The Project is seeking to archive and preserve thousands of lost records covering 1864 to 1968 that were almost burned. These include documents and photographs which we would like to make available for study and interpretation of the educational system during a pivotal time.
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11: Insurance

Edwin Washington Project / Catalogue / 11: Insurance

This section will reveal how buildings, buses and people were insured, and include a set of insurance photos from 1939/40.

Insurance records are essential in local history and genealogical research.   The Sanborn Maps, (available in the “map room” of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC) for example, were originally created in order to determine fire risk in cities.  They cover detailed information in color regarding buildings in approximately 12,000 US towns and cities from 1867 to 2007.    In the Record Office of the Loudoun County Public School system are also unique insurance records that have proven very valuable, sometimes listing heretofore unknown “colored” schools.

What we discovered was a treasure trove of insurance records for buildings and equipment for both “colored” and white schools. However, the actuarial basis for the insurance is unclear.  In other words, were “colored” schools valued lower as a rule?    Employee insurance comes up as does even pupil insurance, though we don’t know the basis for pupil insurance.   As an example, in 2.2, see the May 10, 1954 file for the Loudoun County School Board.  The record covers many items, including the provision of “pupil accident insurance” for Louise Luck by the Pilot Life Insurance Company.   Why did they do that and did it evolve into a standard practice?  What were the rules and did African-Americans benefit?  We don’t know yet.


11.  Insurance Record (1924-1957):  Insurance Record.  (1924-1957) by LCPS. Black Book with Red Spine and Corners).   The ledger (13”x 9”) covers the period when the School Board was in Purcellville as well as when it was moved to Leesburg.  It was originally intended to be an account of school monies disbursed by Loudoun County, but it was primarily used to track insurance for school buildings and buses starting as early as January 1, 1924 with such structures as the Paeonian Springs Colored School (LCPS Staff 1924-1937, 12/13).   Colored schools were generally separated out, which has been very helpful in developing a roster of schools where other records are scant, but the separation isn’t always perfect: thus more research will be required for a definitive list.  The names of many bus drivers are also noted, as well as when some buildings burned down or were not insured because they were not owned by the School Board.  In 1937/38 LCPS even insured its textbooks.  See also 11.3 Valuation Schedules of School Property (white and colored).  Typical information provided is school name, insurance company, the underwriter, amount of risk, amount on contents (rarely done), the total premium, the term of insurance and the date of expiration.  Other information also appears from time to time, e.g. school books (see page 60 and 114-115) or buses in 1936/37 (page 115).  Photographic records on the schools were also taken for insurance purposes and are available in the Records Office for comparison to the premium amounts.

11.   Insurance Analysis and Permanent Record, 1940:  This is a blue binder titled    Insurance and Permanent Record – Historical Insurance Photos (annotated), Inspection and Survey Report, Property of Loudoun county School Board.  Done October, 1940 by Garett Insurance Agency, Leesburg, Va. For Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company.  The photographer was Thomas E. Sims, Jr., Special Agent.    Most of the schools in Loudoun (white and colored) were photographed in October, 1940. Fortunately those pictures are included in the binder, as well as in each case an insurance assessment of the building being photographed.  For example, Bull Run Colored School was assessed for $500.  These pictures are fascinating and often provide surprises.  As an example, consider the Mountain Gap colored and white schools.   To our knowledge, there were only two structures, with the white school surviving today on Route 15. (See https://loudounschoolproject.wordpress.com/schools-m-through-r/mountain-gap-colored-school-loudoun/).   However, there are pictures of two Mountain Gap schools in the archives, one in the blue insurance binder, which is identified as the colored school, and another in the filing cabinet.   This created a mystery at first since the second photo isn’t of either the white school or the structure identified in the insurance report,  but  it has since been identified as Conklin.  Because many of the photos are deteriorating, one of our volunteers, a professional photographer named Neil Steinberg is digitally copying them, as well as many photos of teachers from the segregated era, and other photographs.

