Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography — Staff/Personnel
Series 05: Administration — Board of Trustees


Teacher, Fifth Grade, 1928-1930
Advisory Board Member

“Harriet and John Orndorff and John Jr.” [kingman_082a]

TAGS: Harriet Crutchfield Journal Guide 1928; Harriet Crutchfield; Harriet Crutchfield Orndorff; education;Pine Mountain Settlement School; Pine Mountain, KY; Mrs. Lewis; Mr. Lewis; Marian Kingman; Miss Emerson; Practice House (Country Cottage); Infirmary; Laurel House; Katherine Pettit; Alice (Pilkington) Crutchfield; teachers; students; food; mail delivery; freight trains; Laden, KY; U.S. Post Offices; Mr. Argetsinger; Antioch College; Ethel de Long Zande; home furnishings; meals; pigs and cows; shipments of fruit; train travel; clothing; children’s games; Angela Melville; country fair; Intermountain Coal and Lumber Co.; radios; Chapel; horses; farming;


All letters are from Harriet Crutchfield to her parents and span the dates from September 2, 1928, until December 16, 1929. The following lists the letters and their summaries written in 1928. For a list of letters written in the following year, go to HARRIET CRUTCHFIELD JOURNAL GUIDE 1929.

This list is in chronological order and may not necessarily match the order of the image numbers.



September 2, 1928 Pa, Ma, boys & girls Describes walk across the mountain from the train station at Laden to the School with her baggage. Accompanied by Marian Kingman, Marguerite Emerson, and John Lewis she describes the rain but the excitement of the trip. Margaret Emerson knew Margaret Campbell, a friend of Harriet’s. 4 pages


September 4, 1928 Father “I’m going to talk business first…”Harriet makes an argument for sending fresh fruit to the School. Describes her first real day of teaching 5th and 6th grade. “I can hardly say that I take to teaching as a duck to water, but remember the ugly duckling …” Wants her parents to visit the School. Describes Mr. Argetsinger a fellow teacher from Antioch. Regrets the death of Ethel de Long Zande in March of 1928. 6 pages


September 8, 1928 My two dear “f”‘s Wishes her friends could be with her and thanks them for gifts when she left home especially the fudge. Comments on food at the School. Notes that only .33 cents is spent on food per day on each person. She marvels at the frugal but good food. She describes her living arrangement in “Country Cottage” and draws a small diagram of the house interior and her room on the second floor. Describes her schedule, the School grounds, and her colleagues. 6 pages


September 9, 1928 My darling Ma Received packages from home and one broken package. Sends address for PMSS for delivery of crate of oranges to School. Negotiations regarding railroad passes. Details a 5 mi. walk with 21 students and Marian Kingman. Negotiates greetings to friends and bills for needed items. 8 pages


September 12, 1928 Dearest Mother Lists letters she received;. Advises about a gift to Virginia Morrill. Enclosed a list of things she needs, such as handkerchiefs, a 4-color pencil for correcting papers, alligator shoes and rubbers, wire hangers for her shirtwaists, hot water bag to keep warm in winter and to have water instead of ice in the morning, and poems of Thomas Hardy. Mentions Miss Emerson, who is in charge of Country Cottage. Talks about the family visiting PMSS to see a country fair that includes games, contests and folk dancing. Assures that she is getting enough food. “It is most interesting here. My teaching and papers to correct keep me pretty busy.” 15 pages


September 16, 1928 Dearest Pa and Ma She is thrilled that Bob will visit Tuesday and plans to meet him at Putney on mules. Answers some of her father’s questions: the name of the railroad to the School from Putney is the Intermountain Coal and Lumber Co. “Miss Emerson told me that Mrs. Zande used to order fruit from Knoxville, so I did too, and got an answer immediately from J. K. Haley Co. saying they would turn my order over to some other concern that handled Blue Goose oranges. Honeydews arrived and are being kept in the cellar, “the only cool place…the smallest one I gave to Miss Pettit and she told me to-day that she ate the whole thing herself at one meal! You may judge she is quite a size.” Writes that Sunday suppers include cookies now and “all the kids get fat here.” 3 pages


