Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 05: GOVERNANCE – BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Series 07: DIRECTORS
1948 Director’s Reports to BOT
H.R.S. Benjamin, PMSS Director, 1944-1949
GOVERNANCE 1948 Director’s Reports to BOT
From H.R.S. Benjamin, Director
TAGS: Governance, 1948 director’s reports to BOT, Board of Trustees, H.R.S. Benjamin, students, workers, repairs, weather, food, farming, parties, telephones, vacations, staffing, folk-dancing, visitors, fundraising, donations, community, hospital, photography, reservoir, Fair Day, publicity, statement of belief
CONTENTS: 1948 Director’s Reports to BOT
[51 images January-December 1948]
[Jan-01] Description of winter at PMSS; end of students’ 16-day vacation; current enrollment (94 boarding students and four day students); Friday evening staff parties; REA service after electrical outages; chapel services and vespers by students.
[Jan-01a] Replacement of broken 1940 1 1/2-ton International truck with a new one; Mr. [Brit] Wilder’s driving with chains; turnover among the 33 staff members; calendars (4800 mailed out, 220 returned).
[Jan-02] Calendars, continued (1200 recipients sent payment; $774.44 profit); breakdowns of furnace, radiator, and hot water systems; recognition of Brit Wilder, Mr. Link, and 5 boys who care for the fires; Jess Cornett, watchman; huge icicle on Laurel House; curriculum committee preparations; resignation of miners from the mine lease; dealing with worker-student dating; Mr. Nichols; thanks to staff for their support. Signed, H.R.S. Benjamin, Director.
[Jan-03a] Washington Party (Dodd took pictures); Spring Vacation (changed from a week’s home vacation to three days off to enjoy spring at PMSS and cutting down on epidemics.); Farm (Bill Hayes received three awards. [a] Food produced for the kitchen. “There is no question in my mind as to whether, even with feed prices high, it pays us to maintain our farm.”)
[Jan-04] Page 3. Farm, continued. (b) report on pigs and a red boar, totaling 31 in the herd; (c) new movable brooder houses for brood sows and the boar; (d) fields with rye cover crops, lespedeza; wheat on the rented farms; tiling; clearing; fencing; pasturing the heifers and Hereford sire. Death of Jim Browning of Little Laurel “who did so much for this school in its building and in advice to its leaders.” Departing staff (housemothers, mechanics teacher, printer, secretary); Miss Mary Elizabeth Hurff will stay another year. Signed, H.R.S. Benjamin, Director.
[Feb-01] Description of spring at PMSS, including Miss [Ruby] Lanier’s hyacinths, daffodils, green rye; mentions “the museum”; organ and piano concert by Mr. [Burton] Rogers and Mr. [Arthur W.] Dodd at Vespers; a day off for winter sports in deep snow; REA power failures and asking Bell telephone system for telephones (requiring a wire across the mountain); Valentine Party; Chapel speakers (Rev. Bischoff of Red Bird Mission) and Rev. Hunzicker of Evarts); 14 seniors had a day off to see the movie Gone With The Wind in Harlan.
[Feb-01a] Citizenship Committee of students and workers deal with discipline, resulting in impeachment…
[Jan-03 SHOULD BE Feb-01b] Page 1, continued. …of a committee member. Meeting of students’ Inquirers class with Benjamin, seeking information about religious living and thinking; introduction of Mrs. Louise Fliermans’ arrival at end of January (her 3-year-old son, Carl B. is with her, who has become a mascot); description of the Washington Party (Mr. Dodd took photos); replace a week of spring vacation at home to three days at the School, cutting down on epidemics.
[Mar-01] Description of the hoar frost on the mountain and approach of spring; Mr. Dodd’s piano concert in memory of Mrs. [Ethel de Long] Zande; first aid treatment to an accident victim at one of the local truck mines performed by Dr. [Elizabeth] Henderson and Miss [Grace M.] Rood, alerted by telephone; clean-up day and dancing; Benjamin attended the annual meeting of the Council of Southern Mountain Workers at Gatlinburg and elected recording secretary; growth of the applicants’ list and lack of space for them; student discipline.
