ARCHIVE 2002 LaFollette Collections Report

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 00: Archive
Larry LaFollette Report 2002

ARCHIVE 2002 LaFollette Collections Report

The Historic Information Resources of Pine Mountain Settlement School: A Report on the Preservation and Access of the PMSS Archive, Special Collection, and Library was prepared by Larry La Follett, Archivist at the Southeast Community College, Harlan County, KY, on November 2, 2002. It is the most comprehensive preservation and access record of the Pine Mountain Settlement School collections as they existed in 2002. There are more recent assessments that contain preservation and access information, but none is more comprehensive than this document which captures the state of the collections at the School, prior to their consolidation in the Boy’s House (Library) archive.

Work area and photocopier Boys House (Library). Boxes of archival materials have been moved from West Wind storage area. SIA collction shown to rt. Unaccessioned materials stored on floor above. Archive/Library room. 2017. [P1060525.jpg]

Note: The text of the LaFollette Report, a thirteen-page document, has been annotated in this introduction [see brackets] in an attempt to record some of the critical activity more recently introduced to improve the collection storage since the 2002 report.

The original 2002 report includes the following sections


LaFollette stated at the time of the document’s preparation that he created the document for the PMSS Board of Trustees in 2002, and it was intended to outline the historical information resources at Pine Mountain and how they might be used to support the School’s mission. 

West Wind Records storage before clean. [P1060534.jpg]

“… with the intent of outlining the historical information resources contained within the School and facilitating a discussion on how those resources may best be utilized in support of the ongoing mission of the PMSS. The basic premise of this report is that utilization of the historical collections of the Pine Mountain Settlement School does not constitute the primary mission of PMSS. Obvious as this statement may seem at the outset, it is predicated upon the basic concept that these materials achieve their importance and value to the School only in so far as they support its ongoing activities and mission.

… In the end, this report is not so much about the present historical collections of the PMSS as it is about their future. As such, it is also a challenge to the Pine Mountain Settlement School Board of Directors to undertake a serious discussion and reach a consensus on the mission, goals, and objectives of the School. In so doing, the role of not just the PMSS historical collections, but all of the School’s information resources will be more fully understood, more capable of being effectively managed, and more able to contribute to the overall programming of the Pine Mountain Settlement School.

Larry LaFollette, 2002
West Wind financial and office Records after clean. Financial records still remain to be re-boxed. File cabinets have been emptied. [P1060525.jpg]

The LaFollette Report project was begun in January of 2002 at the request of Nancy Adams, the Director at the time. His first step was to locate and identify materials that would fall within the broad definition of “archival.” At that time he found the following physical collection to be spread throughout the campus. The majority of the holdings were, however, in the basement of West Wind in the “Electrical Room.”

  • 70 cubic feet — approximately 75% of the archival holdings were in West Wind
  • About 15 cubic feet or 15% of the archival holdings were in the main Office building
  • Approximately 10 cubic feet or 10% of the PMSS archival holdings were located in the “Pine Mountain Room” in Boy’s House [now “Library”]

On further inspection the West Wind holdings he determined to be near 90% or greater, so-called “support materials” not created by the School but “about” the School. He then re-defined “archival collections” of Pine Mountain Settlement School as distinct from “special collections”

“… those records (documents, letters, photographs, videos, audio recordings, as well as electronic media) created by PMSS staff or those under contract (formal or informal) to the school documenting the activities of Pine Mountain Settlement School.

LaFollette, Report, p.2 …

LaFollette then proceeded to draw further distinctions between the “archival material” and the “special collections” which he defined as “those items that support the archival materials intellectually, but are generally not unique and are quite often published and available from other sources.” He pointed to the large body of materials by and about Appalachian authors and musicians (largely books and musical scores and song-books). 

