Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Consultants, Friends,
Community, Guests and Visitors Related to PMSS
Consultants, Friends, Community, Guests, Visitors
Related to PMSS GUIDE
TAGS: Consultants, Friends, Community, Guests, Visitors Related to PMSS Guide; writers, composers, musicians, educators, publishers, botanists, folklorists, film-makers, psychologists, photographers, artists, folksingers
“How do you stand it — a city man in such isolation?” was a question often put to Glyn Morris and no doubt to other school directors at Pine Mountain. In his book Less Traveled Roads, written following his retirement, Morris attempted to answer that question. His answers to that question seem almost more for himself than for others, yet they shed light on the important educational lessons in cross-cultural exchange.
Morris mentions reading as a means of staying in touch, but he admits that “…how I stood it,” would require a more “searching analysis than… was possible…” Yet, he then launches into a series of reminiscences of interesting people he met along the course of his life, and particularly at Pine Mountain. He summarizes: “In my case, I am sure that part of my satisfaction came because of the interesting people I met along the way; my residence was isolated, but I was not.”
The governing Board of Pine Mountain during Morris’ tenure was one source of satisfaction, it seems. His mentor, Professor Swift. from Union Theological, Darwin D. Martin, “a wonderful and wise man.” Dorothy Elsmith of Woods Hole, a dynamic and “tremendously interesting person.” Darwin D. Martin a Vice-President of Larkin Company and one of the most successful men in America, had a profound influence on the institution and on Morris.
Pine Mountain over the years attracted so many people who wanted to be off the beaten path. They came from all parts of the country and the world and found Pine Mountain fascinating and Morris found them fascinating, as well. The sampling below provides a human picture of the talent and cleverness that came to the far corner of Kentucky and enriched those at the School while the visitors went away with an equal treasure. Morris noted in his memoir that “Pine Mountain was a place where people constantly came to visit out of curiosity, or because they wanted to see the school’s program, …” Many kept coming back. Richard Chase, for example would come and stay for weeks on end. Writers, such as Rebecca Caudill came and parked for a while at the School. Cecil Sharp’s visit helped to define programming at the School and shifted the scholarship of English Country Dance and folk balladry. In Harlan County the cross-currents of politics, religion, and culture have always been strong influencers on those who come and go from the area. The School only a short 20 miles from the nearest large town, Harlan, might well have been Shangri-la for some or an abused land and people that needed saving. And, the world outside those mountains was an un-tapped educational feast for those so long locked in by geography. Morris and other directors played to this cultural tension to enrich the educational programming at the School to great success in the boarding school years.
Each era of the School had its set of visitors, consultants, researchers, and friends. All brought gifts and, as Uncle William had hoped, offered gifts to be taken away and shared.
The following list is a work in progress as the Archive is explored and as it reveals new relationships and new ideas exchanged in the dynamic valley of Pine Mountain.
VISITORS to Campus
Sherwood Anderson – (September 13, 1876 – March 8, 1941) was an American novelist and short-story writer, known for subjective and self-revealing works. Self-educated, he rose to become a successful copywriter and business owner in Cleveland and Elyria, Ohio. [Wikipedia] Political activist during 1930s. A friend of Glyn Morris, he came to Harlan and Evarts in May of 1931 with John Dos Passos, Theodore Dreiser, and other writers, members of the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners (NCDPP) that came to eastern Kentucky to take testimony from Harlan miners during the Mine Wars of the ’30s. Morris was called into Harlan by the sheriff to explain his invitation to Anderson to come to PMSS and any connection he might have with the Communist Party. No connections were found.
William Aspenwall Bradley – Author, editor, translator, literary agent in Paris. Columbia University B.A. 1899, M.A. 1900. Visited for 2-3 weeks at PMSS while working on poems to be published by Houghton Mifflin as “Old Christmas – 1916-17. Reviewed books for the New York Times. Papers held by Columbia University.
Brockway, Howard A. – (November 22, 1870 – February 20, 1951) was an American composer and musician who came to PMSS with Loraine Wyman to collect ballads and folklore.
