Anna T. Jeanes, a European American, was born on April 7, 1822. She was one of eight children in the Isaiah and Anna Thomas Jeanes family. Her mother died when she was three years old, and she was raised by an older sister. The Jeanes family had an estate in the Fox Chase area of Philadelphia and a townhouse at 10th and Arch Street. Anna T. Jeanes remained in the family home for most of her life.
Anna Jeanes grew up inspired by Lucretia Mott and other pioneers of the movement against slavery. After her family members passed away, she planned the distribution of the family fortune to help further causes that she felt were important.
In 1896 she gave $200,000 to set up eight Quarterly Meeting homes for elderly Quakers. She spent the last years of her life at the Friends Boarding Home at Germantown later known as Stapely in Germantown.
She is widely remembered in African American communities all over the rural South for the Jeanes Fund, which she established in 1907. This fund, based on an original gift of over $1 million, was designated for the improvement of rural elementary schools for blacks. Jeanes teachers were hired to travel throughout all the schools in one county, helping local teachers organize classes in domestic science, gardening, and carpentry.
The Jeanes Hospital in Fox Chase was established as a result of a large gift in Anna Jeanes’ will. Along with her philanthropy, she wrote a book on liberal religion and published a volume of poetry.