PUBLICATIONS RELATED Southern Mountain Handicraft Guild

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 24: Publications Related
Southern Mountain Handicraft Guild

TAGS: Southern Mountain Handicraft Guild, craft guilds, Berea College, Marguerite [Butler] Bidstrup, minutes, producing centers, committee reports, PMSS certificate for Guild membership, Guild seals, Highland Highlights newsletter, WWII, brochures, PMSS Fireside Industries, Fellowcrafters Guild, Allanstand Cottage Industries, Tryon Toys, The Jones’ Little Gallery, Big Meadows

The Southern Mountain Handicraft Guild, an umbrella organization of small institutions with craft programs that sell hand-made crafts to various markets, had a strong presence in many rural settlement schools. Pine Mountain Settlement School was one of the Guild’s producing centers, represented by its Department of Fireside Industries.

The following images include minutes for the Guild’s fall 1941 and spring 1942 meetings, miscellaneous correspondence, reports, and brochures that are stored in the PMSS Archives. This material provides an inside look at the operations of the Southern Highland Craft Guild in the early 1940s. Originally inspired by Olive Dame Campbell and named the Southern Mountain Handicraft Guild when it was chartered in 1930, it is still in operation today and represents over 1000 craftspeople in 293 counties of nine southeastern states. 

See Also: SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS CRAFT GUILD Brochures (in progress)


[001] August 5, 1941. Letter to Guild Members from Roy N. Walters, Chairman, Guild Publicity Committee, Berea, KY.  Walters urges members to “give serious thought” to procedures in obtaining more publicity for their handicrafts; asks for cooperation with their state chairman; names those who have consented to help in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky; sending letters to recruit others in North Carolina and Tennessee. Requests literature about the members’ work for a possible story for general release. Encloses a revised Guild Map.

[002] Announcement of the October 2 and 3, 1941 Fall Meeting and Business Session of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, Berea College, Berea, KY. The program is enclosed. The theme of this meeting will be “the practical [side], dealing with costs and marketing problems.” Mr. J.L. Palmer, VP of Marshall Field & Co., will contribute to the discussion. Gives directions to Berea by car or rail (L&N, which runs from Knoxville to Cincinnati) and instructions and prices for registering at Boone Tavern or “rooms in Tourist Homes.” From Program Committee (George Bent and J. Edward Davis).

[003] Program for the fall meeting of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, Berea, Kentucky, October 2 and 3, 1941. Thursday, October 2, agenda includes a welcome by President Hutchins; report on Big Meadows Craft Shop; “The Latest on Wages and Hours” by J. Edward Davis, Guild President; tour of Berea College Student Industries; group meetings of Crafts and Standards chaired by Marguerite [Butler] Bidstrup; Open House at President Hutchins’ home.

Friday, October 3, agenda includes a panel discussion on production and merchandising costs and selling prices; Palmer’s talk on “Can Handicrafts be Merchandised?”; Tour of Churchill Weavers and Hillcrafter’s Guild; seminar on “What is the Field of the Guild and What Can and Should We Do Together.”


[001] October 2 & 3, 1941. Page 1 of minutes of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, Berea College, Berea, KY. Called to order by the president, Miss Louise L. Pitman; Hutchins was unable to attend; in his absence, Dean Willliam Jesse Baird welcomed the members. “This is the first time that a ‘repeat meeting’ has ever been held at a center; the first fall meeting of the Guild was held at Berea College in October 1930.” The spring meeting was held in Knoxville, TN, on March 7, 1941.

A list of attendees totaled 15 producing centers, 10 individual craftsmen, and three friends.

[002] Fall 1941 Minutes, page 2. Reports were presented by: Allanstand, Education Committee, Exhibit Committee, Publicity Committee, and the Membership and Standards Committee which reported new members, their address, crafts, and sponsors (“It was voted that the Membership and Standards Committee present samples of the work of applicants at the meetings.”) 