The materials processed by Berea for the SIA Archive project, LaFollette considered as “Archival collections and he outlines the Berea Series [*Note that 1 cubic foot is essentially one carton]:

  • Series I: Board of Trustees, Minutes and Reports 1913-1983, 1 cubic foot
  • Series II: Director’s Office Files 1916-1949, 27 cubic feet
    Sub-series A: Correspondence Files, 1916- 1949, 15 cubic feet
    Sub-series B: Subject Files, 1913-1949, 12 cubic feet
  • Series III: Student Records, c. 1919-1949, 26 cubic feet
  • Series IV: Library File, 1911-1983, 1 cubic foot
  • No Series but estimated 20 cubic feet of Financial Records from the founding of School to present.
  • *** See Guide to Berea BOX Series

Photograph album pages. [002_II_116_001.jpg]

Within the Pine Mountain Room collections, the LaFollette Report advises that the majority of the holdings were photographs broken into 20 separate series and numbering approximately 3,700 individual images [Berea count]. The Series for the Photographs was created by the SIA Project in 1983 and is reflected in the Berea SIA documentation. The original SIA photograph organization of the series is as follows

  • Series I: Kendall Bassett Photograph
  • Series II: Buildings Campus
  • Series III: Campus Life
  • Series IV: Christmas
  • Series V: Environmental Education
  • Series VI: Friends and Neighbors
  • Series XI: PMSS Early Days
  • Series XII: Helen de Long Photos
  • Series XIII: Arthur Dodd Photographs
  • Series XIV: Harmon Movie Stills
  • Series XV: Little Laurel/Line Fork
  • Series XVI: Ethel McCullough Photos
  • Series VII: Life and Work
  • Series VIII: Special Events
  • Series IX: Students
  • Series X: Workers
  • Series XVII: Medical Settlement Photos
  • Series XVIII: Margaret Motter Photos
  • Series XIX: Katherine True Photos
  • Series XX: Scenery

[The reproduction photos produced by Berea are currently in the PMSS Office in the Director’s office closet.] The boxed photos are 5 x 7 positive images [CONTACT PRINTS] which LaFollette noted were water damaged and contained mold residue. Another 100 lantern slides and 12 cubic feet of school records including correspondence, student records, and nursing records were also located in the Office building.

Archival papers challenge. Folders before processing by Fairmont University. Alpha Sigma Tau service project in West Wind. 2015.


The LaFollette Report then turns to specific collections of archival and special collections materials and suggests conservation and preservation measures that are urgent and that are recommended. The section PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE will be of interest to those seeking to define retention of collections and use of collections in the future. LaFollette’s report on planning for the future is briefly listed below.

  • Reestablish the ongoing relationship with Berea College
  • Rehouse 2 important collections: 3,700 5×7 copy photographs [cost $80.00] or polyester sleeves [$550 for project]
  • Rehouse conmingled archival and special collections material in the file cabinets (former Pine Mountain Room Collections) [process has been started] [cost $150 for boxes and 30-40 hours staff time]
  • Rehouse West Wind materials. [completed, with exception of financials, cost c. $400]
  • Environmental controls; dehumidification unit [HVAC/SplitVac system is allocated currently. cost $25,000]
  • Metal shelving
  • Address material created since 1983
  • Fire suppression system or fire-rated vault for materials not in duplicate formats
  • Creation of finding aids [partially completed]
  • Database development [currently over 2000 digital files, 29,000 images — combo of photographs and document images]
  • Technology and technical support [partially completed, CZUR scanner and 3 IMAC machines]
  • Collection development policy and other critical policies [largely completed — see ABOUT ]
  • Security [addressed to a large degree by addition of door and lock-down or archive area]
  • Imaging and reproduction online [see above for stats]
  • User policy [digital and in-person guidelines in place] Access not regularized.
  • Staffing not in place.
  • Fee schedule in place
  • Law. KRS 171.410 (Section 4) Public Records Law [currently applies to the holdings at PMSS and posting has been made to that effect].

Pine Mountain is deeply grateful for the concern that Nancy Adams, Director, demonstrated in support of the archival holding of Pine Mountain Settlement School during her tenure and for enlisting the assistance of Larry LaFollette to complete this preservation and access report of the Pine Mountain Settlement School Archive, Special Collections and Library.