Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff 
ANNA BROCKSCHLAGER, Housemother 1924-1925
Housekeeper, Medical Settlement at Big Laurel 1926-1928
Anna M. Brockschlager (1880-1956)

Medical Settlement - Big Laurel ; ANNA BROCKSCHLAGER Staff

Medical Settlement- Big Laurel. Distant view of buildings in snowy landscape. [big_laurel_3338c.jpg]

TAGS: Anna Brockschlager, housemothers, Murphy College, Pisgah Sanitorium,  Medical Settlement at Big Laurel, Christmas celebrations, Katherine Pettit, Ethel de Long Zande, Evelyn K. Wells, H.R.S. Benjamin, Miss Fightmaster, Miss Anna Wulf, Maggie (Turner?), Dr. Alfreda Withington


Housemother at PMSS, October 1924 – June 1925
Housekeeper at Medical Settlement Big Laurel, June 1926 – July 1928

When Anna Brockschlager’s sister was unable to consider Director Katherine Pettit’s offer of a volunteer housemother position at Pine Mountain Settlement School, Anna stepped in with a June 1924 letter of application to Pettit. She described her education and work experience: “I am a librarian, but have had only high school education, the short course in library training, and an extension course in library methods.” About the housemother position, she wrote that “I am not overly fond of house work, but know how to do it cheerfully. I am [e]specially interested in children and think I would like to mother a family.” In Miss Pettit’s mind, the latter part of this statement was probably enough to regard Anna as a viable applicant.

However, at the time, Anna was recuperating from ill health, writing that she “would love to serve in the volunteer position for a few months” after she was stronger. She had given up her former job more than a year ago when her doctors recommended complete rest. Since then she had surgeries for tonsillitis and a sinus infection and was now slowly gaining her strength. Pettit warned Anna that Pine Mountain work required stamina and good health.

By September 1924, Anna felt well enough to tell Pettit she could arrive at the School mid-October to do volunteer service for a few months. Both of Anna’s references assured Pettit that Anna, who had been a librarian in the public library and Sunday School teacher, was a sincere and earnest worker, who was “very quiet in movement and speech.” 

ANNA BROCKSCHLAGER Staff: PMSS Housemother, 1924-1925

A year later Miss Pettit wrote a reference statement for Anna, which indicated that Anna did indeed leave her home in Vevay, Indiana, to spend nine months (October 1924 until June 1925) at Pine Mountain “as a worker in various ways. She has an ideal disposition and temperament for work in a mountain school, a sense of humor, and is excellent at training children to do a job well. We should be happy to have had her return had she been strong enough for the work, which demanded a person of robust health.”

At the time, Anna had been regaining her strength at Pisgah Sanitorium in Candler, NC, missing Pine Mountain and her co-workers who were “lovely to me,” and looking for a future job. To assist her in the latter effort, Pettit continued writing references for Anna. Anna eventually found positions that involved planning a library extension at Murphy College (a branch of Asheville University) and tutoring the Public Library librarian in Library Methods.

In a December 1925 letter to Anna, Miss Pettit had good news. She proposed a “real job,” with a salary, in which Anna would replace Miss Little at Line Fork Medical Settlement and fill in before Dr. and Rev. Stapleton arrived in September 1926, Pettit asked her to “come and live there and be a neighbor in that district.”  However, Line Fork was not Anna’s eventual destination. It was PMSS’s other satellite operation, the Medical Settlement at Big Laurel.

ANNA BROCKSCHLAGER Staff: Housekeeper at Big Laurel, 1926-1928

Anna served as a housekeeper for two years at the Medical Settlement at Big Laurel, Pine Mountain’s satellite medical center, from June 1926 until July 1928. Her salary was $50 a month with a $25 allowance for living, and was instructed by co-director Ethel de Long Zande that she should run the place on the board money that is paid by the various members of the [Big Laurel] family.” During her Big Laurel years, Anna often communicated via letter-writing with the staff at the Pine Mountain campus, which was several miles away. Those letters, now part of the Pine Mountain Settlement School Archives, offer a glimpse of the relationship between Pine Mountain and its satellite operation as well as of Anna’s perspective as she dealt with her many responsibilities.

The correspondence between Anna and the PMSS co-directors reveal that Anna was devoted to running a well-ordered and well-supplied house at Big Laurel and a budget that was without deficits. In addition, she managed the household help, overseeing the maintenance of the property, garden, fruit trees and pasture, as well as the cooking and canning for the workers’ meals. She often interacted with the teacher, Miss (Pearl) Fightmaster, at the nearby Big Laurel school and with many others in the community. In conjunction with all these concerns, Anna dealt with a variety of personalities and their needs, including those of Dr. Alfreda Withington, Miss Anna Wulf, and Maggie (Turner?).

To celebrate Christmas 1927, she made Christmas stockings for the Big Laurel family, held a Christmas service, entertained the neighbors, the young people and the school children at parties, and distributed little gifts to neighborhood families, “just a little fruit, a toy, candy or a Bermuda onion. It was great fun to see how much joy an onion could bring.” 

