Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Personnel/Staff
Sarah Marcia Loomis Correspondence
Teacher 1929 – 1931 

SARAH MARCIA LOOMIS Correspondence, December 1928 – August 1946

TAGS: Sally Loomis, teacher, Little Laurel School, Wellesley College, Little Laurel School, Medical Settlement Big Laurel, Whaling Museum, Phi Beta Kappa, Radcliffe College, Western College for Women, University of New Hampshire, Fogg Museum of Harvard University, Harvard-Cornell Archeological Exploration of Sardis, Paul Cuffe, PMSS Application Blank, May D. George, donations. Glyn Morris, Angela Melville, Emily Frank, Dorothy Nace, fundraising,

SARAH MARCIA LOOMIS (b.1905 – d.1985)

Sarah Marcia Loomis, known as “Sally,” was a Wellesley College graduate who was hired to teach at the Little Laurel School in 1929, a feature of Pine Mountain Settlement School’s community outreach program. It was located on the Little Laurel site that was part of the satellite operations at the Medical Settlement at Big Laurel.

After two years at Pine Mountain, Sarah remained a dedicated donor to the School across many decades. Her love and dedication to the School and to its work with community education were invaluable in furthering educational outreach and, in turn, Pine Mountain was formative in shaping Loomis’ later career.

SARAH MARCIA LOOMIS: After Pine Mountain

For another BIOGRAPHY of SARAH MARCIA LOOMIS that describes her career following Pine Mountain Settlement School, go to:

“Sarah Marcia Loomis was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1905. She received her early education in Detroit, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, and attended school in Grenoble, France, in 1923. Sally, as she became known, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wellesley College of Wellesley, Massachusetts, in 1928. While at Wellesley, she served as editor of the Wellesley College News. Sally then went on to receive a Masters Degree from Radcliffe College in 1932.

Whaling Museum,

Sally began her career as a teacher at Pine Mountain Settlement School in the poor mountain area of Kentucky. She continued to teach English at various secondary schools and colleges including Western College for Women, University of New Hampshire, and Wellesley College, her alma mater. Sally took time out of her teaching career to attend the University of Chicago as she worked toward her doctorate in the History of American Culture. She passed her preliminary exams in 1942 but never completed the requirements for the degree.

In 1957, Sally began another career at the Fogg Museum of Harvard University. She served as administrative and financial secretary for the Harvard-Cornell Archeological Exploration of Sardis under field director Professor George Hanfmann, a position she held until her retirement in 1967.

She continued to reside in Cambridge until 1975, the year after her heart attack, when she moved to Lexington. It was at the time of her retirement that Sally was able to devote her energies to extensive original research and writing on the subject of Paul Cuffe. Cuffe was an African American Quaker entrepreneur and trader of Westport, Massachusetts. He is most noted for his work in the Back to Africa Movement, which was to return freed blacks to Africa, and he established a colony on Sierra Leone to that end.

Sally spent the rest of her life on this project with the aim of publishing her work. She was able to publish an article in the Negro History Bulletin in 1974. Her goal of publishing a book on Cuffe, however, never came to pass. Sally died in February of 1985.

She wrote about Pine Mountain Settlement in December 1939:

“Since I left the mountains, I’ve made many talks on it, given ballad programs, taught folk dancing, written poetry, on it, a little of which was published.”

Sally Loomis Letter, December 26, 1939. [loomis_sally_029.jpg]

See Also: SARAH MARCIA LOOMIS Staff – Biography

CONTENTS: Sarah Marcia Loomis Correspondence

[Note: All letters from PMSS staff are carbon copies, typewritten and unsigned that are 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, “AM” are initials for Angela Melville, Interim Director (1928-1930), “HH” are for Hubert Hadley, Director (1930-1931) and “GM” are for Glyn Morris, Director (1931-1942).

Letters from Sally Loomis are typewritten unless indicated otherwise. The transcriptions are in chronological order and not necessarily in order of the image numbers.]


