Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff
Series 14: MEDICAL
Rev. Richard Baker & Lutrella Baker
Reports & Cover Letter 1937-1939


Lutrella Baker Album. Line Fork Settlement, 1937-41. Richard and Lutrella Baker. [line_fork_010a.jpg]

RICHARD AND LUTRELLA BAKER Reports, 1937-1938 & 1938-1939

Rev. Richard Baker & Lutrella Baker:
Staff at Line Fork Extension Center 1937-1941

TAGS: Lutrella and Richard Baker Reports, Correspondence, Rev. Richard Baker, Lutrella Baker, Pine Mountain Settlement School, Line Fork Settlement, Gilley KY, mission work, clothing, medical, organ music, dancing, education , community social service, social work

INTRODUCTION: Richard and Lutrella Baker Reports

Lutrella and Richard Baker followed Dr. Ida and Rev. Robert Stapleton at the Line Fork Extension in late 1937. During the early years of their stay at Line Fork Extension Center, Glyn Morris was the Director at Pine Mountain Settlement School and their immediate administrator of the Line Fork program. By 1938 the School was undergoing dramatic changes under Morris’s direction.

Morris’s arrival at Pine Mountain in 1931 brought attention to the development of new educational programs at the School and the increased development of the Infirmary as a community medical center. The emphasis and funding under Morris turned away from development of extension centers and focused on the development of a robust progressive education program for residential high school students at the main campus, Pine Mountain Settlement School. Morris appeared guided by economics and by his own vision for the direction of programs associated mainly with Pine Mountain Settlement.

There is obvious ambivalence in the Bakers’ program planning and about their continued work at the Line Fork Settlement. This ambivalence can be read throughout their reports and letters to Morris and to their supporters and the Friends of Line Fork. The Bakers’ program at Line Fork was different from that of their predecessors in many ways and reflected their previous training and their personal vision for the Line Fork community. The emphasis on education and on religious gatherings followed the earlier vision of “community building” but it lacked the medical support of a doctor and nurse and moved away from the emphasis on “industrial training” seen in the earlier years. However, they incorporated elements of health literacy and industrial training in their program. Under the Bakers, the work with the local schools continued. However, the schools in the area were now under the direction and influence of the Harlan County school system.

The continuing need and desire for medical support at the Line Fork facility is read in their reports and appears as a clear deficit in services and staffing. The high numbers of community people needing “First Aid” suggests that the removal of health services to Pine Mountain created a vacuum in the immediate community of Line Fork. While “secular” education included health literacy, their emphasis in programs models to some degree the programs found in many of the neighboring mission schools in eastern Kentucky.

The “argumentative” nature of the adults in Sunday School appears to have limited the outreach to the younger members of the community. It also suggests that the views may not have found congruence in the community and may have been the reason for the “vote of confidence” required for the Bakers to stay. Clearly, there were social and educational challenges for the couple as they attempted to keep up programs at the satellite settlement during a historically unstable and rapidly shifting cultural era.

There were clear deviations from the earlier practices of the Extension center. For example, the Bakers appear to have sought out and maintained a strong network with other mountain mission schools and followed the common practices of many of the mission schools in the area. One clear example of the Bakers’ change from past practices was their rejection of a common practice by earlier Line Fork staff, that of refusing donated clothing. The Bakers initiated a program of clothing donation and distribution to the community. The pictures of young adolescents show many wearing dresses and clothing that express the latest styles.

There is no question, however contentious the views and practices of the Bakers may have been, that their program was well run and from the reports on numbers and photographs of the day, well attended by the young, particularly the adolescents in the community.

TRANSCRIPTION: Richard and Lutrella Baker Reports


On October 7, 1939, the Bakers wrote the following letter to Glyn Morris:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Morris:-

Enclosed are copies of our annual letter for [the] years we have been here. Thought perhaps you’d like to read them and then include them in the files at Pine Mountain.

We are rather tardy getting our thanks to you, or to whom thanks are due for the increase in our salary.

We truly are grateful for the many ways in which you have cooperated with us here. It makes us feel more that we are a part of Pine Mountain. 

Very Sincerely yours,

Robert and Lutrella Baker

 1937-1938 REPORT

1937 – 1938 REPORT – To All Those Making This Year’s Work at “The Cabin” Possible,


As you read this letter when the pronoun “we” is used, please include yourself, as this letter is only being sent to those who have definitely contributed in some form, to the work here.

Having completed our first year, we would like to give a brief resume of what has been accomplished along different lines. And as so many groups are planning their Fall work, hope that a bird’s eye view may prove an inspiration for part of your activity, to again be centered here.