[003] Fall 1941 Minutes, page 3. The group discussed displaying “certain choice pieces from the Allanstand Shop in the museum on permanent exhibit.” Presentation of reports continued: Big Meadows Shop. (The Guild had entered into a venture with the shop “because we thought it important to cooperate with the Park Service; there are larger opportunities ahead if we can make the shop a success.”)

[004] Fall 1941 Minutes, page 4. Continuation of the report on Big Meadows Shop, listing new things that Guild members might make and send to the shop.

[005] Fall 1941 Minutes, page 5. The group voted on several issues. A standing vote of thanks went to Berea College for its hospitality and to the committee. Adjournment.

Later that evening, Mrs. Marguerite [Butler] Bidstrup conducted group meetings on “Qualifications for Master Craftsmen.” The day before the Guild meeting, “necessary Guild business was transacted.”


[006] Fall 1941 Minutes of the Guild business meeting, page 6. It was voted that “a letter of appreciation be sent to the Carnegie Corporation for its grant of $2,000…to purchase a permanent travelling exhibit of Guild products.”

“It was voted that the present Big Meadows Committee be empowered to consider and act upon any offer may be the Virginia Sky-Line Company” which had offered the guild a number of locations.

Other issues were discussed: The old mill at Russelville, the need for more attention to publicity,and panel discussions on “Production, Merchandising and Selling Costs.” J.L. Palmer of Marshall Field and Company spoke on “Can Handicrafts Be Merchandised.” 

[007] Fall 1941 Minutes of the Guild business meeting, page 7. Summary of Palmer’s talk. (Continued on page 8.)

[008] Fall 1941 Minutes of the Guild business meeting, page 8. Summary of Palmer’s talk, continued. 

[009] Fall 1941 Minutes of the Guild business meeting, page 9. Continued summary of Palmer’s talk and closing remarks. Special guests from Swannanoa, NC, were welcomed to be part of the discussions.

[010] Fall 1941 Minutes of the Guild business meeting, page 10. It was voted that the need for an Executive Secretary be looked into. The group discussed the need to “define the aims of the Guild.” Adjournment. Submitted by Adair Black, Acting Secretary for Helen H. Dingman.

Next: Annual Conference of Southern Mountain Workers, March 10-12, 1942. Annual Meeting of Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, March 12, 1942, Knoxville, TN.

MISCELLANEOUS 1941 – 1942 

[011] Nov. 24, 1941 (date-stamp). To Guild Center or Individual Member from Roy N. Walters, asking members to send him any material that would describe what their centers are doing and he will create files for them “[a]s a matter of record and for building up a continuous history of Guild activities.”

[012] February 2, 1942. Page 1 of “Financial Statement – The Guild Crafts at Big Meadows, Season 1941 (May 5 – October 14),” showing income and disbursements.

[013] Page 2 of Big Meadows financial statement. “Notes Pertaining to operations at Big Meadows (numbered to correspond with Financial Statement).”

[014] Page 3 of Big Meadows financial statement. “Details for item 3 [Purchases], page 2.” Lists sellers, numbers of orders, and total dollar amounts.

[015] DUPLICATE OF [010]
[016] DUPLICATE OF [011]
[017] DUPLICATE OF [012]

[018] March 2, 1941 – January 1, 1942, Corrected Statement for The Allanstand Cottage Industries, indicating purchases, sales, profits, operating costs, value of inventory, net worth.


[019] March 12, 1942. Page 1 of minutes of the annual meeting of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, Knoxville, TN. President: Miss Louise Pitman. “It was moved and seconded that the Secretary send a note of gratitude to Miss Helen M. (sic) Dingman, the retiring Secretary for her untiring services through the years from the beginning of the Guild.” Also, it was moved that $100 annual payment “be made to the Office of the Conference of Southern Mountain Workers for services for the Guild.” New appointments were made for Acting-Manager and Assistant Manager of Allenstand. Other Allenstand issues were covered.

