Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff
Series 10: BUILT ENVIRONMENT – Medical Settlements
Series 14: MEDICAL
Dr. Ida Stapleton, Medical Doctor & Co-Administrator, Line Fork 1926 – 1937
Rev. Robert Stapleton, Minister & Co-Administrator, Line Fork 1926 – 1937
DR. IDA STAPLETON and
REV. ROBERT STAPLETON Correspondence 1925-1928 April, Part I
TAGS: Dr. Ida Stapleton & Rev. Robert Stapleton Correspondence 1925-1928, Dr. Ida Stapleton, Rev. Robert Stapleton, Line Fork Settlement, medical settlements, Ethel de Long Zande, horseback travel, Katherine Pettit, applications for PMSS employment, PMSS hiring procedures
Dr. Ida Stapleton and Rev. Robert Stapleton arrived at Line Fork Settlement, a satellite of Pine Mountain Settlement School on August 30, 1926. Located in Gilley, Letcher County, Kentucky, this extension of the School provided medical care, industrial training and social and religious services for the nearby community.
Their correspondence, divided into two parts, comprises 132 items that cover the couple’s application for the position at Line Fork and their subsequent correspondence following their arrival and work with the satellite settlement and the supervising institution, Pine Mountain School. The bulk of the correspondence is that of the Rev. Robert Stapleton who managed the business end of the Line Fork facility and developed the religious programming.
CONTENTS: DR. IDA STAPLETON & REV. ROBERT STAPLETON Correspondence
[NOTE: The letters in the PMSS Collections from the Stapletons are original and typewritten. The correspondence from Ethel Zande and Katherine Pettit are carbon copies of typewritten letters (or half-page notes) that are unsigned because they are meant for the PMSS Office files. Their initials often appear at the bottom of the page, along with those of the secretary who typed the letter: “EZ” for Ethel de Long Zande and “KP” for Katherine Pettit.]
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_001.jpg] May 6, 1925. Two-page letter to Mrs. John Campbell in Staunton, VA, from Robert Stapleton in Oberlin, OH. Stapleton, who asked Pres. [Francis S.] Hutchins of Berea College about “possible work among the schools of the mountains of the South,” was referred to Campbell. Describes his and his wife’s 25 years of missionary work with Armenians in Turkey; his age (58), their education and training. [001a] Page 2. His education, continued.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_002.jpg] May 24, 1925. Handwritten 2-page letter to Mrs. Zande from Mrs. Campbell. Encloses Stapleton’s May letter and asks Zande if she’s interested. [002a] Signed, Olive D. Campbell.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_003.jpg] May 29, 1925. To Campbell from EZ. Zande states her interest in the Stapletons but would “a little prefer a younger man for our school, and one who had his experience in schools of this country.” Will invite them to visit the School. “Miss Pettit might like them for Line Fork, if her Miss Little does not fit in permanently. … Looking forward to Hazel and Allene Nolan’s weddings to Pearl Shell and Dillard Metcalf, respectively in the church tomorrow.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_004.jpg] May 29, 1925. To Mr. Stapleton from EZ. Suggests they make a visit to the School in the summer. No definite prospect of work now but want to keep files on possible future employees. Mentions the School’s extension centers. “We have two at present, and hope soon to start a third.” Encloses literature about the School.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_005.jpg] June 11, 1925. To Mr. Stapleton from KP. “ …There seems to be an “increasing possibility that we could you and Mrs. Stapleton at our Line Fork Extension Center… Mrs. Zande turned over your letter to me, since I have charge of that particular end of our work….”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_006.jpg] June 22, 1925. To Pettit from Mr. Stapleton. States their interest in the School as it resembled what they had experienced in Turkey. Requests further information; will be available by Summer 1926.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_007.jpg] June 22, 1925. To Zande from Mr. Stapleton. States their interest in the School as it resembled what they had experienced in Turkey.; will be available by Summer 1926. Offers books donated by college students which he usually sends to Berea College. (“President Hutchins was formerly here in Oberlin and his son graduated here this year.”)
