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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Jeanes Fund

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006

See also: Slater Fund.Anna T. Jeanes. Image courtesy of Anna T. Jeanes Foundation.

The Jeanes Fund, the popular name for the Negro Rural School Fund of the Anna T. Jeanes Foundation, was endowed by a Philadelphia Quaker benefactor in 1907 with $1 million. The original board of trustees, which first met on 29 Feb. 1908 in New York City, was an impressive list of educators and other dignitaries that included President William Howard Taft, Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute, banker and philanthropist George Foster Peabody, industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, Jeanes Fund president James H. Dillard (1907-31), and journalist Walter Hines Page (a North Carolina native living in New York). In later years the board included at least two other distinguished North Carolinians: William P. Few, the president of Duke University, and George W. Clinton, a bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

After exploring several ways to enact Anna Jeanes's wish to promote the training of Black people, the board settled on the sponsorship of teachers. Originally these African American "Jeanes teachers" instructed other teachers in techniques of teaching simple industrial arts, such as mat making, chair caning, and wood working as well as domestic skills. Gradually the Jeanes teachers evolved into academic supervisors and, ultimately, into "unofficial" assistants to school superintendents responsible for directing Black schools.

The influence of the Jeanes teachers and supervisors on the lives of the men, women, and children with whom they came in contact was extraordinary. The teachers lived in the homes of those they worked with, worshipped in their churches, and participated in their parent-teacher meetings. In a real sense, they were like members of the family. One Jeanes supervisor, Annie W. Holland of Gates, became the first state supervisor of elementary schools. In 1937 the Jeanes Fund, having contributed some $250,000 to African American education in North Carolina since 1908, was merged with the Slater Fund, other foundations, and the Southern Education Fund.


Will W. Alexander, The Slater and Jeanes Funds (1934).

Hugh V. Brown, A History of the Education of Negroes in North Carolina (1961).

Lance G. E. Jones, The Jeanes Teacher in the United States, 1908-1933 (1937).

Arthur D. Wright, The Negro Rural School Fund, Inc. (Anna T. Jeanes Foundation), 1907-1933 (1933).

Additional Resources:

Walter Hines Page, NC Historical Marker K-1:

The Jeanes Teacher, The Women Who Ran the Schools, Durham County Library:

Image Credit:

Anna T. Jeanes. Image courtesy of Anna T. Jeanes Foundation. Available from (accessed September 24, 2012).