BIRDENA BISHOP Correspondence II 1946-1962

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff
Correspondence II 1946-1962

BIRDENA BISHOP Correspondence II 1946-1962

Staff at Laurel House, 1947. Bottom row: Dorothy Nace, Margaret Nace, Ruth Smith, Mrs. Georgia Dodd, Mrs. Birdena Bishop. Front row: Ronald Henderson, Elizabeth Henderson, Miss Cold, Mrs. Benjamin, Miss Cobb, Miss Christensen, Miss Spinney, Miss Merrill, Mr. and Mrs. LaRue, Back Row: Miss Kingsbury, Miss Hill, Mr. Benjamin, Mr. Barry, Mrs. Willis, Miss Sparrow. [nace_1_038b.jpg]

BIRDENA BISHOP Correspondence II 1946-1962

TAGS: Birdena Bishop, H.R.S. Benjamin, Mary Jane Bishop (Hobgood), Jim Bishop, Dorothy Nace, National Missions of the Presbyterian Church, Council of Southern Mountain Workers Convention, Warren Wilson College, Burton Rogers, Wood Junior College, Hindman Settlement School, donations

CONTENTS: Birdena Bishop Correspondence II 1946-1962

[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. Letters from Birdena Bishop are handwritten and original. The following list of contents is in chronological order and not necessarily in the order of the image numbers.]

August – December 1946

[030], [030a] August 1, 1946. Two-page letter to H.R.S. Benjamin, PMSS Director, from Birdena B. Bishop in Gillespie, IL. She has written to Miss Turner and Miss [Evelyn K.] Wells, and received Dr. Francis [Tucker]’s Pine Mountain news sheet. Encloses a letter from a Berea College friend, Mrs. Rawlings, whom Bishop describes and recommends as a housemother at Big Log. Provides updates concerning her daughter, Mary Jane Bishop, and son, Jim Bishop. Birdena and her father will be moving to Carlinville, IL.

[031] August 28, 1946. To Bishop from Benjamin, with updates about “Jack” and “Bob,” who enlisted in the Army, and Miss Turner, (Bishop’s successor in the PMSS kitchen) who “speaks often of how she appreciates the fine training the girls have received.” Mrs. Weart from Washington has been hired as a dietitian. He will write to Mrs. Rawlings, although all PMSS vacancies are filled.


[035] July 8, 1947. To Dorothy (Nace) from Bishop in Maywood, IL, asking for the latest address of Virginia and Ray Garner; summer locations of Miss Spinney and Miss (Minerva M.) Sparrow. Writes about her son and daughter’s activities; wishes she could have attended Margaret (Nace)’s wedding; received PMSS updates from Gladys Hill.


[032] October 14, 1948. To Benjamin from Bishop on letterhead for Blackburn College (Carlinville, IL). The Pine Mountain “Notes” have given her “a very acute case of homesickness”; Mary Jane may be visiting the School; “That only served to increase my longing to feast (and rest) my eyes on the glory of the hills as they must be right now.”

1950 Application for Mission Work

[033] January 9, 1950. To “Superintendent, Pine Mountain Settlement School” from Frances F. Ball, Secretary for Personnel Service, Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church of the USA in NY. A “Confidential Inquiry” concerning Mrs. Birdena Russell Bishop, who is being considered for appointment, asking for an opinion on ”the applicant’s qualifications to serve as Housemother or Teacher in a mission school.” States the qualifications for the work. (Note at bottom of page: “Mrs. Bishop served as Teacher and Community Group Coordinator from September 1940 to July 1946.”

[034], [034a] February 3, 1950. Two-page letter to Secretary of Personnel Services, Board of National Missions, Presbyterian Church, NY. States Bishop’s positions at PMSS and the dates (teacher of social studies and community group coordinator, Sept 1940-summer 1944. School dietitian from 1944 to July 1946). Describes Bishop “as a very capable teacher or supervisor, thorough in her preparation, exacting and yet understanding with young people and utterly devoted to their welfare.” Also, describes her as a “courageous mother.” 