A new roof and flagstone porch were added to “The Cabin” through gifts from friends.

Sunday School each Sunday with an average attendance of thirty-five children, even during rain, snow and cold weather. Several walking three miles each way. Not only religious training is provided, but good Victrola and radio music, a play period, current events, hand work, memory drills and character training is included in the weekly sessions of two hours each. Only children up to sixteen years of age come for Sunday School. Adults are not excluded, yet because of argumentative tendencies, they are not urged to attend. There is nothing in the way of religious education provided by the local religious groups for children, so for that reason, our emphasis is placed on this age group. All materials for Sunday School such as crayons, pencils, hand work, charts, Sunday School papers and birthday treats given once a month, to all present, remembering all those having birthdays in the month, were kindly sent in. And any surplus above our own needs was handed on to Bear Branch teachers to aid in their teaching.

Clothes for over one hundred families, including five hundred people, and twenty-five new layettes, not counting the used ones, were distributed.

Then in cooperation with the Letcher County Agricultural Agent, 4-H projects and clubs have been carried on, in sowing and gardening. Seventeen girls completed a sewing course, for October through May. This project closed with a party for mothers and daughters, each receiving a nice gift at the close. Materials for their dresses were supplied by a mountain mission station similar to ours. This year another friend is supplying that need. Strawberry and corn projects were also carried on by ten boys and girls.

Our library of books, magazines and papers is the only place in this section of Letcher or Perry Counties, where any of these materials are available. Over one thousand books, reading matter, magazines and papers have been loaned. New books and magazine subscriptions have been added to the library within the year, by individuals and also through the help of the Church Periodical Club, for which we have been very grateful.

One of our greatest number of calls is for medicine, bandages and First Aid Treatment. Over a thousand patients have been treated for some ailment. There are colds, boils and diarrhea seasonally. Our one death in the immediate vicinity this year, occurring from the latter illness. Most of our medicine is donated by another faithful friend.

There is so little of pleasure and recreation for mothers of our community, that last year we started having parties for the mothers of Koyle [sic -Coil] and Bear Branch Schools. Had but two parties last year, but because of their popularity, we are again starting then this month, having then once a month, continuing through March. The program will include quilting, radio programs, group singing, games, health talks and refreshments,

Once a week for one hour Mrs. Baker teaches singing at Bear Branch School. Our hope is to carry on Non-Alcoholic Education in four schools and as a very moderate start, bot lunches for the children in one of these schools for three months: November, December and January. This year has been a very poor one for crops in this section, and already many are bringing but a dry, cold, baked sweet potato for lunch.

Last Christmas, three trees were decorated, a program for Sunday School and two schools were planned, Christmas packages for fifty-nine families were presented. These included gifts for more than two hundred children.

Most of you know “The Cabin” is an official Listening Center of the University of Kentucky. An average of fifty persons listening to the radio each week. This month we are to have as our guest, a young woman who is supervisor of these centers, working in conjunction with the National Youth Administration.

Our County Health Doctor and Nurse have made three trips to our local schools, making “The Cabin” their headquarters. We have cooperated in every way possible with them, sending specimens of water, blood and stools to be tested to The State Laboratory. Because of this aid, the doctor is able to prescribe more efficiently for the needs, using “The Cabin” for a clinic,

Through a Young People’s Class, entrance fees and part tuition was given for two young girls to go to Pine Mountain School. Through another Young People’s Missionary Group and friends in Washington these two were adequately outfitted to enter school.

There are four outfits, consisting of rubber sheets, two bed sheets, two pillowcases and gowns, in constant use. These loaned for maternity cases, laundered and returned to us.

There have been hundreds of calls for various things, confidences, using of sewing machine, aiding in cutting dresses, borrowing of patterns, and little neighborly things, one finds to do in any community, but which cannot be listed under any department.

Our cow, the money for which was largely donated, has not only been a real Godsend to us, but her milk has been shared with three other families.

Beside all of the above, our regular household duties, the teaching of our two children, and the garden and flower beds have been our responsibility.

All of this has given us much pleasure, but it has made us very happy indeed to have as our guests, over forty friends from “out and beyond”. Some strangers, others very near and dear. We hope that they received as great a blessing and inspiration, seeing our beautiful mountains, knowing of our work and conditions, first hand, as we did in having them with us, One cannot realize what real friendship means, until situated as we are.

This letter would not be complete without a word of appreciation to the Louisville and Nashville Railway, President, for his kindness in issuing passes, that those needing medical attention might go to Louisville for treatment, And hundreds of our people will always be grateful to Dr. Irvin Abell, for his medical services, given gratis to help our most severe medical cases.