September 19, 1928


Dearest Mother Describes Bob’s [?] departure. Traveled to Putney with Miss [Angela] Melville to meet Bob [?]. Stayed with the Lewis family who treated them cordially. Albin [?] sent Margaret’s letter. FOUND IN JOURNAL I BUT BELONGS HERE. 4 pages


September 21, 1928 My dearest Pa “I thot I was getting a communication from you yesterday, but…” Thanks to him for offering a radio and notes there are none at the School because the mountains make reception difficult. She says she has never been very crazy about radios and her time is filled now. Thanks to him for melons, apples, grapes and oranges and noted the grapes had been opened and some removed. The crate of oranges was badly damaged. The fruit going missing she blames on the logging train men. 3 pages

044-046 [pages


September 23, 1928 My dearest Ma :”The handkerchiefs arrived safely …” She wonders if some belong to sisters (Margaret and Kitty). Discusses dancing at the School and Bob’s participation while there. She goes to dance class every Tuesday night. She describes a tragic ballad she is learning so she can direct a performance of the ballad. Went to dinner party at the Brownings house (farmer). Describes the farmer’s life. Demonstration dance for dinner party of the bacca pipes dance, then the group did some folk dancing. Joined sewing circle every Thursday evening with Miss Emerson. Describes horseback ride and picnic with Miss [Margaret] Motter and Miss Kingman. Describes fixing up the Creech Cabin as a museum. Put in a chimney and chinks in walls, and describes mending the old hand mill, etc. Tells of Creeches eating with staff at Laurel House  where community member talked about their lives and their parents and youth. Promises to describe her co-workers in a letter. 10 pages


September 27, 1928 Dearest Parents “Thank goodness it is warming up…” Dreads winter. Describes the 24 workers at the School in detail. Includes Miss [Katherine] Pettit, Angela Melville, Helen Caldwell, Astrid Anderson, Marian Purbrick, William Browning, Louise Will Browning, Martha Burns, Mr. Harshbarger, Ruth Gaines, Emily Hill, Miss [?] Lillie, Miss [?] Whitenack, Mrs. [?] Keezel, Miss [?] Huyett, Marguerite Emerson, Margaret Motter, Ruth Campbell, Carol Rhone, Blanche Denton, Glenn Argetsinger, Marian Kingman, Florence Daniels. Asks for cod liver oil. 16 pages



October 3, 1928 Dearest Mother “I received your letter with the two postal cards in it…” Writes hastily as she has a class in sword-dancing. Mentions Margaret’s manuscript [?]. Describes Fall color and a 10-mile hike. Asks for items from home. 2 pages


October 9, 1928 Dearest Mother “Where shall I begin…” Receives packages from home with brown bread whole pound of butter. Describes butter that comes from Putney that costs .10 cent for 1/2 lb. Describes meal prepared at Country Cottage. Thanks her mother for contents of second box of clothing and flashlight, heelpads, and new fountain pen. Encourages parents to come visit and notes she plans trip to Wheelright, KY (coal camp). Notes she will reply to her Father’s questions about her comments on why PMSS did not have more cows — very poor grazing country, she says and expense of food for cows is too great. No time for churning. Mr. Harshbarger injures his leg. Describes egg problems. 8 pages


Octobre 21, 1928 Dearest Mother “We’ve had the most gorgeous day. This Sunday was Mountain Day at the School…” Six teachers took a 7 mile horseback ride into mountains. Harriet and Ruth Campbell made an agreement with Miss Pettit to pay the food bill for a horse so they could use it through the winter. Fifteen dollars a month was the agreement. She notes the horse, Nell, bites and kicks when approached so she is getting the boys to bridle and saddle her. 4 pages


