K-12 News

Explore resources focused on horseback-helpers in Appalachia

Discover the rich culture of Kentucky through the stories of people, places, and events with two NEW topics for grades 6-12 in the Kentucky Studies collection on PBS LearningMedia that are adapted from recent KET documentaries.

Resources from Angels on Horseback: Midwives in the Mountains focus on the nurse-midwives of Frontier Nursing Service, who traveled the rugged terrain to people’s homes on horseback, bringing medical care to remote places that had none.

Mary Breckinridge, a nurse from a prominent Kentucky family who had lost her own two children, founded the innovative Frontier Nursing Service in the mountains of Kentucky in 1925.

Just when the nursing service was ready to expand, the Great Depression hit, and Breckinridge turned her energy to fundraising to keep the service going. Through her efforts and the work of the nurse-midwives, maternal and infant mortality rates in Eastern Kentucky fell to among the lowest in the nation.

And, The Pack Horse Librarians of Appalachia tells the story of pack horse librarians–women hired by Franklin Roosevelt’s Work Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression to travel on horseback to deliver library books and magazines to people in Eastern Kentucky, braving creeks, mountains and inclement weather along the way.