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Mary E. Townsend papers

Call Number: RH MS P597


The Papers of Mary E. Townsend are those of a native Kansan and social worker who taught at the University of Kansas, worked in the school's psychological clinic, and was director of the KU Office of Minority Affairs.


  • Creation: 1918 - 1940s


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Mary E. Townsend

Mary Elizabeth Townsend was born December 30, 1919 in Lawrence, Kansas to Charles Jetz and Florence Murray Fishback. After graduating from Liberty Memorial High School in 1939, she married Ross Townsend on February 10, 1943. She then attended the University of Kansas where she earned a bachelor's degree in 1963 and a master's degree in 1965, both in social work. In 1965, Townsend joined the University of Kansas faculty as an instructor; she earned tenure in 1971. From 1968-1974, Townsend was chief social worker in the school's psychological clinic, and from 1974-1982 she was director of the KU Office of Minority Affairs. Even after retiring in 1987, Townsend continued to operate a private practice, which she started in 1975, until 1988.

Townsend earned numerous honors in her field, including a National Institutes of Mental Health fellowship in 1964-65, the University of Kansas Higher Education Service Award in 1978, and the Outstanding Achievement in Education Award by the Black Women Achievers Against the Odds Conference in 1984. She was also active in numerous organizations, including the Lawrence-Douglas County Board of Health, the Douglas County Association for Mental Health, the NAACP and the Endacott Society.

Mary E. Townsend died 22 April 2006.


.25 Linear Feet (1 box (photos) + 1 folder) ; 22 x 37 cm.

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Papers of Mary E. Townsend date from 1918 to circa 1940s. There is only one file of papers, which contains a photocopy of Townsend's parents' marriage certificate. There are also several folders of photographs. The single file containing the certificate is located at RH MS P597; the photographs from the collection are located at RH MS-P P597.

Physical Location

RH MS P597

Physical Location

RH MS-P P597

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Mary E. Townsend, 1989.

Related Materials

Townsend, Mary Elizabeth (M.S.W.). Mealtime environmental factors associated with social engagement of residents in Douglas County nursing homes/ by Mary Elizabeth Townsend. Thesis (M.S.W.), University of Kansas, Social Work, 1965. At Thesis 1965 Townsend, University of Kansas Libraries.

Guide to the Mary E. Townsend Collection
Mary E. Townsend papers
Finding aid prepared by mbw, 2006; revised by, cl 2010; revised by skt, 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Support for the processing of this Collection was provided by the Dana and Sue Anderson African American Collecting Program Endowment Fund.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Mary E. Townsend Collection, RH MS P597, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States