Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY
Alice Cobb (d. 1995)


Alice Cobb and friend sail for Europe just after WWII. See “War’s Unconquered Children Speak.” [cobb_alice_065]

Received 2016 and 2017

TAGS: Alice Cobb, donations, publications, scrapbooks, refugees, children, Arab refugee camps, Lebanon, Syria, Hashemile, Jordan, Gaza Strip, Egypt, Palestine, family letters, WWII, talks, newspaper articles, travel, China, Middle East Relief Association, education, Lillian Smith, Beacon Press

Two donations of Alice Cobb material came to Pine Mountain Settlement School in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The material donations augment a growing body of work by and about Alice Cobb, the former Scarritt College faculty and Pine Mountain Settlement School employee and friend.



Cobb, Alice. War’s Unconquered Children Speak, Boston: Beacon Press, 1953. Republished as a second edition by Ideas Into Books – Westview.

The first donation is from Mary Catherine Nelson, a publisher in Kingston Springs, Tennessee, who re-published Alice Cobb’s 1953 book War’s Unconquered Children Speak, detailing the effects of war on refugee children. See ALICE COBB for additional information about the book.

In addition to a copy of the newly published War’s Unconquered… Mary Catherine donated a copy of the original 1953 publication by Beacon Press. The original publication, which is very scarce, includes twelve pages of black and white photographs taken from a variety of sources that help to image the all too familiar tragedy of families torn from their homeland.


The materials in the second addenda include correspondence, business papers, publications, scrapbooks and other materials related to the life, work, and family of Alice Cobb. The donated material came to Pine Mountain from Celia Miles, wife of Louis Miles, a theologian, and former faculty at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC.. Both Celia and Louis were close friends of Alice Cobb and Louis Miles had, for many years, talked about publishing some of Alice Cobb’s works but the full publishing project was interrupted by his untimely death in April 2014.

Pine Mountain is deeply appreciative of the donation of this small but rich body of material associated with Alice Cobb and her thought and writings, many of which derive from her years at Pine Mountain Settlement School.


1953.  War’s Unconquered Children Speak by Alice Cobb with Introduction by Sophia L. Fahs. Illustrations.

1992.  Old Tales For A New Day: Early Answers to Life’s Eternal Questions by Sophia Lyon Fahs and Alice Cobb, illustrations by Gobin Stair, 1981.

2014.  Two copies of Miracles at Portici: Stories of Casa Materna by Alice Cobb and edited by Celia H. Miles and Louis Miles with a forward by Ruth Pool Moore, 2014, are the newest addition to the published writings of Alice Cobb.


1946, April 1st.  Letter from Mrs. J.J. Cobb [Alice Cobb’s mother]  in Seymour, Indiana to Alice. [Letter removed from SCRAPBOOK I and placed in folder, “Letters”]

1947 [?] Letter from Mrs. J.J. Cobb [Alice Cobb’s mother]  from Chicago, IL, Central Avenue, to Alice.  [Letter removed from SCRAPBOOK I and placed in folder, “Letters”]

1952, Nov. 4. Letter from author Lillian Smith through her secretary Paula Snelling. Alice Cobb wrote to Lillian Smith asking if she would look at some chapters of her new book War’s Unconquered Children Speak . Lillian Smith through her secretary, replies that “Miss Smith will be glad to read the chapters you mentioned and to tell you her feelings about them.” She continues with remarks on Cobb’s treatment of bi-racial children and “discrimination” against people of color, particularly of “Negro.”   [Letter removed from SCRAPBOOK I and placed in folder, “Letters”]

1952, December 12. Letter from the secretary for author Lillian Smith (Pula Snelling) with long note from Lillian Smith in pencil at bottom of letter.  Alice Cobb had sent her a proof or a portion of War’s Unconquered Children Speak for her comment. Smith wrote:  “I liked it very much! I’m tremendously stirred by the anguish of those poor girls. It is important material.  had some comments to make, technical ones, about certain problems not of content but of craftsmanship. that is only I delayed: to be sure I said I might! But you write very [underlined twice] well. And I was deeply moved by it — its beauty [?] as well as its [ ? indecipherable].  [Letter removed from SCRAPBOOK I and placed in folder, “Letters”]