[Mar-01a] Community visits by PMSS should be increased.
[Mar-02] Page 2. Little progress on the road situation due to change in administration in Frankfort; Southern Bell has approved complete phone connections; movies at PMSS are popular with the community but the School should provide less passive entertainment; the three-day vacation for students on campus that replaced one week at their homes is working well, including a clean-up day, hiking and rest; Dr. Francis Hutchins, Berea College president, spoke on Palm Sunday. Vespers program; meditation services; Good Friday holiday. Mr. Rogers led the Easter morning service and Mrs. Benjamin the evening Vesper services. Signed, H.R.S. Benjamin, Director.
[Apr-01] April 2, 1948. Annual meeting. Fundraising by Kentucky Children Inc. with Dr. Clark Bailey as one of the leaders; Line Fork’s new schoolhouse and mention of the Bakers [Lutrella and Richard]; plans for repairs on West Wind to begin mid-May; study of Far House disciplinary programs; equipment needs (typewriters, replacement of Chevrolet bus, refrigerator in the Home Ec. building, 16mm movie machine). “Visual education is becoming increasingly important here as everywhere.”
[Apr-02] Study of marketing the calendars; plans for use of PMSS land and leased land (“We plan to farm a total of 65 aces.”); re-engagement of Margaret Motter for the coming year (“Each time she has been on a trip she has made new friends. This warm intimate appeal is extremely valuable.”); appreciation for Dorothy Nace’s publicity trip in New York, speaking at 21 meetings. The board recommends the study of the following: insurance policies; community visits, particularly Line Fork [Settlement] work, the Medical Settlement [Big Laurel], and “the slowly developing industrialization of the natural resource in this valley.”; addition of John H. Moffett of Indianapolis, a longtime friend and contributor, as an Advisory Board member; proposed budget; simplification of the bookkeeping system; hiring of a full-time publicity field worker.
[Apr-03] Page 3. List of staff-approved recommendations from the Curriculum Committee. Personnel: “The war made it difficult to secure the type of people desired for this work.” Dorothy Nace will remain as secretary, but two housemothers, the auto-mechanics instructor, and the printer are leaving. Signed H.R.S. Benjamin, Director, March 20, 1948.
[Apr-03a] Policy on Folk-Dancing at Pine Mountain, Dec. 1, 1947. “[There is a] need for a type of recreation that is different from the synthetic, commercialized entertainment that is so characteristic of our modern era. It is passive in nature, non-recreative in purpose, and when it stems from Hollywood, often frustrating in values.” PMSS’s obligations: train all students to be “skillful and enthusiastic dancers’; help the folk dance movement in the mountain area; revive publicity tours of folk dance teams to other cities.
[Apr-04] Policy Affecting Students Who Leave for Armed Services (during the war and currently). A study of the social studies program recommends an American History course for freshmen, using the volume The New World Past and Present; other recommended course changes, including the teaching of auto-mechanics.
[Apr-04a] The committee approved “the approach of Mrs. Fliermans, the new home economics instructor, to the work in that department.” Policy Affecting Retarded Students: “The academic standard for the retarded group must be identical with that of the able group….
[Apr-05] Page 5. “…which is nothing less than doing his best at all times. …. The slow students often become better citizens of society because of other compensating abilities and attitudes which they develop in a school such as Pine Mountain.”
[Apr-05a] Recommendation on New Farm Building by the Curriculum Committee; mentions the fine work of Mr. [William] Hayes, Farm Manager; describes Mr. Hayes working handicaps, such as no comfortable, central place to store equipment or work with students; describes importance of farming as a vocation in a region with an economic base built on minerals, timber, and the soil. PMSS’s responsibility is to “further by the wise use of its own 335 acres of and the agricultural and economic development of the country.” Also, adding more farmed land to PMSS puts the farm program on a sounder financial basis; the committee urges the construction of a new farm building, possibly at the present Tool House location.
