Dr. and Mrs. FRANK W. NEWMAN Staff

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff
Series 14: Medical, Health & Hygiene
Dr. and Mrs. Frank W. Newman Staff 

Dr. Frank W. Newman
Mrs. Elizabeth (Anderson) Newman, R.N.
Staff, 1934 – 1935

TAGS: Frank W. Newman, Elizabeth (“Betty”) Newman, nurses, doctors, rural medicine, Glyn Morris, Pine Mountain Settlement School Infirmary, foreign mission work, Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, Williams College, Columbia University, C.S. Butler, U.S. Naval Hospital, Rev. Fred B. Newman, Dr. Wyndham H. Nutter, Dr. Kenneth Gould

Dr. Frank W. Newman, c. 1933. [newman_frank_w_044-copy.jpg]

In November 1933, Dr. Frank Watson Newman was just finishing his two-year internship at the Newark City Hospital in New Jersey. He and his fiance, a nurse, were hoping to go into foreign mission work but they learned that the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions had temporarily run out of funds to send new medical missionaries to foreign countries. Consequently, they looked for similar work in an American institution where the two could gain medical experience that would prepare them for their dream, eventual foreign missionary work in China.

Dr. Newman turned his attention to the Pine Mountain Settlement School in Kentucky which, he learned from the Medical Bureau of Chicago, was looking for a school and community doctor.

Dr. and Mrs. Frank W. Newman: PINE MOUNTAIN

In his November 4, 1933, letter of application to Director Glyn Morris, he introduced himself as the 28-year-old son of a Presbyterian minister. He had earned a B.A. from Williams College, in Massachusetts, in 1927 and then the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York City, in 1931. He substituted at Sloane Maternity Hospital in Manhattan, New York, for three months and currently was completing his internship at the Newark (New Jersey) City Hospital.

Elizabeth (“Betty”) Anderson, his betrothed, had graduated from the same training school three years earlier and had been doing post-graduate work at the hospital since then.

Glyn Morris was pleased with Newman’s credentials, responding that, although he had “some fifty odd applications for this position, yours interests me particularly.” At Morris’s suggestion, Newman met with C.S. Butler, a PMSS representative at the U.S. Naval Hospital in New York, NY. Butler sent Morris a report of that interview, stating that Newman “will be the ideal man for you” and providing additional information about Newman. Since Newman, who was from Tunkhannock, PA, passed the National Board of Medical Examiners in Washington, DC, Newman was qualified to practice in Kentucky.

Morris, relieved to find a qualified and interested candidate, continued with the various stages of the hiring process, which included requesting Newman’s credentials from the Chicago Medical Bureau and sending Newman a list of “Duties of the Doctor.” Besides supervising and taking “care of all health and medical work at the school and, as the demand rises, in the community,” the doctor was responsible for student examinations, health talks at student assemblies, testing the water supply, supervising the care of sanitary facilities, maintaining clinics at the Medical Center and Incline, and organizing a community Health Association.

The list also stated that “Mrs. Newman will supervise and instruct the girls who are given in her charge for the housework at the Infirmary.” Morris included a letter confirming his appointment as a PMSS physician at $100 a month that will increase to $125 after six months if his work is satisfactory.

Meanwhile, Frank Newman and Betty eagerly prepared for their new adventure, which involved applying for a Kentucky license, sending purchases of drugs and instruments to the School, reading Dr. Alfreda Withington‘s Atlantic article, “Mountain Doctor” and, finally, marrying on January 2, 1934.

On January 5, 1934, only three days after they were married, Dr. and Mrs. Newman arrived at Pine Mountain to begin their medical work, replacing Dr. Kenneth Gould who had left in December 1933. They stayed at Pine Mountain until 1935, during which time the Newmans and the Morrises evidently became close friends.

Four more doctors followed Dr. Newman and all were in training for — or had just returned from — foreign mission work and therefore their stays, too, were short-lived.

Dr. and Mrs. Frank W. Newman: AFTER PINE MOUNTAIN

After Pine Mountain, the Newmans moved to Plainfield, New Jersey, and kept up with the School and the Morrises through visits with each other and intermittent correspondence, which lasted at least until 1941. Frank Newman supported Morris’s work, missed his PMSS co-workers, and often described ideas he had for the School. In turn, Glyn and Gladys Morris followed the growth of the Newman family with the addition, over time, of Wee Mary, Ann Lilian, and David.

