DARWIN D. MARTIN 1925 Correspondence

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Darwin D. Martin
Board of Trustees
Series 09: Biography

A Home In A Prarue Town. Ladies Home Journal 1901
Darwin D. Martin Home “A Home in a Prairie Town” – Ladies Home Journal, 1901 
[Wikipedia Commons], accessed 2023-04-22.

TAGS: Darwin D. Martin, Board of Trustees, 1925, Larkin Company in Buffalo NY, general correspondence, institutional insurance, bond issues, Improved Risk Mutuals, The Road, Laden Trail, State Road Commission, Reservoir, house fires, Laurel House, asbestos shingles, Dorthea Dann, industrial training, Martin retires from Larkin Company,

DARWIN D. MARTIN 1925 Correspondence

In 1925, Darwin D. Martin retired from Larkin Company. He had nearly 45 years with the company and was ready to fully engage another adventure. Born in 1865, Martin was 60 years old. It was during this end-of-career that Martin put even more energy into his philanthropy, his memories and his dreams.  He would only live another 10 years and died at age 70, in 1935, following a seriess of strokes and while watching his fortunes devoured by the unrelenting Great Depression. It was a cruel end for such an incredibly kind man.

 When Darwin D. Martin was selling soap on the streets of New York, he had a dream that he eventually turned into a reality. Like so many children at Pine Mountain, he was orphened at the early age of six. As one of five children, he was the youngest and found himself isolated early from his other siblings, with the exception of his brother William Martin.  With the support of William and the good fortune of a driving ambition, he survived and even thrived early in life.

In many ways, the same ambitioius and charitable spirit that motivated Aunt Sal and Uncle William Creech and so many other families and children in the Pine Mountain Valley, is also to be seen within Darwin D. Martin. Martin’s value system and his closely held dreams were clearly joined in the building of Pine Mountain Settlement School. It is not surprising that the School flourished under his watchful Trustee eye. The early 1920’s was a time of optimism mingled with aspirations for many. The success of Pine Mountain and its surrounding community was born of combined aspirations, particularly those of the Creech family and the Metcalf’s who turned their learned lessons of success through industry and education into an idea that continues to resonate. Martin knew well how to turn dreams into success, and his early inherent industry, empathy with others,  and his pragmatic education became his dream shapers. Yet even more important, he knew how to shape dreams into reality and he was not one to horde his tools.

Had the deep identification with those who strive to better their lives not been present in Darwin D. Martin, in the Creeches, and in Ethel de Long Zande, and co-founder Katherine Pettit, Glyn Morris, and others, it is unlikely Pine Mountain would have persisted. Because Martin did persist as an advisor, champion, and benefactor for Pine Mountain Settlement School and its Directors during some of its most productive years, he built a foundation for all the dreams and the dedication that followed at the School.

In addition to his devotion to the health and sustainability of the School, Martin had obvious appreciation for the skills of Ethel de Long Zande. By 1925 he was quite comfortable in sharing reflections and personal information with Zande. Her death in 1928 was a loss to the School but it was a large loss to Darwin D. Martin. Their mutual admiration, their ambition, and the unspoken urge to make the world a kinder and more equitable place for young children and adults, is found throughout the correspondence of these two remarkable leaders. Further,  mutual ambitions drove their dialogue but beneath that personaland survival drive was a remarkable kindness and sensitivity toward those who have been short-changed. Kind ambition is a good travelling companion. It certainly bropught and energized one of the most skilled business managers in the United States to Pine Mountain’s doorstep and kept him engaged with the School for over a decade. Under Martin’s leadership, that joined with his kind ambition and dreams the mission of Pine Mountain sustained, and even thrived in hard times. It is this staying power that gives an institution its credible mission. A mission is the positive energy that sustains individuals and clearly motivates those who share the mission. Pine Mountain was incredibly fortunate to have had so many of the early and succeeding leaders who believed in the vision of Uncle William and the kind stewardship of Darwin D. Martin at Pine Mountain Settlement School. 


CONTENTS – DARWIN D. MARTIN 1925 Correspondence 


[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. The initials at the bottom left of most PMSS letters indicate the writer (along with initials of the secretary). For example, “EZ” are the initials for Ethel de Long Zande. Letters from Darwin D. Martin are typewritten on the letterhead for his business, The Larkin Company. The following list of contents is in chronological order and not necessarily in the order of the image numbers.]


