Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff
John Howard Young Correspondence II
Published: 2021-01-14 hw/aae

JOHN HOWARD YOUNG Correspondence II, 1938 – 1961

TAGS: John Howard Young, folk dancing, Joan Ayers, The Blue Ridge Industrial School at Bris VA, Glyn Morris, Fern Hall, references, math teachers, donations, Staunton (VA) Military Academy, H.R.S. Benjamin, Burton Rogers, Gladys Hill

The correspondence of John Howard Young is voluminous. Therefore, it has been separated into two parts.

Letters in Part I refer to his internship as a student teacher from Antioch College Cooperative Education program during the school year 1929-1930, and letters dated 1934 through 1937 depicting his efforts to secure a PMSS position as teacher and housefather.

This is Part II which represents his correspondence with the School following his departure in 1938 from employment at Pine Mountain, including his work at The Blue Ridge Industrial School, Bris, Virginia.

CONTENTS: John Howard Young Correspondence II

[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 John Howard Young are handwritten. The following list of contents is in chronological order and not necessarily in the order of the image numbers.]


[001] January 17, 1938. To “John” [Howard Young] from [unsigned], who had heard from Mr. [Arthur] Dodd about his talk. He thanks Young for his “favor to me and for your good words to the students.”

[002] March 31, 1938. To [?] from J.H.Young. [This is the second part of a letter; the first part is missing.] “I am in general in favor of a small fee for medical attention if we have a doctor next year.”

[003] May 14, 1938. A handwritten list of titles and authors from J.H. Young in response to the Office’s request for a  reading list.

[004] August 19, 1938. To Young at Soo-Nipi Park, NH, from [unsigned]. Responding to Young’s request to return to PMSS before the opening date of the School, he refers the question to Mr. Dodd, business manager.

[005] August 22, 1938. To Young from [unsigned], requesting that every worker return to PMSS in time for a series of informal conferences.

[007], [007a] August 30, 1938 [date stamp]. Two sides of a postcard to Joan Ayers at PMSS from Young in Hingham, MA, who describes his travels with John Blanton to PMSS and his arrival date. 


[006] February 20, 1939. To Young from [unsigned], “…there may be a danger of our doing too much folk dancing. Will you not see Joan [Ayers], who is as you know the official dancing teacher, before doing any further teaching of folk dancing.”

[008] April 27, 1939. To Glyn Morris from Rev. George P. Mayo, Secretary and Treasurer, The Blue Ridge Industrial School, Bris, VA, asking for Morris’s opinion of Young’s qualifications as a teacher.

[009] N.D. To Young from Fern Hall, PMSS Secretary, asking for the date when he was first at PMSS; handwritten notation “May 1929-May 1930.”

[011] May 30, 1939. To Mr. Mayo from [unsigned, apparently Morris], who wrote that he had sent information about Young earlier, with underlined characteristics. “I know that he is a man of much character but I know nothing about his business ability. He is deeply interested in work in the mountains,”

[young_john_h_001], [001a] N.D.Two pages with character traits underlined by a reference for John Howard Young, [001] including Breadth of Interest, Personal Habits, Appearance, Personality, and Culture and Innate Refinement. [001a] A second page: Health and Physical Make-up, Judgement, Self Control, Open Mindedness, Ability to Cooperate and Institutional Loyalty, and Initiative and Resourcefulness.

[019] N.D., no addressee. A note from Young on PMSS letterhead, providing his forwarding address as ℅ Miss [Abby] W. Christensen in Beaufort, SC. After June 7: Black Mt. NC.

[010]  June 3, 1939. To Joan Ayers from Young, providing a forward address at John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC.

[012], [012a] June 7, 1939. Two-page letter to Joan Ayers from Young on John C. Campbell Folk School letterhead, [012] who mentions Morris, English Country, and Danish Dancing and possibly meeting her at Long Pond someday. [012a] Mr. Gault at Campbell School is asking about Joan; he is teaching dramatics at Univ. of Va., Charlottesville. Gives forwarding address at Miss Christensen’s. “The Folk School is a delightful place. Winnie [Christensen] is here too.”