Last but not least, through classes and individual gifts, supplemented by a ten dollar allowance a month, from The Pine Mountain Settlement School, our personal needs have been supplied. Coal, wood, kerosene, food, clothes, stamps, stationary, and the thousand and one actual needs, which every house-hold must have to keep running, have been purchased with your gifts.

All of you know that this year was a venture of faith on our part. After looking back over a year’s work and counting our many blessings, we know God has done “exceeding, abundantly above what we could ask or think.” We are taking a new venture for a second year of dedicated service to Him.


Richard and Lutrella Baker

1938-1939 – SECOND REPORT

Dear Friends One and All:

Listening Center #26 of the University of Kentucky and Line Fork Extension Center of Pine Mountain Settlement School, broadcasting the second annual report since the present incumbent’s occupancy.

We, your representatives in the Kentucky Highlands, closed our first annual letter with this challenge, “Shall We Carry On?” After a second year we know that, “having put our hands to the plow, we dare not look back”. Indeed we feel we should sing, with all our hearts, “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.” If you will continue throughout the hour with us, we feel you can join in heartily also.

There is no yardstick by which we can measure the results of the work here, yet in several respects we can definitely see progress. A community spirit has been developed and the mendicancy lessened to a great degree.

“Will you accept an invitation to be our guest at The Cabin the last week of July?” We are so glad you can, for this Saturday afternoon we should like to have you join us at The Men’s Club of the Community, with a picnic to follow. Some twenty-five men are gathered, dressed in clean overalls and blue shirts, some in white wash trousers and white shirts. An enjoyable time of visiting and swapping tall tales ensues, relative to hunting, killing snakes and growing corn. Then a period of games, horse shoes, Chinese checkers or whittling. Around the outside fireplace, all are gathered for picnic supper of sandwiches, coffee and doughnuts. During this time of good fellowship, some plans for the betterment of the community are discussed. From these gatherings has resulted the beginning of a road project to link us more closely with Pine Mountain Settlement School.

Did you hear a knock at the door, so early this beautiful Sabbath morning? Wish we might have had our breakfast finished, but the children persist in coming early for Sunday School. Especially is this true in the summer time, when the Cabin lawn makes a pleasant place to play. It is the only level plot of its size in the valley.

Then will you visit our Sunday School? An opening song service, a radio concert of sacred music, the Sunday School lesson, roll call, another singing period, a secular story, either on Alcohol Education or from Child Life, a hand work period or Bible memory work period, the giving of a treat at stated times, the distribution of the Sunday School papers and the benediction…. [more]

Photograph Album of LUTRELLA BAKER

A small photograph album was created by Lutrella Baker which graphically portrays life during the Baker years at Line Fork. The album of 15 pages and 41 photographs captures the Bakers’ life at the Line Fork extension from 1937 to 1941. It is clear when one compares the Lutrella Album to the images captured by other workers in the 1920s that the valley was moving into the mainstream. The youth of the area, who were the focus of the Bakers’ work, are post-war children growing up in a rapidly changing social climate.

The University of Kentucky radio Listening Center project, a unique cooperative project, helped to bring the rural community closer to the evolving social and cultural changes in the nation. As everyone re-focused during and after the Great Depression, change was rapid and the collision of generations accelerated, as did the need for local immersion programs that were attuned to change, such as that provided at Line Fork.

See Also:
LUTRELLA BAKER Album Line Fork Settlement
MARY SUE BAKER Correspondence
MARY SUE BAKER Student Biography


Richard and Lutrella Baker 

Alt. Title

Lutrella Baker ; Rev. Richard E. Baker ;




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Richard Baker ; Lutrella Baker ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; Line Fork Settlement ; Gilley, KY ; mission work ; clothing ; medical ; organ music ; dancing ; education ; community social service ; social work ;

Subject LCSH

Baker, Richard, — 1900 – ?
Baker, Lutrella, — 1902 – 1990.
Line Fork Settlement (Gilley, Ky.) — History
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.


2014-06-06 hw


Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY




Collections ; text ; image ;


Original and copies of reports, correspondence and photographs in file folders in filing cabinet. Office.


Series 09: Staff/Personnel ; Series 14: Medical




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 14: Medical

Coverage Temporal

1937 – 1941

Coverage Spatial

Gilley, KY ; Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, 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 Rev. Richard Baker while administrator at Line Fork Settlement, Gilley, KY ; letters, photographs, reports by or about Richard and Lutrella Baker ;




Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers, Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated

2014-06-06 hhw ; 2018-07-11 aae ; 2020-03-29 aae ; 2022-03-21 ; 



Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections. Office files. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.