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Annville Institute Records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: BCA 0043 SAA 043

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of photographs and microfilmed records that document the establishment and operation of Annville Institute (elementary and high school), a mission project of the Reformed Church of America at Annville in Jackson County, Kentucky 1900-1980.


  • created: 1900-1980


Conditions Governing Access

Records and photographs can be accessed through the Reading Room, Berea College Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College.

Conditions Governing Use

Restrictions regarding Part A:  Selected Records

The records of the Annville Institute were collected and organized in 1982-1983.  Those having administrative, legal or historical value were microfilmed at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives and the originals then returned to Annville Institute. The resultant master microfilm negative is owned by Berea College.  A use copy is available in Hutchins Library’s Department of Archives and Special Collections. Because Berea College does not own the copyright for the material contained in this microfilm edition, it is the responsibility of the researcher to secure permission to publish from Annville Institute or its successors and assigns.  Due to the personal information they contain, student and personnel records may be restricted.

•            Restrictions regarding Part B:  Selected Photographs

Selected photographs were copied by Project staff. The original photographs and a set of copy prints were returned to the school. The copy negatives and one set of copy prints are owned by Berea College and are available in Hutchins Library’s Department of Archives and Special Collections.

Permission has been granted by Annville Institute for Berea College to reproduce all or part of the school’s photographs and to use them in slide or film presentations, display them or loan them for displays, and to allow their use by researchers for reproduction and publication. The proper credit line for Series I-VI shall be:  “Annville Institute Collection, Berea College Southern Appalachian Archives.”


3.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Annville Institute was an early outgrowth of the work begun in Jackson County, Kentucky, by the Women’s’ Board of Domestic Missions of the Reformed Church of America.  In 1900, New York based missionaries, Cora A. Smith and Nora Gaut chose Mckee as the site of the first RCA Mission in Kentucky.   By 1909, a Church and school had been established at Mckee and several Sunday schools elsewhere in the County. Rev. Issac Messler, Superintendent of RCA Kentucky work, had purchased a 75 acre tract of land in Annville for the Church.  At Rev. Messler’s suggestion, it was decided to turn the Mckee Academy over to the county to run as a high school and to establish an industrial school at Annville.  Student minister William A.  Worthington moved to Annville late in 1909 to begin setting up the school.  He was joined in December by his bride, the former Henrietta Zwemer Tekolste, who had been principal of Mckee Academy. Deciding that at that time, basic educational skills were more urgently needed than industrial training, the Worhtingtons opened a school for grades 1-8 early in 1910.  Annville Institute never became an industrial or technical school, but under the leadership of the Worthingtons and others, a program was established which aimed at teaching practical as well as academic skills. By 1924, all 12 grades were being offered and state-accreditation achieved. Extracurricular offerings included clubs, sports, religious activities, choir, orchestra, a school newspaper and literary society. The school’s first 20 years saw its most concentrated expansion.  The establishment of the Bond Foley Lumber Company and its extension of the railroad from East Bernstadt to Bond, a mile away from Annville, resulted in a sudden population growth that dramatically increased Annville’s enrollment from 1914 until around 1920. After that time, enrollment leveled off to an average of about 300 students per year until 1931.                By the 1912-13 school year the entire tract of land except for the campus and a small woodland was being farmed. Male students were involved in farm related work / learning programs that emphasized efficient land use that included projects directed at demonstrating the value of advanced methods to local farmers.  By 1913, there was also a dairy herd, a pair of registered hogs, a blacksmith shop and small icehouse.  By 1930, the school was generating its own electricity and in addition to the grounds, housing, and classrooms, the physical plant included an infirmary, administrative offices, dining hall, church, workshop and gymnasium. By 1935, the boys were being trained in agriculture, plumbing, auto mechanics, mechanical drawing, sheet-metal work, and electrical plant operation; the girls in weaving, laundry operation, cooking, sewing, canning, and home nursing. Although religious education and evangelism were always stressed at the school, it was during the Worthington years that evangelism was articulated as being a central part of the education progress: “If we train a student at Annville through regular high school courses only to become a teacher in the state school, our work is in no sense evangelical.  However, if we inspire such a student with the desire to become a teacher in the state school in order that he or she may in turn satisfy the desire of pupils for spiritual development, our work is evangelical and such a teacher is just as definitely an evangelist as are we who are in the employment of the mission board.” (“Educational Evangelism,” Scrapbook Entry #336, January 1940.) The 1930s and 1940s were more difficult times for the school.  The Depression made it necessary to cut the maintenance budget by more than half in 1933.  For the duration of the Depression years and on into the 1940s it was not possible to admit as many students or to hire as many staff people as during the earlier more prosperous years.  A notable development of the mid 1930s was the move toward fewer classes, longer class periods, and more hours spent in the work program, with a continued emphasis on such extracurricular activities as art, music and sports.  By 1942 the school had stopped offering grades 1-7, but resumed these grades in 1959. By the late 1950s the school had seen several changes.  It had weathered the Great Depression but had lost perhaps the most pivotal figure in its history.  William Worthington and his wife Henrietta, had died and several staff people who had held key positions had retired.  Soon after Worthington’s death in 1941 there was a series of changes in administrative structure that ended up not working well.  There continued to be budget problems and questions as to what the primary focus of the RCA work in Jackson County should be.  By the late 1940s, the labor program was reported to have become less successful as a bona fide training program than it had been previously, and it had become clear that the program needed to be rejuvenated or discontinued. The labor program was continued however, as well as the Institute’s focus on qualitative academics, extracurricular activities, and Christian evangelism.  All of this was still seen as the foundation of the educational / work program.  Nonetheless, the 1960s and 1970s continued to be a period of evaluation and transition. The Administrative Council, which had been the governing body beginning with R.B. Drukker’s directorship through that of Rev. Floyd Nagel’s, was disbanded.  The school had a series of directors, but the New York based Board of Domestic Missions continued to be a major source of funding as well as the group which possessed administrative powers. By the 1970s, the public school and transportation systems were improved to the extent that Annville was no longer the singular opportunity that it had been for many students.  At the same time that enrollment began to decrease, it was becoming increasingly expensive to maintain the physical plant for the relatively small number of students and other programs participants.  In 1978 the RCA General Program Council voted for only what amounted to a basic maintenance budget, making it financially impossible to open school that Fall.  Although the school has never reopened, a small staff operating under the auspices of a local RCA-related corporation, Jackson County Ministries, maintains the facilities and coordinates a number of recreational programs for church-affiliated groups of various ages (1980s). In addition to the Annville on-campus program, the RCA county-wide missionary activities included Tanis Chapel, the Reformed Church at Annville; a number of Sunday schools in the surrounding area and various religious organizations for young people.  Programs to meet social needs included a medical clinic, senior citizens recreational activities, adult education classes, counseling programs, preschool and after-school child care, a community center at Sand Gap, and used clothing store. The Annville staff did much toward the establishment of the Jackson County Health Department (1939) and the Pond Creek Volunteer Fire Department (1970s).