IMAGES 001-009: Darwin D. Martin 1925 Correspondence


001-002 Date is truncated. [Notation: “c. January 1925”], two pages. EZ (Ethel de Long Zande) to Darwin D. Martin, ordering hot water bottles, albums, and writing cases to be paid for by “money given us for Christmas.” Zande and Miss [Bessie V.] Gaunt [PMSS bookkeeper] are gathering insurance material for Martin. Provides updates about the road: A recent vote against a bond issue has delayed completion. The School is keeping the road in order, as the State will do nothing without funds. There is a quarrel between the State Road Commission and the State Engineer, who has resigned. Describes the ideas for a road to carry the lumber. “…[T]he county built a fairly good road down this side of the mountain so that our neighbors are hauling continually and so that the mail comes in and out by this route by wagon.” Tells about a newly arrived Evert, an 11-year-old boy whose father was jailed for making moonshine, leaving his family destitute.  


003 January 8. EZ (Zande) to Martin, thanking him for sending a dictionary and atlas. Asked about special rates or sales for writing portfolios and other needs; orders a coffee percolator for “the Zandes.” 


004 January 13. Martin (on letterhead for Larkin Co. Inc., Buffalo, NY) to Mrs. Luigi Zande, telling her that winter coats are on sale; lists the prices (special for PMSS) for portfolios (writing cases), made by the Arms Mfg. Co. of Deerfield, MA, and the coffee pot. Asks several questions about the road.


005 March 28. EZ (Zande) to Martin, enclosing data about PMSS insurance. The reservoir has a guaranteed capacity of 135,000 gallons. Enclosures include a map showing location of fire hydrants and a list of houses with insurance, rates, and cost value. Tells Martin of the two PMSS fires: loss of School House on January 23, 1919, ($10,000 loss) and fire damage to Big Log by overheated stove ($100 damage). Zande informs Martin that his suggestion that workers could underwrite the insurance would not work, since their salaries are too small to afford the risk. The reservoir could use a larger pipe line; the School is currently replacing roofs with asbestos shingles. She hopes for  the best insurance plan possible and thanks Martin for his interest.
006 Enclosure in Zande’s letter of March 28, 1925, to Martin, with notations. “Pine Mountain School Insurance Schedule,” with data in columns for Building, Cost Value, Insurance, Rate.
007 Duplicate of [006] with different notations.


008 April 10. EZ (Zande) to Martin, responding to his question: 


“…[O]ur insurance is on the basis of a three year rate per hundred, with the exception of the lumber in the mill yard which is on a one year basis. Laurel House is a greater hazard that some others because it has two laundry stoves and two ranges in it.”


009 May 4. EZ (Zande) to Martin, explaining that the [Girl’s] Industrial Building is not ready for occupancy until next year, so she will not be ordering anything until then. Meanwhile, she orders additional “fibre furniture.” “They add so much to the comfort and pleasure of our living rooms all over the place….”


IMAGES 010-019: Darwin D. Martin 1925 Correspondence


010-011 May 6. Two-page letter from Martin to Mrs. Zande, enclosing a statement and offering to pay it “as a contribution.” and pledging an additional $500. Asks for PMSS’s Buffalo mailing list so he can add to it; advising adding Mr. and Mrs. George Tait, Glens Falls, NY, to the list. Informs Zande that “conducting drives for building and endowment funds is a trade…” and gives examples of clients of Tamblin and Brown in NYC. He doesn’t think PMSS is ready for an endowment campaign but “it is well to know about it.”


012 May 22. Martin to Mrs. Luigi Zande. He received no reply to his May 6 letter and asked about the various topics he had covered in that letter. Mentions Mr. Barcalo’s interest in donating to PMSS. He quotes from “the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” and relates it to Dorothea Dann’s “thrill” at seeing the eagerness of PMSS pupils to learn. The requested chairs are on their way to Putney and he has assumed payment for them.


