderstandings. Therefore, [in] everything we do, both personally and collectively, it is well to think of any interpretation to which our action may be subjected by our neighbors, near and far.

Through past years many things have been learned, sometimes through bitter experience. In order to achieve our objectives as a school, and to make our life together as pleasant and easy as possible, the information in this book is given to you. Please refer to this book often. It will save you trouble and unpleasantness.


1. Don’t worry about your work. Do your best, no more can or will be asked of you.

[Page] 4

2. Think through the work of your department and make recommendations as you see fit. Your advice and opinion is needed and wanted.

3. Please notify the office when you are planning to leave the campus. This is solely as a matter of convenience.

4. Please do not acquire any pets without first consulting the Director.

5. We earnestly desire the religio[us] life of the school to be as spontaneous and natural as possible. We do not wish anyone to come to church if they have any strong feeling against it. We do feel, however, that workers, knowing when they came here that the school is Christian in purpose, should accept the obligations involved. Therefore, for the sake of the students, you are requested to use discretion in the matter of being absent from regular Sunday morning and evening Chapel services.

6. It is difficult to explain to the students the reasons why workers may…

[Page] 5


…smoke, that they can’t. To them it is an ethical question, whereas, it is a combination of personal opinion, economics and fire hazard. Ideally, no one should smoke at Pine Mountain. Men can get away with it, but women positively cannot. We deplore the double standard, but must remember that we are living in the midst of a people whose ideas still lag considerabl[y] behind our own.

7. You are earnestly requested to do all you can to conserve in the use of heat, light and water, supplies of which are limited.

8. Bring your troubles to the Director, not to other staff members.

9. All matters discussed at staff meetings regarding students, rules, or policies are to be held in strict confidence until such time as the Director deems it wise to make public announcement of the matters discussed.

[Page] 6


1. The rising bell rings at 6:15. Breakfast is served at 6:45.

2. The school is not responsible for student money lost or stolen. The Housemother is provided with a box in which to keep valuables.

3. No student is to leave the grounds without special permission from the Director.

4. Please make arrangements with the office for any personal guests.

5. All redecoration of buildings and grounds — that is painting, shrubbery, trees, moving or making of new furniture, is to be referred to the following committee before it is done: Mrs. [Glyn] Morris, Miss [Gladys] Hill, and Mr. [Arthur] Dodd.

7 (sic). No student visitors at the Infirmary.

8. Houseparents will please notify the office when a student leaves school, either for a short period or permanently.

9. Workers are to keep a list of rainy…

[Page] 7


…day work which boys can do, and give this list to Mr. [William] Hay[e]s, Mr. [Boone] Callahan, or Mr. Arenson.

10. Housemothers are not to leave houses when they should be on duty, unless they have designated a responsible person to take charge.

11. Housemothers will sell stamps and stationery.

12. Girls may not go to other houses during the day without obtaining permission from the Housemother.

13. Permission for over night accommodation at the school of students’ relatives must be received from the Director.

14. On hikes no student is to leave the group. Workers will take roll-call at intervals.

15. We do not like to have students chewing gum. Use your influence toward this end.

16. Be careful not to comment on “mountain ways” before children or neighbors.

17. Never make criticism of the school…

[Page] 8

…or neighbors before the students.

18. Do not single out any student for demonstrative affection.

19. Do not give individual presents to students or allow visitors to do so — this includes paying students for courtesies they may show or work they may do to make visitors comfortable. Nothing is more subversive of the spirit we want at Pine Mountain than the giving of tips or presents.

20. Workers disco[u]ntenance the playing of cheap, trashy records on the [V]ictrola.

21. No worker may threaten any student with dismissal from school. Only the Director has the authority to dismiss a student.

22. The bus is usually available for trips to Harlan on Saturdays. Cost, which may be divided among those who go, is $4.00. Arrangements must be made on Friday and the school reserves the right to cancel the trip if circumstances warrant.

[Page] 9


23. Unless a worker has been at Pine Mountain for three years, no consideration will be given at any request for changes in construction of living quarters.

24. A staff member should not use machinery not definitely under his supervision without securing permission from the person in charge.

25. Students are not allowed to have radios or [V]ictrolas of their own.

26. The school provides a safe in which the valuables of workers may be kept. It will provide every reasonable protection for the property of its staff members, but it cannot assume any responsibility for personal property of staff members.

27. Errands for workers will be done by the operator of the school truck on his weekly trip to Harlan. However, the school nor the operator assumes responsibility for any losses in doing these errands.

28. Housemothers will please notify…

[Page] 10

…the office when a child leaves school.

29. Firearms must be kept under lock and key; must not be used on campus; and must not be used on Sundays.


1. Each student upon entering must report to the Office, the Infirmary, the Housemother, and the Principal.

2. Every student before admitted to house must have a hot bath, and be thoroughly inspected — girls by Housemother and boys by man at Boy’s house. If there are any skin eruptions or sores the student must immediately return to the Infirmary with a note from the Housemother, and must have a written statement from the Nurse that it is not infectious.

3. At all time, other than at the beginning of each semester, any student who has been away from the school for more than one day shall first report at the Infirmary.

[Page] 11



1. The head of the table is responsible for the general conduct and tone of the table and should direct conversation. Among things which need constant attention are: loud talking, loud laughter, tilting back in chairs, placing elbows on the table, pouring food out of bowl onto plate.

