Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 17: PMSS Publications (Published by the School)
DEAR FRIEND LETTERS Index
TAGS: Dear Friend Letters Index, fund-raising, newsletters, updates, group mailings, Ethel de Long Zande
The DEAR FRIEND LETTERS of Pine Mountain Settlement School are used to keep former students, trustees, and friends of the institution informed regarding the activities of the School and to solicit financial support for institutional programming and physical facilities. The periodical letters which generally begin with “Dear Friend,” generally contain a running account of additions to the built environment; additions of staff or departures of workers; donations; events of importance to the School or community; educational program updates; biographical information of individuals associated with the School; and economic indicators for those interested in the financial health of the School. Most importantly, they are tools for raising operational and endowment money for the School. The letters or flyers are generally brief and their format is irregular depending on the Director’s guidance. The Dear Friend Letter is mailed in addition to the more broadly disseminated NOTES (Notes from the Pine Mountain Settlement School, 1919 – 2001). Also, like NOTES, the DEAR FRIEND LETTERS were generally mailed several times a year.
While the frequency and format of the DEAR FRIEND LETTERS, varies with the Director’s instruction, they remain a key document for tracing the history and development of the institution. The LETTERS were more frequent in the early development years of the settlement school and were largely written by Ethel de Long [Zande] until her death in 1928. These early letters reflect her ability to tug at the heart-strings of donors and are an intimate and often personal reflection of the early activity of the School. Later letters are more generic and often specific to programming. Also, in later years the Directors generally elected to use NOTES as the main vehicle for communication and fund-raising and some of the candid commentary found in the DEAR FRIEND LETTERS is lost in the more broad and generic reporting on the activity of the institution.
Personal correspondence of workers is generally not found here but many biographical details of staff and students can be found woven into the letter dialog. If biographical information of a staff member or a student is included it is generally brief and additional biographical material may be sought by consulting the individual BIOGRAPHY of the Director (sender) and/or the receiver of the correspondence (if indicated). Yet, considerable information may often be gleaned about members of the community and the staff of the institution through the consistent publication of DEAR FRIEND LETTERS. Historical highlights of the year may also be found in the letter narratives.
The following list is a partial accounting of the DEAR FRIEND LETTERS and a few accompanying or associated mailings. Not all years are represented and these will be updated as additional DEAR FRIEND LETTERS are scanned and added. The years following the end of the Boarding School years are presently sparse, but more will be added as they are located. Letters prior to 1913, the year of the founding of the School represent fund-raising efforts prior to and during the establishment of the institution.
INDEX of DEAR FRIEND LETTERS
1911 [Ethel de Long from Hindman Settlement School] – An unusually early letter that sought money to begin Pine Mountain Settlement School. The letter, written by Ethel de Long while she was still at Hindman Settlement School, samples the climate for the creation of the new school in Harlan County.
1913 October & November – Letters by Ethel de Long and Katherine Pettit describing the early days of building the School and future plans that will need funding, particularly plans for hog-proof fencing. An enclosure titled, “Sammy,” by Evangeline Bishop is a narrative from the pigs’ point of view.
1914 January & November
1915 June & November (Also: REPORTS AND LETTERS 1914 and 1915 [private])
1918 May & October
1922 [NO LETTER]
1930 April & May
Burton Rogers reports on the upcoming closure of the Pine Mountain Hospital and the rationale for its discontinuance. He pays homage to the 45 years of service of the medical facilities at the School while noting that the new 20-mile blacktop road to Harlan allows more rapid access to medical services, Further, the shortage of nurses made staffing difficult at PMSS. He describes a plan for a new shared program with the Presbyterian Child Welfare Agency to house and educate a small group of children from the region in the School’s facilities.