Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography
PARK W. FISHER Correspondence WWI Mountain Lecture Series
TAGS: Park W. Fisher (1880-1959); WWII; World War II; WWII lecture series; Congregational church; fund-raising; war efforts; Ethel de Long; Unis Pratt; Piedmont College; Hindman Settlement School; Ruth Huntington; John C. Campbell; John C. Campbell Folk School; Olive Dame Campbell
In the early years of WWI Park W. Fisher (1880-1959), a Congregational minister and craftsman, initiated a series of lectures in support of the war effort. He proposed to take his message directly to the people in the Central and Southern Appalachian mountains where he had worked for some years.
His long-time interests in the arts and crafts of the Appalachians had made him a supporter of the region and its people. He called upon his deep Appalachian connections, particularly Pine Mountain Settlement School and later the John C. Campbell Folk School, to support his WWI fund-raising efforts. He was evidently quite persuasive.
In order to support his ambitious information and fun-raising project he enlisted the support of Pine Mountain Settlement School’s director, Ethel de Long. Following a series of back and forth correspondence he succeeded in convincing Ethel and the settlement school in Harlan County, Kentucky, to promote his efforts. Pine Mountain became a strong supporter of his initiative and they used their influence to move the program to reality through their deep connections in the region and in the school’s supporters in the Northeast and in Washington DC.
The following correspondence details the various exchanges that brought the program to life. Fisher’s work helped Kentucky and other Southern Appalachian states to become some of the leading contributors to the war effort. Despite the difficult process of securing funds for his project and his walking disability since birth and his travel by horse and buckboard, Fisher was a powerful persuader. He was able to move many families in the mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia to pull money from their small family incomes to support the war effort. Harlan County’s contributions to the war were particularly remarkable — due, in part, to Rev. Fisher’s work.
The hand-written letter to Ethel de Long, December 28, 1917 (fisher_park_w_002-002g), describes Rev. Fisher’s fund-raising vision.
GALLERY: PARK W. FISHER Visitor Correspondence
PARK W. FISHER Visitor