1954, February 24. Letter from Marjorie Piera at Doubleday & Company NYC to Alice Cobb expressing delight in receiving copy of Alice Cobb’s book, War’s Unconquered Children Speak.  [Letter removed from SCRAPBOOK I and placed in folder, “Letters”]


Also found in the addenda is a folder of publicity material, including bulletins, flyers, and newsletters, written largely by Alice Cobb for The Fourth Place Community Chapel, Brooklyn, N.Y. [formerly called the Italian Mission] while she was Director of the institution. Located in the area often referred to as “Little Italy” the Fourth Place Community Chapel follows many of the precepts of the Settlement Movement. Cobb’s work with the Chapel encompasses the years of 1938 -1942.  Several personal letters to Alice Cobb and copies of her letters during her time span at The Fourth Place Community Chapel, are also included. Photographs originally attached to some documents in the papers have been sleeved and attached to their accompanying documents.


Two scrapbooks are included in the addenda. One covers the years from 1942 to 1975 while the other small collection covers the years from 1952-1956. Both scrapbooks are taped with scotch tape to very brittle 2″ x 9 1/2″ pages that are interspersed with loose material from magazines and newspapers and various publications.


1936, Feb. 4  “School Plan of Kentucky Hills is Told: Secretary of Industrial Institution Explains System Here” by Elizabeth Carr. [Picture of Alice Cobb playing mountain dulcimer]

1950, “Sidelights on Puducah …”  It took a visit to Paducah for Miss Alice Cobb of 2 Petticoat Lane Frankfort, KY., …to learn that she was related to the late Irvin S. Cobb…It all went back to Henry Cobb of Irish birth, who boarded a ship at Norwich, England, and landed at the Jamestown settlement in 1631…”

1952 “Miss Cobb Joins Scarritt Faculty.”  as professor of rural work supervising students in their rural field instruction activities.

n.d. Prospectus for the development of The Medical Settlement, Big Laurel, KY. Authored by Alice Cobb [?]

1957 October 18-20 “Scarritt Host at House Party.” Cobb, Assistant Professor of Church and Community participated. [Picture of Cobb]

1958 “Meet Some Methodist Writers.”Authors who contribute to Methodist publications such as FORECAST.

1961, August 4. “Teacher Gets Rare View of Orient.”South Coast News [California]  Describes Cobb’s work with rehabilitation and refugee camps in the “Orient.” Describes trip to California to stay with Donald and Frances Vanderbilt. Donald was a childhood friend.

1965-66 Item missing [?]

1968d, Apri-June. Nashville Municipal And it? [2 pages] “Women of the Year for 1967.” Scarritt College recognition of Dr. Cobb. Newspaper article opposite. [No source is given.]

1968, February 1. Davidson County Business and Professional Women of Nashville, Tenn. 13th Annual “Women of the Year Awards,” program. Andrew Jackson Hotel.

1968, Feb. 3. The Nashville Tennessean.  “Women of the Year Banquet.”

1968, Seymour Tribune. “Former Seymour Woman Honored by Newspaper.”

n.d. [1971 ?] “Dr. Cobb Will Speak Today.” Guest speaker at the Nashville Branch National League of American Pen Women.

1971,  The Glean [?] Mar.-Apr., “Amerian Professor Studies Philippine Cultural Minorities.”

1971, Sept. 1971. “Dr. Cobb Donates Tape Recorder.” Donation to Aldersgate College for use in speech and dramatics classes. [ Located in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines. Aldersgate is a Methodist college.]

1973, April 5. Suburban News. “Library’s Annual Authors Reception to Be April 8.”  Nashville Author’s reception during National Library Week.

1975  “Campaign 75 EPSAC (Exalted Potentate for the Scarritt Action Committee.) “Alice Cobb Will Bring Dignity to the Office.”  

