The oldest known Permanent Fund is Texas’s Permanent University Fund. While it was set up in 1876, its origins go much further back to 1839. Interestingly, while its main asset was grazing land & the income from it financed the University of Texas. In 1923, oil was found on university land. Wisely, the oil receipts were treated as principal rather than as income, and hence were saved by the Permanent University Fund. It currently has a corpus of $14.9 billion (2013). Read the Wikipedia entry also, or this doctoral thesis by Charles R. Matthews about the early history of the fund.