[013], [013a] June 24, 1939 [date stamp]. Two sides of a postcard to Joan Ayers from Young at Black Mountain, NC, who asks that his Reader’s Digest be forwarded to him.

[014], [014a] July 6, 1939 [date stamp]. Two sides of a postcard to  Fern Hall from Young, who “will miss ‘you all’ next year” and asks for his magazines to be forwarded from PMSS, except the Courier Journal which he leaves for the boys at Boys House.

[015], [015a] July 6, 1939. Two-page letter to Morris from Young on letterhead for Mission Bells Inn, Black Mountain, NC, who tells Morris that, even though he has a job at Bris, VA, for next year, he has sent Morris’s name as a reference for a position as Director of the Marsh Foundation, Van Wert, OH, a job which a friend has recommended. 

[016], [016a] July 17, 1939 [date stamp]. Two sides of a postcard to Fern Hall from Young, who gives a forwarding address to Manhasset, Long Island, NY.

[017] July 8, 1939. To Young from [unsigned – Morris], who gives his permission to use his name as a reference at any time.

[018] July 10, 1939. To Young from [unsigned – apparently Fern Hall], thanking him for his card; will follow his directions concerning his magazines. Asks about Maudie and reports that Miss Goins has left. 

[020], [020a] July 27, 1939. Two-page letter to Morris from Young, [020] who is disheartened after a second conference with Dr. Mayo at the Blue Ridge Industrial School; “The staff is sunk in the feeling of futility for any hope of change or improvement in the entire set-up.” Regrets leaving Pine Mountain and will return if needed. [020a] Leaving Philadelphia for his aunt’s home in Manhasset, Long Island, NY.

[021] August 1, 1939. To Young from [unsigned – Morris], responding to Young’s letter, writing that his disheartenment “ought to be a real challenge to you to do something about it.”

[022], [022a] August 17, 1939 [date stamp]. Two sides of a postcard to  Fern Hall from Young in Hingham, MA, who gives his forwarding address in Hingham until Aug. 26.

[023] August 1, 1939. To Morris from Young, reminding him that he is “on call” if needed to return to PMSS.

[024] September 29, 1939. To Young from [unsigned – Morris], thanking him for his offer to come to Pine Mountain in an emergency and hoping the situation gets better for him.

[025] through [025b] December 4, 1939. Three-page letter to Morris from Young in Bris, VA, [025] sending a contribution, “because I believe in Pine Mt.” Feels strongly he should finish his seminary work at a theological school but asks if he has a “special mission to fulfill in the ministry or would I clutter up the ‘profession’?” [025a] “My academic work here gives me no pleasure because it is all 8th grade level.” [025b] He had expected to teach high school math, he’s “neither principal nor general assistant manager” and his salary was cut to $85 per month. Asks for Morris’s advice.

[025c] DUPLICATE OF [025b]

[026] December 9, 1939. To Young from [unsigned – Morris], thanking him for his gift of one dollar; encourages Young to return to the seminary if he feels “equal to what lies ahead of you….”


[027] January 8, 1940. To Young from [unsigned – Morris], responding to his letter and wire. He states the qualifications for the counseling position in question but is “anxious, however, to secure someone for this position who has had some experience with the world of work outside academic circles.” Encourages Young to “continue trying to improve the situation in his present position.” He apologizes that he missed Young when he visited PMSS.

 [028] March 4, 1940. To Morris from Grace Rotzel on letterhead for “the School in Rose Valley, Moylan, PA,” asking for Morris’s estimate of Young “as a teacher and as a person.”

[029] March 14, 1940. To Rotzel from Morris, sending a form with characteristics underlined “which taken all together give you our impression of Mr. Young.”