[May-June-01] May-mid-June 1948. Describes sounds of summer work; May Day Festival; Three Berea College staff members and a student provided vocal, violin, and piano music, done each year by the college; meeting at PMSS by 51 delegates of the Council of Southern Mountain Workers with a keynote talk by Rev. Huntsman of Annville Institute “on the purpose of the mountain settlement school today.” West Wind work was completed on the roof, rooms divisions, attic; Work still to be done includes installation of steel windows, siding, floors, plumbing and heating equipment, and painting the whole building; “Our original estimate of $10,000 will not be far off I suspect….”
[May-June-01a] 1948-49 Contracts are complete for all positions except printer, Big Log, housemother, office assistant, and English instructor; Miss Beck, PMSS’s second nurse will resign Oct. 1. A total of 4,475 April appeal letters were sent out and resulted in higher than usual donations; thanks to Miss Wells for suggestions and assistance.
[May-June-02] Page 2. Legacy Receipts include donations by Edwin and Grace Blashfield, replacing “very nearly the inroads made on endowment this past year.” Also, Miss Jessie Munger increased her annual gift. Events of the last week of school included Junior-Senior Banquet, a program led by Mrs. Fliermans, the Baccalaureate Service with a talk by Dr. Bailey; graduation on May 21 of four boys and 11 girls; 28 received labor awards; seniors gave two gifts to the School.
[May-June-02a] Page 2, continued. A public telephone will be installed after working out “maintenance responsibility with the Forestry service that gives us the use of their line now employed for forest fire warnings. … Southern Bell will make the connection at Putney and install equipment here.” Farm work: adverse effects of the weather; Mr. Hayes and Mr. Wilder built a 24 D sprayer to control weeds; wheat, rye, and vegetables are growing well and the School is enjoying good meals.
[May-June-03] Page 3. Various staff members visited 31 community homes, accompanied by Mr. Dodd and Mr. Rogers to get a better impression of the students’ backgrounds; mining camps, which possibly had schooling were not visited. A list of staff on vacations; Miss Fenn, Mr. Nichols, and possibly Miss Hurff are not returning; the Benjamins vacationed at Cherokee Lake, TN. Signed H.R.S. Benjamin, Director.
[July-01] Summer 1948. West Wind repairs nearly completed; next repair project will be Far House, which has “long been a problem in discipline and effective controls”; changes were proposed by Mrs. Hook and a friend, “Mrs. George Rogers, also an architect who was visiting us.” Boys House has a new water-tight floor in the upstairs bathroom; Executive Committee meeting in Mr. Dabney’s office; visit by trustee Dr. [Joseph] Van Vleck; resignation from Line Fork by the Bakers to accept work in southern Missouri; the problem of staffing Line Fork.
[July-01a] Vacations: “We are grateful to the Drs. Tucker who have carried the medical work the past month in Dr. Henderson’s absence.” Weather and Crops: A repaired West Wind can now be used for guests; garden vegetables; farm animals.
[July-02] Page 2, mid-summer. Canning totals; trading coal for peaches from South Carolina. Equipment: installation of tank gas for hospital stove and the chemistry lab; purchase of a new sander for the floors. Mr. Hayes and Mr. Wilder displayed their 24D sprayer weed-killer at the Farmers’ Picnic, a county affair. Southern Bell installed a telephone on July 12, 1948, thanks to Mr. Pilliod, NYC, (VP of AT&T), Mr. Hughes of Middlesboro, Mr. Weisenberger of Harlan, and the state forestry service. Chapel-Vespers services; the Benjamins and Miss Motter visited the Prices in Wheelwright, KY.[July-02a] Page 2, continued. Rogers and Benjamin visited the homes of prospective students; Calendar Party consisted of assembling 5,000 PMSS calendars (total cost $800). Mention of Mr. Dodd’s color photos of the PMSS herd on the November cover of Country Gentleman. April appeal letter donations to date: $4870. Signed, H.R.S. Benjamin.
[Aug-01] Students: statistics of total applications, enrollments, mortality rate; reasons for dropping out of school. Farm: received free bags of phosphate through cooperation with the county agent and federal agent, Mr. Claude Taylor; rye, clover, lespedeza, hay on the rented farm; wheat; canning tomatoes, harvesting and storing potatoes; corn; increase in herd. Creech Reunion was held at the Lean-to.
