Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 05: Governance – Board of Trustees
Series 09: Biography – Trustees

Joseph Van Vleck Jr, Trustee 1941-1949

TAGS: Joseph Van Vleck Jr, Dr. Joseph Van Vleck, Alice Cobb, Hartford Seminary Foundation, Inc., Van Vleck House & Gardens, Van Vleck Family, The Montclair Foundation

Dr. Joseph Van Vleck Jr., a professor of Sociology from Montclair, New Jersey, and later Hartford, Connecticut, was a member of the Pine Mountain Settlement School Board of Trustees from 1941 until 1949.

Van Vleck’s Board activities included serving on the Education Committee, representing the Board at the May 1942 Guidance Institute and, in February 1942, meeting with Alice Cobb during one of her PMSS fundraising trips to the New Jersey area. In her travelogue she described him as ” fine — young, energetic, and very nervous, has fine family connections in Montclair.” As Miss Cobb and Dr. Van Vleck enjoyed lunch together, they discussed School matters. She later wrote about this meeting:

In conversation, although [we] hadn’t planned it so, [I] felt we touched on some rather vital points. Regarding publicity he feels the educational policy of the school ought to reach the elected officers of the state or the voting constituency in such a way that we could sometime turn the elections, put in state officers who would understand educational needs, and subsidize certain aspects and projects of our program. I thought it was a pipe dream to be sure, but all that we do, as he said, begins with dreams. Eventually that’s what we’d work toward anyway.

ALICE COBB Travelogue 1942. PMSS Collections Website.

Joseph Van Vleck Jr, Trustee: FAMILY HISTORY

In 1868 Van Vleck’s grandfather (Joseph Van Vleck 1839-1903) moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Montclair, New Jersey, where he built the first family home in the early 1870s. It lasted until the 1960s.

Meanwhile, in 1916, Van Vleck’s father, an architect, designed and built for his brother Charles, a classic Mediterranean-style villa and a greenhouse. Charles lived there until his death in 1923.

The property, surrounded by gardens that had been developed by two generations, was passed on to Van Vleck’s brother, Howard Van Vleck (1904-1992), who, like his father, was an architect and horticulturist. Howard and his family occupied the house from 1939 until c. 1989.

The 5.8-acre family property was donated by Howard Van Vleck’s heirs to The Montclair Foundation in 1993. Currently, the house serves as a center for non-profits and for interpretive, educational and outreach programs related to horticultural study. For more about the Van Vleck House and Gardens, go to

Joseph Van Vleck Jr., June 19,1924, Montclair, NJ. Passport Application photograph.

Dr. Joseph J. Van Vleck Jr. was born in Montclair, New Jersey, on September 16, 1901. His father was Joseph H. Van Vleck (1875-1948), an architect, also known as “Jr.” His mother was Carolyn Gertrude (Williams) Van Vleck (1875-1964). He had one sibling, Howard Austin Van Vleck (1904-1992).

On November 6, 1926, Van Vleck married Mary Burton (McLain) (1902-1964) in Massilon, Ohio. They had six children: Joseph Van Vleck 3rd, David Burton Van Vleck, Henry, Sarita, Mary and Cornelia. In later years, Van Vleck was married two additional times.

Van Vleck received a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Political Science at Columbia University, New York, in 1937. As of 1942, he was employed by the Hartford Seminary Foundation, Inc., in Hartford, Connecticut.

Joseph J. Van Vleck Jr. died on September 8, 1985, in Easton, Pennsylvania. He was buried in Mt. Hebron Cemetery, located in his place of birth, Montclair, New Jersey.

Return to BIOGRAPHY – A-Z

TitleJoseph Van Vleck Jr
Alt. TitleDr. Joseph Van Vleck Jr ; Dr. Joseph J. Van Vleck ;
Professor Van Vleck ;
CreatorPine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY
Alt. CreatorHelen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt
Subject KeywordJoseph Van Vleck jr ; Dr. Joseph J. Van Vleck ;
Professor Van Vleck ; Alice Cobb ; publicity ;
educational policies ; Hartford Seminary
Foundation, Inc. ; Columbia University ;
Van Vleck House & Gardens ; Van Vleck Family ;
The Montclair Foundation ;
Subject LCSHJoseph J. Van Vleck Jr., — 1901-1985.
Pine Mountain (Ky.) Settlement School — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Date07 October 2019 aae
PublisherPine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY
Contributor n/a
TypeCollections ; text ; image ;
FormatOriginal and copies of documents and correspondence
in ile folders in filing cabinet.
SourceSeries 05: Governance – Board of Trustees and
Series 09: Biography – Trustees.
RelationIs related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School
Collections, Series 05: Governance – Board of
Trustees and Series 09: Biography – Trustees.
1901 – 1985
Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Massillon,
OH ; Montclair, NJ ; Hartford, CT ; New York, NY ;
Allentown (Easton), PA ;
RightsAny 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.
DescriptionCore documents, correspondence, writings and
administrative papers created by or addressed to
Joseph Van Vleck Jr. ; clippings, photographs, publications,
illustrations by or about Joseph Van Vleck Jr..
Citation“[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series
Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement
School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain
Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.
Processed ByHelen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;
Last Updated
BibliographyVan, Vleck H. A. Housing and Community Development in
East Kentucky, a Study in Feasibility and Management.
Cambridge, Mass., 1967. Print.

Van, Vleck J. Our Changing Churches, a Study of Church
Leadership by Joseph Van Vleck Jr, Submitted in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Political Science,
Columbia University. New York: Association Press, 1937. Print.
“Connecticut, World War II Draft Registration
Cards,1940-1945,” database with images, FamilySearch
accessed 05 Oct 2019). (National Archives and Records
Administration at St. Louis, Missouri, n.d.). Internet resource.

“Joseph Van Vleck Jr. ” ALICE COBB Travelogue 1942 ;
HISTORY PMSS Summary 1941-1942,1942-1943. 1948-49.
Series 05: Governance – Board of Trustees and
Series 09: Biography – Trustees. Pine Mountain
Settlement School Institutional Papers.
Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.
Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1910,” database with images,
FamilySearch (

: accessed 05 0ct 2019), New Jersey > Essex > Montclair
Ward 2 > ED 194 > image 21 of 32; citing NARA microfilm
publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives
and Records Administration, n.d.). Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1940,” database with images,
FamilySearch (
: accessed 4 October 2019),
Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records
Administration, 2012. Internet resource.

“United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014,”
database with images, FamilySearch 
( :
accessed 8 October 2019), Dr Joseph Van Vleck,
Allentown, Pennsylvania, 08 Sep 1985; from
“Recent Newspaper Obituaries (1977 – Today),” database, Internet resource.

“United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925,”
database with images, FamilySearch
: accessed 06 Oct 2019).
(Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records
Administration, n.d.) Internet resource.

Van Vleck House & Gardens. “House History.” accessed 08 Oct 2019.
Internet resource.