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_008.jpg] June 23, 1925. To Mr. & Mrs. Stapleton from KP. Asks them to send a telegram if they will be visiting the School.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_009.jpg] June 26, 1925. To Mr. Stapleton from EZ. Expresses interest in the Stapletons and their work in Turkey. “We are very anxious for standard fiction, first-rate histories, and biographies for our newly established library. … our library … is, of course, not a research library nor one for sophisticated or highly advanced individuals.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_010.jpg] July 9, 1925. To Mr. Stapleton from KP. Continues to encourage them to visit the School, stating that PMSS cannot save a place for them unless they do.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_011.jpg] September 9, 1925. To Mr. Stapleton from EZ. Expressed having enjoyed Mr. Stapleton’s visit. Regrets that “people way back in the mountains” do not have wells with abundant water.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_012.jpg] September 11, 1925. To Mr. Stapleton from KP. Looks forward to their decision to accept PMSS employment; enjoyed his visit. She gets “the most cheerful letters from Polly Jane Baker, although the doctor writes me that her case is well developed. … I have a free place for her after the first of October. ….”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_013.jpg] November 2, 1925. To Mr. Stapleton from KP. Anxious to hear definitely about Stapletons’ decision about Line Fork. She hopes to know before she is away from PMSS in early 1926. Asks for salary preferences and date of arrival; also, “how Mrs. Stapleton feels about the horseback-riding.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_014.jpg] November 9, 1925. To Pettit from Mr. Stapleton. Both are happy to come to PMSS/Line Fork; will arrive in August. He explains that Mrs. Stapleton could undertake as much active practice as necessary and possible. “She is very keen upon hygiene and health education as a preventative to illness.” She worked in Turkey as a midwife and cared for children and is accustomed to horseback riding. Asks for $100 a month for the two of them.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_015.jpg] November 12, 1925. To Mr. Stapleton from KP. Offers a larger salary ($150 plus living expenses and horse) if they could come to PMSS sooner, due to an emergency at Line Fork. “About the upkeep of the horse, we have gone on the principle that this is one thing the community must help out on. …In this way the community has something tangible to hold onto, something it can feel responsible for and must feel responsible for. … You know our constant effort to avoid pauperizing.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_016.jpg] November 16, 1925. To “Dear Friends (Mr. and Mrs. Stapleton)” from KP. Asks again for a decision concerning an earlier arrival; otherwise, Line Fork’s cabin will have to temporarily close.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_017.jpg] November 17, 1925. Two-page letter to Pettit from Mr. Stapleton. “Impossible” to arrive earlier than next summer. [017a] Page 2.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_018.jpg] November 25, 1925. To Mr. Stapleton from KP. Expresses her understanding that they cannot change plans.”We have all been eating famine rations (pretty good, they seem to us, rice and cocoa!) for the Near East today, for the children were more interested in having a Thanksgiving offering than in observing Golden Rule Sunday.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_019.jpg] November 28, 1925. To Pettit from Mr. Stapleton. Expected arrival will be by August 31st. They hope to remain at Line Fork through the summers for about three or more years. Describes money collected for Near East Relief in his area. Mentions his daughters; enjoys local musical events in which he is a chorus member.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_020.jpg] April 15, 1926. Two-page letter to Zande from Mr. Stapleton. Has questions about preparations to go to PMSS: things to bring and how to send them, travel directions, Line Fork operations during Miss Pettit’s absence and her return date. Hears that Miss Rita Roeder is recovering, but not well yet. [020a] Page 2. Mentions his grandchildren. Is Line Fork equipped with a sewing machine and a set of maps?