[Aug-01a] Returns on April letter totaled $5135.15; Dodd placed three PMSS pictures in Scenic South, the Standard Oil publication distributed from southern service stations (depicting West Wind, Schoolhouse and student at a loom). Miss Nace is researching lapsed donors and sending inquiry letters.
[Aug-02] Page 2. Community: Nace and Rogers were invited to teach at Creech Sunday School; Benjamin and Rogers visited Line Fork, Bear Branch and Coyle Branch schools, where twins and 1947 PMSS graduates Roy and Ray Banks are teaching; Rogers visited 20 other schools and left Fair Day information, catalogs, and calendars. Miss Sue Wheeldon teaches Creech School; a PTA was formed by the Hayeses, Dodds, Rogers and others. Hospital: statistics concerning incomes, calls, patients, maternity cases, health checkups. Staff 1948-49: Not filling the auto-mechanics or printing vacancies; Mrs. Holsinger (Far House and Boys House housemother), Mrs. Hottenstein (Big Log housemother until Oct. 1), Miss Mary Ruth Heil (new English teacher).
[Aug-02a] Page 2, continued. Description of repairs at Big Log, Boys’ House, West Wind, Far House, Country Cottage, and Workshop chemistry laboratory.
[Aug-03] Page 3. Description of repairs, continued: hospital; chicken house, Laurel House, potato cellar. Mrs. VanVleck of the Board donated a freezing unit. Signed H.R.S. Benjamin, Director.
[Sept-01] Opening Days (student losses). Staff Organization(staff committees that have been appointed; ways that staff can cooperate with students). Ball Games. Water (low reservoir). Fair Day (descriptions of food, events; 350-375 outside attendees; Steering Committee [Dodd, Hayes, Fliermans]; $121 profit.
[Sept-01a] Page 1, Fair Day (continued). Ernie(?) Hall, an alumnus, was master of ceremonies; Richard Chase, an author, told tales.
[Sept-02] Page 2, Fair Day (continued). Evening movie (A Miracle on 34th Street). Excerpts from Supervisors’ Monthly Reports from Mr. Wilder and Mr. Dodd’s Educational Report (Dodd mentions the effects of the revised entrance policy concerning high school availability).
[Sept-02a] Page 2, Excerpts from Supervisors’ Monthly Reports, continued (Dodd also reported on the smooth start of the school program, the new chemistry lab, difficulties with the labor program, and freshman testing results).
[Sept-03] Page 3, Excerpts from Supervisors’ Monthly Reports (continued): Mrs. Fliermans – Home Economics Report. “… I envy those young people their opportunity and regret that in my own youth I did not have a like chance to learn through living and working.” Signed, H.R.S. Benjamin, Director.RFF
[Oct-01] Quote from Geoge S. Merriam: “…[T]here will be no time when you cannot give help.” Guests: two Quakers in youth work; a member from the Western Reserve Chapter DAR; two women from Child Guidance and Employment agencies in Washington, Miss May Gadd of the Country Dance Society; Miss Ruby Vril of the English Folk Dance Society; Mrs. Barry, recent staff member, and her father, Samuel Scoville Jr, and others are listed in this report. Student activities: Seniors visited the Freedom Train in Kingsport; several boys joined the Navy; eight students attended the regional dancing festival at Hyden; 14 students danced for The Lions’ Club of Harlan; playground party; dancing party with Dr. and Mrs. McLain of Transylvania College as guests of honor. Chapel Services: Guest speakers were Marshall Sutton, a Quaker youth worker, and Mr. Raymond McLain, president of Transylvania College. Other speakers were Miss Rood, Mr. Henderson, and Mr. Benjamin, and Mr. Cheney. Miss Mary Ruth Heil, a new staff member led the candle-lighting.
[Oct-01a] Page 1, continued. A total of 4, 575 October “Notes” were mailed; including order blanks for the 1949 calendar; calendar statistics; Dorothy Nace is quoted on the reason and possible success of this method of distribution.