1952 Council of Southern Mountain Workers Convention, Warren Wilson College

[036] N.D. An announcement from the Council of Southern Mountain Workers, Berea, KY, calling members, subscribers to Mountain Life & Work, and friends of the mountain folks to a meeting in February of the Annual Conference in Gatlinburg, TN. Theme: “New Frontiers for United Action in the Mountain Area.” Provides an outline of the program. The Southern Highland Handicraft Guild meets after the Council’s meeting.
[036a] Address side of the announcement; sent to PMSS, ℅ Mr. Burton Rogers

[037], [037a] February 8, 1952. Two-page letter to Burton Rogers from Bishop, (Chairman of the Youth Committee, Council of Southern Mountain Workers), in Swannanoa, NC. Asks if PMSS will send one or more representatives to the annual Council meeting in Gatlinburg “to acquaint our on-coming potential leadership with problems and possibilities of the area, and to let them catch…a vision of what their own contributions might be….”

Handwritten note at the bottom of the page to “Burton and Mary(Rogers) thanking them for the Christmas carol book. Mr. Ayer and Bishop decided to include PMSS in this request, even though there may be no “young near-adults around there at all now,” but they hope there is someone he can bring.

[038] February 13, 1952. To Bishop at Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, NC, from Burton Rogers. The staff feels strongly that PMSS should send some young representatives to the Conference.

[039] February 25, 1952. To Bishop from Rogers, thanking her for “making the Conference really meaningful for the two young people we brought.”

[040] May 8, 1952. To Rogers from Bishop. Encloses a donation; suggests a memorial fund for Gladys (Hill). She will be leaving Warren Wilson College on July 1 to become Dean of Women and teacher at Charles T. Morgan’s (president) Wood Junior College in Mathiston, MI.

[041] May 23, 1952. To Bishop from Rogers, thanking her for the donation; Miss (Ruby) Lanier, a member of the Gladys Hill memorial committee, was told of Bishop’s suggestion; the staff had a “‘working’ up at Laurel House garden about the grave and a wonderful transformation was worked out….” ; describes the pageant for the Hindman Settlement School’s 50th anniversary.

1953 Wood Junior College

[042] February 24, 1953. To Bishop at Wood Junior College, Mathiston, MI, from Rogers, who praised her daughter Jane, whom he saw at the Gatlinburg conference.

1956 Re-Visiting PMSS

[043], [043a] July 24, 1956. Two-page letter to Burton and Mary (Rogers) from Bishop at Hindman (KY) Settlement School, who plans an overnight visit to PMSS with Jane on August 1. Talked with Burton’s son, Christopher Rogers, at the canteen after the “Wilderness Road” performance; was in Asheville at the Fair, manning the Hindman booth.

[044] July 27, 1956. To Bishop from Rogers, welcoming her and Jane to PMSS; Dorothy (Nace) invited them for supper at her house, to meet “Jac,” and to visit the Hayes.

1957-1962 Warren Wilson College (Continued)

[045] April 30, 1957. To Rogers from Bishop at Warren Wilson College. “Jane and Hob are to be married at Helen Dingman’s home in Berea, from which point they will proceed to Monteo, NC, where on June 11 Hob will take over the directorship of ‘Lost Colony.’” Encloses a donation.

[046] May 15, 1957. To Bishop from [Rogers, apparently; truncated page], thanking her for her letter and gift. “You cannot know how much it means to have your continuing interest and your desire to participate in this way and we are deeply thankful for your friendship and your support.” Encloses his family’s newsletter; describes Christopher’s activities at Berea College. Mentions Chester Jackson’s son, Merle, who graduated from Red Bird and is interested in Warren Wilson and is the first in his family to attend college. Closes “...with our lasting thanks for all you have done for Pine Mountain for so many years, right up to the present….”

