PARK W. FISHER Correspondence I

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Visitors, Friends
Park W. Fisher Correspondence I

PARK W. FISHER Correspondence I, 1917 – 1918
WWI Mountain Lecture Tour

TAGS: Park W. Fisher, WWII, World War II, WWII lecture series, fundraising, war efforts, Ethel de Long Zande; Unis Pratt, Hindman Settlement School, John C. Campbell, John C. Campbell Folk School, Evelyn K. Wells, Kentucky State Council of Defense, War Savings Drive, National War Work Council of the YMCAs of the U.S., influenza epidemic, stereopticon lectures, American Red Cross

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.

In order to support his ambitious information and fundraising project he enlisted the support of Pine Mountain Settlement School’s director, Ethel de Long Zande. Following a series of back and forth correspondence he succeeded in convincing Mrs. Zande and the settlement school in Harlan County, Kentucky, to promote his efforts.

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.

The handbill he wrote and his handwritten letter to Ethel de Long, December 28, 1917, describe Rev. Fisher’s fundraising vision. (See images #002, #076 and #077 in Contents and Gallery below.)

[NOTE: Letters from PMSS staff in the PMSS Collections are carbon copies, typewritten, unsigned, and meant for the Office files. The original signed copies were sent to the correspondents. The initials at the bottom left of most PMSS letters indicate the writer (along with initials of the secretary). For example “deL” or “EZ” are the initials for Ethel de Long Zande. Mr. Fisher’s letters are typewritten unless indicated otherwise. The following list of contents is in chronological order and not necessarily in the order of the image numbers.]

[002] through [022g] December 28, 1917. 8-page handwritten letter to Miss Ethel de Long from Park W. Fisher in Moline, IL, [002] who came to Moline two weeks ago and found rooms. Will work at the Rock Island Arsenal next week in the Rifle Dept. [002a] Mentions Mrs. Fisher, work at Leburn and the turkey he sent. [002b] His work at the Arsenal will provide material for his lecture and put him “in touch with men who know.” Miss [Ruth] Huntington brought a Red Cross nurse from Washington who is supportive. [002c] Asked Unis Pratt from Piedmont College to be his assistant. Prof. [John C.] Campbell suggests his itinerary. [002d] Needs a horse and about $100 per month since he has “wife and babies” to provide for; If Unis comes, too, he will need a horse and $100 a month, due to next year’s college expenses. [002e] Will ask U.S. President Wilson for a letter to read during his lectures. [002f] Asks her to get permission from the New York Times and Illustrated London News to use their pictures for slides. [002g] Enjoyed Pine Mt. and wants to return.

[001] January 3, [1918]. To Fisher from [unsigned, apparently Evelyn K. Wells], Secretary, informing Fisher that Miss de Long is away but will respond to his letter when she returns to the School.

[003] January 29, 1918. To Fisher from deL (Ethel de Long). Cannot pay Unis’s expenses and asks Fisher to work alone for a while to see how he does. She agrees with his plans but asks that he write to the New York Times.

[004], [004a] February 7, 1918. Two-page letter to de Long from Fisher, Demorest, GA, explaining his move to Georgia and declining the Arsenal job; another source of income for Unis; why he needs a one-horse wagon and tent which he will purchase. They will bring their cornets; tells his plans concerning copyright permissions; getting a letter from Pres. Wilson. [004b] He is ready to work on the slides; wants to start out early April and return to Kentucky next month; wants to send out advertising. “The war situation looks as ho we are all going to have to do all we can in order to accomplish the desired end – the overthrow of Prussianism. I am anxious to get at my part.” Mrs. Fisher is improved; Ida Pratt, Unis’s cousin, has entered Piedmont.

[005], [005a] N.D. Two-page printed fundraising handout titled “War Lectures Needed!” from Park W. Fisher, Pastor Mill Creek Congregational Church, Leburn, Knott Co., KY. [005] stressing the need to educate people in isolated parts of the mountains about the progress and purpose of the war (WWI). “My eight years of experience in the Kentucky mountains enables me now to see the need and opportunity of the hour and I have volunteered to do my bit by going this year to these isolated sections and giving Stereopticon Lectures covering the various phases of the War. I plan not only to encourage voluntary enlistment but to present the Liberty Loan, War Savings and Red Cross work as well. [005a] His plan is to speak in schoolhouses in Eastern Kentucky, Tennesee, North Carolina and Georgia; his traveling expenses are being arranged for by Ethel de Long; the Committee on Public Information procured copyrighted war pictures on slides; others contributed a harness, a team of horses, and carbide for the lantern but he needs $400 to $500 for other equipment.

