Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Students
Series 19: STUDENTS
Ray Banks, Student 1943-1947
Roy Banks, Student 1943-1947
Carlos Banks, Student 1945-1949

 RAY BANKS Student

Senior Class, 1947. Front row: Ray Banks, Arch Lewis, Earl Lewis, Lonnie Lewis, Bob Calloway, Bill Blackson, Densel Duncan, Betty Zane Logan. Second row: Roy Banks, Jack Wilder, Gladys Correll, Mary Howard, Jim Blanton, Bob LaRue (hidden), R.B. Begeley, Beth LaRue, Delores Scott, Douglas Reynolds, Lois North, Ann Creech, Wanda Collier, Jolene Lucas, Emily Bailey. [nace_1_057a.jpg]

RAY BANKS Student 1943-1947

TAGS: Ray Banks, Roy Banks, Carlos Banks, PMSS boarding students, self-evaluation letters to parents, school subjects, Wesley and Bertha Banks, farm work, poultry boys, Boy Scouts, Field Day, puppet shows, PMSS teachers, Thanksgiving Ball, Mountain Day, Putney Tower, branch schools, Eastern Kentucky State College, Beatrice Banks Brown

Ray Banks’ student records in the PMSS Collection consists of four self-evaluation letters that all PMSS students were directed to write and send to their parents or guardians at the end of each term. Ray’s letters provide a brief look at his studies as a Pine Mountain boarding student. Also included are several references to Ray Banks in other material in the Collection and on online sites. Ray’s letters were handwritten and covered two of his school years, 1944 and 1945, although he began at PMSS in 1943 and graduated in 1947. Additional details will be added, if found.

RAY BANKS Student: At Pine Mountain

May 1944 Letter

The first document in his student file was a three-page letter that Ray Banks wrote to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Banks of Whitesburg, Kentucky, dated May 24, 1944. In the letter, written at the end of his first year as a PMSS student, he describes his efforts and progress in his classes, including math, music, English (verbs, sentences, and capitalization), civics (maps, and background of America), science (electricity, sound, light, heat, mechanics, and maps), woodwork (using a lathe planer and circle saw), and two weeks of home economics (cooking)

In “farm work,” he learned about agriculture and planted vegetables. He was assigned to work as a “poultry boy” all year, which consisted of tending to chores in the chicken house. Every Friday evening he joined the other freshmen boys playing ball.

Ray Banks’ favorite activity in the past school year was “being a scout and going on trips and staying out all night. Field day was another thing I liked and enjoyed.”

As in his subsequent letters, he assured his parents that he did well in each of his subjects, stating “I got along with all my teachers and tried to do my best.” As for his interaction with others, he wrote, “In the house [dormitory] I never have any trouble with my housemother or the other boys.”

A Puppet Show and Twin Incidents

An article on pages 4-5 in the January 1944 issue of The Pine Cone, a PMSS student publication, is headlined “Freshmen Give Puppet Show.” Supervised by Miss Edith Cold and Miss Alice Cobb and assisted by Mrs. Mary Rogers, the ten actors included Ray and his twin brother, Roy, who was also a student. “[T]he students made and dressed their own puppets. In the show we were taken back to old Colonial days and were shown some of the experiences of our grandfathers and great grandfathers in the Indian wars.”

In an autobiography, Peter Barry, a former PMSS teacher, described two of Ray and Roy’s incidents as twins at Pine Mountain:

The students changed dining tables about once a month. One month we had a nice, rather quiet student named Ray Banks. He had an identical twin named Roy. The next month Allie [Barry] asked, puzzled, “Weren’t you supposed to move to another table?” “I’m the other one,” said Roy, wearily.

But they played a trick once on their somewhat gullible science teacher, Mrs. [Alice Joy] Keith. She had Ray on his feet to discuss some question, and she turned to write a word on the blackboard. While she did, Ray sat down and his brother stood up. Looking straight at Roy, she said , “Now Ray, do you understand?” Roy didn’t respond. Neither did the seated Ray. Mrs. Keith was a little miffed. “Why don’t you answer me, Ray?” “I’m not Ray, I’m Roy,” the standing one finally explained — with the class in stitches.