2. Head of table will serve the main dish and serve herself first from all other dishes.

3. No one will commence eating before the head of the table.

4. A boy designated by the head of the table will remove plates from left. He will scrape the plates onto one plate, while a girl removes the food. The boy will crumb the table with a napkin before the dessert is served, and then will bring in the dessert on the tray on which he carries out the plates. The girl will remove the dessert from the tray. Following the meal the boy will…

[Page] 12

…remove the dessert dishes placing them on a tray which he will then take to the kitchen. If the dessert is served at the table the girl will take the bowl out, after the meal.

5. All students are to take at least three bites of each kind of food. If you can sense a real dislike for the food, heads of tables use your own judgement.

6. No student is to be punished by denial of food.

7. No student may be excused from meals in the dining room except by the doctor.

8. All business should be transacted before or after meals. Messages and notes during meals are a nuisance.

9. No dining room meals will be served to anyone excepting at mealtime in the dining room.

10. When a vegetable dish, bread, or pitcher is empty, the student who is waiting on the table should ask the head of the table permission to…

[Page] 13


…have it refilled.

11. No student should be left at the table to finish his meal alone. The hostess should stay at the table with him.

12. Any comments on food other than favorable ones made before students are unfair and in poor taste. Bring your suggestions to the dietician. It is, of course, assumed that workers will discourage any unfavorable comments by students.


1. Tools are not to be removed from basements.

2. Laurel House Wheelbarrow is not to be moved to another house.

3. Don’t make an errand boy out of the furnace boy.

4. Housemothers will see that basements are kept clean.

5. Housemothers have charge of fire in hotwater furnaces.

[Page] 14


1. No flowers are to be picked by workers or students.

2. No sling shots are to be used.

3. Students are not to climb trees or throw stones.

4. Please use paths already made and don’t start new ones.


1. A student who is sick in the morning should be kept in bed and the Nurse notified.

2. The Nurse has regular office hours at the Infirmary from 9:30 to 10:00, excepting Sunday.

3. All calls must be made during office hours, except in case of emergency.

4. Students sick at the houses or Infirmary are charged 60c a day. The Housemother turns into the Office at the end of the month charges for students who have been sick at houses; the Nurse takes care of the Infirmary charges.

[Page] 15


5. No student is excused from work or school on account of illness unless the worker receives an excuse from the Doctor.


1. The Housemother will list all laundry.

2. All laundry must be marked.

3. Report losses of clothing immediately.

4. The girls will be given certain days on which they may use the laundry at Laurel House.

5. All personal laundry must be marked. If it is not marked it will be returned unwashed.

6. A worker’s laundry may not include more than:
For women: 4 dresses or 3 dresses, 1 blouse and 1 skirt.
For men: 4 shirts.

A dated slip must be made for the entire laundry. Be accurate.

[Page] 16


1. Mail boy is not to do errands at the Post Office.

2. Be careful in mailing anything valuable. Checks are lost in the mail.

3. Mail bags are opened and mail distributed by Housemothers only. This is important.

4. Stamps are not sold at the School Office. They may be procured by enclosing the money in an envelope, with directions to the postmaster, and sending it up in the mail box with the out-going mail.

5. You are asked not to touch either the first or second class mail until it has been sorted by a member of the office staff. This is for your own protection as well as for the office.

6. The School will take all reasonable precautions for delivery of mail to staff and students, but does not assume responsibility for losses or damage.

[Page 17]



1. Requisition slips should be in the Office Friday morning with basket.

2. All requisitions for repairs or fuel are to come through the Office.

3. Old bulbs are to be returned before new ones are given out to replace them.

4. All requisitions between departments must come through the Office.

5. Please put distinct labels on your requisition baskets so that the person who comes for them will have no difficulty in finding the right basket.


1. Attendance at church and vespers is required. No student is excused except by the Director or Doctor.

2. From immediately after dinner until the bell rings, each Housemother must maintain what is known as quiet hour for the purpose of writing letters, reading, and music.

[Page] 18

3. Students are to remain at houses until vesper bell rings, except boys who are taking girls to church.

4. The services in the Chapel can be more effective if students do not come there directly from noisy activities.


1. No swimming without supervision by a person appointed by the Director.

2. No student with a cold or open sore is allowed in the pool.

3. Baths and showers should be taken immediately before going in the pool.

4. No swimming for an hour and a half after any meal.


We wish to advise that due to our limited source of power workers may not use perc[o]lators, hot plates, toasters, and any other electrical appliances, other than radios, for personal…

[Page] 19


…use, and electric irons for which a schedule will be made.

Every effort has been made to furnish adequate lighting facilities.


1. We want the position of Housemother to be just as nearly as possible that of a mother of a large family, who does all she can to pass on to her students the things she has found to be valuable in her experience.

2. Each Housemother is entitled to one free day a week. That day is set by the Director.

3. Length of free day—before breakfast until 5:00 P. M.

4. No vegetables are to be taken from the garden nor food from the dining room.

5. No worker is to leave vicinity of school without notifying the Director.

6. The Office at your suggestion will write letters to parents or guardians…

[Page] 20

… of students. No letters are written by workers.

7. Staff meetings are held regularly, unless otherwise announced, every other Monday night at 8:15 sharp.

8. Please do not bring strangers to staff meeting without first securing permission from the Director.

9. Any matter to which attention should be drawn must be presented in writing.

[Page] 21

See Also:

BOX 23 DIRECTOR’S OFFICE FILES 1913-1949 – Programs/Special Events 1917-1945; Publicity/Fundraising 1913-1949; Rules/Regulations 1920s-1940s; Students 1913-1946


Return To:
ADMIN GENERAL Rules and Regulations Guide