GOVERNANCE BOT 1931 Correspondence

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 05: GOVERNANCE – Board of Trustees
BOT Correspondence 1931
Hiring of Glyn Morris as PMSS Director

GOVERNANCE 1931 BOT Corespondence

Glyn and Gladys Morris, c. 1930s. [kingman012mod]

GOVERNANCE BOT 1931 Correspondence
May 1 – May 22, 1931

TAGS: governance, Board of Trustees correspondence, PMSS Board of Trustees, Frank C. Foster, Arthur L. Swift, Jr., Union Theological Seminary, Angela Melville, Evelyn K. Wells, Darwin D. Martin, nursing,  Stanley B. Hazzard, New York City Baptist Mission Society, Celia Cathcart Holton, Frank Page, Ruth B. Gaines, Elizabeth Hench, Medical Settlement, books about Appalachia

CONTENTS: GOVERNANCE BOT 1931 Correspondence

[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 others are typewritten originals unless specified otherwise. The following list of contents is in chronological order and not necessarily in the order of the image numbers.]

MAY 1-10, 1931

011-011a May 1, 1931, Two-page letter to Evelyn K. Wells at PMSS from Frank C. Foster. “It is rather a painful decision for us to give, not to accept the inviting opportunity which you have in the school.” However, he feels he must decline the invitation to apply for the PMSS director position. He will be at an Indian school in Oklahoma next year, instead. Mr. Barker at the Seminary is still interested in the position. He also suggests the name of a graduating student: Glyn Morris. He describes Morris’s background and that of Mrs. Morris. Foster learned of him through Professor [Arthur L.] Swift.

010-010a May 1, 1931. Two-page letter to Wells from Mrs. Frank C. [Katherine C.] Foster, NYC, NY. She describes her letter as a supplement to Mr. Foster’s letter concerning Morris as a possible PMSS director. “I [am] very positive that he and Mrs. Morris, were almost ‘made to order.’” She states her opinions of Mr. and Mrs. Morris, all favorable. “His ‘lack’ seems to be in the field of theoretical co-operative education and his youth may seem to be a handicap. But since he has had unusually wide experience personally and has lived intelligently in applied ‘work and study,’ this defect might more easily be remedied by a visit to Antioch [College] and reading of reports in the field….”

009-009a May 4, 1931. Two-page letter to Wells from Arthur L. Swift, Jr., Union Theological Seminary, NYC. Swift regrets that Frank Foster had decided not to accept the offer to apply for the PMSS director position. He then “heartily” recommends Glyn A. Morris as a candidate, who graduates this year. He describes the Morrises and their family, talents, education, employment, and personality.

004-004a May 5, 1931. Two-page letter to Mr. and Mrs. Morris, Union Theological Seminary, NYC, from [unsigned, Wells], Acting Director. [004] Wells writes that, due to a letter of recommendation from Mr. and Mrs. Foster for Morris, the School would “very much like to consider you.” Wells reviews the descriptions of a PMSS directorship’s duties that the Fosters provided Morris, including understanding the needs of the students and workers, managing PMSS literature sent to friends, administering funds, representing the School through the countryside, and providing “religious education and applied Christianity.” She addresses the local “industrial problems” disorder due to attempts to organize a union in the coal camps. [004a] Wells also notes the “health question,” which may interest Mrs. Morris. Salary will be $2500 a year, with 2 months’ vacation with salary. Three meals a day and a house with light, heat and service (student help) will be provided. Asks Morris to meet with Angela Melville in Plainfield, NJ, to discuss the position. She introduces Melville as a PMSS trustee and, for 2 years, Associate Director with co-founder, Miss [Katherine] Pettit. After the meeting, Morris should send his formal application to Darwin D. Martin, President of the Board, Buffalo, NY. She also encourages a visit to the School. “We are 36 hours from New York.” She proposes a timetable for the visit.

003-003m [No date.] Handwritten 14-page letter to [no salutation] from Angela [Melville] stating her observations of Mr. and Mrs. Morris whom she had just met. [003] Morris is described as “sincere, quietly enthusiastic, gifted, I think. Interested. I think he can do the job. My only question would be the workers’ reaction to: size, social station, youth – he is only 26. I think the children would like him as soon as they got his feel. I did.” [003a] Wonders about Miss Jaines[?]; ”told her that the salary was $75.00 a month.” [003b] Jaines hopes to hear whether she would be offered the position. [003c] Melville had asked Morris, “Did Miss Wells write suggesting you come down?” and he answered he would be doing so on Wednesday. [003d] Describes her reactions to Mr. and Mrs. Morris: 

She seems quite nice. Has had splendid nursing experience. They’ve been married 2 1/4 years. She is 30, which is a help. I liked them both & I think they might be [003e] people who would look upon it as their life job. Whether he is a big enough person to hold the type of worker we have now I can’t tell….. He was born in Wales. Came to America at 4 years [of age]. Has worked in the mines, in a steel plant, in an office. And has done good work with boys…. He sings, [003f] plays basketball. Would, I gather, know all the practical things well – coal mine, light plant, reservoir, etc. ….