The Newmans finally left for China in 1936 and their timing could not have been worse, as the Japanese invaded and the province where they were assigned, Hunan, was particularly devastated.

In January 1938, Frank’s father, the Rev. Fred B. Newman, minister of the Presbyterian Church in Tunkhannock, PA, informed Morris that his son and family were in Kowloon, Hong Kong, China, explaining that “It was deemed advisable that they leave Heng Yang while the Hankow-Canton R R was still open and they have now been in Hong Kong since about the first of the year. They are anticipating the coming of a ‘little brother’ for Weemary (sic) some time early in February and the council in China gave Frank a leave of three months that they might be under more favorable conditions for Betty.” They hoped to return to Heng Yang, depending on the decision of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church.

A month later, Morris wrote to Newman, asking about the possibility of Newman returning to the United States and coming back to PMSS. “We have been trying all year to find the right doctor for Pine Mountain. I am convinced that the most tangible thing we can do in this community is to help the sick. Our nurse and her girls are doing a swell job but they are terribly limited because we have no doctor. … My plans for the future are to stay in Harlan County and to make Pine Mountain at least twice as large as it is and to reach young men and young women of junior college age who are not going on to college. For the community we plan a larger and more intensive program using as many of our students as possible.”

Frank Newman declined Morris’s request to return to PMSS, writing “any doc who knows any Chinese at all has no business being anywhere but in China to-day…to practice his trade where it will do the most good.” In the same letter, he announced the birth of his daughter “Ann Lilian, [who] arrived March 4th, two days after Mary’s birthday.

By November 1940, the Newman family was back in Plainfield, New Jersey, on furlough from China, due to the uncertain conditions in that country. Dr. Newman wrote Morris that he and Betty would only return to China if they can do so as a family. Meanwhile, he hoped to stay in surgery and live near a lab and a medical library to keep up-to-date in his profession. A few months later he informed Morris that he was staying with surgery since “there will be many vacancies in good hospitals due to the calling out for military service of the regular appointees….” He also tells of his attempts to find a medical candidate for PMSS, which weren’t successful because the U.S. Armed Forces were taking all the available doctors.

The last letter in the PMSS Archives files to Dr. Frank W. Newman, dated August 12, 1941, was from Morris telling Newman that the new PMSS physician, Dr. Wyndham H. Nutter was “well-received by the community and is taking his work at Pine Mountain very seriously. He has had some theological background, I believe, and is very much interested in man’s spirit, as well as his body.”

It is possible that Morris was reminded of the manner in which Dr. Newman likewise had tended to his patients during his year in the Pine Mountain Settlement School’s Infirmary.

In 1951, the Newmans returned to the United States, having left China due to the impossible conditions which missionaries faced under the Communist government.

A year later, the Newmans relocated to Cameroon in western Africa, where they successfully established a model clinic and stayed for fifteen years. Morris has pointed out that the Newmans’ work in the Cameroons involved establishing a paraprofessional program using locally trained personnel. It was a groundbreaking practice that Morris indicated might have been inspired by the student program at Pine Mountain.

[For more about the Newmans in China, go to “Frank Watson Newman, M.D. – Elat, Cameroun,” at the Xiangtan Central Hospital website. See their photograph on the HOME page under “History of Xiangtan Central Hospital.”]

See Also:
FRANK W. NEWMAN Correspondence, 1933 – 1941

Return to: BIOGRAPHY – A-Z


Dr. and Mrs. Frank W. Newman

Alt. Title

Frank Watson Newman, Betty Newman, Elizabeth Newman, R.N., Elizabeth Anderson


Dr. and Mrs. FRANK W. NEWMAN Staff


Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Dr. Frank W. Newman ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; Frank Watson Newman, Betty Newman, Elizabeth Anderson, 

Subject LCSH

Newman, Frank W., — born c. 1905.
Newman, Elizabeth Anderson.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Rural health services — Appalachian Region — History.


2020-11-09 aae.


Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.




Collections ; text ; image ;


Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet.


Series 09: Biography – Staff
Series 14: Medical, Health & Hygiene 




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections,

Coverage Temporal

1905 – 1952

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ;


Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.




Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Dr. and Mrs. Frank W. Newman; clippings, photographs, books by or about Dr. and Mrs. Frank W. Newman ;




“[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

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“Newman, Frank.” Series 09: Biography – Staff and Series 14: Medical, Health & Hygiene Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

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