1975, December 28. “A Mind-Blowing Visit to China,” by Tom Rogers.  “It’s mind-blowing,’ Alice Cobb says of her tour of Mao Tse-tung’s People’s Republic of China.” She and 21 other Americans traveled on a 21-day visit “behind the increasingly translucent Bamboo Curtain.”

1975, Jan. 10.  “Impressions of China,” To the Editor: “…we were guided, not chaperoned.” [Letter incomplete.]

1989, August 5, 1989.  “E-Scarritt Professor Gets Distinguished Alumni Award.”  A newspaper clipping included in the donation from the Tennessean newspaper, August 5, 1989, describes Cobb’s Distinguished Alumni Award” “from the Boston University School of Theology and her other lifetime achievements. She was director of Scarritt’s church and community programs from 1952-74 and director of the Highlander Folk School at Monteagle’s Public Relations from 1959-61.Patterson, Staff Writer. Cobb awarded a Boston University School of Theology Award.


1952, June 1. Courier-Journal.  “No Place to Go: A Kentuckian visiting the Arab refugees finds ad air of hopelessness and hatred.” By Alice Cobb. Working for the Kentucky Divisio of Child Welfare speaks frankly about conditions following WWII. Editor’s note says, “Miss Cobb presents in this article, which was compiled from a series she sent in and edited here was gathered from pro-Arab sources and may be an incomplete picture.” The article captures the deep distress of the refugees. “It’s a very simple question,” I was assured [says Cobb],…”The issue is clear. Once we had our homes. They belonged to us, and our fathers before us. They were ours for 13 centuries We were driven out and lost our homes, our money, many of our lives. We do not ask for money now. We ask for just one thing. Let us go back to our homes. It’s simple.”

1952, February. [Source unkown]  “INTEREST, Talks on Refugees. Talks on Refugees.  Miss Alice Cobb to Address Club. Researcher Visited Arb Refugee Settlements.” Reports on an upcoming talk by Cobb to the Montclair Business and Professional Women’s Club.

1952 [?]  The Mainichi Newspapers. “How Many Miles to Bethlem?,” By Alice Cobb (All copyrights Fully Retained By the Writer; Exclusive in Japan to the Mainichi) An excerpt from Cobb’s forthcoming book on the Near East, entitled “The Uprooted,” scheduled for publication by Beacon Press.  Cobb later changed the title[?] to “War’s Unconquered Children Speak.” [Source of newspaper publication is unknown.

1953.  The Mainichi Newspapers. “An Egyptian Named Omar Bey,” by Alice Cobb.  (From the book, “The Uprooted.”) [All Copyrights Fully Retained By the Writer. Exclusive in Japan To The Mainichi.] [The book, “The Uprooted.” later became War’s Unconquered Children Speak, 1953.]

1953.  The Mainichi Newspapers. “Italians and Greeks, Soldiers and Singers, Are Brothers in Souls,” by Alice Cobb.  (From the book, “The Uprooted.”) [All Copyrights Fully Retained By the Writer. Exclusive in Japan To The Mainichi.] [The book, “The Uprooted.” later became War’s Unconquered Children Speak, 1953.]

1953, December 6. Courier-Journal.  “The Innocent Victims It is children affected by the war and its aftermath who make up the most poignant commentary on our times.” Bu Dorcas Ruthenburg, Director, Public Affairs Programming, WHAS.  Describes the work of Alice Cobb as consultant and representative of the Division of Child Welfare, Frankfort, KY.Describes Cobb’s War’s Unconquered Children Speak, Beacon Press, 1953. Cobb describes the hatred of the Arab elders passed along to their children for all people they hold responsible for their homelessness … they “dislike the Communists only slightly less than the British and Americans, she found.”  And, “In Greece, she found intense hardihood ad gay courage that bubbled up around poverty and ruins.” [Article contains photographs.]

