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Home North Carolina Wake County City of Raleigh Historical Markers Jane Mckimmon 1867-1957

Jane Mckimmon 1867-1957

North Blount Street at Polk Street, Raleigh, NC, USA
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Home economist. From 1911 to 1937 she organized and led N.C.'s home demonstration program. Lived here."
     State-sponsored home demonstration work began in the South in 1910 with pilot programs in Virginia and South Carolina. The next year such a program was started in North Carolina. Put in charge of that work was Mrs. Jane McKimmon who, her neighbors had noted, kept a neat garden on Raleigh’s Blount Street. Born in Raleigh on November 13, 1867, Jane Simpson was educated at Peace Institute and in 1886 married Charles McKimmon. Initially hired to “take charge of the girl’s canning work,” Mrs. McKimmon soon expanded the size and scope of home demonstration work. From an enrollment in 1911 of 416 women in fourteen counties, the program thirty years later had grown to 75,000 women in all 100 counties. In 1937 Mrs. McKimmon resigned her position as assistant extension director to devote her time to preparing a history of home demonstration in North Carolina. Her work, by one estimation, “led rural women and girls to a fuller, more comfortable, and efficient life.”
     The awards and honors that came to Mrs. McKimmon were many. She returned to school in the 1940s, earning bachelors and masters degrees from North Carolina State College (present-day North Carolina State University). In 1934 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of North Carolina. She was the first woman in the nation to receive the “Distinguished Ruby Award” of Epsilon Sigma Phi, the honorary extension fraternity. In 1966 she was elected to the North Carolina Agricultural Hall of Fame which is located in the Agriculture Building in downtown Raleigh.

     In 1931 U.S. Sen. Josiah W. Bailey, friend and neighbor of “Miss Jennie,” suggested that the state erect a monument to her on Capitol Square. In a speech to the Farm Convention in Raleigh, Senator Bailey proposed that it stand facing the statue of Gov. Charles B. Aycock. “Her work,” he said, “has been a North Carolina epic of service and the commonwealth could do no finer than to place a statue in her likeness opposite that of the great Aycock.” The proposal was “received with loud applause,” but apparently was forgotten soon thereafter. The continuing education center at North Carolina State University, built at the junction of Western Boulevard and Faircloth Street in 1975, is named for her.

Jane Simpson McKimmon, When We’re Green We Grow (1945)
We the People (September 1946), pp. 24-25
Archibald Henderson, ed., North Carolina: The Old North State and the New, IV, p. 39
(Raleigh) News and Observer, July 29, 1931
Barbara R. Sessoms, “Jane S. McKimmon: Her Influence Upon Adult Education in North Carolina” (Ed.D. dissertation, North Carolina State University, 1980)
Howard E. Covington Jr. and Marion A. Ellis, eds., The North Carolina Century: Tar Heels Who Made a Difference, 1900-2000 (2002)