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged as follows:

Part A:  Selected Records (21 Reels of Microfilm)

Series 1: Historical Sketches and Scrapbooks, 1916-78

Series 2:  Operational and Vital Records, 1909-79

Sub-Series A:  General, A-T, 1909-79

Sub-Series B:  Correspondence, 1949-79

Sub-Series C:  Financial Records, 1939-79

Series 3:  Alumni Files, 1910-78

Series 4:  Publications, c. 1904-78

Series 5: Student Records, 1911-78

Part B: Selected Photographs (1155 Photo-reproductions)

Series 1: General File, c.1910-c.1978

Series 2:  History of Annville High School, c.1920-c.1940

Series 3: D.C. Nehorir Photographs, c.1930s

Series 4: Lisa Overturff Photographs, c.1970-1979

Series 5: Alma Hacker Photographs, c.1920-c.1970

Series 6: John E. and Mary Moore Photographs, c.1920-c.1940

Note: A detailed Index to Selected Photographs is available in the Reading Room of the Special Collections and Archives Berea College.  The index provides an item level description of the photographic collection and is divided into five parts: primary subject, secondary subject, date, original series and photo item-number.  Please contact archivist for more information.

Method of Acquisition

This collection was compiled by the Settlement Institutions of Appalachia / Berea College Research Resources Project, Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The project was developed in 1979 for the purpose of organizing and preserving the original records and photographs of the Settlement Institutions of Appalachia (SIA) and copying those of historical value to form a Central research collection at Berea College.  The collection was open for research in 1986.

Other Descriptive Information

BCA 0043 SAA 043

Processing Information

The original guide to Part A: Selected Records of the Annville Institute was compiled and written by Diana Hays, Assistant Archivist.  Project staff for Part A: Selected Records included: Mary Zimmeth (Archivist/Director), Diana L. Hays (Assistant Archivist), and student archivists Vivian L. Hensley, J. Shepherd Speight, Pamela Tucker, and Ele Workman. The guide and index to Part B: Selected Photographs of the Annville Institute was compiled and written by William C. Richardson, Archivist/Director. Project staff for Part B: Selected Photographs included: William C. Richardson (Archivist/Director), Patricia N. Ayers (Project Photographer), Dorothy Shearard (Photographic Assistant) and student assistants Key Ho Lee, Laura Wilson, Jim Hatchell, Lois Warren, Kevin Miller, Helen Echols and Joan Kagwanja.

Archon Finding Aid Title
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Berea College Special Collections and Archives Repository

Hutchins Library
100 Campus Drive
Berea Kentucky 40404 US