[006], [006a] February 16, 1918. To Mr. A.W. Underwood, Chicago, IL, from deL (de Long), who describes Fisher’s plans and her desire to raise money for his lecture tours. De Long asks Underwood for help in finding contributors.

[007] February 20, 1918. To Fisher, Demorest, GA, from deL (de Long), who tells him she is asking people for money and suggestions; “best to try for a five-months campaign”; she will try to raise $500. Encloses a copy of the letter she sent to “several men.”

[008], [008a] February 23, 1918. Two-page letter to de Long from Fisher, who appreciates her encouragement and will plan for at least a five months trip. The Committee on Public Information in Washington will help him, such as getting permission for using copyrighted photographs and furnishing slides.

[009], [009a] March 5, 1918. To Mr. A.D. Sheridan, ℅ Union League Club, Chicago, IL, from de Long, [009] who explains the “need we have for propaganda on the war, here in the Kentucky mountains.” Mentions one other speaker, Caleb Powers, who “is, in reality, throwing cold water on even the need of our having entered the war.” Tells what “great fighters” the mountain people are; mentions her own trip last year through small railroad towns to speak for the French Orphan fund; describes the plans of Fisher, “[a] crippled preacher from Georgia, who has built up a splendid work in a lonely section of the mountains and who understands the people and their needs just as I do.” [009a] Fisher, who has a wife and three children, needs $100 a month.

[010] March 13, 1918. To de Long from Bernard Flexner, Lawyer, Chicago, IL, who is sending de Long’s correspondence with Underwood and Sheridan, to Mr. Robert G. Gordon in Louisville, KY, asking for his help.

[011] March 29, 1918. To W.D. Allen, Chicago, IL, from W.C. Bagley, War Committee, Union League Club, Chicago IL., advising him that ”through Mr. Flexner’s influence, the State Council of Defense in Kentucky will see that Miss de Long’s wishes are carried out.”

[012], [012a] April 4, 1918. Two-page letter to Edward J. Barcalo, Railroad Wages Commission, Washington, DC from dL (de Long). Fundraising letter for Fisher similar to the March 5th letter to Sheridan.

[013] April 4, 1918. To de Long from Arthur W. Underwood, Lawyer, Chicago, IL, who encloses a copy of the March 29th letter from the Union League Club; and a check for $31.25. [Notation at the bottom of the letter, handwritten and signed by Ethel Zande, thanking Mr. Barcolo for his letter and advice.]

[014] April 4, 1918. To Mr. Barcalo, Railroad Wage Commission, Washington, DC, from [unsigned], Secretary, who encloses a letter that de Long sent to “several people who wanted to help on the proposition she describes.”

[015] April 18, 1918. To Underwood from W. C. Bagley, War Committee, Union League Club, Chicago, IL. Mr. Flexner of the War Committee went through Mr. Robert Gordon, a Louisville lawyer who then approached the State Council of Defense, Mr. E.W. Hines, Chairman. Hines wrote Flexner that “the State Council was working out a plan for the entire mountain territory.”

[016] April 19, 1918. To de Long from Underwood. Encloses a letter that answers the question concerning “who was to handle the matter of your proposed propaganda in the Kentucky mountains.”

[017] April 25, 1918. To Underwood from [unsigned], Secretary, who is forwarding his letters to Mrs. [Ethel de Long] Zande who is in Norwick Town, CT; thanks him for his interest and help.

[018] April 25, 1918. To Fisher in Demarest, GA, from [unsigned], Secretary, who encloses Underwood’s letter that shows that the Kentucky State Council of Defense has appropriated funds for Fisher’s work. Suggests that Fisher contact Hines for the arrangements. Mrs. Zande “is in the north now and very much occupied with an invalid mother….”

[019] April 25, 1918. To Zande from Fisher in Leburn, Knott County, KY, who congratulates her on her wedding; encloses a circular of his work. He hasn’t received Government appropriation for his equipment yet, so he is sending out appeals; received encouragement from Hillard Smith; no horse and wagon yet, so he is lecturing close to home. His family will stay in Georgia this summer; Ida Pratt is living with them and going to school.

[020] April 30, 1918. To Fisher from [unsigned], Secretary, who encloses a letter she received from Zande.

[021 May 3, 1918. To Zande from Edward J. Barcalo, President of Barcalo Manufacturing Company, Buffalo, NY, who just heard from the Committee on Public Information in Washington that they decline appropriating Fisher’s work “though they appreciate the advantage of the work.” They refer Zande to Dr. H.H. Cherry, Bowling Green, their representative in Kentucky.

