JESSICA PRICE Correspondence

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel
JESSICA PRICE Correspondence 

JESSICA PRICE Correspondence, May 1927 – October 1934
Housemother, August – November 1927

TAGS: Jessica Price correspondence, PMSS staff, housemothers, artists, applications for PMSS employment, Denison University, Big Log housemothers, references, Lenox Hill Neighborhood Association, Henry Street Settlement, Polly Wilder, Rev. James Morse

Jessica Price. “Mountain Journeying,” sepia engraving, 1931. [price_jessica_022.jpg]


[Note: Letters from PMSS staff were carbon copies, typewritten, unsigned and meant for the Office files. The initials at the bottom left of most PMSS letters indicate the writer (along with initials of the secretary). For example, “KP” refers to Katherine Pettit. Exception: File copies of Glyn Morris’s letters were usually unidentified. Miss Price’s letters were handwritten. The following list of contents is in chronological order and not necessarily in order of the image numbers.]


[001], [001a] May 18, 1927. Two-sided APPLICATION BLANK for Jessica Price at Denison University with handwritten entries. Excerpts:
[001] Age: 21
Education: Morgan Park High School, Chicago; Denison University, Granville, OH
Partial courses: 8 weeks summer school at the Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1925.
Line of work at PMSS that interests you: Teaching or house mother.
Training and experience: “Brought up in a family of six. My mother was an excellent disciplinarian whose training had results. I believe I could copy her methods.”
Salary or Volunteer? Salary, [at least] $60.
Do you know anything about housework? Yes. Do you enjoy it? Not particularly. 
How did you become interested in PMSS? “Thru Roberta White who is a classmate. We (Miss Elmore & I) had been anxious to find a position in the mts. & so went to her.”
References: 4 were provided, one of which was crossed out.

[001a] Reverse side of APPLICATION BLANK. Note from Jessica assuring that, although she has no experience like that of housemother, she feels she can do it “[b]ecause my own family life has been so excellent and because I know my self to be adaptable, conscientious, and decently responsible.” She states her only working experience was in summer 1926 as a waitress at Westport Inn in New York State. “The conditions were hard but I managed to do my work faithfully and enjoy doing it so I am not afraid of work nor of unpleasant conditions, you see.”

[005] May 28, 1927. To Miss Price from [unsigned], who is sending for Jessica’s references.

[002] June ?, 1927. To Katherine Pettit of the PMSS Executive Committee from Miss Deborah Canon, Westport, NY. Canon provides handwritten entries on a two-sided form (sent to her by Pettit on May 28) concerning Jessica’s ability to fill a teacher or housemother position at PMSS. 

[002a] Reverse side of form: Handwritten note from Canon describing Miss Price as pleasant and agreeable, “being in readiness at all times to cooperate.”

[006], [006a] June 2, 1927. Two-page typewritten letter to Miss Katherine Pettit from Ross E. Stewart, Chicago, IL, [006] who encloses his reference form for Jessica. “She comes from a long line of college educated families on both sides and also from a long line of missionary families.” He tells of her family’s longtime association with Denison College; that she is the youngest of six children. “We have no finer family in the Morgan Park Baptist Church than the Price[s]. They have been in Morgan Park for very, very many years….” Just before college, Jessica was president of the Baptist Young Peoples’ Union (BYPU) and that year was “one of the best in the history of BYPU work. She has splendid executive ability, is a good planner, keeps her mind on her work….” [006a] “Her manners are simple and plain, as is her dress, but refinement in the extreme.” 

[003] June 2, 1927. To Pettit from Ross E. Stewart, Chicago, IL, who provides handwritten entries on a form (sent to him by Pettit on May 28) concerning Jessica’s abilities. 

[004] June 2, 1927. To Pettit from Mrs. Clara T. Brumback, acting Dean of Women, Denison University, Granville, OH, who provides typewritten entries on a form (sent to her by Pettit on May 28) concerning Jessica’s abilities: “Artistic and literary in interest…comes of a family of educators… “

[007] June 9, 1927. To Miss Price at Denison University, Granville, OH, from KP (Pettit), who accepted Jessica for the position but cannot pay more than $50 a month.

[008], [008a] June 17, 1927. Two-page handwritten letter to Pettit from Price. (Notation at top of letter in Pettit’s handwriting instructs that a questionnaire is sent to Miss Elmore and Betty Price.) [008] Price accepts a salary of $50 a month, but asks if there would be a place for Miss Rachel Elmore as well. “We had planned from the beginning to be together next year in whatever positions we received….” [008a] If it isn’t possible for Price and Elmore to come to PMSS, she suggests her cousin, Betty Price, as a substitute, who is 21 years old and also from Denison. Provides her home address in Chicago. In a postscript, she tells Pettit she would be glad to help with gardening; “at craft work, however, I would probably be of more use.” 