Anna work just as hard at Christmas the following year, explaining that

“I think I must confess there was something of a selfish reason for my wanting to keep busy during the Xmas season. Mother and I used to have such good times, planning and working for Xmas. I have never been able to make the memory of Merry Xmas with Mother take away the pain of Xmas without Mother. This year the gift of friendly feeling from my neighbors did much to bring the Christmas Spirit back to me ….” 

Excerpt from a letter to Ethel de Long Zande from Anna Brockschlager, January 21, 1928.

Most of all, Anna enjoyed get-togethers with the community residents and was hoping for a position as a community worker. But Pettit and Zande felt that Miss Anna Wulf was the “best adapted person” for a community work position at Big Laurel and was hired to begin in 1928. Anna wrote to Zande on February 4, 1927, that she felt she could not “be as happy anywhere for a while as at Big Laurel , … I cannot afford to give another year to the work I have been doing since July.” In January 1928, she wrote, “You know I love Pine Mountain and the better I know my neighbors the more interesting I find them, but you also know my main job is not interesting and I do not love it. …” 

In a last attempt to keep Anna engaged with Big Laurel, Zande suggested that, since Miss Wulf would not be returning to Big Laurel in 1929, Anna and Miss Fightmaster could do the community work (“visiting, sewing and cooking classes, etc.”) and Maggie the housework; at $75 a month and living expenses. 


That enticement did not persuade Anna. By July 1928, Anna had returned to Vevay, Indiana. She continued to keep in touch with Miss Pettit and Evelyn K. Wells, the PMSS secretary, and to send contributions and tuitions for some of the students.

By October 1936, Anna, in Vevay, Indiana, wrote that the only news she now received was from the regular mailing of Notes From Pine Mountain Settlement School. “ Addressing her letter to “Dear Friends,” she wrote “[A]lthough all the present Pine Mountain workers are strangers to me I always think of all Pine Mountain workers as friends.” 

An unsigned letter from the PMSS office, dated October 14, 1936, provided Anna with this update:

“The Medical Settlement continues as a continues as a social center, with Miss Barbara Bicknell of Fitchburg, MA, has been there more than a year, and has carried on a program of clubs for the girls and women, some simple health work, 4H work, and of course the weekly parties in the community house. We hope to give more attention to the work there next year, and are looking forward to carrying on quite an extensive program in the community.”

Excerpt from a letter to Ann Brockschlager from PMSS [unsigned], October 14, 1936.

Finally, in a letter dated February 20, 1946, the then-director, H.R.S. Benjamin, informed Anna of the current status of the Medical Settlement: “…[W]e have not been carrying on a program there under direct sponsorship of the school for several years. The resident at present is doing community work and taking care of the property for us, but we hope very soon to resume regular work there when the right people have been found to do this work. …” 

He concluded by acknowledging her donation and service: “Thank you for this generous expression of interest in a work in which you were once so actively engaged.”


Anna was born in August 1880. Both of her parents, Frank Peter Brockschlager (1837-1905) and Amelia J. (Pape) Brockschlager (1844- 920), were born in Germany. She was the youngest of her six siblings, which included three sisters (Emma F., Josephine, Minnie Lalette,) and three brothers (Edward P., Frank P. Jr. and John Peter). All the children were born in Indiana.

Anna M. Brockschlager died in 1956 at age 75 and was buried in Vevay Cemetery in her hometown of Vevay, Indiana.

See Also:
ANNA BROCKSCHLAGER Correspondence I, 1924-1926
ANNA BROCKSCHLAGER Correspondence II, 1927
ANNA BROCKSCHLAGER Correspondence III, 1927-1946

LINE FORK Medical Settlement



Anna Brockschlager

Alt. Title

Anna M. Brockschlager




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Anna Brockschlager ; Anna M. Brockschlager ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; application letters ; librarians ; housemothers ; references ; Murphy College ; Pisgah Sanitorium ; Line Fork Settlement ; Big Laurel school ; Christmas celebrations ; Katherine Pettit ; Ethel de Long Zande ; Evelyn K. Wells ; H.R.S. Benjamin ; Miss Fightmaster ; Miss Anna Wulf ; Maggie (Turner?) ; Dr. Alfreda Withington ; 

Subject LCSH

Brockschlager, Anna, — 1880-1956.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.


2020-12-01 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




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

Coverage Temporal

1924 – 1956

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Vevay, IN ; Murphy, NC ; Candler, NC ; Germany ; 


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 Anna Brockschlager ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Anna Brockschlager ;




“[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

2023-10-22 aae ;



ANNA BROCKSCHLAGER Correspondence,” Parts I, II, III. Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 2020-12-01), Indiana > Switzerland > ED 139 Jefferson Township Vevay city Ward 1-3 > (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). Internet resource.

“Find A Grave.” (accessed 2020-12-01). Internet resource.

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