[020] Page 2 of minutes, March 12, 1942. Allenstand issues, continued. Membership Committee reported five applications for membership.

[021] Page 3 of minutes, March 12, 1942. Reports from the Education Committee, Publicity Committee, and Museum Committee. 

[022] Page 4 of minutes, March 12, 1942. Other discussions: fire and theft insurance for the museum; trademark for Guild products; use of the shuttle insignia; 1942 contract with Virginia Sky-Line Company to operate the Guild Shop in Big Meadows Lodge; as senior member of the Allanstand Managing Committee, he should become chairman and Berea College will be reimbursed $100 from the Allanstand treasury; other recommended remunerations.

[023] Page 5 of minutes, March 12, 1942. Report of the Nominating Committee; announcement of two new board members. Pi Beta Phi School and Arrowcraft Shop invites Guild members to Fall meeting at Gatlinburg, October 1942. Dr. Mayo of Blue Ridge School invited Guild to meet with them in fall 1943. Discussed the value of exhibits. Annual Stockholders Meeting of Southern Highlanders announced for March 1942. Adjournment.


[024] 1941. A certificate stating that Pine Mountain Settlement School (Producing Center) is a member of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild for the year 1941. Signed by Louise L. Pitman, President, and Helen H. Dingman, Secretary. Image: Decorative board showing sketches of shuttles, craftspeople at work and logo.

[025] 1942. A certificate stating that Pine Mountain Settlement School (producing Center) is a member of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild for the year 1942. Signed by J. Edw. Davis, President, and George R. Bent, Secretary. Image: Decorative board showing sketches of shuttles, craftspeople at work and logo.


[026] June 17, 1942. Page 1 of letter to “All Guild Producing Centers, Individual Craftsmen and Friends” from George R. Bent, Secretary-Treasurer, on letterhead for The Southern Highland Handicraft Guild. “For some time the Guild has felt the need of being better known to the public as standing for the best in handicrafts in this area of our country. Now, when imports are stopped, is a strategic time to bid for this recognition.” Samples of “seals of approval” are enclosed for Guild members to attach to their products. The rules and regulations for use of the seal are listed. (See images of seals in Gallery above, #030).

[027] Page 2 of June 1942 letter to Guild members. List of the advantages of the seals, if used “wisely and well.”  


[028] July 1, 1942. Page 1 of newsletter: “Highland Highlights, Published Every Once In Awhile By the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild,” Vol. 1, No. 1. Greetings from J. Edw. Davis, President. Report from Big Meadows Shop, which “could not be run this year because very few people in the east are going to the Shenandoah National Park. No gasoline and no tires (due to WWII) have made it necessary to close the Lodge entirely and that decision affected us directly.”

Other topic: Guild Seals are being used; “Berea, Ky.”, the location of the Guild home office, will be omitted on the next printout to avoid confusion. 

[029] Page 2 of July 1942 newsletter. Topics: House and Garden magazine featured Southern Highlands; “Allanstand” has done better than expected despite WWII, with Esther Bloxton as the new manager. “The Guild Map” is being reprinted and revised. “A Washington, DC Shop” will be consider later. “Southern Highlanders New York Shop” has a new manager. 


[030] C. 1942. Cover for pamphlet titled “The Southern Highland Handicraft Guild: Its History and Purpose.” Office of Secretary: Helen H. Dingman, Berea, KY. Guild Shop: Mrs. Agnes Loeffler, Manager…Asheville, NC.

Cover for pamphlet titled “The Southern Highland Handicraft Guild: Its History and Purpose.” Office of Secretary: George R. Bent, Berea, KY. Guild Shop: Miss Esther Bloxton, Manager, Asheville, NC.

[031] First pages of brochures for Fellowcrafters Guild, Allanstand Cottage Industries, Tryon Toys, and The Jones’ Little Gallery.

[032]  First pages of brochures for Department of Fireside Industries, Pine Mountain Settlement School; and The Southern Highland Handicraft Guild.