[022] May 4, 1918. To Evelyn K. Wells from Fisher, who is preparing for his trip; ordered slides of Dr. Hillis’ lecture on “German Atrocities.” Now has about 200 slides. Plans to write to the State Council of Defense.

[023] May 8, 1918. To Fisher from Edward W. Hines, Chairman, Kentucky Council of Defense, Louisville, KY. The Council had already received de Long’s request for funding and decided to decline “to pay remuneration to lecturers doing patriotic work.”

[024] May 14, 1918. To Fisher from Underwood, who heard from Flexner that Gordon wrote “that the chairman of the State Council of Defense in Kentucky has advised him that it is the purpose of the State Council to institute a systematic campaign of education over the entire section of Kentucky in which Harlan county is located… “; Zande should contact Hines.

[025] May 15, 1918. To Zande in Norwich Town, CT, from Underwood, enclosing a letter concerning her desire for a “campaign of education in the mountains of Kentucky.”

[026] May 23, 1918. To Underwood, [unsigned, apparently Zande] who has returned to PMSS, responding to Underwood’s May 15th letter. She realizes she made a mistaken assumption from Begley’s letter to Allen that funds were available for Mr. Fisher. Now that the State Council of Defense is planning their own campaign, she asks Underwood’s help to see if they will use Fisher as a member of their campaign committee. Tells of Uncle William [Creech]’s death. 

[027] May 23, 1918. To Fisher in Demarest, GA, from EZ (Zande) who encloses appeal letters that she has written for him. She hopes he will accept that she said he would be willing to work for the State Council of Defense.

[028] May 23, 1918. To Hines from EZ (Zande), who describes Fisher’s need for funding and asks Hines to let her know if the Council of Defense will hire Fisher. Encloses Begley’s letters.

[029] May 28, 1918. To Zande from Hines, who denies sending the letter to Flexner that Bagley refers to and regrets the misunderstanding. “We did not include Mr. Fisher in our plans for the reason that we understood that he could not undertake the work without compensation.”

[030] May 31, 1918. To Underwood from [unsigned, apparently Evelyn K. Wells], Secretary, who encloses an item from Zande for his suggestions.

[031] May 31, 1918. To Zande from Fisher in Leburn, KY, who has returned home with Mrs. Fisher and awaits Zande’s help in funding his project.

[032] May 31, 1918. To Underwood from Flexner. In response to his letter of the 27th with de Long’s enclosed letter, he reports that the State Council of Defense in kentucky plans to undertake the project on a “somewhat larger scale….” Perhaps Hines will help de Long.

[033] June 3, 1918. To Zande from Fisher, who is disappointed in the Council of Defense’s position. He is still eager to begin his project but needs the financing to do so.

[034] June 4, 1918. To Zande from Underwood, who encloses Flexner’s letter, in which Flexner feels he can do no more. However, Underwood offers to raise the money, although “Chicago is overloaded with calls for money….”

[035] June 7, 1918. To Underwood from [unsigned, apparently Zande], who thanks him for his “usual check” and assures him that the funds for the PMSS children are “well invested.” Zande doubts that Hines’ committee will do the “careful, intensive work Mr. Fisher was to do” and will ask Hines how sincere his committee’s intentions are. “…I feel the keenest personal regret about the anxiety I know [Fisher] must be having.” She will try to raise at least $300 for 3 months and is grateful for Underwood’s offer to help.3

[036] June 7, 1918. To Fisher from EZ (Zande). “I am sure the letters I have sent you will show you how fearfully the Kentucky Council of Defense [has] bungled the whole plans for your campaign. Of course, if it had not been for that letter of March 14, I should have pressed the matter of securing funds from other people long ago.” Zande is “embarrassed and troubled” for the anxiety he must feel and can only wait to hear from Hines.

[037] June 7, 1918. To Hines from EZ (Zande). He will raise funds for Fisher depending on Zande’s plans.

[038] June 12, [no year]. A postscript from E.Z. to a letter that she had just dictated. “…[I]f Mr. Hines is not proposing to do what we want to do, I shall make every effort to secure funds.” 

[039] June 15, 1918. To Zande from Will Ward Duffield, Chairman, Council of Defense, Harlan County, KY, who received a letter from Hines, asking about the “advisability of securing the services of a Mr. Fisher as a speaker….” Duffield asks Zande for information about Fisher.

(Continued at PARK W. FISHER Correspondence II)

See Also:
PARK W. FISHER Correspondence II – 1918, images 040 – 077
PARK W. FISHER Visitor – Biography
CRAFT REVIVAL: Shaping Western North Carolina Past and Present – Park Fisher