MARY ROCKWELL HOOK Correspondence 1940 II Box 19: 2-85

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel
Series 05: Board of Trustees
Series 10: Built Environment
Mary Rockwell Hook Correspondence 1940 II Box 19: 2-85
Published 2019-09-13 hw
Updated with Contents 2021-11-16 aae

MARY ROCKWELL HOOK Correspondence 1940 II Box 19: 2-85
July 7, 1940 – December 23, 1940

TAGS: Mary Rockwell Hook Correspondence 1940 II box 19: 2-85, correspondence, Board of Trustees, built environment, architects, James Terney, architecture, Albert Moore Saxe A.I.A, Laurel House II, Glyn Morris, Gladys Morris, Leon Deschamps, West Wind, Girls’ House, Big Log, Arthur W. Dodd

When Mary Rockwell Hook began work on both Laurel House II and West Wind in the early 1940s she was well into her 70s and an active member of the PMSS Board of Trustees.

Throughout the correspondence, she refers to the new girls’ house or girls’ dormitory, as the building did not yet have the name “West Wind.”

Colleagues and PMSS Associates

Albert Moore Saxe  – Architect – Yale graduate, from Illinois. Member of American Institute Architects (A.I.A). Consultant on West Wind. Partner in Saxe & Zimmerman firm, Sarasota, FL.

James Terney – Architect in Kansas City, Kansas. A partner in the firm of Terney & Biggs, Architects & Engineers. Worked with Mary Rockwell Hook on both Laurel House and West Wind.

Mrs. James Trimble – A decorator who accompanied Hook to PMSS on her way to Florida.

Leon Deschamps – Former PMSS Worker considered for foreman of West Wind construction.

C.N. Manning – Member of the PMSS Board of Trustees.

Fanny Gratz – Member of the PMSS Board of Trustees.

Glyn Morris – PMSS Director, 1931-1942.
Gladys Morris – Wife of Glyn Morris.

Arthur W. Dodd – PMSS Business Manager, Teacher 1932–1934; School Principal 1934–1949;  Interim Director 1942.

CONTENTS: MARY ROCKWELL HOOK Correspondence 1940 II Box 19: 2-85

[Note: Letters from PMSS staff in the PMSS Collections are carbon copies, typewritten, unsigned, and meant for the Office files. The original signed copies were sent to the correspondents. Letters from Mary Rockwell Hook are handwritten originals. The following list of contents is in chronological order and not necessarily in the order of the image numbers.]

July 1940 

001-001b July 7, 1940. Three-page letter to Glyn Morris, PMSS Director, from Mary Rockwell Hook, Kansas City, MO, [001] who received Laurel House (II) plans from Saxe & Zimmerman (Sarasota, FL, architects). “They have specified in the plans a good many expensive items wh(ich) will bring up the cost of the building beyond Saxe’s estimate.” [001a] She describes her plans for the lighting; compares costs of cotton hangings. [001b] Hook will bring girls’ house sketches to PMSS.

002-002a July 8, (no year). Two-page letter to Morris from Hook. Her arrival at PMSS has been delayed. She hopes her studio in Open House will be available. “I will need a quiet place to work.”

003 July 9, (no year). Western Union telegram to Morris from Hook. She is working on plans with James Terney, Architect, who has agreed to drive with her to PMSS. She describes how he will be paid.  

004 July 12, 1940. Copy of Western Union telegram to Hook from Morris., who welcomes them. His only concern is that  girls’ house will be ready soon. 

005-005a July 23, 1940. Two-page letter to Hook from Albert Moore Saxe, Architect, Sarasota, FL. [005] He will be sending the mechanical specifications for plumbing, heating, and electrical wiring. He is surprised at Hook’s estimate of $65,000 and thinks the price should be lower, “due to low cost of local labor and the stone all being available on and around the premises” and other reasons which he states. [005a] The only way to reduce cost is to leave some rooms and smaller areas temporarily unfinished.

