Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 05: Governance – Board of Trustees

Series 09: Biography – Trustees

FRANCIS S. HUTCHINS, PMSS Trustee 1949-1986

TAGS: Dr. Francis S. Hutchins, Francis Stephenson Hutchins, Berea College, PMSS Board of Trustees, Yale-In-China (Yali), Oberlin College, Dr. Louise Francis (Gilman) Hutchins, Mountain Maternal Health League, William J. Hutchins, World War II, college presidents, honorary trustees, surveys, Fu Liang Chang 

Before Francis S. Hutchins became president of Berea College in 1939 at age 37 and a member of the Pine Mountain Settlement School Board of Trustees in 1949, he and his wife, Louise, had already undergone profound life experiences.

Francis S. Hutchins: HIS YALE-IN-CHINA TOUR, 1925-1937

Francis S. Hutchins (1902-1988).

While studying at Oberlin (Ohio) College in the 1920s, Francis Hutchins won a teaching assignment to the Shansi Memorial School in north China. After two years, 1922-1924 in China, he returned to Oberlin to complete his degree. At both Shansi and Oberlin he learned more about the Yale-in-China Association and offered to return to China for an extended tour. Although not entirely qualified, his abilities were impressive enough to gain him an invitation in 1925 to join the Yale-in-China staff at Changsha, Hunan province, to teach English.

By 1928 Hutchins, representing the Yale-in-China Association trustees, was entrusted to take over varied administrative needs of the Yale-in-China college. Despite the fact that there were now hostilities throughout the country, his devotion to serving the people of China became stronger.

Francis S. Hutchins: MARRIAGE IN 1934

During his time in Changsha, Hutchins met and married Louise Francis Gilman in 1934. She was born in China in 1911, the daughter of Episcopal missionaries and educated at Wellesley College and Cornell University.

While Francis continued his duties in China, Louise studied at Yale University Medical College, earning her M.D. in 1936. Then Louise rejoined Francis in China and completed her internship in pediatrics at the Hunan hospital in Changsha. She devoted her practice to the care of women and children. However, she served at the Hunan hospital only a year before Imperial Japan invaded China.

Francis S. Hutchins: PRESIDENT OF BEREA COLLEGE, 1939-1967

As the Nationalist Chinese forces retreated from the Japanese incursion, they burned the city of Changsha to deprive the enemy of the city’s resources. During this time Francis, Louise and their first child, Anne, suffered great difficulties, including a harrowing period of time when the Hutchins became separated. When his wife and child were finally safe in Shanghai, Francis began to consider his uncertain future.

In 1938, Hutchin’s father, William J. Hutchins, president of Berea College since 1920, decided to retire even though his project to reorganize the institution had only just begun. After a long search for a successor, the college board approached Francis, who reluctantly agreed to accept the position.

Francis S. Hutchins arrived on Berea’s campus in September 1939 knowing that he would have to quickly learn the School’s then complex situation and its primary mission to provide high-quality education for students from Appalachia, regardless of their economic or geographic obstacles. He saw a program that united scholarship and labor as a viable means to overcome the economic barrier.

Hutchins’ wife, Louise, joined her husband at Berea College when William became president. She served as the College’s pediatrician and also as the physician for the Mountain Maternal Health League which advanced family planning.

Louise retired from the College in 1967 and received an honorary degree. But her work didn’t end there. She went on to complete a residency in gynecology in Hong Kong, then returned to Berea to continue to improve the lives of Kentucky’s women and children for the rest of her life.

By end of Francis S. Hutchin’s administration after 28 years of service, Berea College had endured World War II, experienced curricular and administrative reorganization and had returned to its historic ideal of integrated education. The endowment was substantially increased, the college program had been advanced, and student enrollment and the size of the faculty had increased.

On May 26, 1966, a cornerstone for the new library on Berea College campus was laid. The building was dedicated on October 25 and 26, 1966, to Presidents William James (1920-1939) and Francis Stephenson Hutchins (1939-1967). Together, father and son had served the College for forty-seven years.

Willis D. Weatherford succeeded Francis S. Hutchins as president of Berea College. Weatherford was followed by John B. Stephenson (1984-1994), then Larry D. Shinn (1994-2012). All have been members of PMSS Board of Trustees. The ninth and current president (2012- ), Lyle D. Roelofs, continues in that tradition.


