In 1891, the Rev. Daniel J. Jenkins opened the Jenkins Orphanage for African American boys in Charleston, South Carolina. Unable to provide for the growing number of boys under his care, Rev. Jenkins asked members of the Charleston community to donate used musical instruments with the intention of raising money for the orphanage by forming a travelling band. Wearing discarded Citadel uniforms, the band performed a mix of military marches, folk tunes, and ragtime throughout the United States and in Europe. The band played in the inaugural parades of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. They also appeared at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair and the 1914 Anglo-American Exposition, where they performed for members of the British Royal Family.
A black and white photograph postcard of the Jenkins Orphanage Band of Charleston, South Carolina. The photograph features twenty (20) boys and young men in uniform standing in rows, holding musical instruments including french horns, marching euphoniums, drums, and trombones. All of the band members are looking at the camera. At the bottom of the photograph is printed [JENKINS ORPHAN BAND Charleston S.C.]. At the lower left corner is the mark [Tappin-Elcha/ 438 Lenox Ave. N.Y] in white. The verso of the postcard is printed at the upper edge: [POST CARD/ CORRESPONDENCE [vertical line] ADDRESS ONLY].