BIOGRAPHY Written Personal Narratives Guide

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY
Written Personal Narratives Guide


Margaret Motter, “Reflections” Page 1. motter_D2_02001.jpg


TAGS: personal narratives, memoirs, autobiographies, staff, students, community members, reminiscences

The narratives and memoirs listed in this Written Personal Narratives Guide were written by various staff, students and community members about their life at Pine Mountain Settlement School and beyond. These written autobiographies provide a variety of views of the School through the lens of individuals and across a broad chronology.

Many other autobiographical reminiscences are included within some formal reports, letters, and personal correspondence. The personal narratives shared in this list are those specifically written to be shared by the authors.


ANDERSON, Astrid (Staff) – A PMSS bookkeeper in 1930, she co-wrote one of the narratives on the page titled, “A MOUNTAIN FUNERALIZING.” The other author(s) are unidentified. Not quite a “personal narrative” this account, however, captures one of the early iconic memorials to the death of those in the community and is a narrative we all face in multiple ways.

ANONYMOUS. “A MOUNTAIN FUNERALIZING – The authors of two of the three accounts under this title are anonymous: “I. 1932 ‘Funeralizing’ for Elizabeth Gillam Smith, Gilley, Kentucky,” and “III. A Mountain Funeralizing.”

ANONYMOUS. An account of PMSS history, emphasizing “…the school’s relationship to its community, and its adaptability to change…”, written at the request of Burton Rogers, Director.

BILLER, Margaret Anne (Student, daughter of PMSS teachers, Edith Reynolds Roberts and Leonard Ward Roberts) – Her narrative, “Pine Mountain Recollections,” describes growing up on PMSS campus in the 1950s.

BROWN, W. Taylor (Friend of PMSS) – A Berea College Normal School graduate describes his experiences teaching at a rural one-room school in Harlan Co., 1922-1926. He was a friend Katherine Pettit and a follower of her educational reform goals. His assistance enabled his half-siblings William and Rose Brown to attend PMSS in 1928-1929.

COBB, Alice (Staff) – A PMSS staff member who describes life in a variety of settlement schools and folk schools for Pine Mountain trustee Dorothy Elsmith in 1944. Included in her report are graphic descriptions of John C. Campbell Folk School, Highlander Folk School, Pi Beta Phi in Gatlinburg, and other locations. Also included is an interview with Luigi Zande in Asheville, NC.

COOK, Clella Sergent (Student) – A PMSS student in 1944-1948 reflects on her educational preparation and the influence of the School.

CREECH, William – “A Short Sketch of My Life” – Captures the life of the early pioneers who came into the Pine Mountain valley and the life that William Creech and Sally Dixon Creech carved out of the wildness of the early valley.

DAVIS, Rachel (Staff) – In a 1991 letter to Paul Hayes, Director, she describes her memories of the Chapel and Miss Pettit; includes a photo of herself with two students.

DAY, Carrie (Student, Advisory Council Member) – In 1982, she wrote a 29-page booklet, titled “The Love They Gave: Early Days at Pine Mountain Settlement School,” as a tribute to Miss Pettit and Miss de Long.

HALLIDAY, Anne P. (Volunteer Teacher) – In her two 1997 letters to Robin Lambert, Director, Halliday records memories of her time as a PMSS volunteer teacher in 1925-1926.

JUDE, Nancy (Student) – Narrative of her life at Pine Mountain Settlement School and at Big Laurel Medical Settlement.

LANE, Fitzhugh (Staff) – Describes efforts in getting the sawmill outfit over the Incline in 1913.

LEACH, Dr. William (PMSS Trustee, Creech descendent) – His autobiography titled, “The 1930s”; A 2001 transcription by Ruth Smith Creech, titled “Bill Leach’s Memories.”

LOOMIS, Sally (Sallie) (Staff) – Transcriptions of her two poems about Pine Mountain people, “Neverstill” and “The Dead Child.”

MATTHIES, Scott (EE Staff) – An Environmental Education staff member describes his experiences at PMSS, 1979-1981, & his career afterward.

MORGAN, Angela Creech (Creech descendant) – Told several stories about the Creech Family members to Keith Morgan, which were transcribed by Ruth Smith Creech.

McCUTCHEON, Margaret (Visitor) – Describes her impressions during a fall 1914 visit.

MORRIS, Glyn (Director) [Biography entry only.] – Personal and institutional history incorporated in his autobiography, Less Traveled Roads.

MOTTER, Margaret (Staff)In “Reflections (c. 1946),” a staff member records her reflections on Pine Mountain Settlement School after her return to the School some fourteen years after her first work there. (See also “Margaret Motter: Recollections of Pine Mountain Settlement School” and Guide to Margaret Motter Collection.

NACE, Dorothy (Staff) [Biography entry only] – “End of the Road, A Summing Up,” 2002. 1941-2000. [Personal and institutional history.]

Dorothy Nace Photograph Album I Part I
Dorothy Nace Photograph Album I Part II
Dorothy Nace Photograph Album II

ROGERS, Burton (Director) – Transcription of his talk to Lexington Friends about “Pine Mountain Years”; transcription of an interview with an unidentified person.

ROGERS, Mary (Staff) – Transcription of an interview with Mary Rogers in August 1989 as part of the Kentucky Oral History Commission; covers personal reflections on her early life and her work with the environment. See also GUIDE TO AUDIO RECORDINGS.

ROOD, Grace M. (Staff) [Biography entry only.] – Describes her early education, work in India, and her years as a nurse in the Pine Mountain community.

SMITH, Larry E. (Staff) – “My Pine Mountain Story” tells of his experiences as a PMSS Environmental Education teacher for three years in the early 1990s.

WITHINGTON, Dr. Alfreda (Staff) [Biography entry only] – Her autobiography Mine Eyes Have Seen (1941), is a book that recounts her medical career. The last chapter in her book details her years at Pine Mountain Settlement School and the Medical Settlement at Big Laurel.