On April 22, 1949, a resolution regarding the relationship between Berea College and the Pine Mountain Settlement School was recorded in the minutes of the PMSS Board. It described the close and cooperative arrangement in which Berea “provides guidance and counsel to Pine Mountain through at least four trustee positions and in other appropriate ways.” However, the finances, operations or obligations of both institutions would remain separate.

As a result of this resolution and in 1949, the same year of its implementation, Francis S. Hutchins became a member of the PMSS Board of Trustees.

Francis’ acquaintance with the Pine Mountain Settlement School began during his father’s term as president of Berea College, 1920 until 1939. William J. Hutchins is recorded by The Pine Cone as visiting the School during the Glyn Morris administration as early as 1934 to preach “a splendid sermon.”

Throughout his years on the Board Francis S. Hutchins was an energetic supporter of the School. Hutchins is mentioned in CONIFER of 1944 as one of several “dynamic visiting speakers” at the Easter service. According to PMSS Notes of January 1946,

[the School’s] trustees, staff, friends and neighbors paid homage to the school’s founders, honoring the 100th birthday anniversaries of Uncle Wm and Aunt Sal Creech. … Dr. Francis S. Hutchins…made the principal address, his theme being the need for a school which is the servant and friend of its community, and the working together of these two groups in a common task, toward a common goal.”

Pine Mountain Settlement School Notes, January 1946, Vol. XIX, No. 1.

Later, The Pine Cone of February 1949 states that Francis Hutchins spoke in PMSS chapel several times and that, during his tour in China, he had met Burton Rogers, a teacher and then director of the School for 24 years beginning in 1949. This close relationship was an important factor in the stability of the smaller institution, Pine Mountain, during some difficult transition years.


Francis Hutchins at head of table, Burton Rogers to his right. [65_events-visitors_022.jpg]

For example, in November 1949, an article in NOTES expresses appreciation for Hutchins during the School’s transition from boarding school to a community school:

President Hutchins and members of the Berea staff have been of the greatest help during these days of reorganization, not only with suggestions and advice in their specialized fields, but in the location of needed personnel. …

Pine Mountain Settlement School Notes, November 1949, Vol. XXIV, No. 1.

One of the individuals whose analysis and research work was instrumental in moving the reorganization of Pine Mountain’s program forward was a colleague known by both Burton Rogers and Francis Hutchins from their days together at Yali, the Yale in China program. In 1951, Hutchins assigned a survey to Fu Liang Chang, then an employee of Berea College, with the goal of helping PMSS develop a strategic plan. The 1951 survey titled, “Whither Pine Mountain?,”** determined that Pine Mountain could no longer support a full residential school. Chang’s survey evaluated the educational, medical and agricultural needs of five school districts served by PMSS. It would be difficult to determine just how much of Chang’s recent experience filtered into his Pine Mountain survey, but certainly he had adequate models against which to measure economic, social, agricultural, and educational change.

**A detailed summary and images of Chang’s survey, titled Whither Pine Mountain?: A Survey of Pine Mountain can be seen here.

The deep bond that Chang and his wife shared with Francis and Louise Hutchins and also with Burton and Mary Rogers at Pine Mountain brought many of their common experiences together as part of the process of determining Pine Mountain’s future. The Hutchins and the Changs had met in the 1920s when they both held teaching positions at Yali, the Yale-in-China program, and together they experienced the horrific effects of the Japanese invasion and the severe impact on the Chinese economy and on the country’s agricultural base. Chang and his wife experienced further hardship as they endured the establishment of the Mao regime. They left their homeland in 1949, the same year that Pine Mountain made the dramatic shift to its community school program.

While Chang’s career in China had focused on sociology, rural reconstruction, forestry, and botany, it was Hutchin’s belief that Chang’s skills and the many lessons he learned in rural China would be useful in understanding the changes occurring in rural Appalachia. Yet, it was not to further studies in sociology, rural reconstruction, forestry and botany that Chang turned when he again arrived in America in 1949. It was to a deeper study of theology. With the assistance of the Hutchins, he entered into studies at the Yale Divinity School.