013-014 May 26. Two-page letter from EZ (Zande) to Martin, [013] explaining she was late in responding due to overseeing the School’s house cleaning. Appreciates Martin’s $500 pledge; Mr. Barcalo’s interest in helping; will wait for Miss Gaunt’s return from vacation to review the Larkin statement; Improved Risk Mutuals is sending someone to visit PMSS. She regrets leaving “our faithful Arnspiger” for a new insurance company. Zande will send a list of needs for the Industrial Building. “We have used the weaving and sewing rooms this year, but the cooking room and laundry are only just finished.” [014] As for paying for fundraising services, “…I wonder a good deal how a mountain school would fare if the job of raising an endowment was undertaken by professionals.” She asked Martin to provide more information on various firms as it will help in the future. Zande orders new mattresses, provides specifications, and explains why they must be thick and strong. Encloses Buffalo mailing list.


015 June 9. EZ (Zande) to Martin, reporting receipt of the ten chairs for Laurel House, Infirmary, and Boys’ House; appreciates his donation of them; Mr. Barcalo gave 8 beds; waiting to receive his book by Angelo Patti. 


016 June 10. Handwritten note from A. Van Bezey to Mrs. Zande, providing measurements of “my sleeping porch.”


017 June 11. EZ (Zande) to Martin, ordering new curtains for the School’s sleeping porches to replace worn-out ones ordered from Martin’s “awning man” ten years ago; provides measurements and description.


018 June 13. EZ (Zande) to Martin, enclosing a letter from the School’s insurance agent in Lexington and asking Martin to reply. Zande had told the agent of her plans to change insurance companies.


019 June 17. Martin to Mrs. Ethel Zande. He has ordered the Angelo Patri book; has vacation plans other than Colorado. “… Darwin [son] is in New York with Baker Kellogg & Co., NYC, for the summer; asks if she will accept “Barcalocots” with mattresses at $7, which he will pay as his PMSS contribution.


IMAGES 020-029: Darwin D. Martin 1925 Correspondence


020-021 June 27. Two-page letter from EZ (Zande) to Martin, thanking him for his letter about Improved Risk Mutuals. Zande accepts his offer of the 8 “Barcalo cots” and mattresses; orders 8 additional mattresses. Zande will be sending a new list of requisitions for the new Industrial Building. Asks about caring for the lantana in winter; describes the bad weather (drought and flood) for gardens in the past year. Clara Siler will be visiting Martin on a visit to Niagara while spending six weeks in Chautauqua; will provide information about the Mountain Girls’ Association.


022 July 3. EZ (Zande) to Martin, enclosing an order for items for the Industrial Building and other PMSS places; explains the need for two sets of dishes. Appreciates receiving “World’s Work” periodical.

023 Zande’s order for items for PMSS consisting of 3 columns: Quantity, Name and [Order] Number.


024-025 July 3. Two-page letter from Martin to Mrs. Luigi Zande, responding to her June 27 letter about her cots and mattress orders; advises on care of lantanas. Mentions a recital by Mr. Barozzi (Miss Gardiner’s husband) and the Himmelsbachs of Buffalo. Describes his vacation plans; will meet Clara Siler at Chatauqua. Mentions Darwin’s career plans. Edited and added to the Buffalo mailing list. 


026 July 8. EZ (Zande) to Martin. Thanks him for sending a sample of ticking, lantana advice, and the new mailing list; has written Clara Siler about meeting with Martin. Tells about enjoying a meeting with Republican candidates at the House in the Woods, preferring their naivete to the “repression of all such personal motives” of those on the outside. 


027 July 13. (Unsigned, likely Zande) to Martin. Looking forward to receiving the shipments; will write to the Crescent China Company. Has ordered cakes of Dough Boy soap in order to get better shipping rates; also ordered auto freezer for William Browning [PMSS Farmer]. Tells a story from the doctor about helping at the birth of twins. 


028 August 19. EZ (Zande) to Martin, relating Clara Siler’s impression of Martin: “…[S]he had such beautiful things to say about you.” Will be sending the statistics; has received the shipments.


029 September 8. EZ (Zande) to Martin, enclosing “some public school information”; orders “bundles of quilt pieces.”


IMAGES 030-039: Darwin D. Martin 1925 Correspondence


030 September 12. Martin (on his personal stationary) to Mrs. Ethel Zande, assuring her that he “can supply the curtain for a shower bath” and asks questions about its specifications.