007 December 10, 1928. To Miss [Angela] Melville from Sally Loomis in Elkhart, IN, applying for “a teaching position in one of the mountain schools….” She was graduated from Wellesley with an English Literature major in June 1928; elected to Phi Beta Kappa; edited the college news for five months; prefers to teach high school; has experience with younger children as a counselor in a YMCA camp. Asks if Melville knows of any openings.

008 December 14, 1928. To Miss Loomis from AM. Encloses an Application Blank; currently no openings except for a grade teacher at the neighboring district school for February and March. “This position is unsalaried; ….the teacher gets only what she can collect from the students … $2.50 a month” and room and board at the Medical Settlement about five miles from PMSS and 1 1/2 miles from the school. Melville describes the qualities the teacher would need to teach and live “in an isolated community where all one does is subject to comment. … [T]he parents are so anxious to give their children more opportunity than the seven months of school allowed by the County.”

009 December 29, 1928. To Miss Melville from Sally Loomis on letterhead for “Allen Loomis” in Elkhart, IN. Loomis thanks her for including her on a waiting list. “I wish I qualified in training and experience, as the position appeals so strongly to my love of adventure.”

001 December 29, 1928. Handwritten entries on an APPLICATION BLANK for Pine Mountain Settlement School, Inc. 

Name: Sally Loomis
Address: …Elkhart, Indiana

Age: 23 Health: ”Am thin, and have been somewhat nervously run down. Need work and outdoors. Have always been unusually strong and well till college”

Education: …B.A. Wellesley 1928.

Interest at PMSS: Teaching, any one, anything – but esp. older pupils, and English.

Training and experience: “...teaching once. Recreation counselor at Y Camp and kept Baby Church Sundays.

…Volunteer or salaried? either; i.e. could go a summer unsalaried.

Smallest salary you could accept? Given board and room, wouldn’t need much but railroad fare, and about $200.

Have you ever lived in the country? Summers, always, on a lake, and have usually lived where access to it was easy & frequent ….

…How did you become interested in Pine Mountain? At Wellesley and because it sounded like what I was looking for. I wrote to Ruth E. Campbell and her account made me more eager.

[Miss Loomis provides 3 references.]


002 January 2, 1929. To Miss Melville from Edith A. Sprague, Appointment Secretary, Personnel Bureau, Wellesley (MA) College. Heard from Miss Loomis that PMSS asked Sprague for information; she wishes to send PMSS her credentials. “I am glad to recommend Miss Loomis.”

003-003a January 9, 1929. To Miss Shackford at Wellesley from Angela Melville, Member, Executive Committee, PMSS, [003] who asks Shackford to complete a form concerning Miss Sally Loomis’ ability to teach at PMSS. Shackford’s handwritten answers were positive. [003a – reverse side] “Miss Loomis is one of the best students we have had in recent years. … alert mind, good judgment, good taste, … and a quiet attractive manner. …”

004-004a January 9, 1929. To Miss Helen M. Graves from Angela Melville, [004] who asks Graves to complete a form concerning Miss Sally Loomis’ ability to teach at PMSS. Miss Graves’ handwritten answers were positive. [004a] “She understands and has patience with children and they always like her and admire her… My experience with her has been at Camp….” 

005 January 9, 1929. To Myrtilla Avery from Angela Melville, who asks Avery to complete a form concerning Miss Sally Loomis’ ability to teach at PMSS. Miss Avery’s handwritten answers were positive.

010 January 14, 1929. To Miss Loomis from AM. Offers the teaching position at Little Laurel School for February and March. “The county does not make any provision for a teacher after this month, but there are a certain number of parents who would like to have the school taught for two months longer and we are glad to cooperate with them by giving room and board, without charge, to the teacher at our Medical Settlement.” Gives the number of students and grades; the subjects the parents want; the amount the parents will pay per month per child ($2.50); and deadlines for responding to this offer. Advises on living conditions and clothing. Suggests that Loomis could later come to PMSS to teach, unsalaried, eight primary children. Encloses travel instructions and asks her to write to Mr. Wilson Lewis at Nolansburg, KY, the school guide, of her arrival plans, so he can meet her at Ladin.