[Oct-02] Page 2. Donations; Publicity (Miss Margaret Motter’s speaking tour in Chicago area; Miss Nace’s talks in Cleveland); Creech Stir-Off; Soft Ball against Putney; Nursing Situation (Miss Becker’s departure and attempts to hire a second and possibly third nurse to assist Dr. Henderson and Miss Rood); Mountain Day; Reservoir; Forest Fires.
[Oct-02a] Page 2, Forest Fires, continued. PMSS students and staff assisted in fire-fighting in the county, particularly the mountain home of a respected county judge who was a PMSS friend; received an appreciation letter from the forestry service.
[Oct-03] Page 3. Off-Grounds Speaking by Benjamin to three Harlan groups. Benjamin thanks those who introduced friends to PMSS. Signed, H.R.S. Benjamin, Director.
[Nov-01] Quote from A. Helps. Guests (Alice Cobb, former worker and others); Election Day (at the local school; students in mock balloting “went Republican by a small margin”); Gifts (annual legacy of $200 came from Mrs. Ross; also, from D.A.R. in NJ; and an Advisory member). Publicity (names of workers were submitted to the Executive committee); Staff Contacts (Dodd at the Presbyterian Men’s Fellowship; meeting of the regional Southern Mountain Workers; Benjamin visited Dr. Hutchins at Berea College); Halloween Party (students’ pies were auctioned off for money for the athletic fund).
[Nov-01a] Page 1, continued. Student Discipline (description of two difficult cases).
[Nov-02] Page 1, continued. New Equipment (Mr. Wilder and three boys made a fertilizer spreader; Kentucky Mine Supply Co. handled the replacement of the Laurel House stoker at cost – “characteristic of other Harlan businesses as well”); Farm (new breed of chickens; loss of six hogs from after-effects of cholera serum; loss of a mule); Copious rains; Country Gentleman (Dodd is receiving letters about his November cover photo); Community Visits (Benjamin visited “Line Fork, stopping at Coyle and Bear Branch schools which are being taught by the Banks twins, Pine Mountain graduates.”); Sigma Phi Gamma sent annual $50 gift “for health work and assigned five chapters to make us their project.”; Thanksgiving Week-end.
[Nov-02a] Page 1, continued. Old Student List (was used to send 205 appeal letters); Appeal Letters (sent to people who have lost interest); Board Meeting. Signed, H.R.S. Benjamin, Director.
[Dec-01] Christmas Vacation; Pre-Christmas Days (Laurel House decorations, tree, Mummers’ Play, Christmas party, Nativity Play); Guests; (Judge Lewis Lyttle spoke in Chapel, Richard Chase, author and folklorist directed the Mummers’ Play – “Pine Mountain gave him his first inspiration in his chosen field and he returns here periodically for fresh contacts.”); Community Thanksgiving (Isaac’s Creek community and PMSS workers had dinner in the Schoolhouse.); Farm (Mrs. C.E. Ball, Advisory Committee member, donated a horse.
[Dec-01a] Page 1, Farm, continued. (Farm and maintenance men built a cart to haul garbage); hogs; hens; (Dodd’s photos of the PMSS herd on the December issue of Ayrshire Digest.); Hospital Situation (Still need a second nurse; Miss Annie Briggs of Bennington College is temporarily helping, receiving college credit for her work.)
[Dec-02] Page 2. Hospital Situation, continued (No response from ads in various publications for a nurse.); WLW Broadcast in Cincinnati (featured the life of William Creech in their series “Builders of Destiny with info supplied by Miss Motter.); Gifts; Community Visiting; Alumni Letter (brought in donations); Laurel House Floor (sanded and resealed with non-skid plastic varnish); good weather is keeping morale up. Signed, H.R.S. Benjamin, Director.
[Dec-03] N.D. STATEMENT OF BELIEF: PINE MOUNTAIN SETTLEMENT SCHOOL CHURCH CONGREGATION.
GALLERY: 1948 Directors Reports to BOT
[NOTE: Most of H.R.S. Benjamin’s reports are on legal paper that will not fit the scanner for a single page and had to be scanned twice to capture the full page. Page contents will over-lap but hopefully, all content will be captured. Further, the copy is very poor and what you see is what you get! I do not think the copy can be improved in the scan. Sorry!]