031 September 15. Two-page letter from [truncated, likely Zande] to Martin, responding to his letter announcing his retirement. Zande places an order for a pair of scales for Model Home and material for middy jeans. She is interested that Martin is “going to try to get the Mutual people to inspect.” Describes the hot dry weather; on-going success of the School; indigo-making. [This letter is either truncated or has a MISSING 2nd PAGE.]


032 September 21. Martin to Mrs. Luigi Zande. Gives his thoughts about retiring. The items Zande requested will be shipped; sample of the middy jeans fabric will be coming from Hunter Mfg. Co.


033 October 7. [Unsigned, likely Zande] to Martin, asking about a charge for the quilt pieces. The Improved Mutual Risk agent has visited PMSS.


035 October 24. Martin to Ethel Zande, proposing an idea to encourage Henry Ford to build roads in the mountains; encloses a photograph of William and Sal Creech, asking Zande to add a date and return it.


034 October 31. EZ (Zande) to Martin. Zande will respond to his letter after returning from Louisville; encloses the photograph.


036 November 3. Martin to Mrs. Ethel Zande, stating that he has sent her order for twill to New York; encloses copies of invoice for sheets for her okay, after which he will pay.


037 November 13. Martin to Mrs. Ethel Zande, waiting for her to okay the bill for the bath curtain. Suggests a name for the PMSS mailing list (Mr. C. Sidney Shepard of New Haven, NY) and describes his background. Asked whether the School was “able to make a fire alarm of that locomotive drive-wheel tire….” Reminds Zande that “Larkin Co. has a chain of grocery stores” and suggests that he could arrange the ordering of PMSS groceries from them wholesale. 


038-039 November 17. Two-page letter from EZ (Zande) to Martin. Describes her busy life that included a visiting Berea preacher, new report cards, and a weekend meeting of country teachers. Tells about meeting with Mr. Arnspiger, who will reduce rates after learning about Martin’s proposal. “He has taken our insurance entirely away from the Kentucky Actuarial Bureau, is making the rates himself, and will submit us quotations….”


“We did not make a fire alarm out of the locomotive drive wheel, for the church bell now answers to that purpose, having a fire clapper in addition to the regular one. We have put the locomotive wheel rim in the cement platform of the Schoolhouse porch, where it gives interest and variety.”


Zande will discuss getting groceries through Larkin buyers with Miss [Ruth B.] Gaines [PMSS dietitian]. However, “[w]e get good prices from Colter, in Cincinnati…” who are patient about payments and “consider the interest on our account part of their contribution to the school.”


[039] About road-building in the mountains,

“…[W]e in the mountains know that the road bond issue has been defeated every time by the Bluegrass and level country section of the state, and that there simply is no comparison between the mileage here and in the limestone country.”


IMAGES 040-044: Darwin D. Martin 1925 Correspondence


040 November 17. Martin to Mrs. Ethel Zande, sending a bill for fabric from Taylor, Clapp & Beal for Zande’s approval.


041-042 December 7. Two-page letter from Martin to Mrs. Ethel Zande, sending a list of questions with space for her answers (see notations in margins), including the quality of the Thrift fruit jars, her need for a Belgian dog, prospective donors for the PMSS mailing list, whether she had purchased silver plate from Oneida Community, her opinion of the New Home Chain Stitch Sewing Machine, need for a telescope, and whether she planted Euonymus radicans [evergreen vine] on the north side of the church. He has not yet received the redbud trees from Luigi. He is sending a box to be opened at Christmas.


043 December 9. EZ (Zande) to Martin, providing an update concerning “little Bodie, for whose schooling you sent us a check last year…” and asked if Martin will continue payments. Miss [Elizabeth] Hench [PMSS trustee] is visiting.


044 December 15. Martin to Mrs. Ethel Zande, thanking her for her answers to his “questionnaire” and for her Larkin order. He describes a watch that will be sent to Zande from New England Watch Co. in Boston. [Handwritten notation at bottom of page: “Julia Himmelsbach, at our home last eve, says she is going back to Pine Mt in 1926!”]



See also DARWIN D. MARTIN Board – Biography
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DARWIN D. MARTIN Correspondence Guide