A Look Back: Autumn at Hindman, 1955

As the leaves fall and blanket our campus in shades of red and gold, you can’t help wondering what this time of year was like many years ago.  With school back in session and winter quickly approaching, Hindman Settlement School was sure to be bustling with activity.  Luckily, we have our archives to give us a look back in time!  Let’s take a look at what was going on at Hindman in the fall of 1955, over sixty years ago.


Girls pose for a picture before entering a classroom.

According to the October 1955 newsletter written by Elizabeth Watts, this was the 54th school year.  There were several staff changes at Hindman, including a new Bookmobile driver, a new housemother, and a new secretary.


Children eagerly crowd around the Bookmobile.


The Bookmobile stuck in the mud caused by autumn rains.

Ms. Watts goes on to write in her letter:

“The usual summer program was carried on – houses cleaned, vegetable and flower gardens planted and cared for, produce canned or frozen for winter use, and repairs made in preparation for the new school year… Scars made by last summer’s construction work were covered by grass and flowers.

“By the time this reaches you, six weeks of the new school year will have passed.  The regular program of school and study, work and recreation, during the week, and Sunday School and church and Young People’s meetings on Sunday will be well organized.”


A group of boys takes a break to shoot some hoops.


Students gather to eat dinner together.

A visitor to the school wrote a letter to Ms. Watts describing his visit to Hindman the previous fall.  He writes:

“The most appealing part of the school is the students.  These Kentucky mountain children are quite unusual.  They have a natural grace of manner and bearing which makes the seem quite sophisticated.

 “Of course at Hindman the students don’t have much time for nonsense – nor do they have the temptation.  When they aren’t doing the chores, they are studying.  At night after supper they have recreation, but after that they study some more.

 “We were lucky to hit a night they did folk dancing… This is not square dancing, mind you, but the intricate reels, jigs, gallops, stamps, pirouettes, and what have you, passed down from the English…”


Students gather for a dance in the gymnasium.

There was certainly no shortage of things to do here in 1955. Between school, chores, church, and recreation, Ms. Watts made sure to keep these students busy.

Do you have any memories of Hindman in the fall?  Make sure to share them with us on Facebook or by email!