October 14, 1928 Dearest Mother “The October days seem to be fairly flying by, and I don’t find much time to write …” She is enjoying the weather. She enjoyed the long letter from home and news of her mother’s missionary meetings. She sends letter on to Margaret her sister. Fears she is gaining weight with all the bread and butter. Margaret Motter, Marian Kingman and Harriet go to Harlan to attend the County Fair, go to a movie and spend the night. She notes the County Fair was not as nice as the fair at PMSS, Mr. Argetsinger has a farewell party and his replacement, Mr. Gale comes to the School. 4 pages


October 29, 1928 Dearest Mother “Many, many happy returns of the day!” Mother’s Birthday. Sends a small contribution toward the ice cream bowl. Sends her mother a blue pottery bowl from KY pottery (Bybee ?) “…they give us teachers a reduction of 50% I believe…” Her mother is worried about the horse situation and Harriet agrees to wait so she can discuss it with her mother. Miss Pettit is looking forward to the family visit she tells her mother. Describes details of the visit for her mother. Thanks her mother for sending town paper from Sewickley. Comments on the distribution of wedding gifts for Margaret her sister. 6 pages



November 5, 1928 Dearest Mother “This is not to be much of a letter…” Ruth Campbell’s mother dies. More bread and butter mailed. Kitty sends package. Comments on the election. 2 pages


November 12, 1928 Dearest Mother Thrilled to receive her dishes and describes how they were used. Lists breakfast and lunch foods. Read “Cranford.” [by Elizabeth Gaskell]  “Planned with Miss Denton for an International party for the children….Miss Pettit’s 14 girls were giving a party at BIg Log Cabin….we played an ancient Greek game…” and a flag ID game. They made and broke open a pinata. Describes food at her birthday party given by Margaret, Marian, Miss Melville & Astrid Anderson, “the Norwegian.” 5 pages


 November 13, 1928 Dearest Father and Mother  “I am using some of the stationary Aunt Julia sent me for a birthday present,” PAGINATION IS OFF  2 pages


November 14, 1928 Dear Father “I sent off a letter to you and Mother yesterday with most of the information you need for the trip down here.” Prefers to have Kitty visit at another time to reduce impact on visitor space at the School. Provides instruction for train and getting to PMSS. 2 pages


 November 23, 1928 Dearest Mother  “I haven’t written to you lately as I thought you were going to be here. I got the telegram saying you couldn’t come this week the afternoon before,,,”  2 pages



December 7, 1928 Dearest Mother Appreciated the box with cake she received. Describes birthday supper party Miss Pettit gave for 2 high school girls. Miss Melville returned, “So Ruth and I moved into our old homes this morning. I surely enjoyed my stay up at Zande House, but it is nice to be back on my side of the valley!” Asked about Kitty’s plans. Told her parents that their visit “down here” was a hit. 2 pages


December 11, 1928  Dearest Pa Suggests their Christmas gift to Pine Mt. could be “enough pretty box apples for each person to have one. That would mean about 130 apples.” Gave address of Kaiser Bros., Knoxville, TN, to order the apples. Received authorization from Pettit. Provided delivery details. 1 page


December 16, 1928 Dearest Mother  Sorry Father has been sick. She received L&N passes from Father. Gives her travel itinerary. Describes helping with preparation for Christmas, “which they celebrate here with real old English spirit. The festivities began to-day & will last out the week. All the houses have been busily making wreaths so that to-day they could be dressed up for open house. It was lots of fun going from cottage to cottage. Then to-night we had a beautiful song Vespers in the Chapel which is a dream with fir trees all about.” She sent stools, coverlid to her parents for family gifts and wrote to send check to Miss Florence Daniels. 2 pages



HARRIET CRUTCHFIELD JOURNAL GUIDE 1929 (119-207) for continuation of summaries of the letters.

See Also:

HARRIET CRUTCHFIELD for her full biography.


HARRIET CRUTCHFIELD JOURNAL GUIDE 1928 for summaries of her 1928 correspondence.

HARRIET CRUTCHFIELD JOURNAL GUIDE 1929 for summaries of her 1929-30 correspondence.


For IMAGES of her correspondence while at PMSS, see:





For TRANSCRIPTIONS of her correspondence while at PMSS, see: