ANNE RUTH MEDCALF Correspondence I 1921-1922

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff
Series 14: MEDICAL 
Anne Ruth Medcalf 
Nurse, Line Fork Settlement, 1921-1924
Correspondence I, 1921-1922

RUTH ANNE MEDCALF Correspondence 1 1921-1922

“Line Fork.” The medical cabin. [kingman_033b]

TAGS: Anne Ruth Medcalf, correspondence, nurse, nursing, Line Fork Settlement, public health, rural health work, Katherine Pettit, Edith R. Canterbury, home nursing, visiting nurses, Evelyn K. Wells, application for a PMSS position, American Red Cross, Kernan Hospital, horses

ANNE RUTH MEDCALF Correspondence I, 1921-1922

Nurse, Line Fork Settlement 1921-1924


[Note: Letters from PMSS staff in the PMSS Collections are carbon copies, typewritten, unsigned, and meant for the Office files. The original signed documents 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, “KP” refers to Katherine Pettit, Letters from Anne Ruth Medcalf and Edith R. Canterbury are handwritten originals unless specified otherwise. The following list of contents is in chronological order and not necessarily in the order of the image numbers. Quotes from the correspondence may be slightly edited for clarity.]


002-002c April 17, 1921. Four-page letter of recommendation to Katherine Pettit, PMSS Co-Director, from Edith R. Canterbury, Point Pleasant, WVA. [002] Canterbury describes Medcalf as “ … efficient and thorough-going and adaptable, and not a bit afraid of a hard job.” [002a] She lists Medcalf’s credentials and that she is “of Quaker extraction.” [002b] “…she’s the kind for Pine Mountain to my mind.” Regrets not attending the Knoxville Conference, [002c] since she was busy “with a hospital case to get placed and nursing classes beginning.” 

003 May 4, 1921. To Canterbury from KP [Pettit], stating that the School is likely to need a nurse and asks that Canterbury write and send the completed questionnaire.

004-004c May 8, 1921. Four-page letter to Pettit from Canterbury, [004] describing Medcalf’s interest in Pine Mountain as well as other possibilities as her current position ends [004a] in the first week of June. Canterbury describes Medcalf’s teaching of a class in home nursing. [004b] Asks if Evelyn [K. Well]s] can meet with Medcalf. “Pine Mountain is much in my mind, as always. To think of electric [004c] lights in the Big Log House living room. Why can’t the most beautiful always be the safest! Well, there are still the gourd candlesticks for occasions.” She expresses her feelings about her work in West Virginia.

001 May 8, 1921. APPLICATION BLANK with letterhead for “Pine Mountain Settlement School, Inc., Pine Mountain, Harlan County, Kentucky. Executive Committee: Miss Katherine Pettit, Mrs. Ethel de Long Zande. Treasurer: C.N. Manning, Security Trust Co., Lexington, Ky.” [Medcalf’s entries are handwritten.]
Name: Anne Ruth Medcalf
Age: 27
Health: Good
Education: High School, Nurses’ Training School. Partial Courses: Playground Course.
What line of work at Pine Mountain interests you? Nursing
Training and experience? Have had [?] months experience with the Restrictive Visiting Nurse Asso., Balto; (over) [See 001a]
Other interests? Playground Work.
….How did you become interested in work at Pine Mountain? Through Miss Edith R. Canterbury.
….[Medcalf provides three references with addresses.]
Permanent Address: …Chatham Road, Baltimore, Maryland.
001a APPLICATION BLANK, Reverse side.

(Continued) Had two and a half years’ service with the Red Cross attached to the Army during the war. Part of this time being spent in this country, part in France. Since the war, have spent a year at Kernan Hospital and Industrial School for Crippled Children of Maryland, and the last few months have been teaching House Hygiene and Care of the Sick as a representative of the American Red Cross.

005-005a N.D. Two-page letter to Pettit from Medcalf, Mason County Chapter, American Red Cross, Point Pleasant, WVA, [005] who expresses her desire to work at PMSS after hearing about the School from Canterbury. [005a] However, she has “[d]efinite responsibilities at home” which means she can only work at PMSS for several months. Asks for details about the work.

006 May 14, 1921. To Medcalf from KP [Pettit], who hopes Medcalf will be able to come to PMSS — “because we really want you and need you.” Asks how much salary Medcalf will need each month; exactly how many months she can work; and whether she would want to work in the new infirmary or at “one of our outlying settlements and do rural nursing” and home visiting, as did the former nurse, Miss [Frances] Palmer (who left to get married in April.)

007 May 31, 1921. To Medcalf from KP [Pettit], asking again if Medcalf will work at PMSS, particularly at Line Fork Settlement.

008-008a N.D. Two-page letter to Pettit from Medcalf, who apologizes for the lateness of her response but cannot yet provide an answer until she goes home.

009 June 7, 1921. To Medcalf from KP [Pettit], who agrees to wait unless there is the slight chance that someone else can fill the position.

010-010b June 19, 1921. Three-page letter to Pettit from Medcalf, [010] asking if she can come to work at PMSS September 1 and stay at least six months. [010a] Asks for at least $100 per month. Provides her home address in Baltimore, MD. [010b] Medcalf’s address in Baltimore [torn from envelope].