1953, December. Christian Register, “Problems of Hunger, Refugees,” A book review of War’s Unconquered Children Speak,” by Lillian W. Barbour. Reviews Cobb’s work against that of Eleanor Roosevelt near the same time.

1953.  Multiple reviews of Cobb’s book War’s Unconquered Children Speak. 1.)  From Seymour Tribune, “Alice Cobb Is Author of Book.”  2.)From Lexington, KY Sunday Herald-Leader, Nov. 8, 1953.  “War’s Innocent Victims Speak Through Stories of Miss Cobb.” 3.)  From Bulletin of the National Association of School Principals, Dec. 1953.  “Cobb, Alice.   War’s Unconquered Children Speak, …”This is a book about ordinary people whose ways of life were suddenly and terribly changed.”

1953 The Charlotte Observer, Sunday, October 11, 1953.  “Book on War’s Children Written by a Tar Heel.”  Notes that “more than 30 voluntary welfare agencies cooperated with Miss Cobb as she traveled through Europe gathering material for this gripping true story.” War’s Unconquered Children Speak, 1953

1953, December.  Review in the Religious Education Bulletin of Cobb’s War’s Unconquered Children Speak, 1953. 

1953.  Beacon Press release. “Told with a poignancy that comes from verbatim interviews …”  War’s Unconquered Children Speak. Blurb by Ed Darling.

1953.  Beacon Press release. Beacon Flashes from the Beacon Press, 25 Beacon Street. Boston 8, MA.  War’s Unconquered Children Speak“How can a teenager get any real understanding of the tragic effects of a war he never knew — what it has done to people just like himself, only not so lucky; what it continues to do to families like his own, long after the shooting has stopped: And yet it is the after-effects of war which lay the basis for new wars. Some understanding of these things is vital if we are not to repeat the mistakes of the past …”

1953, December. Near East Society Bulletin. Reviews War’s Unconquered Children Speak”...stories of the unfinished problems of war.”

1953, Saturday, May 23. Christian Science Monitor “Cooperation in the Greek Hills — School Fiance — Homemaking Added: Girl’s School Near Athens Adopts War-Torn Greek Village, Secures Aid, Helps Rebuild.” By Alice Cobb, Special to the Christian Science Monitor.   “Industries? The [Greek] Ministry of Agriculture is ringing bee swarms if the village can provide hives….ten looms have been contributed which can be used by the whole village to become a nucleus for a small weaving industry…”  Sound familiar?

1954, November.  “Arab World Shuns Israel Peace, Still Bitter at Nation’s Growth,” by J.M. Roberts, Jr.

1954, November [?]. [Source unknown]  “Interpreting the News: Arabs, Israel Not Going to Co-operate.”

1954  [Source unknown] War’s Unconquered Children Speak review by Helen Deihl Olds. “…She devotes one chapter to Mrs.  Kathy Prugel who is the one-woman Haven of Hope for the half-and-half children, the brown babies of German women and Negro soldiers.

1954, November. The Seminary Chime, San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, CA.  War’s Unconquered Children Speak review. “The publishers say, ‘These stories need to be used to awaken young people to constructive action in world affairs.’ Why not?”

1954, June.  The Ledger.  Juvenile Books by Helen Diehl Olds, who reviews War’s Unconquered Children Speak, as a Juvenile book. “The writing in the 28 chapters is varied with the author used the letter form in some chapters, in others she shifts to present tense with startling vividness.”

1955, February.  Childhood Education. “Books for Adults … Editors, Dept of Education NISTC, DeKalb, Ill.  “There is shocking realism in Miss Cobb’s reporting yet combined with this is a sympathy and warmth of feeling for people that is evident on every page.” Reviews War’s Unconquered Children Speak, as an adult book.

1955, July. [indecipherable  Community Church of New York ?]  “Thumbnail. Book Review War’s Unconquered Children Speak  “These are moving stories yet disturbing, full of the tragedy and futility of war, resulting in staggering, unsolved problems.” Review by Mildred Sage, Social Action Comm.