John C. Campbell – (14 September 1867 – 1919) was an American educator and reformer noted for his survey of social conditions in the southern Appalachian region of the United States during the early 1900s. He served a term as president of Piedmont College from 1904-1907. [Wikipedia] Briefly Director of Russell Sage Foundation. Husband of Olive Dame Campbell.
Olive Dame Campbell – (1882-1954) Travelled with her husband, John C. Campbell in Eastern Kentucky in 1908-1909. Established John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC. (1925). Published The Southern Highlander and His Homeland under John C. Campbell’s name. Many PMSS staff left PMSS to work under her direction at Brasstown, NC. See recently published Appalachian Travels: The Diary of Olive Dame Campbell edited by Elizabeth McCutchen Williams (2012).
Ellwood J. “Bud” Carr – Botanist, donor of the Ellwood J. Carr Botanical Collection, Plant Center, Girl’s Industrial Building. [See Series 23] For oral history of Carr see: http://passtheword.ky.gov/item/interview-elwood-j-carr
Rebecca Caudill Ayars – (February 2, 1899 – October 2, 1985) was an American author of children’s literature with more than twenty books published. Her Tree of Freedom (Viking, 1949) was a Newbery Honor Book in 1950. A Pocketful of Cricket (Holt, 1964), illustrated by Evaline Ness, was a Caldecott Honor Book. Close friend of Mary Rogers, PMSS staff and member of the Board of Trustees of PMSS. One of ten children in the family of Susan and George Caudill of Harlan County, Kentucky. She was born in Poor Fork, now Cumberland, Kentucky.
Harry Caudill – (May 3, 1922 – November 29, 1990) was an American author, historian, lawyer, legislator, and environmentalist from Letcher County, in the coalfields of southeastern Kentucky. Author of Night Comes to the Cumberlands and other books on the region. Lived nearby in Whitesburg, KY. and was a frequent visitor at PMSS.
Richard Chase – (February 15, 1904 – February 1988), American folklorist, was an authority on English-American folklore. He was born near Huntsville, Alabama, and graduated from Antioch College in 1929. Author of “Jack Tales,” teller of tall tales, and recreation specialist and sometime employee of PMSS. [See also: Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel.]
Charles D. Cole – Poet and writer. Wrote the poem, “The Deserted House,” illustrated by Joe T. Vowell, a resident of Harlan and presented to Pine Mountain. Author of My Land My People (1967) with illustrations by Mary Rogers.
John Dos Passos – (January 14, 1896 – September 28, 1970) Noted American novelist and artist. Member of the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners (NCDPP). [Visited Glyn Morris at PMSS in 1932 ?]. His visit created a political firestorm in the county.
Theodore Dreiser – (August 27, 1871 – December 28, 1945) was an American novelist and journalist of the naturalist school. “Dreiser led the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners (NCDPP) to the coalfields of southeastern Kentucky, where they took testimony from coal miners in Pineville and Harlan on the pattern of violence against the miners and their unions by the coal operators known as the Harlan County War. [Wikipedia] See: Dreiser, Theodore; National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners (1932). Harlan Miners Speak : report on terrorism in the Kentucky coal fields. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co.
Ray Garner – Groundbreaking International Producer, Director, Cinematographer, and Writer. Sponsored by the Harmon Foundation (1941). he and his wife made a film at PMSS. Collaborated with his wife, Virginia Gardner. See: Community Group Assembly, May 1942. See: From Every Mountainside: the Story of the Pine Mountain Settlement School (1941), color, silent. Harmon Foundation, an experimental school for mountain children in Kentucky.
Virginia Garner – (d. 2007) Noted filmmaker, writer and wife of film maker Ray Garner. Harmon Foundation sponsored the making of a film at PMSS (1941) on which the two collaborated. See: Community Group Assembly, May 1942. See also: The diaries of her experiences filming with Ray Garner in Africa as part of the Africa Motion Picture Project (also Harmon Foundation) which has now been compiled into a book, Images Out of Africa. See: From Every Mountainside: the Story of the Pine Mountain Settlement School (1941), color, silent. Harmon Foundation, an experimental school for mountain children in Kentucky.
