By Christopher Harter
Creator: Julius Rosenwald Fund (1917-1948)
Arrangement: Dockets of business are arranged chronologically by committee or body, followed by reports of the comptroller, reviews of activities, minutes, and miscellaneous records.
Date Acquired: 01/01/1968
The records of the Julius Rosenwald Fund consists of dockets of business and minutes of meetings held by the following bodies of the Fund: Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Board of Trustees and members. Also included are financial records, including audits and reports of the comptroller; annual reviews of activities of the Fund; documents related to the Fund's charter and by-laws; biennial reviews by Edwin C. Embree; and records of the Fund's fellowship program.
Although there are gaps in the records, primarily in the dockets of business and minutes, this collection documents to a large extent the business and activities of the Julius Rosenwald Fund during the period 1928-1948. Only one document predates 1928; it is a financial audit dated 1920.
The Julius Rosenwald Fund was chartered by Sears, Roebuck and Company magnate Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932) in 1917 "for the well-being of mankind." The fund concentrated on the equalization of opportunities among Americans, including the funding of schools for African Americans in the rural South. Unlike other philanthropic organizations, the fund was not designed to last in perpetuity. During its existence, the Julius Rosenwald Fund provided over 70 million dollars in funding to a variety of college and universities, Jewish charities, and African American schools before its funds were exhausted in 1948.
Julius Rosenwald was introduced to Booker T. Washington by Paul J. Sachs and was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of the Tuskegee Institute in 1912. Guided by Washington, Rosenwald supported the growth of public education for rural southern Blacks by assisting Washington on a program administered by the Tuskegee Institute from 1913 to 1920 for the construction of school facilities for African American children in the South. One of the largest programs administered by the Rosenwald Fund was the rural school building program, which provided money for toward the construction of over 5000 schools and teachers' homes, which became known as "Rosenwald Schools."
Apart from funding educational opportunities, the Rosenwald Fund also provided monies to improve the health of African Americans, improvements in U.S. agriculture, and toward fellowships to African Americans. From 1917 until 1928, the fund remained largely under the personal control of Julius Rosenwald. The Fund was reorganized on January 1, 1928, when Edwin Rogers Embree (1883-1950) became president of the Fund and a newly created Board of Directors was created with full-time staff headquartered in Chicago.
From 1928 to 1948, the Fund's Fellowship Program awarded grants to hundreds of African American writers, educators, artists and scholars, as well as southern Whites with interests in race relations. Rosenwald Fellows included many of the leading artists and writers of the day. Having expended over $22 million dollars in funding, the Julius Rosenwald fund was dissolved in 1948.
Access Restrictions: This collection is open to research.
Use Restrictions: Copyright to these papers has not been assigned to the Amistad Research Center. It is the responsibility of an author to secure permission for publication from the holder of the copyright to any material contained in this collection.
Acquisition Source: Fisk University
Acquisition Method: Gift
Julius Rosenwald Fund archives (microfilm)
Individuals who were supported by the Rosenwald Fund and whose papers are housed at the Amistad Research Center include: Richmond Barthe, Elizabeth Catlett, Jessie Dent, and Hale Woodruff. The Center's fine arts collection also includes works by artists who received support from the Fund.
Daniel Schulman. A Force for Change: African American Art and the Julius Rosenwald Fund. Chicago, IL: Spertus Museum; Northwestern University Press, 2009.
Ascoli, Peter Max. Julius Rosenwald : The Man Who Built Sears, Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American South. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2006.
Preferred Citation: Julius Rosenwald Fund records, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Lousiana
Processing Information: Processed April 2010 by Christopher Harter