Echoes from the Hilltop

Margaret Henry—Heroine of  the Southern Mountaineers

“I want these young people educated and turned back to their home communities . . . to become a force for good in the world’s best work.”

These are the words of Margaret Eliza Henry, whose one-hundred-year-old letters were found in the basement of old Anderson Hall at Maryville College in Tennessee.

Margaret was the college’s first scholarship secretary. For thirteen years (1903–1916), she traveled throughout the Northeast raising money for scholarships for children from the Southern Appalachians. Her audiences included Daughters of the American Revolution chapters; various men’s, women’s, and children’s organizations; churches; schools; and individuals. 

Margaret wrote letters of thanks to these donors and told them about the students receiving the benefit of their gifts. She stayed in touch with the administration, faculty, and students of the college when she was “on the wing” for months at a time. In addition, letters of introduction were mailed in the spring as she planned an itinerary for the next year. All these letters tell a story of love for the mountains and the people who lived there, devotion to Maryville College and its students, and a woman traveling alone during the early twentieth century.