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.