December 1944 Letter

The next letter was dated December 21, 1944, following the end of the first term of his second year at PMSS. Again, he gave a brief rundown of his studies: co-op (clerking in a store and shopping; Miss Gladys Hill, teacher); English (Miss [Minerva] Sparrow, teacher); woodworking (“I could have learned more. I fooled around some.”); biology; mathematics (“I like it best of all.”); and economics. This term he was assigned work in the milkhouse under the farm manager, Mr. William Hayes. Thanksgiving Ball and Mountain Day were highlights of this term. Again, he enjoyed outdoor activity most of all, when, on Mountain Day, “we went to Putney Tower and had dinner. We had contests to see who could name and identify the most trees, flowers, make noises like birds, and sketching. We had a nice time.” 

1945 Letters

The letters of the following year, 1945, remained positive and without complaints. On May 24, 1945, he described with enthusiasm his class in English: “I like it about the second best of my classes. … I certainly have increased my vocabulary this year in English. I have not idled around. It is a very interesting subject and I have wanted to learn all I can.” He considered mathematics as “my best subject. It is most interesting to me for the job I plan for in the future will depend on it greatly.”

By this time, he could see that the education he was receiving at Pine Mountain was substantial, writing: 

It wouldn’t be very easy for me to take co-op, economics, and dancing at home. I think I get these subjects here that I couldn’t get at home very easily. I also meet people who have had great experiences in traveling.

The last letter in his file, written on December 20, 1945, was much the same as his previous letters. He chose Fair Day as the most outstanding event of the term: “because I got to help barbecue the pork, which was barbecued through the night as well as day.”

His four letters suggest that Ray Banks enjoyed a rich and comprehensive experience at Pine Mountain, adequately providing the tools he would need to move forward in his life.

RAY BANKS Student: After Pine Mountain

Ray Banks graduated from Pine Mountain in May 1947, along with his brother, Roy Banks. (Carlos Banks, a younger sibling, was also a Pine Mountain student, graduating in 1949.) 

In a 1948 report to the Board of Directors. then-Director H.R.S. Benjamin wrote that he and counselor and teacher, Burton Rogers, visited Line Fork, Bear Branch, and Coyle Branch schools, where Roy and Ray Banks were teaching.

A page in the 1956 yearbook, “Milestone,” for Eastern Kentucky State College displays, among those of other classmates, the photos of both Ray and Roy Banks of Whitesburg, Kentucky.


A memorial page posted in 2014 for Beatrice Banks Brown on the Grayson Funeral Home (Charlestown, Indiana) website reveals a few details about Ray Banks’ family. Beatrice Brown, Ray Banks’ sister, was born in 1919 to Wesley and Bertha Banks. Her siblings were Edgar A. Banks, Carlos Banks, Ray Banks, Roy Banks (deceased), Ruth (deceased), Virgil, 4 half-brothers (deceased), and a step-brother (deceased). 




 Ray Banks

Alt. Title

 Banks, Ray




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Ray Banks, Roy Banks, Carlos Banks, PMSS students, self-evaluation letters to parents, school subjects, Wesley and Bertha Banks, farm work, poultry boys, Boy Scouts, Field Day, puppet shows, PMSS teachers, Thanksgiving Ball, Mountain Day, Putney Tower, branch schools, Eastern Kentucky State College, Beatrice Banks Brown

Subject LCSH

Banks, Ray.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History. 
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.


2022-09-08 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 – Students
Series 19: STUDENTS




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Students and Series 19: STUDENTS

Coverage Temporal

1919 – 2014

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Whitesburg, KY ; Charlestown IN ;


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 Ray Banks ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Ray Banks ;




“[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 ;

Last Updated



“Beatrice (Banks) Brown” Memorial Page. Grayson Funeral Home website. Internet resource; accessed September 08, 2022.  https://www.graysonfuneralhomes.com/obituary/Beatrice-Brown

“Milestone,” yearbook for Eastern Kentucky University, page 170. Internet resource; accessed September 08, 2022.   https://encompass.eku.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1039&context=yearbooks

“RAY BANKS Student Records.” ; “PINE CONE 1944 January” ; “STUYVESANT PETER and ALICE BERRY Autobiographical Notes (in progress).” Series 09: BIOGRAPHY and Series 19: STUDENTS. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

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RAY BANKS Student Records