[009] June 22, 1927. To Price in Chicago from KP (Pettit), who is “glad that you can come for fifty dollars a month, if Miss Elmore comes.” Encloses questionnaires.

[010], [010a] June 29, 1927. Two-sided APPLICATION BLANK for Jessica Price in Chicago, IL. with handwritten entries. Excerpts:
[010] Age: 21 years 6 mos.
Training & experience: “…Daily Vac. Bible School teaching, Sunday School teaching.” 
Other interests: “Anything along art lines – craftwork, etc. Teaching – Particular interests – reading, horseback riding.” 
How did you become interested in PMSS? Roberta White
[010a] Her cousin’s address: Betty Price, Newark, Ohio. Notation: “Sent… questionnaire.”

[011] July 8, 1927. To Miss Price from KP (Pettit). Asks for confirmation that Price and Miss Elmore will arrive on August 29.

[012], [012a] July 8, 1927. Two-page handwritten letter to Pettit from Price, [012] assuring she will arrive at PMSS on August 22, “though I cannot vouch for Miss Elmore.” [012a] Asks about travel directions; what to bring (such as “bungalow aprons”), housemother duties.

[013], [013a] July 15, 1927. To Price from KP (Pettit). [013] Pettit worries that she has not received Miss Elmore’s references, but does have her cousin’s questionnaire. Tells of her plan to have both girls help her prepare Old Log House for the year; then she will decide who is best as housemother and as help at her house. Describes the work in each position.

“We think that housemothers are mighty important people at Pine Mountain: they have the oversight of the children out of school and work hours, the training of the children who do the housework for them, the general care of their health (though we have a trained nurse for sick children), their clothes, their manners and morals, and their recreation, somewhat. Every child has a free hour during the day which he spends at home, and he has to learn how to use his leisure, so whatever resources a housemother has are called into play at that time. You really do mother the children, in that you watch their relationship with the school as a whole, just as the mother of a family of children tries to have them grow in the right direction, in any community where she is bringing them up.”

Pettit encloses travel directions; rooms are fully furnished. [013a] Describes the weather and the kind of clothing to bring. “Yes, I should think you would like to have bungalow aprons for work.”

[014] July 30, 1927. To Pettit from Price. Miss Elmore and Jessica’s cousin have accepted positions at a Philadelphia newspaper and won’t be coming to PMSS. [014a] Assures Pettit she will arrive at PMSS on August 22. 

[015] August 1, 1927. To Price from [unsigned; apparently text for a telegram]. Asks for confirmation of arrival.

[016] October 3, 1927. To Mrs. (E.J.) Price from KP (Pettit). Assures her that her daughter is “well and seems to be happy and we are most happy in having her. … Our children care so much for her.” Invites Mrs. Price to visit PMSS.

[017] December 10, 1927. To Miss Price in Chicago from KP (Pettit), who sends hope that Jessica’s father is better; encloses literature about trachoma that she requested. Tells a story about Dr. McMullen at Hindman; Dr. Duke, the country doctor. “Now there are only three trachoma hospitals” in the country.


[021], [022], [022-1] “Mountain Journeying,” a print by Jessica Price, 1931.


[018], [018a] February 19, 1933. To Mr. [Glyn] Morris from Price on letterhead for Lenox Hill Neighborhood Association, Inc., NYC. [018] Price asks about summer employment; explains her previous PMSS work. “It was too difficult a job for me then and I stayed only three months, but since then, I’ve naturally accumulated considerably more experience having been in teaching and settlement work (Henry Street & Lenox Hill) in New York for three years. The city has made me anxious to get back to the mountains [018a] for a season. I loved it the short while I was there and have often wanted to return.” Describes her work at Lenox Hill as director of pottery and at Henry Street where she made a creche that Ruth Campbell sent to PMSS. Mentions another worker who is interested in PMSS summer work.

[019] March 10, 1933. To Price from [unsigned], informing her that there are no summer openings, except for a volunteer position that has been filled; can consider Price for summer of 1934.


[020] October 9, 1934. To Price from [unsigned], who asks her to visit Polly Wilder who is coming to Hackensack, NJ, to stay at the home of Rev. James Morse, pastor of the Congregational Church. “Doubtless she will be terribly homesick, and to know that she has friends so close will make a great difference.” 

See Also: JESSICA PRICE Staff – Biography