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_021.jpg] April 19, 1926. To Mr. Stapleton from EZ. Responds to his questions, e.g., freight for Line Fork should be sent via Cumberland, KY (formerly Poor Fork) and suggested travel directions.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_022.jpg] July 29, 1926. Two-page letter to Pettit from Mr. Stapleton. Welcomes her back to PMSS. Preparing for coming to Line Fork by placing the invalid (Miss H.L. Cole) they were caring for during the last two years with Miss Rita Roeder’s mother, assisted by Rita’s sister Winnifred. Explains travel plans. Asks how to bring a few boxes of books and trunks of clothing. [022a] Page 2. Asks for their forwarding address in Kentucky.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_023.jpg] August 20, 1926. To Dr. Stapleton from [? likely Pettit]. Answers his questions about traveling to PMSS & how to send their trunks; writing to Dr. Llewella [M.] Merrow, Gilley, KY, to send horses for the Stapletons. “Gilley, Letcher County” is your post office.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_024.jpg] September 3, 1926. To Mr. and Mrs. Stapleton from KP. Miss [Ruth B.] Gaines and Mr. [Luigi] Zande handed over Stapletons’ letters to Pettit ”to answer because Line Fork is my job. … Yes, you can pay the grocery bill out of the fund that is given you from this office for supplies.” Pettit felt that $75 was not a reasonable price for a horse from Mr. Bradley, since Mr. Browning said that a good horse should cost $50 or less .
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_025.jpg] September 6, 1926. To The Citizens National Bank in Harlan, Ky., from Pine Mountain Settlement School by [?]. Introduces Mr. Robert Stapleton who succeeds Dr. L.M. Merrow at Line Fork Settlement, Gilley Ky. Asks the bank to turn over Merrow’s Settlement account to Stapleton. Encloses copy of his signature.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_026.jpg] September 8, 1926. To Mr. Stapleton from K. Pettit. Encloses check for horse.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_027.jpg] September 8, 1926. To Mrs. Stapleton from KP. Ordered two containers for testing water from the State Board of Health.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_028.jpg] September 9, 1926. Typewritten letter from Cashier at Citizens National Bank in Harlan, Ky., to Emily R. Jones at Pine Mountain Settlement School, acknowledging “receipt of authorized signature of Mr. Robert Stapleton in payment of Line Fork Settlement School accounts.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_029.jpg] September 13, 1926. To Mrs. Stapleton from KP. Encloses notes from the School to distribute; invites Stapleton to her meeting with neighborhood women to “sew and hear about my trip, and get the presents I have fixed for them.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_030.jpg] September 22, 1926.To Mrs. Stapleton from KP. Encloses material from Miss Bingham. “Miss Bingham was at Line Fork last winter while I was away, just before Dr. Merrow came.” States PMSS’s policy concerning second-hand clothing. Encloses letters from Miss [Anne Ruth] Medcalf, Miss Little and Dr. Merrow. Asks if Stapleton can find anyone that makes tied lace; Miss [Florence] Daniels will visit and “see if it is anything we can use.” Asks about the need for library books, a deeper well. [030a] Page 3.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_031.jpg] September 30, 1926. To Mrs. Stapleton from KP. Instructs Stapleton to go ahead with digging the well deeper and suggests hiring “the men that are cutting your wood” who would be paid daily. Mentions Mr. Zande and that she’s looking for “Little Peppers” books and first through third grade readers.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_032.jpg] October 8, 1926. To Mr. Stapleton from KP. Encloses a check.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_033.jpg] October 12, 1926. Typewritten letter to Zande from Mr. Stapleton. Has safely received the check; would like to visit the Zandes; regrets that they didn’t have a longer visit with Mrs. Zande’s mother, Mrs. De Long.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_034.jpg] October 13, 1926. To Mr. and Dr. Stapleton from [?]. Explains that dictating her letters to a secretary who then writes them is often interrupted or delayed. Encloses letter from Miss Bingham on the “old clothes subject” and repeats PMSS’s policy about selling or giving away used clothing. “We sell quilt pieces for a dollar for five pounds. … I have some baby clothes I will let you have, and hope they will be a help in getting people to make their own. That after all is the point in our selling them.