Looking through the materials in the archives here at the Settlement School, I often think about the various ways that the physical landscape of a place influences the people who live there. And as a folklorist, I tend to pay attention to the ways that landscape–both the natural and the built–is reflected in the traditional, expressive cultural practices of communities. So I was excited when I came across this ink drawing in the archives last week.
The handwriting on the back of the drawing is a bit hard to read, but from what I can make out, it was drawn in 1932 by Bill Cobb, the nephew of poet Ann Cobb who taught at the Settlement School for over 40 years. The drawing depicts a pump house along with Eastover, the boys dormitory that was built in 1911 and demolished in the late 1960s. I was struck by all of the detailed linework in the piece, and how the scene mirrors the current season outside our office windows—the trees having nearly dropped all their lives in the cooling Fall temperatures.
There is also certainly a strong tradition here of writing songs and poems about the landscape. I thought I’d end by sharing a poem by Ann Cobb called “A Tide on Troublesome Creek” from her book Kinfolks. Similar to her nephew Bill Cobb, Ann gives us some insight into the ways people find creative inspiration from the land and the built environments that surround them.
Thank you for reading this update! Additionally, if you have any specific topic you would like us to cover in our future blogs (ex. Hindman High School, Hindman Settlement School in its earlier years, Eastern Kentucky cultural or regional topics, etc.) please email me, Nicole Musgrave at firstname.lastname@example.org! I would love to help share what you are interested in learning about from our region and organization’s history, so feel free to reach out!