Women in Kentucky - Education

Katherine Pettit: Katherine Pettit was born on a large, prosperous farm in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, in Fayette County. She attended the Sayre School in Lexington for two years but did not graduate. She held memberships in the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement and the Federation of Women’s Clubs, but left these clubs behind in order to pursue the life work of a progressive educator.

In 1902 she and May Stone established Hindman Settlement School in Knott County. Pettit then went on to found the Pine Mountain Settlement School with Ethel de Long Zande in 1913. At Pine Mountain, Pettit supervised the outdoor work while Zande supervised the academic happenings. Pine Mountain Settlement School was unique because it was designed by a woman architect by the name of Mary Rockwell (Hook). So rare was Rockwell’s career choice that, as a woman, she had to leave the U.S. for Paris in order to earn her degree.

Grown out of the urban Settlement House Movement of the time, begun by Jane Addams and Hull- House in Chicago, the settlement schools of Eastern Kentucky offered an education that differed in many ways from other types of schools. The settlement schools served communities by providing not only a typical education to the area children, but needed services such as health clinics. Throughout her career as an educator of the people of the Appalachian region, Pettit, along with those who worked with her, made it her goal to work to preserve the folkways of the region by encouraging the gathering and teaching of local folk songs, arts, and customs.

Listen to Mary Wheeler's account of teaching at the Hindman Settlement School.

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Site Overview


A. What

Performing Arts
Public Service

B. When

View a selected history of women
View a selected history of women
Sounds and images
Civil War Diaries

C. Where

Central / Northern Kentucky
Western Kentucky
Eastern Kentucky
Southern Kentucky


Selected Readings
Educational Tools
Web tools
Archival Collections
Children's Books

E. About this Project

Women in Sports:

Minnie Adkins
Elizabeth Barret, Anne Lewis, Mimi Pickering, & Justine Richardson
Jane Burch Cochran
Joan Dance
Enid Yandell

Women in Business:

Nelda Barton-Collings
Julia Dinsmore
Laura Freeman
Mattie Mack
Lena Madesin Phillips
Caroline Burnam Taylor

Women in Education:

Helen Lew Lang
Katherine Pettit
Jane Stephenson
Cora Wilson Stewart

Women in Health/Medicine:

Mary Britton
Linda Neville
Ora Framer Porter
Louise Southgate, M.D.

Women in Journalism:

Linda Boileau
Alice Allison Dunnigan

Women in Law:

Pearl Carter Pace
Lt. Colonel Linda Smith

Women in Literature:

Effie Waller Smith

Women in Military:

Lt. Anna Mac Clarke
Capt. Helen Horlacher Evans
Julia Ann Marcum

Women in Music:

Sarah Ogan Gunning
Helen Humes
Lily May Ledford
Reel World String Band
Jean Ritchie
Mary Wheeler

Women as Pioneers:

Esther Whitley

Women in Public Service:

Governor Martha Layne Collins
Emma Guy Cromwell
Rep. Mary Elliott Flanery
Sen. Georgia Davis Powers
Lt. Gov. Thelma Stovall

Women in Reform:

Madeline McDowell Breckinridge
Laura Clay
Eula Hall
Josephine Henry
Belinda Mason
Lois Morris
Eliza Caroline Calvert Obenchain
Charlotte Richardson
Joan Robinett
Mary Sue Whayne
Corinne Whitehead
Evelyn Williams

Women in Religion:

Eldress Nancy Moore
Rabbi Gaylia Rooks

Women in Science:

Sarah Frances Price
Ellen Churchill Semple

Women in Sports:

Terri Cecil-Ramsey
Geri Grigsby
Audrey Whitlock Peterson
Mary T. Meagher Plant