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_034.jpg] November 9, 1926. To Mr. Stapleton from EZ. Eager for news about “you people at Gilley.” Mr. Zeigler, the preacher from Berea, will visit PMSS for a week.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_036.jpg] November 19, 1926. To Mr. and Mrs. Stapleton from KP. Encloses letter about Finley Cornett’s girl: ”I had such a hard time getting the girl in this place, and I thought you might like to give the letter to Mr. Cornett.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_037.jpg] January 15, 1927. To Dr. Stapleton from EZ. Appreciates the notes and the pamphlet of graces that Mr. Stapleton has sent. Miss Lund, A new nurse, will arrive in about a week and Miss Heney will help her get used to PMSS’s routine. Zande hopes that Stapleton will visit with her at PMSS once a week while Dr. [Alfreda] Withington is away recuperating.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_038.jpg] January 20, 1927. To Mrs. Stapleton from EZ. Asks her to spend a night at PMSS to talk over some cases with Miss Krauss.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_039.jpg] February 1, 1927. To Mr. Stapleton from EZ. Enclosing check for January. Mentions Mr. Parkinson’s visit and a future PMSS band which she hopes Mr. Stapleton will join.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_040.jpg] February 12, 1927. To Mr. Stapleton from EZ. Asks him to spend a night at PMSS and give a 15-minute vesper talk, explaining, “…our weekly vesper service is arranged between supper and study hour and must be over promptly.’
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_041.jpg] February 25, 1927. To Mr. Stapleton from EZ. Asks him to come to PMSS for a “singing vesper service” and tells him of some of her plans for the program; offered to share her Manchester Guardians.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_043.jpg] March 7, 1927. To Mr. Stapleton from EZ. Disappointed he didn’t come to vespers.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_044.jpg] March 17, 1927. To Dr. Stapleton from KP. Encloses letter from Dr. Merrow and asked Stapleton’s help with answering it. Has a highly recommended “applicant for (teaching?) a country school, a young graduate of Western College in Oxford, Ohio,” and asks Stapleton to tell the Line Fork community about her. “Now that Joe Creech is gone again the trustees might be interested.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_045.jpg] April 13, 1927. To Mr. Stapleton from CH (office secretary?). Mrs. Zande invites the Stapletons and any of the Line Fork people to the Easter service at PMSS Sunday morning. Mr. Hanchett of Antioch will preach.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_046.jpg] May 11, 1927. To Mr. Stapleton from KP. She was very interested in his last two letters but regretted he was not able to attend Sunday breakfast at Open House. Dr. Severance, a friend who came with Dr. [Darwin D.] Martin from Buffalo, talked about his Holy Land trip. Can you find an old moonshine still for Miss Gage, our visitor from Maine?
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_047.jpg] June 1, 1927. To Dr. Stapleton from KP. Thanks Stapleton for her letter and “for being so good to Mr. Sprik.” She continues to urge Stapleton to find a moonshine still for Miss Gage; John Smith brought Pettit a still once. Will visit Line Fork early June with friends.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_048.jpg] August 16, 1927. To Mrs. Stapleton from KP. Sending “clothing that Margaret had here. Brit did not tell me what she took from home…. Will you explain to her teacher that Margaret is to come here as soon as she is ready to do fifth grade work?” Mentions Kermit.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_049.jpg] September 12, 1927. To Mr. Stapleton from [?]. Thanks him for his letters and August report. Mentions the “Hurricane Gap situation.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_050.jpg] September 19, 1927. To Mrs. Zande from Robert Stapleton. His check for August’s salary failed to reach his bank; he asks Zande to report the problem to the Lexington bank.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_051.jpg] September 22, 1927. To Mr. Stapleton from EZ. Has stopped payment on the check.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_052.jpg] September 22, 1927. To Security Trust Co., Lexington, Ky. from EZ. Asked for the bank to stop payment on a lost check. Mentions Dr. Cramer’s talk.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_053.jpg] October 24, 1927. To Dr. Stapleton from KP. Informs him of missing mail. Mentions Loretta and Bert. “…[T]he fee for a child in the infirmary is sixty cents a day.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_054.jpg] October 31, 1927. To Dr. Stapleton from KP. Arranges payment for Loretta’s glasses ($2.25).