Maude Karples – Collaborator of Cecil Sharp during the years 1916–1918. for fieldwork on English folk songs that had survived in the more remote regions of southern Appalachia. “Sharp and Karpeles recorded a treasure trove of folk songs, many using the pentatonic scale and many in versions quite different from those Sharp had collected in rural England. Generally, Sharp recorded the tunes, while Karpeles was responsible for the words.” [Wikipedia] See Cecil Sharp and Maude Karples’ Visit to Pine Mountain and description of first contact with the Kentucky Running Set.
Alan Lomax – (January 31, 1915 – July 19, 2002) “American ethnomusicologist, best known for his numerous field recordings of folk music of the 20th century. He was also a musician himself, as well as a folklorist, archivist, writer, scholar, political activist, oral historian, and film-maker.” [Wikipedia] 1933 and 1937 at Pine Mountain School.
Percy MacKaye – Writer, poet, and dramatist. Lived at Pine Mountain for a brief time with his wife, Marion. The two gathered folk stories and studied the language of the people of the area. Produced theatrical productions based on their experiences at Pine Mountian.
Marion Morse MacKaye – Wife of Percy MacKaye. Writer, poet and dramatist. Lived at Pine Mountain Settlement with her husband in the early 1920s and with him gathered folklore about the region.
John Jacob Niles – (April 28, 1892 – March 1, 1980) American composer, singer, and collector of traditional ballads. Called the “Dean of American Balladeers”. Accompanied Doris Ulmann to PMSS.
Cecil Sharp – (22 November 1859 – 23 June 1924) Founding father of the folk-song revival in England in the early 20th century. Folklorist; discovered the Kentucky Running Set at Pine Mountain in 1917. Traveled with Maude Karples.
James Still – (July 16, 1906 – April 28, 2001) was an “American poet, novelist and folklorist. He lived most of his life in a log house along the Dead Mare Branch of Little Carr Creek, Knott County, Kentucky. He was best known for the novel River of Earth, which depicted the struggles of coal mining in eastern Kentucky.” Librarian at Hindman Settlement School. A frequent visitor at Pine Mountain.
Ruth May Strang – (April 3, 1895 – January 1971) American psychologist whose primary research interests were in child and adolescent psychology. Educator, Columbia University. PMSS Guidance Institute. 1930s-40s; Wrote Contributions in Guidance, 1936.
Doris Ulmann – Photographer. Educated at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. (See Kendall Bassett Photographs). Traveled to PMSS with John Jacob Niles and noted for her Appalachian photography. Photographed members of the Ritchie family in Viper, Kentucky, who sent their children to school at Pine Mountain. Photographed families and individuals in the Pine Mountain community. Many photographs are held by Berea College, the University of Kentucky and the University of Oregon.
Joe T. Vowell – Artist and resident of Sunshine area of the town of Harlan, KY. Illustrated the Charles D. Cole poem, “The Deserted House.” Also illustrator for 1923 film, Miss Harlan based in a book by Charles Mutzenberg, Kentucky Famous Feuds that explores the history of the region from wilderness to 1923 industrialization. Relationship to G.D. Vowell, a ballad singer from Harlan is unknown. G.D. Vowell was recorded by John Lomax. The film contained Decorative Titles By Joseph T. Vowell and Photography By D.W. Engert.
The film, Miss Harlan, based on the book by Charles Mutzenberg, ran three days to standing room only crowds at the New Harlan Theatre in 1923. Shown daily from 1:30 to 11:00. Advance bookings included Lexington, Louisville, surrounding Kentucky counties, and Cincinnati, Ohio. The film deals with the great advancement of Harlan County from its wilderness period to its present progress.
Marion Post Wolcott – Farm Security Administration (FSA) Photographer. Photographed in and around Pine Mountain Settlement School and Harlan County, KY.
Loraine Wyman – An American soprano noted for concert performances of folk songs, many collected herself from traditional singers in fieldwork trips. Came to PMSS with Howard A. Brockway. See Loraine Wyman and Howard Brockway.
See Also: Series 09: COMMUNITY, FRIENDS AND VISITORS RELATED TO PMSS – A guide to the Library File, listing guest books (1954-1988) & event statistics (2000-2003).