[030], [030a] July 17, 1940. Two-page letter to Morris from Young in Cambridge, MA. Describes his dream about returning to PMSS, which meant to him that “I still love Pine Mt. and long to be there.” He asks if he could take charge of Far House boys since Miss [Louise] Merrill was promoted to Boys House. He is currently enjoying Harvard Summer School of Education; decided not to return to Bris, VA; registered with the Mass. State Dept. of Education. Met with Mrs. Bartlett and Miss Merrill at Lake Sunapee.

[031] July 23, 1940. To Young from [unsigned – Morris], who cannot offer Young a position at PMSS this year. Mentions building Laurel House II and a new girl’s house.

[032] September 16, 1940. To Morris from Fred E. Lukens, Corps Area Educational Adviser, Boston Army Base, Boston, MA, asking for Morris’s estimate of Young’s “ability to perform the duties of a camp educational adviser.” He describes the qualifications for the position.

[033] September 20, 1940. To Lukens from [unsigned – Morris], who encloses a copy of PMSS Worker’s Rating Sheet for Young.

[034], [034a] December 12, 1940. Two-page letter to Morris from Young, [034] who is now teaching math at the Staunton Military Academy (SMA), Staunton, VA. “Out my window I watch the gorgeous sunrise every clear morning over the Blue Ridge Mts.” [034a] Encloses his annual subscription of $1.00. Missing PMSS, he writes, “I agree more than ever with Mrs. Hook that no place celebrates Christmas with a finer spirit or in a finer way than Pine Mt. I do wish I could drop in for a fortnight.”

[035] December 17, 1940. To Young from [unsigned – Morris], thanking him for his gift; welcomes a visit from Young, but he and Mrs. Morris will be away during Christmas holidays.


[036] April 9, 1941. To Morris from Young, asking to visit PMSS for a weekend when there is a Saturday night folk dancing party.


[037] through [037f] January 10, 1942. Seven-page letter to “Glyn” [Morris] from Young at SMA, Staunton, VA, [037] who was very impressed when he read in the PMSS Notes “of your first celebration of the Holy Communion in the Chapel. How I would like to have been there! Before I die I trust I may see and take part in not only the celebration of the Eucharist according to the use of the Anglican Communion, but also the service of the consecration of the altar in the beautiful Pine Mt. Chapel.” [037a] Encloses a poem; spent vacation in eastern North Carolina with Bris, VA, friends. [037b] Young is happy at SMA, stating “This [teaching] is my vocation. At last I can revel in the field I love — mathematics. Next to that, as you might know, comes Theology. Together they go hand in hand and are the keys to the Universe and the meaning of life. …” [037c] He further explains that concept. [037d] Explains why he is teaching in a military school: “Because the forces of evil never surrender. …” [037e] Asks to visit PMSS along with 4 cadets. Remembers the “Friday night faculty parties at Zande House.” Encloses his contribution to PMSS.

[038] January 13, 1942. To “John” [Howard Young] from [unsigned – Morris], thanking Young for his gift of $1.00 to PMSS; appreciated his “clear statement of the relationship of religion to mathematics.” Welcomes a visit from Young and the cadets; “happy to know that you are happy in your work.”

[039] February 15, 1942. To Morris from Young, who is planning his visit and asks “Would the cost be the usual dollar a day for each one of us?”



[041] May 12, 1944. To William D. Webb, Acting Director, from Young in New York, NY, enclosing gift of $5. Announces his new teaching job at Darrow School, New Lebanon, NY, beginning June 15. “At last I am getting out of this city permanently.”

[042] June 12, 1944. To Young in New York, NY, from [Unsigned, Acting Director], who thanks Young for his gift. Describes work in the PMSS garden.


[043] November 12, 1945. To H.R.S. Benjamin from Young at Asheville (NC) School, who misses receiving PMSS NOTES and wonders if PMSS has his new and permanent address. “My many friends there will tell you who I am! Just ask Gladys Hill.”


[044] through [044g]
March 29, 1947. Nine-page letter to Mr. Benjamin from Young, regretting that he had to leave PMSS suddenly during his visit. [044b] En route to Asheville, he visited an Antioch classmate, Jarvis Hadley, [044c] whose mother, Mrs. Ruth Hadley, was visiting from Shelburne Falls, MA. She is interested in a position at PMSS and would like to visit. [044d], [044e], [044f] Young highly recommends her as a teacher or housemother and hopes Benjamin will interview her. [044g] Young “trusts the influenza epidemic is over.”