[047], [047a] July 1, 1960. Two-page letter to Burton and Mary (Rogers) from Bishop at Warren Wilson College, who sends a donation; mentions son Jim’s visit to PMSS; has a new grandson, Laurence; sends “greetings to Brit & Ella (Wilder), the Creeches, Harriet (Crutchfield), if she is there….”

[049], [049a] July 14, 1960. Two-page letter to Bishop from Rogers, thanking her for her gift. appreciated Jim’s visit. The latest visitors to PMSS included the Richard Bakers, Dorothy Nace Tharpe and her two children, Richard Chase, the Arthur Dodds. Describes Christopher’s activities. “[T]he most worthwhile year we have yet had…due to the increasing signs of growth and maturity on the part of our young people as a result of the present opportunities in the school here.” (A record of her $5 gift to PMSS is attached to the letter.)

[048], [048a] July 13, 1961. Two-page letter to Burton Rogers from Bishop at Warren Wilson College. Jane, Hob, and son (Laurence Bishop Hobgood) are moving to Ithaca, NY, where Hob will teach and study at Cornell for the next 2-3 years; Birdena will be visiting a friend in Honolulu, then with son Jim in San Diego; Hob is directing the Kermit Hunter drama, “Bound for Kentucky” in Louisville. Mentions that she read that Rogers will host the Daytonians. “May the new highway bring great benefits to the school and to the community….”

[050] July 19, 1961. To Bishop from Fern Hayes (for Burton Rogers), thanking Bishop for her $5 gift. PMSS is busy with summer activities: 4-H, Boy Scouts, swimming, playground, and preparations for next year. (A record of her $5 gift to PMSS is attached to the letter.)

[051] September 6, 1961. To Bishop from Rogers, who, after three months away from PMSS, appreciates Bishop’s letter and gift; mentions Mary’s visit to England for the first time in five years; describes his back surgery.

[052] December 19, 1961. To Bishop from Rogers, thanking her for her $5 gift; encloses his family mimeographed news sheet; mentions Christopher, Mary’s work with the Nativity Play and library. “For the first time in its 58 years, we gave the Nativity Play twice last Sunday, with the Chapel crowded each time.” (A record of Bishop’s $5 gift to PMSS is attached to the letter.)

[053] April 20, 1962. To Bishop from Rogers, mentioning Jim’s donation; recent visit with Bishop in NC; his disappointment with her “friend’s decision.”

[054], [054a] July 8, 1962. To Burton and Mary (Rogers) from Bishop, who is leaving for Ithaca; another baby will be born in January; “I know that Eleanor Craig still has regrets over the decision she felt she had to make…” Two more years until retirement before Birdena “can get to all the old beloved places and visit everyone that I want to see.”

[055] N.D. A record of Bishop’s $10 gift to PMSS is attached to a typewritten note stating: “ P.S. on form thank you letter to Mrs. Birdena Bishop (gift of $10.00.)”

[056] July 28, 1962. To Bishop from Rogers, thanking her for her gift and letter. “Your loyalty to Pine Mountain and your desire to continue helping when you have so many other causes much closer by which are equally deserving means a great deal to us.” Tells about vacationing in Florida; Christopher’s fiance Bonnie Combs’s family tragedy; Christopher on tour in Panama.

See Also:

BIRDENA BISHOP Correspondence I 1940-1946

BIRDENA BISHOP Staff (Biography)

BIRDENA BISHOP Chapel Talk (PMSS) November 22, 1942

BIRDENA BISHOP Guide to Scrapbook Collection

BIRDENA BISHOP Jane and Jim Progress Reports 1940-1943 

BIRDENA BISHOP Kitchen Reports 1944-1947

BIRDENA BISHOP A Philosophy of Freedom PMSS Commencement Speech 1942

BIRDENA BISHOP Photograph Album

BIRDENA BISHOP Women’s Assembly Talk Berea College March 28 1942

COMMUNITY STUDY MAP (Created by Birdena Bishop)


PINE MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY STUDY (Bishop assisted with this Berea College archive)