Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 00: Archive
Overview of SIA Proposal
ARCHIVE 1982 Fredrika Teute Overview of Proposal for Archiving SIA Collections
TAGS: Pine Mountain Settlement School Archive, archives, Settlement Institutions of Appalachia, SIA, microfilming, institutional archives, Fredrika Teute, history Central Appalachians, settlement schools, history
In 1982 an initiative was formed to address the preservation of archives associated with the rural settlement movement in the Central Appalachian mountains. Fredrika Teute was charged with the responsibility of describing the current state of archives in the rural settlement schools target for a microfilming project to preserve their institutional histories.
Teute provides a historical overview of the settlement house movement and draws a distinction between the urban settlement house and rural settlement institutions. She gives a brief history of the institutions and mentions Hindman Settlement School, Red Bird Mission, Caney Creek Settlement (Alice Lloyd College), Pine Mountain Settlement School, Sunset Gap School (TN), Henderson Settlement, Stuart Robinson, Kingdom Come Settlement, Lotts Creek Community School, Hazel Green Academy, and Oneida Baptist Institute. She describes the severe risk to the schools that have remained active saying
“Even for the ones still active, their futures are not clear, their relationships to the communities not well defined.”Fredrika Teute
Teute makes it absolutely clear that the “settlement institutions have played a very significant role in the history and changes in Appalachia since the turn of the century.”
Of those schools identified, Teute notes that Pine Mountain holds the largest collection and the most complete. Further she cites the rich holdings of donated materials from former workers and laudes the organization of the records as better than their cohort. The relative isolation of the site has served to but protect and render invisible one of the most valuable resources for understanding the Appalachian region and its progress through over 100 years.
Teute targets another small group of schools that are suitable for archival preservation. The materials such as correspondence, newsletters, brochures, catalogs, programs, schedules, Board of Directors minutes and reports, auditor’s reports, ledgers, budgets, student and personnel records, plays, poems, newspapers and magazine articles, ballad collections, observations on Appalachian speech, diaries, and photographs, vary from institution to institution. Of these collections, Teute cites the photograph collections as the most extensive and richest material collectively. She also cites the especially rich records at Pine Mountain, Red Bird, and Lotts Creek that address surface mining.
The literary history found in the work of those who worked at the settlement schools is also noted by Teute. Authors such as Lucy Furman, Josiah Combs, James Still, Anne Cobb at Hindman and Alice Cobb at Pine Mountain. The objective of the microfilm project is described as follows
” … to locate and inventory the archives remaining at the various schools. This was done in August and September 1979 the objects of the second phase of the project … to organize the records and create a finding guide at each place so as to preserve the archives and make them more usable at the schools; and to duplicate and deposit a large selection of the materials at a scholarly repository. This would be mandatory to safeguard against loss of the originals and to make them accessible to those researchers interested in using them. An overall catalog for all of the collections would be placed at that institution.Fredrika Teute [c.1980]
The process for enacting the microfilm project as decribed by Teute included staffing the project with an archivist, a microfilm and photographic technician, and a field researcher to locate additional records and oversee the transfer of documents to a central processing institution. Teute suggests that the field researcher and transfer coordinator be the same as the project director ( The Project Director duty was given to Mike Mullins, Director at Hindman).
- Organize the records and create finding guide at each institution
- Duplicate and deposit large selection of materials at a scholarly repository
- Create a catalog for each institution in project to be used at site
- Gather oral histories and additional material
- Develop a workshop to train each school in methods of maintenance and archiving
Teute summarizes her report with the following observation
“The most important point is that these records are in danger of perishing or disappearing altogether. As directors change, people move away or die, schools close, the records are diminished or dispersed. Fires and floods have occurred; there are gaps in the records already as a result at every school. Such disasters will occur again. For a region that is known for its oral tradition rather than its written, the written records at the settlement institutions of Appalachia should be all the more prized — and preserved.”Fredrika Teute