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_055.jpg] November 2, 1927. To Dr. Stapleton from KP. Arranges payment of Margaret’s monthly fee.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_056.jpg] November 8, 1927. To Mrs. Stapleton from KP. Thanks her for the check for Loretta. No clinic this week.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_057.jpg] November 9, 1927. To Dr. Stapleton from [?]. “…[S]ending a group of children down, as many as St. Joseph’s hospital in Louisville can take at a time, to have their tonsils out….” Asked for Bert to sign Loretta’s permission.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_058.jpg] December 9, 1927. To Dr. Stapleton from [?]. Invites Stapletons to “Christmas doings’ at PMSS.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_059.jpg] January 12, 1928. To Dr. Stapleton from [?]. Thanks Stapleton for hosting a visit from Alma. Returning the dress and hat Stapleton gave to Alma and explained PMSS’s policy not to give clothing to children, quoting from the workers’ rules: “Do not give individual presents to children, or allow visitors to do so. This includes paying children for courtesies they may show, or work they may do to make visitors comfortable. Nothing is more subversive of the spirit we want at Pine Mountain than the giving of presents. — The only exception we feel we may make to this rule is that we do allow the children to receive presents of books.”
“I wish you could have heard Bert’s description of your Christmas. She said she couldn’t have believe that there could be such a civil Christmas, without any shooting or killing.” Miss [Ruth] Dennis will arrive in April, staying a while at PMSS, then going to Line Fork.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_060.jpg] January 17, 1928. To Dr. Stapleton from EZ. Encloses letter from “Miss Corbett at Smith about a horse that seems very desirable.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_061.jpg] January 17, 1928. To Dr. William Stapleton Jr. in Detroit, MI, from [?]. Thanks him for his $5 contribution. Describes recent PMSS Christmas; quotes students’ thank-you letter to Santa.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_062.jpg] February 14, 1928. To Dr. William J. Stapleton Jr. in Detroit, MI, from EZ. Thanks him for his $5 contribution. Shared an anecdote of mountain life.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_063.jpg] March 12, 1928. To Dr. William J. Stapleton Jr. in Detroit, MI, from [?]. Thanks him for his $5 contribution. Described a funeral for one of the “fine old mountain people that become more precious as the type disappears.”
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_064.jpg] March 13, 1928. To Mr. Stapleton from EZ. Encloses correspondence about William Cornett and asked if Stapleton knows him and, if so, to contact the Red Cross in Washington to help him.
[stapleton_ida_r_1925_065.jpg] April 9, 1928. To Dr. William J. Stapleton Jr. from [?]. Thanks him for his $5 contribution. Informs him of Mrs. Zande’s death. Tells about a gathering at Berea of former PMSS students and teachers; praised the students’ “fine appearance, their truly good manners, and most of all, by their love for this place to which they consciously owe so much.”
GALLERY: DR. IDA STAPLETON & REV. ROBERT STAPLETON Correspondence
(65 items of 132)
DR. IDA STAPLETON & REV. ROBERT STAPLETON Correspondence 1928-1946 PART II
ALICE COBB STORIES Stapletons Leaving Line Fork May 31 – June 1, 1937
DR. IDA STAPLETON & REV. ROBERT STAPLETON Biography
GUIDE TO DR. IDA STAPLETON & REV. ROBERT STAPLETON REPORTS