[003g] Suggests sending her observations to Mr. Martin and, if appropriate, Morris could stop in Buffalo to meet with Martin. [003h] As a reference, Morris provided Mr. Hazzard, who was in charge of Riverdale Chapel in Yonkers, where Morris did work with boys. “I asked [Morris] if he was a humble person. He said he thought too much so.” [003i] Morris was suggested to PMSS by the Fosters. She mentions Mr. Page [003j] as another candidate. [003k] Melville lists reasons “for” and “against” accepting Morris as director, the balance being in his favor. Suggests [003l] having Morris speak to the children about his past work as a test. Signed “Angela.” [003m] “He is a Presbyterian but understands that no theology is taught. If he’s here for Sunday I will of course make him do it!”

MAY 11-22, 1931

007 May 11, 1931. To Darwin D. Martin, Buffalo, NY, from “Glyn Allen Morris” in New York City. Morris had a long conversation with Melville about the PMSS director position. He is interested and presents his formal application.

006 May 12, 1931. To Melville in Plainfield, NJ, from Stanley B. Hazzard on letterhead for New York City Baptist Mission Society. He describes Morris’s work for two years with the organization, expressing praise for his work with the boys and young people.

008-008a May 16, 1931. Two-page letter to “Celia” [Cathcart] from [unsigned, possibly Melville]. [008] Melville and Miss [Elizabeth] Hench have asked Morris to meet with Cathcart. Encloses letters about him. She describes Morris: “thoughtful, modest, but with self-confidence…I believe that he has been a bit overwhelmed by the place.” She then lists “alternatives if we do not take the Morrises”: (1) Carl Shoesmith from California who Pettit feels is very worth considering; (2) Mr. Frank Page, 52, now headmaster of a preparatory school for boys at Great Neck, LI, NY. Morris can arrive June 1st and “spend the summer soaking it all in…. He could take on the big boys, our greatest problem, at once.” Miss [Ruth B.] Gaines and Miss Hench like him. [008a] Mentions possible future nursing position for Mrs. Morris. 

005 May 20, 1931. To Martin from “EKW” [Wells], Acting Director. Wells still has lingering doubts about hiring Morris: “I think he is safe, but not the man to develop Pine Mountain in its largest aspects.” She then tells about her visit to the Medical Settlement: about Miss Taylor’s able management of the place. “…[How the neighborhood needs them!” in spite of Miss Hench’s reservations about “the expense in these hard times. I believe the money will come in.” As she walked “back up Greasy,” she visited about fifteen houses, each filled with children, and only a few people over 50. “It’s a young country down that way, and looking to us.” Describes the district school at Little Laurel, taught by one of Uncle William’s granddaughters and a former PMSS student.

001 May 22, 1931. Copy of a letter to Glyn Morris, New York, NY, from Darwin D. Martin, President, Board of Trustees, PMSS, Inc. Martin confirms Morris’s “appointment as Director of Pine Mountain Settlement School for the ensuing school year, with a salary of $2400, and the living of Mrs. Morris and yourself, with sole occupancy of Zande Memorial house. Living expenses include meals in the Laurel House dining room or “an equal supply at your home.” He describes the other terms of the appointment: vacation, beginning date of June 15 (1931), unless Morris can arrive before June 10, when Miss [Evelyn] Wells departs. Copies to Melville, Wells, [Celia Cathcart] Holton, [Mary Rockwell] Hook, Pettit, Hench, [Charles N.] Manning.

Martin suggests calling on Rev. Paul S. Heath, “my young friend…pastor of the First Presbyterian Church”if Morris visits his hometown of Wilkes Barre [PA]. In a postscript, Martin suggests reading “The Southern Highland and His Homeland by John C. Campbell of the Sage Foundation, as preparation for his new job. He also suggests The Carolinas by Margaret Morley and Our Southern Highlanders by Horace Kephart.

002-002a May 22, 1931. Two-page letter to Wells at PMSS, from Martin, Buffalo, NY. [002] Martin quotes from a reply by “night letter” from Morris, who accepts the position as PMSS Director. Morris wishes to not begin until mid-June. Martin encloses Martin’s confirmation of the appointment. Martin wrote, “I am in a particularly amiable and relieved frame of mind.” Martin again reflects on the misgivings of some on the BOT regarding Morris’s “lack of social background.” However, he notes that “a graduate of Union Theological Seminary has social background all over me….” [002a] He notes Wells’ hesitance concerning Morris; encloses Manning’s letter [apparently also expressing hesitancy.] In any case, he is confident that hiring Morris is the right decision.

GALLERY: GOVERNANCE BOT 1931 Correspondence

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See Also:
GLYN MORRIS Director – Biography