006 N.D. Western Union telegram to Hook from Saxe, reporting that Zimmerman is not available. (Notation at bottom of page in Hook’s handwriting: “Isn’t this convincing(?)?….”

007 N.D. (Later notation: “July 1940”). Handwritten draft of a Western Union telegram to Mr. Albert M. Saxe from Hook, who “has started for Kansas City and taking along revised plans which will have to be completely redrawn and figured immediately. Will have work done in Kansas City. Extreme haste is necessary. Sorry not to be able to do otherwise.”

008 Address side of postcard, postmarked July 31, 1940, Kansas City, MO, to Morris.
008a July 31, (No year. Later notation: “1940”). To Morris from Hook, who will be sending Saxe’s letter. She met with Jim Terney, who is working on Laurel House plans.

August 1940

009-009a August 5, 1940. Two-page letter on orange paper to (no salutation) from Hook, listing several concerns: (1) She needs the itemized cost of repairs on the houses. (2) She does not approve of certain construction work at Laurel House that Terney made. Hook is sending plans.

010 August 8, 1940. Address side of postcard from Kansas City, MO, to Glyn Morris.
010a August 8, 1940. Message side of postcard to (no salutation). Describes two decorative items that Terney added to the Laurel House dining room east entrance, which she considers “unnecessary expense. … Do as you like. I think the girls’ house will make one of the arch. magazines: setback style, modern but with native materials. It will be nice, I think.”

011 August 9, 1940. To Hook from (unsigned, likely Morris), enclosing a check for her travel to PMSS. Thanks Hook for sending him copies of her letters to and from Mrs. Gratz. He worries about a shortage of space if the girls’ house isn’t done by the opening of School. He has received plans for Laurel House. Also, he encloses a PMSS report that he is beginning to write more briefly and frequently at the request of a Board member.

012 August 9, 1940. Copy of typewritten letter to C.N. Manning, Security Trust Bank Building, Lexington, KY, from Hook, enclosing Gratz’s letter about girls’ house plans and noting his upcoming meeting with Jim Terney; gives Terney’s address in Brownsville, PA. Bottom margin: A handwritten note to Morris from Hook about Morris’s upcoming meeting with Terney at PMSS.

013 August 9, 1940. Copy of typewritten letter to Mrs. Gratz from Hook, who describes a plan for the girls’ house on Pole House Hill that she and Terney have completed, which includes “terraces in front of the rooms overlooking the valley.” She is sending copies of the plans and estimated costs to the Executive Committee (Mrs. Gratz, Mr. Manning, and Mr. and Mrs. Morris) for approval.

014 August 12, 1940. To Hook from (unsigned, likely Morris), thanking her for the copies of her letters to Manning and Gratz. “Mrs. Grantz and I (are) glad that you have done all that possibly can be done to expedite the approval of the Executive Committee.” Mentions Laurel House, Guidance Institute and Boys’ House.

015 August 14, 1940. Copy of a Western Union telegram to Hook from Morris, asking that she inform Mrs. Gratz that she should send the formal approval for construction of the girls’ building to (Charles N.) Manning.

016-016a August 14, 1940. Two-page letter to C.N. Manning, President, The Security Trust Company, Lexington, KY, from (unsigned, likely Morris), [016] who received his August 12th letter. Morris sends a quote of his August 24 telegram to Hook; and a quote from Mrs. Elsmith’s report to the board concerning gifts of $65,000 for building purposes and $100,00 to the endowment fund. A part of the $65,000 was decided by the Board to be used for repairs and improvements, including the Doctor’s house and the construction of Laurel House and the girl’s house. [016a] Morris is now awaiting approval of the Board to build living quarters for girls (“if they are to stay at the school”) and asks for an emergency Executive Committee meeting to do so. Mentions preparation for the Youth Guidance Institute.


018 August 14, 1940. Address side of postcard to Gladys Morris from Kansas City, MO.
018a August 14, 1940. Message side of postcard to Gladys Morris, with instructions about girls’ house. (Continued on address side) She hopes PMSS will keep Jim Terney “until all problems are solved.”

