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Jennings, Joe (1891-1968)



  • Existence: 1891 - 1968


Born in Jacksboro, Tennessee in 1891, Joe Jennings began a career in public education after receiving degrees in math and English from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1913. He married fellow educator, Aubry Faulkner in 1919; they had two children, Rodney Paul Jennings and Mary Jean Jennings O’Brien.

Joe Jennings served in the U. S. Army during World War I between 1917 and 1918. Returning to education after the war, Jennings received his Ph.D. in educational administration from George Peabody College in 1926. He served as an educator and administrator in secondary and post-secondary schools in Campbell County, Claiborne County, Knox County and Knoxville, Tennessee between 1913 and 1931. During his early education career, Jennings also held positions in the Tennessee Department of Education and at the Alabama Teacher’s College.

In August 1931, the U. S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) appointed Jennings as a superintendent of education at the Pine Ridge Indian Agency in South Dakota. In 1935, Jennings began supervising education for all reservations located in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Nebraska. Between 1936 and 1939, Jennings was assigned to the Indian Reorganization Division located in Washington, DC. From 1939 until 1945, Jennings held simultaneous duties as a Superintendent & Field Administrator for the Southeastern United States. Until 1945, Jennings’ primary offices were located in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, Washington DC, and Evanston, Illinois and his various assignments required his interaction with numerous American Indian tribes west of the Mississippi.

In August 1945, the BIA transferred Jennings to Cherokee, North Carolina to become superintendent of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. While in Cherokee, Jennings developed educational and tourism programs for the Cherokee including the outdoor drama, "Unto These Hills," which began production in 1952. Jennings served as Treasurer of the Cherokee Historical Association which was established jointly by the BIA and Cherokee Tribal Council. During this time, Jennings also served on several community development boards for western North Carolina. In December 1954, the BIA transferred Jennings to Washington, DC as a Program Coordinator where he remained until his retirement in July 1957. During his tenure with the BIA, Jennings worked on a number of important American Indian issues including access to education, voting and citizenship rights, allotment & land rights, tribal government, and health care.

After his retirement from the BIA, Jennings joined East Tennessee State College (now ETSU) as an associate professor of English. During his tenure with ETSU, Jennings served as a chairman of the Research Council from 1957 to 1964. The Research Council conducted vital research that contributed to the change from the East Tennessee State College to East Tennessee State University and the establishment of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Retiring from ETSU in June 1964, Jennings remained active in American Indian education efforts and co-authored an unpublished manuscript titled “History of Indian Education” with his wife, Aubry Faulkner Jennings.

Joe Jennings died in 1968.

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Joe Jennings and Aubry Faulkner Jennings Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AppMs-0848
Scope and Contents

This collection includes personal correspondence, diaries, poems, essays and private writings, education, employment, and military records, household ersonal business records, genealogy material, photographs & negatives, and newspaper clippings. The collection documents the Jennings' activities primarily between 1917 and 1967.

Dates: 1880-1967, undated; Majority of material found within 1917 - 1957

Joe Jennings Bureau of Indian Affairs Records

Identifier: AppMs-0051
Scope and Contents The Joe Jennings Bureau of Indian Affairs Records document Jennings’ 26-year career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, during which time he occupied various positions with the Pine Ridge Agency in South Dakota, the Indian Reorganization Division, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, many pertaining to the education of Native American youth and adults. Materials in this collection include correspondence, memoranda, pamphlets, press releases, circulars, photographs, maps, reports, and...
Dates: 1902 - 1967

Sherrod Library Records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UnivRec-0002

The collection is arranged into 8 series: Series 1, Correspondence, 1936-1977; Series 2, Book Collections and Funds, 1959-1971; Series 3, Library Reports and Studies, 1938-1970; Series 4, Status and Work of Librarians, 1969-1977; Series 5, Library Subject Files, 1941-1977; Series 6, Financial Records, 1912-1973; Series 7, Personnel Records, 1960-1970s; Series 8, Library Addition, 1964-1967.

Dates: 1912-1977; 1936-1977

Tennessee Survey of Higher Education Collection

 Collection — Other Boxes 1-7
Identifier: UnivRec-0021

The collection is arranged into four series, as follows: Series 1, Correspondence and Memoranda, 1955-68; Series 2, ETSC Survey Committee Operations, 1955-58; Series 3, Reports of the ETSC Survey Committee to TSHEC, 1955-58 and 1962; and Series 4, Survey Reports of ETSC Survey Committee, 1955-58 and 1960-62. In some cases, these series are further arranged into sub-series as noted under Series Description.

Dates: 1955-1972; Majority of material found in 1955-58 and 1960-62