Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff
JANE RUSSELL Staff 1920s(?)


TAGS: Jane Russell, staff, Elizabeth G. Smith, Line Fork Settlement, Coyle Branch School, application for PMSS employment, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Katherine Pettit, sociology, Converse College

Jane Russell had an excellent source of information about working for Pine Mountain Settlement School (PMSS) in Elizabeth G. Smith. From 1924 to 1927, Miss Smith served as an industrial worker at Line Fork Settlement in Gilley, Kentucky, a satellite center that was overseen by the School. It was a jack-of-all-trades job that included part-time cook, housekeeper, recreation specialist, and work-training specialist. She came to the settlement after teaching for two years at the nearby Coil [Coyle] Branch School for a year. 

Knowing of Jane Russell’s interest in a teaching career, Miss Smith urged to apply to PMSS. At the time of Jane’s application to PMSS, dated September 18, 1926, she was studying for a master’s degree in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her letter to Katherine Pettit, PMSS co-director, she included her friend, Nancy Singleton, as one also interested in employment at PMSS. They originally received their Bachelor of Science degrees at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and it is possible that is where they knew Elizabeth Smith, who lived and studied in South Carolina.

Jane wrote that, at age 22, her only work experience consisted of ten weeks of community work in North Carolina mountains and two years teaching in the local community. Miss Pettit responded with a warning: “We usually do not take inexperienced teachers at Pine Mountain. We like them to come to us after having worked somewhere else first.” [Pettit suggests that they come to PMSS] next summer as volunteer workers, just as Miss Elizabeth Smith did.”

Alternatively, Miss Pettit proposed that they do volunteer summer work in order to become acquainted with the School. This was not possible, according to Jane, since both she and Miss Singleton preferred to “work in the winter and study in the summer.” Jane explained that she was “absolutely dependent on myself so have to do something that will yield some income. … I would come from interest and love of the work alone if it were possible.” She assured Miss Pettit that “we don’t mind good hard work, hardships or inconveniences. … [W]e will truly work hard and appear old and experienced school-marms!”

In any case, Miss Pettit wasn’t convinced and advised that Jane re-apply in a few years. 

Miss Jane Russell’s file of letters of September 1 through 28, 1926, end at this point. A search continues in the PMSS Collections for records or correspondence that indicate whether she or Nancy had actually been hired by the School. If such confirmation is found, this page will be updated.

See Also JANE RUSSELL Correspondence 1926



Jane Russell

Alt. Title

Miss Russell 




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Jane Russell ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; Elizabeth G. Smith ; Line Fork Settlement ; Coyle Branch School ; application for PMSS employment ; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ; Katherine Pettit ; sociology ; Converse College ;

Subject LCSH

Russell, Jane, — c. 1904 – ?
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.


2021-03-02 (repurposed page) 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 – Staff




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series s 09: Biography – Staff.

Coverage Temporal

c. 1904 – 1926

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Spartanburg, SC ; Chapel Hill, NC ; Gilley KY ; 


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 Jane Russell ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Jane Russell ;




“[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




JANE RUSSELL Correspondence 1926.” and “ELIZABETH G. SMITH Staff.” Series 09: Biography – Staff. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

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