From the First Annual Report of the Home for Destitute Children. Philadelphia : Crissy & Markley, 1856. Arrow added digitally.
In our Shareholder Spotlight series we highlight the lives and contributions of the men and women who were instrumental in the creation and sustainability of the Library Company over the last 287 years.
Last month we looked at our first shareholder, Mr. Robert Grace, and the essential role he played in establishing the Library Company of Philadelphia in 1731. This month we’re fast-forwarding to 1866 and the purchase of share number 1166 by Ms. Mary Jeanes (1803-1889).
Mary Jeanes dedicated her life to charitable causes and the betterment of society. She was an active member of the Green Street Society of Friends beginning in childhood and participated in their business affairs as a young adult. Ms. Jeanes was known as an advocate for the rights of Native Americans, and served on a committee established by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in the 1840s to assist the Senecas of New York in their case against the Ogden Land Company.
In 1855, Ms. Jeanes founded the Home for Destitute Colored Children, where she served as President for several years. The home provided a shelter and education for black children and then placed them with private families, sometimes as apprentices.
Mary Jeanes’ memory and philanthropic ideals live on in the form of the Mary Jeanes Fund, an education grant awarded to a student each year by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
The Library Company of Philadelphia would not be here today if not for our shareholders, past and present. By becoming a shareholder, you help to preserve our history and secure our future.