011 [Date is truncated]. To Medcalf from KP (Pettit] agreeing to her arrival on September 1 and a six-months’ trial at $100 a month. “That’s a good deal more than we pay either of our other nurses…[O]ur Line Fork workers all live together in a little log house at Line Fork, and the living expenses are about twenty dollars a month a piece.” Pettit asks if Medcalf’s $20 can come out of her $100 salary. As for clothing, “Don’t come with finery, kid shoes, etc.”

012 Transcription of post card of July 18, 1921, to Medcalf from Pettit, asking for her decision.

013-013a July 18, 1921. Two-page letter to Pettit from Medcalf, [013] agreeing that the living expenses come out of her salary and to a six-months’ trial. “Edith Canterbury assures me that I can manage on a modest salary in the mountains much better [013a] than I could on a larger one on the outside….” Asks about what to bring and whether her old clothing from her work in France would suffice. Prefers working at Line Fork Settlement.

014 July 23, 1921. To Medcalf from KP (Pettit], glad that she agrees to the salary arrangement, as “Our workers just get fifty dollars a month,” including the head worker at Line Fork. “Miss [Ruth] Dennis finds the things she used in France just what she needs here.” Suggests that Medcalf solicits somebody to help with acquiring a traveling nurse’s bag and contents. Also, she should write to Dennis for travel information. “I advise you, however, to send most of your things in by insured parcels post.”

015-015a July 26, 1921. Two-page letter to Pettit from Medcalf, asking for suggestions as to what to bring. 

016, 016a August 16, 1921. To Medcalf from [bottom margin truncated, apparently Pettit], [016] expressing appreciation for her recommendation of Miss James for a PMSS position. Regrets that Medcalf’s arrival will be delayed. Provides travel information, how to meet with Wilson Lewis and mule in Dillon, and instructions upon arrival. [016a] August 17, 1921. Postscript from Pettit, asking for names to add to the PMSS mailing list in order to send them literature.

017-017b N.D. Six-page handwritten list of “Addresses in Line Fork Card Index.” [017] Names and addresses for Abercrombie through Brainard; [017a] Page 2, Bredin through Dashiell; [017b] Page 3, DiVol through Heyser; [017c] Page 4, Hamilton through Meekin; [017d] Page 5, Morton through Stone; [017e] Page 6, Tompkins through Zenss [?].


018 March 10, 1922. To Medcalf in Gilley, Letcher Co., KY, from [unsigned[, enclosing an unidentified item at Mrs. Ethel Zande’s request; asking “when are you coming over to see us?”

019 June 21, 1922. Duplicate of a bill to “Mrs. Causey” for a laundry basket; charged to Line Fork, according to handwritten notation.

020 August 7, 1922. To Medcalf from KP [Pettit], suggesting that Miss [Mabel] Mumford ride to PMSS and pick up items. “Owing to the fact that Nell is our only nag, and is used to haul stone every day, we have to ask you and the Medical Settlement people to do most of their own fetching.” Pettit has a “big hamper basket” for Medcalf and two baskets for Miss Mumford that was ordered by Miss [Harriet] Butler before she left.

021 August 11, 1922. To Medcalf from KP [Pettit] with instructions for sending the “green tickets for payment”; asks if Miss Lewis or Miss Teeter can serve as Line Fork summer staff to be trained in time for Medcalf’s possible departure in September.

022 September 14, 1922. To Medcalf from KP [Pettit], asking about a fireless cooker at Line Fork; Miss Lewis prefers to arrive October first; asks Medcalf to send someone with Dixie (horse) to help Lewis ride to Line Fork.

023-023a September 20, 1922. Two-page letter to Medcalf from KP [Pettit], [023] mentioning Miss Mumford, Miss Fox, Miss Lewis, Miss Mann; asks when Miss Mann is leaving. Writes about Miss Wells’ thoughts on bookkeeping; tells about the “need to sell a bond to meet expenses the end of this month.” About declining to pay for Medcalf’s horse feed, Pettit writes,

I think you ought to make your community realize the direct connection between the fees they pay you for your care of them, and your daily living expenses. This is the only way to build up a self-respecting community, just as much as talking away the old clothing sales.

Explains why Miss Craig left for home before visiting Line Fork. [023a] Pettit wants to talk with Medcalf about providing equipment for the school lunches.

024 October 17, 1922. To Medcalf from KP [Pettit], asking if she can visit when Dr. Stucky’s clinic begins. William Browning will be in charge of selling Dixie [horse]. Thanks her for Ray Holcomb’s poem. Dr. Roberts will be visiting.

025 October 24, 1922. To Medcalf from [unsigned, possibly Evelyn K. Wells], asking “Who paid for the labor of making those desks from the tables in your living room?” and requesting the check if PMSS paid them. Otherwise, Medcalf should keep the checks and handle them herself, explaining:

“..[T]he extension centers, after the initial work of starting them is done, are supposed to be as independent of Pine Mountain as possible, except in guiding policies and workers, etc., and to manage their own finances as far as possible.

026 November 23, 1922. To Medcalf from KP [Pettit], enclosing a letter from Miss Humes about Miss Sudo, who needs to recover from exhaustion before returning to work. Pettit asks if Medcalf will come to PMSS campus for a week as a substitute while Sudo is absent. Dr. Merrow will be present most of the time but so should a nurse, citing current cases of chickenpox. She mentions Miss Vallette as a possible alternative for part of the time.

GALLERY: ANNE RUTH MEDCALF Correspondence I, 1921-1922

ANNE RUTH MEDCALF Correspondence II 1923-1924

See Also:
ANNE RUTH MEDCALF Staff – Biography
LINE FORK Settlement