RUTH STRANG Consultant

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Consultants 
Series 13: EDUCATION
Ruth Strang, Consultant, Guidance Institutes, 1936-?
Ruth May Strang (1895-1971)


06_2446 Senior girls 1935. Chloe Smith, Rumile Shepherd, [?], Joanna Ayers, [?]. [098_IX_students_06_2446_002.jpg]

TAGS: Ruth Strang, Guidance Institutes leader, Ruth May Strang, Rural Youth Guidance Institute, Glyn Morris, vocational opportunities, vocational programming, household science, student personnel, Contributions to Guidance, guidance counseling, teachers, professors, Columbia University Teachers College

RUTH STRANG Consultant

Guidance Institutes Leader, 1935-?

Dr. Ruth Strang was an instrumental figure in the development of the Pine Mountain Settlement School Rural Youth Guidance Institutes. These annual week-long meetings, often held at Pine Mountain, were attended by hundreds of Harlan County educators, parents, ministers and other youth leaders.

The Pine Mountain Settlement School Rural Youth Guidance Institutes began in 1935 under the administration of then-director Glyn Morris. The Institutes remained an influence on the Pine Mountain programs until approximately 1945 when they continued as the Rural Youth Guidance Institute in Harlan County under other leaders, then was disbanded in the early 1960s. Throughout the years of their existence, the Pine Mountain Rural Youth Guidance Institutes evolved from their early focus on increasing vocational opportunities for rural youth to its later activities in providing county-wide vocational programming for the rural youth.

RUTH STRANG: Education and Experience

Ruth Strang began her studies in a far different field than the one that led her to work with the Guidance Institutes. Ruth’s parents expected her, their only daughter, to focus on studying skills that would prepare her for a domestic life of cooking and housekeeping. As a result, she attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn for two years studying household science. She then taught home economics in New York public schools from 1917 to 1920, her earliest foray into a career in education.

With little financial or moral support from her family, Ruth was nevertheless determined to further her education, showing a sense of independence and resolve that was seen again in her later endeavors in the field of education. She spent another four years at school, completing her B.S. (majoring in nutrition) and M.A. degrees at Columbia University’s Teachers College. She earned a Ph.D. in education in 1926.

A definite switch in focus occurred during Ruth’s year-long postdoctoral research fellowship at Teachers College in student personnel work, a field that was just beginning to be recognized.

In 1929 Ruth began employment at her alma mater, the Teachers College at Columbia University, as an assistant professor of education. During the years that followed, she was promoted several times, achieving full professorship in 1940. Her rise to this level was somewhat slow, considering the high regard her colleagues had for her work. Yet, to reach full professorship was remarkable for a woman in higher education at the time.

RUTH STRANG: Consultant At Pine Mountain

Ruth’s relationship with Pine Mountain Settlement School began in 1936 when she collaborated with Glyn Morris to develop the Rural Youth Guidance Institutes. She continued to act as a consultant for the Institutes for several years, at times attending the meetings in person at the School.

The Archives of the Pine Mountain Settlement School holds a typewritten 35-page paper titled “Contributions to Guidance,” written by Ruth Strang in 1936. It appears to have been generated especially for the Guidance Institute as no other copies of the text have been found elsewhere. The paper is an excellent example of Ruth’s teaching principles. In it, she wrote, “The central task of teaching is the best development of every child.” She believed strongly in parent/child/teacher interviews, student observation, medical and mental testing and record-keeping. She felt that “[t]he most effective learning takes place when reinforced by desire.” Her conviction, that guidance counseling was not only the responsibility of specialists but also that of trained teachers, was unconventional for its time.

It is interesting to note Glyn Morris’s later connection with Ruth Strang, as described in Alice Cobb’s book, War’s Unconquered Children Speak:

Director Glyn Morris left Pine Mountain in 1941 to join the war effort and was stationed in Europe as a war chaplain. His position at Pine Mountain was not held for him as the war was expected to persist for years. At war’s end he returned to work in Harlan County, however, as a school principal at Evarts, Kentucky. Following Evarts he went to Columbia University to work with Dr. Ruth Strang for his doctorate in education.

Cobb, Alice. War’s Unconquered Children Speak. Boston: Beacon Press, 1953. Print.

RUTH STRANG: Her Later Years

Even though Ruth accepted mandatory retirement from Columbia University at age 65 in 1960, she was not ready to slow down. She went on to work at the University of California at Berkeley for a summer, then as a professor of education at the University of Arizona at Tucson in the fall of 1960. In 1968, after retiring from the University of Arizona, she served a year as a visiting professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.

Ruth continued to hold other positions, wrote many books and articles and joined a wide array of professional associations. She devoted her life to developing a variety of areas in education, including student counseling, child development and reading instruction. Her many contributions to education were significant and continue to be recognized by educators to this day.

Although Ruth worked nonstop throughout her career, she suffered from several health ailments, including arteriosclerosis in her later years. Eventually, she returned to New York, where she had a home in Amityville on Long Island. She died in January 1971 in Danbury, Connecticut, at the age of 75.


Ruth May Strang was born on April 3, 1895, in Chatham, New Jersey. Her father, a farmer, was Charles Garret Strang (1849-1926) and her mother, Anna Bergen Strang (1854-1927). Ruth had two older brothers, Arthur Cornelis Strang (1880-1945) and Benjamin Bergen Strang (1889-1963).

See Also:
RUTH STRANG Contributions to Guidance
RYGI Rural Youth Guidance Institutes


Ruth Strang

Alt. Title

Dr. Ruth M. Strang ; Ruth May Strang ; R.M. Strang ; 



Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Ruth Strang ; Ruth M. Strang ; Ruth May Strang ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; Rural Youth Guidance Institute ; Glyn Morris ; vocational opportunities ; vocational programming ; household science ; student personnel ; Contributions to Guidance ; guidance counseling ; teachers ; professors ; Columbia University Teachers College ;

Subject LCSH

Strang, Ruth, — 1895 – 1971.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.


2020-07-03 aae


Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.




Collections ; text ; image ;


Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet.


Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Consultants
Series 13: EDUCATION




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Consultants ; Series 13: EDUCATION ; Series 21: RURAL YOUTH GUIDANCE INSTITUTES.

Coverage Temporal

1895 – 1971

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Brooklyn, NY ; Evarts, KY ; Tucson, AZ ;  Berkeley, CA ; Toronto, Ontario, Canada ; Danbury, CT ;


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.




Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Ruth Strang ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Ruth Strang ;




“[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

2023-05-20 aae ;



Lapp, Diane, Laura A. Guthrie & James Flood. “RUTH MAY STRANG (1895-1971) THE LEGACY OF A READING SAGE.” Reading Hall of Fame, Chapter 15, pp. 347-373. [accessed 07-05-2020]. Internet resource.

“Ruth Strang,” Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Consultants. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : Accessed 02 July 2020.), New Jersey > Morris > ED 49 Chatham Township Florham Park borough > image 8 of 29; citing NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). Internet resource.

Selected Bibliography

Strang, Ruth May, and Glyn Morris. Guidance in the Classroom. New York: Macmillan, 1964. Print.

Strang, Ruth M. An Introduction to Child Study. New York: Macmillan, 1969. Print.

Strang, Ruth M, and O L. Hatcher. Child Development and Guidance in Rural Schools. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1943. Print.

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