[045] March 31, 1947. To Young from H.R.S. Benjamin, who was also sorry that Young and Mr. Baker left so soon. He is wiring Mrs. Hadley and inviting her to stop at PMSS. “The flu seems to be under control here. We are gradually emptying the hospital and annex but are not yet back to normal.”

[046], [046a] April 28, 1947. Two-page letter to Benjamin from Young at Asheville (NC) School, who thanks Benjamin for meeting with Mrs. Hadley at PMSS; asks if he “could be of any service to you and Pine Mt. this summer?” such as, at Boys House. [Handwritten notation at tp of page 1: “No Available work at present.”]

[047] May 3, 1947. To Young from Benjamin, thanking him for Mrs. Hadley’s reference. He cannot offer Young a summer position. “We try to do with as few people as possible to keep down cost of maintaining the vacation group….. Perhaps I may ask you some other summer.” 

[048] May 27, 1947. To Young from Benjamin, thanking him for his annual gift of $5. “Last Friday we graduated 25 seniors — the largest class to leave Pine Mountain.”


049] January 6, 1948. To Young from Benjamin, thanking him for his annual gift of $5.

[050], [050a] December 19, 1948. Two-page letter to Benjamin from Young at Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, VA, sending a gift of $5 but declines to pledge for 1949: “I now have many new drains on finances…but will make a gift when I can.” Provides his new address at USMA Prep School, Stewart Field, Newburgh, NY. During Christmas vacation he will be in Elizabeth City, NC.


[051] January 4, 1949. To Young at USMA Prep School, in Newburgh, NY, from Benjamin, thanking him for his gift. Tells about the community New Year’s party with 300 attendees, that included set-running.


[052] March 8, 1954. ToBurton” [Rogers] from Young at Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY, who sends a “small gift”; condolences on the passing of Gladys Hill, “a rare and dear soul.” Wishes to visit PMSS and “bring Grace to who[m] I was married last August.”

[053], [053a] March 12, 1954. Two-page letter to Young from [unsigned, apparently Rogers], who appreciates Young’s gift. “We, too, miss Gladys Hill in every way we cannot describe. You are quite right in your expectation that her spirit is very much alive. It is amazing to note, as we do these days, so many instances of her influence over her pupils as they grow older.” Pawling, NY, is close to Rogers’ home in Sherman, CT, and he may visit Young next time he is there. Welcomes Young and his wife to visit PMSS.

[054] March 17, 1954. To Young from Burton Rogers, Director. Sends Young a receipt for his gift.


[055] January 30, 1959. To Young at Wellington Villa, Alexandria, VA, from Rogers, enclosing a receipt for Young’s purchase of a walnut stool. Mentions hearing from Young at Christmas; thanks him for the church calendar. “It is gratifying to know that you are comfortably settled in your new home, and with obvious happiness both there and in your work and other activities.” Expresses interest in Young’s operation that “has eliminated the hearing aid” and may look into it for Mary Rogers, who is troubled by a malfunctioning hearing aid.

[056] May 14, 1959. To Young from Rogers, thanking him for his $5 gift for the dishwasher fund, “which we have received through Marian Kingman.” 

[057] December 29, 1959. To “Grace and Howard” [Young] from Rogers, thanking him for his gift and calendar; tells about the success of the present school program.


[058] January 23, 1961. To “Mr. and Mrs. Young” in Alexandria, VA, from Rogers, thanking him for their $5 gift and enclosing receipt. “…[T]he regularity and faithfulness which you have shown is certainly appreciated.”


[060] Image of label on file folder: “Young, John Howard, 1929-43, 1954, 1959, 1961.”

See Also:
JOHN HOWARD YOUNG Staff – Biography
JOHN HOWARD YOUNG Correspondence I, 1929-1937