012 January 17, 1929. Western Union Telegram to Miss Angela Melville from “Sallie” Loomis, accepting the position.

011 January 17, 1929. To Miss Melville from Sally Loomis, who accepts the position at Little Laurel School. Would like some time to “overlap” with the current teacher.

006 N.D. To Miss Sally Loomis in Elkhart, IN from Angela Melville. Handwritten notation at top of page “Telegram 1/21/28 [sic].” Advises Loomis to arrive on the 25th if she wants time with Miss Carpenter.

013 January 21, 1929. To Miss Loomis from AM. “Your wire came in about an hour before that of the other candidate so that you have the position.

014-014b June 12, 1929. Handwritten three-page letter from Miss Looms to Miss Melville, “en route by boat from New York to Boston.”  [014] Recommends her aunt, Miss [May D.] George, as a music teacher and tutor for PMSS. “She is a graduate of the Michigan State Normal College and the Conservatory of Music in Berlin, and has also [014a] studied at the Unversity of Wisconsin. She has taught both piano and public school music…[and] other subjects – chiefly languages – in high schools. She is writing you….”  [014b] “Is the rhododendron out?”

015 June 17, 1929. To Miss Sally Loomis in Upper Montclair, NJ, from AM, who expresses interest in Miss George’s teaching music at PMSS. Asks about living arrangements.

016 June 19, 1929. To Miss Loomis from [unsigned] “Secretary.” Asks Loomis if she has a folder marked “Visitors and Workers Rules.”

017-017a June 25, [no year]. Handwritten two-page letter to “Cherub” from Sally Loomis. [Notation at top of page: “Scout work prevented.”] [017] Expresses her desire to teach next year and asks for information since “you had been teaching in the Kentucky mountains” and how to go about applying to that area; explains her preferences.  [017a] Closing and signature.


018 March 7, 1931. To Miss Edit Sprague, Personnel Bureau, Wellesley (MA) College from HH [Hubert Hadley, Director]. A general recommendation from the PMSS Director concerning Miss Sally Loomis. She began in the “mountain region in January 1929 as a teacher of one of our neighboring grade schools. She finished the season, after the regular term of the grade school was over, by teaching in the [School] and doing a great many of the odd jobs about the school. In the years 1929-30 and 1930-31, she has taught regularly in the Pine Mountain Settlement School.”

HH then gives a positive description of her teaching…”and she has more than usual ability in handling extra-curricular activities such as the managing of plays, the running of parties, and the editing of our very small school paper. Since Miss Loomis is leaving mountain work it is certainly a privilege to me to recommend her, wherever she may seek employment.”

019 December 21, 1931. To Miss Loomis in Arlington, MA, from GM [Glyn Morris], Director, who thanks her for $8.57 “for [a] Christmas gift.” 


020 April 21, 1933. To Mr. Glyn Morris, Director, from Sally Loomis. Asks if her high school freshmen could exchange letters with Pine Mountain students of about the same grade. Asks about Pine Mountain; encloses $10 contribution.

021 April 26, 1933. To Miss Sally Loomis in New London, CT, from Glyn Morris, Director, who thanks her for the donation and is pleased to have the students exchange letters. Refers Loomis to the PMSS principal, Miss Emily Frank.

022 May 6, 1933. To Miss [Emily] Frank, Principal, PMSS from Sally Loomis in New London, CT, who encloses letters from PMSS students, “who are very much excited at the prospect of hearing from the mountains. … I taught at Pine Mountain from 1929-1931, and my heart is there still. Miss Wallace just sent me the Pine Cone with its Literary Supplement. You are doing some very fine work, and I was pleased to see that so many students I knew were still there.”