Hutchins continued to demonstrate his keen interest in the welfare of the Pine Mountain Settlement School in his roles as chairman of the Board, chairman of the Subcommittee on a Philosophy of Pine Mountain Settlement School as of 1978 and finally as an honorary trustee beginning in 1986.

Francis S. Hutchins: FAMILY BACKGROUND

Francis S. Hutchins was born on August 17, 1902, in Northfield, Massachusetts. He was the third and youngest son of Rev. William James Hutchins and Anna Laura (Murch) Hutchins. His brothers were Robert Maynard Hutchins and William Grosvenor Hutchins. Robert Maynard Hutchins assumed his own accolades as the President of the University of Chicago and a national leader in the field of progressive education.

As of 1910 and 1920 U.S. Censuses, the family was living in Oberlin Village, Ohio, and William J. Hutchins was listed as a clergyman and professor in the School of Theology.

Francis S. Hutchins was the husband of Dr. Louise Frances (Gilman) Hutchins (1911–1996). Their four children were Anne Hutchins McManus (born in China), Francis Gilman Hutchins, William Maynard Hutchins and Robert Lawrence Rosser-Hutchins.

Francis Stephenson Hutchins died at age 86 on November 28, 1988, in Berea, Kentucky. He and wife are buried in the Berea Cemetery, close to the college they served so faithfully for so many years..

Return to BIOGRAPHY – A-Z

Title Francis S. Hutchins
Alt. Title Francis Stephenson Hutchins ; Dr. Francis S. Hutchins ; Frank Hutchins ;
Creator Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY
Alt. Creator Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt
Subject Keyword Francis Stephenson Hutchins ; Dr. Francis S. Hutchins ;
Dr. Louise Francis (Gilman) Hutchins ; college presidents ;
Mountain Maternal Health League ; William J. Hutchins ;
World War II ; honorary trustees, surveys ; Fu Liang Chang ;
Subject LCSH Francis S. Hutchins, — 1902-1988.
Pine Mountain (Ky.) Settlement School — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Date 2019-08-30 aae
Publisher Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY
Contributor n/a
Type Collections ; text ; image ;
Format Original and copies of documents and correspondence in
file folders in filing cabinet.
Source Series 09: Biography – Trustees ; Series 05: Governance –
Board of Trustees
Language English
Relation Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School
Collections, Series 09: Biography – Trustees ;
Series 05: Governance – Board of Trustees ;
1902 – 1988
Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Berea, KY ;
Changsa, China ; Oberlin, OH ; Shanghai, China ;
Hong Kong ; Northfield, MA ;
Rights Any display, publication or public use must credit
the Pine Mountain Settlement School.
Copyright retained by the creators of certain items
in the collection or their descendants, as stipulated
by United States copyright law.
Donor n/a
Description Core documents, correspondence, writings and
administrative papers created by or addressed to
Francis S. Hutchins ; clippings, photographs, publications,
illustrations by or about Francis S. Hutchins.
Acquisition n/d
Citation “[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series
Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement
School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain
Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.
Processed By Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;
Last Updated 2019-09-28 aae; 2019-10-04 hhw;
Sources “Francis S. Hutchins.” Series 09: Biography – Trustees and
Series 05: Governance – Board of Trustees. Pine Mountain
Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain
Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“Louise Gilman Hutchins, M.D., First Lady: 1939-1967.”
Berea College Magazine, Summer2019.
Summarized by Daniela I. Pirela Manares ’20 May 6, 2019.
Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1910,” database with images,
FamilySearch (
61903/1:1:ML8C-3K4 : accessed 4 September 2019),
Francis S Hutchins in household of William J Hutchins,
Oberlin, Lorain, Ohio, United States. Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1920,” database with images,
: accessed 4 September 2019),
Francis S Hutchins in household of William J
Hutchins, Russia, Lorain, Ohio. Internet resource.

“United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014,”
database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch
: accessed 4 September
2019), Francis S Hutchins, Kentucky, United States, 30
Nov 1988; from “Recent Newspaper Obituaries
(1977 – Today),” database,
( : 2014);
citing Lexington Herald-Leader, born-digital text.
Internet resource.

Wilson, Shannon. Berea College: An Illustrated History.
Univ of Ky, 2006, page 129. Print.