A historical marker for Anna T. Jeanes

Jeanes Hospital last week celebrated the installation of a state historical marker for Anna T. Jeanes, who set up a bequest to fund a hospital that became Jeanes.

In March, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission approved 18 historical markers, including ones for Anna T. Jeanes and Tom Gola. La Salle University is planning an unveiling for a marker for the late Gola, a Northeast resident who was a star basketball player and coach for the Explorers.

Jeanes (1822–1907) was a Quaker activist who made plans for her substantial fortune to further several causes upon her death. Her contributions enabled the establishment of Jeanes, dedicated to cancer research, and the Jeanes Supervisors program, the precursor to the Negro Rural School Fund, which educated many black teachers and students across the southern states.

The marker for Jeanes stands along the 7600 block of Central Ave., and features identical writing on both sides.

The hospital opened on what had been the Jeanes family farm in 1928. Anna T. Jeanes, who outlived all her relatives, donated about $5 million.

Guests at the Sept. 12 ceremony enjoyed cake, food and drinks as speakers lauded the work of Anna T. Jeanes.

“Her vision and support continue to be relevant today, 200 years after her birth,” said Martin Ogletree, chairman of the Anna T. Jeanes Foundation.

State Sen. Tina Tartaglione thanked the hospital for caring for her mother, Marge, who passed away in July. She said Anna T. Jeanes would be proud of the doctors, nurses and nurses aides.

“What a trailblazer,” Tartaglione said of Anna T. Jeanes. “Look at what we have, this great hospital.”

State Rep. Kevin Boyle presented Jeanes with a House citation and called the hospital a “lynchpin of this community.”

City Councilman Brian O’Neill said his wife gave birth to Irish twins about 40 years ago at Jeanes, including one born about 10 minutes after Mrs. O’Neill arrived at the hospital.

“Jeanes has always had great medical and great nursing,” he said.

Raymond Pierce, president and CEO of the Southern Education Foundation, said Anna T. Jeanes has done as much as anyone for black education.

Pierce was impressed after hearing that Jeanes was a modest author, poet, businesswoman, abolitionist and associate of Booker T. Washington.

“I wish I could have met this lady,” he said.

In all, there are more than 2,300 historical markers throughout Pennsylvania.

Nominations for historical markers may be submitted by any individual or organization and are evaluated by a panel of independent experts from throughout the state and approved by the agency’s commissioners.

More information on the historical marker program, including application information, is available at PAHistoricalMarkers.com. ••