019-019b August 22, 1940. Three-page handwritten letter to Hook from Fanny R. Gratz on stationery from Sasega Island, Pointe au Baril, Ontario. [019] Gratz was pleased that Mr. Manning and Mr. Ball “changed their views after seeing the plans and talking to Mr. Terney. Both have expressed themselves in letters and telegrams as being unwilling to spend more than $15,000 and as I was willing to spend more, it took several exchanges of messages….I felt any pushing of the matter would [019a] result in a fixed sum of $15,000 which you asked us not to name and for which the building could not be put up.” [019b] “Of course, I have always loved Big Log as it is. I see Kate Pettit sitting there whenever I close my eyes. But if it is wanted as a guest house, I think a log wing could be effective and comfortable. Gratz then asks about a Fall board meeting.

020 August 22, 1940. A BULLETIN, which gives updates on heating. THe writer is grateful for the “interest (Mr. Manning) has shown in the new girl’s house.” 

021-021a August 26, (No year. Later notation: “1940”). Two-page letter to (no salutation) from Hook, [021] who worries about the expense of the building’s stonework. Advises that “it is less expensive to start with a few good men & get a good start before adding labor.” Asks about hiring Deschamps, whom she prefers to a more expensive contractor. [021a] Terny suggests using Old Log for a guest house rather than Big Log. Hook suggests adding guest rooms to Laurel House or girls’ house.

022-022a August 29, 1940. Two-page letter to Morris from Hook, [022] reporting that the girls’ house plans are all set. Writes about where and when to have the next board meeting. She is inviting Mr. and Mrs. Wilkie as house guests. [022a] More about her thoughts concerning girls’ house. Worries about London: “The whole thing could go up in flames.” Asks about roofing material. Mrs. Gratz is in favor of “real asbestos shingles.” Hook has been made chairman of an advisory board for the WPA training school for servants.

September 1940

023 September 4, 1940. To Hook from (unsigned). Will send photographs for Laurel House. “The (Rural Youth Guidance) Institute turned out to be a bigger thing than we had anticipated.” Responds to topics in Hook’s letter.

024-024b September 14, 1940. Three-page letter to Gladys (Morris) from Hook. [024] In response to Mr. (Arthur) Dodd’s questions about hardware and electric light fixtures for Laurel House, she will look for them in Louisville. [024a] She hopes the lighting will be concealed; plans to stop at PMSS en route to or from Florida. [024b] Mentions Chuck’s pending WPA job. 

025-025a September 16, 1940. Two-page letter to Hook in Kansas City, MO, from (unsigned, likely Morris), [025] enclosing a check and photos of Laurel House construction. “The men expect to raise the tresses now and expect to get on rather rapidly after they are up. … The girls are living on the top floor of the workshop.” Blueprints for girls’ house have been sent to contractors; suggests that the fall board meeting will be in NYC. [025a] The only place left for any new students is the ironing room at Zande House.

026 September 17, 1940. To Hook from (unsigned, likely Morris), enclosing photos of Laurel House and a September first clipping from the Courier Journal.

027-027c September 20 (No year. Later notation: “1940”). Four-page letter to Morris from Hook,  [027] asking when she should visit to discuss the finish. [027a] Mrs. James Trimble, a decorator, may travel with her to Florida. Asks if weather allows use of Open House. [027b] She prefers a quiet place to work in the early morning hours uninterrupted. [027c] Congratulates him about the Institute.

028 September 20, 1940. To Hook from (unsigned, likely Morris), hoping she will stop at PMSS either to or from Florida and that she will attend the board meeting in NYC when the main focus will be on building.

029 September 23, 1940. Western Union telegram to Morris from Hook. The layout for lighting fixtures has been completed; she and Mrs. Trimble will arrive about September 30.

030 September 24, 1940. Copy of Western Union telegram to Hook from Morris: “Leaving Pine Mountain today for ten days.”

031 September 25, 1940. Copy of Western Union telegram to Hook from Dodd, who forwarded her September 23 message to Morris.