023 May 15, 1933. To Miss Sally Loomis from Emily Frank, Principal, who will save the letters “for fall when I am sure I shall find plenty of girls who will be very anxious to answer them. I have heard the workers and students speak of you frequently, and have noticed your signature many times in the famous school record book.”

024 December 30, 1933. To Miss Sally Loomis from Glyn Morris, Director, thanking her for her $5.00 gift and relates an anecdote about Charlie Baker that shows “us that we have yet to give our people the very rudiments of health education.”


025 July 13, 1934. To Glyn Morris from Sally Loomis at Pinewoods Camp, Roscommon, MI. Loomis had given a talk about the Kentucky mountains “to a dozen or so groups in and around New London, CT.” She lists the names of the organizations and suggests that Morris make an appeal for money to them.

026 July 19, 1934. To Miss Sally Loomis from Morris, who thanks her for the list of organizations to appeal to for money. “We hope before very long to begin a campaign for new subscribers — hopeless as it may seem at the present time. You know that it has been twenty years since the founding of the school and during the past few years we have lost very many of our old friends. I feel that for the most the contributors of the future will be of the sort who will give only a small amount, but there must be many of them.” He is sending Loomis the new Pine Mountain catalogue and the literary supplement to the Pine Cone.


027 January 21, 1937. To Miss Sally Loomis in Elkhart, IN, from [unsigned]. She is thanked for her $2.00 gift and given PMSS updates: new school schedule, new Industrial Building that replaces the burned one and the classes it houses, indicating advances toward a progressive program.

028-028a [028] N.D. To “Pine Mountain” from Sally Loomis at Park School, Snyder, NY. [Handwritten note on the reverse side of a “Dear Friend” letter dated December 1, 1937]. “The woodcut calendar is beautifully done, and as I recognize most every scene, I am very sentimental about it! Everything I hear about Pine Mountain, directly or indirectly, is witness to a continued progress.” [028a] December 1, 1937. “Dear Friend” letter, reminding Loomis of her “Informal Annual Subscription of $2.00…” [signed] Glyn Morris, Director.


029 December 26, 1939. Handwritten two-page letter to “Pine Mountain” from Sally Loomis in Elkhart, IN, [029] who enclosed a $2.00 check for her annual subscription. She is grateful for the calendars, Notes and any news; heard that Ruth Campbell visited; applauds PMSS’s improvements, such as “health plan, field work community council, etc.” Offers the art books she left behind to the school library; remembers PMSS Christmas. [029a] “I am now at the University of Chicago, and my chief advisor, Percy Boynton, and I found a bond when he told me he had been at Pine Mt. at the time Uncle William was drawing up the deed for the school.”

“Since I left the mountains I’ve made many talks on it, given ballad programs, taught folk dancing, written poetry on it, a little of which was published.”


030 January 3, 1944. To Miss Sally Loomis in Elkhart, IN, from [unsigned]. A thank-you letter for her $2.00 annual subscription payment and for her interest. Students are returning after their Christmas vacation and going through the entrance routine, which the letter describes. PMSS hopes to escape the flu epidemic, even though students may bring it from their homes.

031 June 12, 1944. To Miss Sally Loomis from [unsigned, likely William D. Webb] Acting Director, who thanks her for her gift; describes gardening activity at the School.

032 December 28, 1944. To Miss Sally Loomis from H.R.S. Benjamin [Director], thanking Loomis for her annual gift; describes Christmas at Pine Mountain. 


033 January 17, 1946. To Miss Sally Loomis in Chicago, IL, from H.R.S. Benjamin [Director], thanking Loomis for her annual gift; describes the flooding of Isaac’s Run and clogging of the reservoir by leaves.

034 August 7, 1946. To Miss Sally Loomis in Elkhart, IN, from Dorothy Nace, Secretary, thanking her for a “pack of negatives” and their captioning. “I am going to sort the negatives and have some of them printed for the school scrap books.”

See Also: SARAH MARCIA LOOMIS Staff – Biography