Skip to main content

Jenkins Orphanage papers

Identifier: AMN 1063

Scope and Contents

The Jenkins Orphanage papers are organized in seven series:

Series 1: Printed Documents - Contains pamphlets and programs regarding Jenkins Orphanage and its history; an essay regarding Jenkins Band; newspaper clippings (1930-1990) and various documents.

Series 2: Administrative Files - Includes copies of the Orphan Aid Society's constitutions; a listing of advisory board members; administrative correspondence (1923-1990); various documents regarding real estate holdings, Jenkins Orphanage meeting minutes (circa 1950s), Orphanage statistics and information regarding the care of orphans.

Series 3: Financial Records - Holds donations to Jenkins; correspondence (1942-1951) regarding Orphanage administrators; Jenkins public accountant, Charles L. Vann; Duke Endowment reports, audit reports (1947, 1949-1950). Financial records (1944-1951) concerning contracts between Jenkins Orphanage and the United States Navy. Various financial documents (1943-1962) include receipts, expenditures and account payable statements.

Series 4: Jenkins Orphanage Band - Contains various documents including a list of the band personnel; photocopies of photographs of band and fundraising circular.

Series 5: Biographical Documents - Included a photostat of Daniel Jenkins' death certificate (1937); photocopy of a handwritten history of Daniel Jenkins; a letter written to Edmund Thornton (1916); and information on Paul Daniels, which included letters sent by him to his sister in New York.

Series 6: Various Documents - Holds court documents; handwritten notations, a photostat of letter and meeting minutes concerning the Multidisciplinary Association on Child Abuse and Neglect (1981); and documents related to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Series 7: Audio-Visual Materials - Contains contents of disbound photograph album (circa 1908s) containing newspaper clippings, photographs, letters and loose sheets from the album of Daniel Jenkins portrait, the Jenkins Orphanage Band, orphans and staff. The loose sheets from the disbound photo album include photographs of A.R. Blake, newspaper clippings, pamphlet of a Porgy and Bess stage production, a program of Rivers Middle School's closing exercises (1989). The file also holds photocopies of the photograph album, Pages 1-38 in original order.


  • Creation: 1891-1991
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1945-1980

Access Restrictions

General records are accessible; orphan records are Restricted until 100 years after the date of origin due to the private nature of their content.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the Avery Research Center's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Avery Research Center claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Historical Note

Jenkins Orphanage was established in 1881 by the Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins (1862-1937), in Charleston, South Carolina. The institution was created to care for the cities' African American orphans, who because of their race were not being adopted in area orphanages. Daniel Jenkins, was born in enslavement and orphaned at a young age. In adulthood, he became the father of the classical composer Edmund Thornton Jenkins (1894-1926). Upon Daniel Jenkins' death, his wife Eloise, succeeed as president of the Orphanage until 1941, when Reverend Paul Daniels assumed the position until his death in 1961. The Orphan Aid Society, chartered in 1892, organized from members of Reverend Daniel Jenkins and Paul Daniels' church, Fourth Tabernacle Baptist, was the governing board of the Orphanage.

The Orphanage was initially located in Jenkins' home at 660 King Street. In 1893, Jenkins received permission from the City of Charleston to use the abandoned building of the Old Maine Hospital at 20 Franklin Street to house the growing number of resident orphans, which numbered over five hundred by 1896. In 1937, the Orphanage moved to a farm on the outskirts of the city. The Orphanage remains in existence and is currently located at 3923 Azalea Drive, in North Charleston.

In efforts to raise funds for its institution, the Jenkins Orphanage Band was created. The Jazz band toured nationally and internationally, and was credited for the invention of the 1920s dance craze known as "The Charleston." Famous Jenkins Orphanage Band members include William "Cat" Anderson, Jabbo Smith, and Freddie Green.


7.1 linear feet (7 cartons, 1 oversize volume)

Language of Materials



A Charleston (S.C.) orphanage for African American children, founded in 1891 by Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins. The Orphan Aid Society (chartered 1892) was the governing board of the orphanage. Organized by members of the church where Reverend Jenkins was pastor, the Society furnished much of the financial support for the orphanage's efforts to provide education, training, skills, and care to orphans, half orphans, and destitute children. After Jenkins' death his widow, Mrs. Eloise C. Jenkins, succeeded him as president of the orphanage for four years. She was succeeded by Reverend Paul G. Daniels, who served as president until 1961.

Collection contains the records of Jenkins Orphanage including files on residents, correspondence, rolls, financial information, clippings, printed material, photographs, and miscellaneous items. Financial information includes reports of annual audits, accounts, invoices, and purchase vouchers. Printed materials include pamphlets about Reverend Jenkins and Jenkins Orphanage. Photocopies of clippings concern the orphanage, the Jenkins Orphanage Band, and the orphanage's 100th anniversary. Various items include a constitution of the Orphan Aid Society, a report (1954) on the orphanage by the Charleston County Dept. of Public Welfare, photographs, and a scrapbook. NOTE: Orphan records are Restricted until 100 years after the date of origin due to the private nature of their content.

Separated Materials

Series 8: Orphan Records (circa 1928-1980) These records have been restricted until one hundred (100) years after the date of origin due to the private nature of their content. Information collected included applications for admission, correspondence regarding child from guardians, orphanage administrators, Department of Social Services (DSS), and official agencies; court hearing reports, and other official documents. Also included is an original color World War II poster (pre-1943), titled "Food is a Weapon," with orphan lists on back.

Note to Researchers:

Files under 100 years from date of origin may only be accessed by the person in question and his/her legal representative of heir.

Processing Information

Kayla Foster, 2007 Revised and edited for ArchivesSpace by Georgette Mayo, 2022

Jenkins Orphanage papers, 1891-1991
Kayla Foster, 2007 Revised and edited by Georgette Mayo, 2022
2007, revised 2022
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • October 2022: Revised for ArchivesSpace by Georgette Mayo

Repository Details

Part of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture Repository

125 Bull Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424 United States