032 September 25, 1940. To Morris in Wilkes Barre, PA, from Dodd, explaining the telegrams and assuring Morris that “all goes well on the home front.”

033 September 25, 1940. To Hook in Kansas City, MO, from (unsigned, apparently Dodd), explaining the “crossed” telegrams between Hook and Morris. He advises on using Open House; gives the Morris’s NYC address.

034 September 25, 1940. To Hook from (unsigned), Secretary, sending photos of Laurel House construction.

035-035c September 27, 1940. Four-page letter to Morris from Hook, [035] who suggests she ask Jim Terney to look after the PMSS buildings for a month to “speed things up and easily save twice his salary & much time.” [035a] Hook gives additional reasons for hiring Terney. [035b] She wants to visit PMSS to discuss the girls’ house; will bring a bid on light fixtures. [035c] She hopes Morris will come up with a name for the girls’ house.

036 September 30, 1940. Western Union telegram to Morris from Dodd: “All is well. No word from Hook.”

October 1940

037 October 8, 1940. Address side of postcard to Morris with timestamp from Orlando, FL.
037a October 8, 1940. Message side of postcard to Morris from Hook. She hopes he has received bids on “Overlook House.” “Since you do not care for the garages, I feel that we might cut out the whole basement floor except for the boiler room.”

038 October 12, 1940. To Hook from (unsigned, likely Morris). If she can’t attend the October 8 board meeting, he asks that she submit “a report on the building program to date. … I think it would be helpful for the Board to understand the various difficulties in building here at Pine Mountain and especially how these difficulties are aggravated by distance.” Mr. Terney is expected today “to see what can be done about cutting down on the girls’ house.” Morris compares the cost of the workshop and the girls’ house and feels that “something (is) radically wrong somewhere.”

039 October 15, 1940. To Hook from (unsigned). “Because of the very high quotation given by Mr. Leech on the girls’ house, we thought it wise to have Mr. Terney come here for a conference. … As a result of careful examination of figures and previous costs of building, we have concluded that with great care we can build the girls’ house ourselves at nearly the figure authorized by the board.”

040-040c October 15, 1940. Four-page letter to Morris from Hook in Sarasota, FL, [040] who suggests using the report she sent Mrs. Gratz for the October 26 board meeting. “I was not able to secure the figures to go with the report on repairs. It could be very hard for anyone to estimate exactly what went into each building. So I suppose you will have to give a comprehensive figure on repairs.” (Notation by Morris in margin: “Gladys: I need this for the bd mtg.”) She doesn’t agree with Mr. Leech’s figures and feels that the girls’ house can be built for the sum set aside by reducing stonework and eliminating the concrete slab over the basement. [040a] Hook prefers wood instead of plaster in the bedrooms. She will have to miss the board meeting. [040b] Postscript to Gladys (Morris), describing the effect she wanted with skinned poles: “It takes away the hard look and gives the feel of the forest.” She is glad Jim Terney was at PMSS. [040c] Some stonework will need to be “cut out if we are to have anything left for furnishing.” 

041 A page from an unnamed June 1940 publication (page 407) showing images and plans for the staff quarters needed in conjunction with the construction of the Sunila plant. Images depict buildings with a series of setbacks on a hillside site, with balconies.

042 October 22, 1940. To Hook in Sarasota, FL, from (unsigned, apparently Morris), thanking her for the building report, which he will present to the Board. 

November – December 1940

043-043a November 1, 1940. Two-page letter to Morris from Hook, [043] enclosing a check from Mabel Keller of Wellesley, MA, a retired teacher. Asks about the board meeting. “I fear that Florida & Pine Mt. are always going to conflict. So I will have to give up one or the other. Oct. & April are the times I have to look after affairs here. This place has become a real responsibility. I fear that I [043a] will have to look after it and resign from the board. Too much long distance traveling without that plane we are going to get.” She heard from Paul Hayes that he was not going to be able to visit her. She hopes that Terney changed some of the girls’ house windows “to take away the institutional look.”

