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