  • Insurance 1943-1956)
  • Folder, undated.  Safeguarding school funds and property.  A flyer by Aetna insurance.
  • Flyer undated.   Special Blanket Accident Insurance for School Children and Teachers.
  • 8/9/1943:  Regarding fire at Round Hill Colored School, 7/18/1943. Occurred at bottom of blackboard between outside weather boarding and inside wainscoting.  Material was replaced.
  • 1/10/1945:  Information on costs associated with the fire which destroyed Unison-Bloomfield in August, 1944.
  • 11/15/1947 1953:  Valuation of schools, including colored schools- Ashburn, Banneker, Bull Run, Carver, Conklin, Douglass High School, Douglass High School Shop, Douglass Elementary School. See 11.3 Valuation Schedules (1947-1955).
  • 1947-1953:  Valuation Schedules.  Insurance coverage of school buildings (white and colored), 1947-1953.  Separate folder under 11.3.
  • 5/22/1950.  Douglass Elementary damaged by fire, 3/21/1950.
  • 7/11/1950.  Correspondence on whether children should be insured against accidents.  It appears that while school officials could buy such insurance, the Attorney General felt coverage would be limited under state law.
  • 11/15/1950:   Valuation schedule.  Fire insurance on vehicles.
  • 11/15/1950.  Insurance for school buildings.  Includes colored schools (Ashburn, Banneker, Bull Run, Carver, Conklin, Douglass High School, Douglass High School Shop, Douglass Elementary, Lovettsville, Mountain Gap, Nokes and Willisville).
  • 8/28/1951:  Virginia Superintendent for Public Instruction requires under state law that high schools offer training in accident prevention.
  • Policy A347422   Insurance on Motor Vehicle for 1952/52.
  • Application for Average Rate.
  • Loudoun County Education Association memo (undated) on Group Sickness and Accident Income protection.
  • 1/3/1952:  Va. State Board of Education concerned that many school buses are not observing state law regarding railroad grade crossings.  5 children were killed in Virginia in 1951 due to this failure.
  • May 11, 1954.   Outline of benefits to a policy.
  • 1954-55  Student Protection Plan.
  • June 10, 1954   Inventory of materials at Sterling that should be covered by fire.
  • June 15, 1954 American Casualty Company of Reading, Pa Application: Student Protection Plan.
  • Undated sales brochure.   Special blanket accident insurance was offered for school children and teachers.
  • 11/16/1954:  Coverage for boilers and related equipment at LCHS.
  • 12/10/1954:  Fire prevention checklist for principals.
  • 1/17/1954.  Mercantile Safe burglary policy.
  • 4/25/1955:   Va. Educ Association Insurance for Teachers (covers cars).
  • Undated Student Accident Report.  Blank form for American Casualty Company.
  • 9/8/1955:   School bus insurance.  This list shows the insurance for each specific bus and provides the model number of each bus, its cost and date of purchase.  Interesting statistics when examining Transportation resources.
  • 9/10/1955:  General Insurance Policy proposed for buildings.
  • 10/13/1955.  New average rate for school properties.
  • 1/25/1956.Memo from Emerick to Jordan-Palmore Agency re premiums due directly from individuals.
  • 5/2/1956.  Garrett insurance Company.  Application for the school insurance for 1956.
  • 6/19/1956:  Various children at hospital in 1954/56.  Were they covered by insurance?   One of these was Reginald Sims, later on President of Loudoun NAACP.  Does this mean that Loudoun County Hospital was integrated by 1956?
  • 6/19/1956.  Note from Emerick to Mrs. Roberta Quander regarding bill for injury.
  • 6/23/1956.   Note to Emerick from Fidelity and Casualty Company of NY regarding their insurance.
  • 6/27/1956.  Memo from Emerick to Loudoun County Hospital regarding question of insurance coverage for students and a teacher named Mrs. Quander.
  • 11/15/58:  Literary Fund[1] pays for Insurance.

[1] Editorial Note:  The Literary Fund was the first state source of school funding.