044 November 2, 1940. To Hook from Morris, reporting that PMSS had started building the girls’ house and trying to do it for $18,500 as told to the Board, but with rising prices for materials, it will “be an almost impossible task.” Asks Hook if she would ask the board for $2,000 more, “inasmuch as you are the official representative of the Board for building.” Laurel House may be finished in a month.

045 November 6, 1940. To Hook from (unsigned, apparently Morris), who regrets that she is thinking of leaving the board. “Paul Hayes has been accepted, I believe, at a Government Training School. In the meantime, Wilbur Wilder has asked me if he could not go to Florida and I advised him to write to you. … (Wilbur) hasn’t found what he wants yet…. He has had very good training in mechanics at Pine Mountain and has a good head. He is very anxious to go to Whispering Sands and the experience there would no doubt be good for him. He worked all last summer at a hotel at Alexandria Bay and seemed to like it there…. I should think he would be worth taking a chance on.”

046 November 11, 1940. Copy of Western Union telegram to Hook in Sarasota, FL, from Morris, recommending Maude Holbrook, PMSS kitchen manager, for a position at Whispering Sands. 

047-047a November 11, 1940. Two-page letter to Morris from Hook, [047] who describes a housekeeping position that’s open if Maude is interested: wait tables, clean guest rooms, help in the dining room; Hook gives salary information. [047a] Hook will discuss with Terney the possibility of asking the Board for an additional $2,000.

048-048a November 27, 1940. To Hook from Morris, [048a] who updates her about the building program, which includes Big Log as a Guest House and another house to be built in Saw Mill Hollow for boys now living at Far House. Gladys will be discussing all this with Hook. Morris hopes to have Thanksgiving dinner (and Ball) in Laurel House. Morris writes about the cost of girls’ house and the need for the extra $2,000. [048a] He gives his reasons for that need; describes the difficulties with excavating. Mrs. (Dorothy Olcott) Elsmith is buying the bell which we hope will ring out for the beginning of the Christmas festivities.”

049 December 3 1940. Message side of postcard to Morris from Hook, who reminds him that she is now in Kansas City. Also, she and Gladys have made changes which should be made before ordering windows, etc.
049a December 3, 1940. Address side of postcard to Morris with timestamp from Kansas City, MO.

050-050b December 12, 1940. To Morris from Hook, [050] describing her phone call with Terney. [050a] If Morris wants plans for remodeling Big Log and a new Boys’ House by April 11, they should be started now. Provides Terney’s address in Lexington. [050b] Barbara Spelman (PMSS bookkeeper) wrote to ask for an Auditors Report 1939-40. 

051 To Hook from (unsigned, apparently Morris). Mrs Elsmith is visiting PMSS for the Nativity Play and other Christmas activities. She is very pleased with Laurel House. “Work on girls’ house is going ahead nicely, … “We think, however, with very little alteration, the plans for girls’ house can be adapted for Boys’ House. … Yesterday, we rang the new bell on Laurel House. I wish you could have been here to share in all of the joy of that occasion. The bell has a deep tone, and I think it has had a profoundly psychological effect upon all of us.”

052 Address side of postcard to Glyn Morris with timestamp from Kansas City, MO, December 23, 1940.
052a December 23, 1940. Message side of postcard to Morris from Hook, who has written to Terney that Morris would like him to come to PMSS. “I am very anxious about the windows in girls’ house. They are going to look hard & harsh unless a few changes are made.” Hook received a “wonderful letter from D. Elsmith today! She is a marvel.” 

GALLERY: Mary Rockwell Hook Correspondence 1940 II Box 19: 2-85
Box 19 – Folder 2-85 (52 items)

MARY ROCKWELL HOOK Correspondence 1940 I Box 19: 2-84

See Also:


MARY ROCKWELL HOOK 1940 Architectural Review

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MARY ROCKWELL HOOK Correspondence Guide