Born in 1880, M. Adele France graduated from college about 20 years before she was allowed to cast a ballot to vote. Nonetheless, she advocated for women’s rights to education. After two teaching stints at St. Mary’s Female Seminary (between 1909 and 1918), in 1923 at age 43, she was elected to serve as principal. In the 25 years that she led the institution, she transformed it into a junior college and saved it from extinction.
Also born in 1880, John LaFarge was a Jesuit priest who served in St. Mary’s County between 1911-1926, concurrent with M. Adele France. LaFarge also focused on education, creating schools, including the Cardinal Gibbons Institute, for educating blacks who made up 50% of the population in St. Mary’s County at the time.
Janet Butler Haugaard taught literature at the University of Puerto Rico from 1962 – 1987. There she was a colleague of Ted Lewis, who would become president of St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 1983. In the 1970s, the university sent her to Cornell University, where she specialized in Black American and Caribbean literature and earned her PhD. She joined St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 1987 and served as executive editor and writer until her retirement and designation as editor emerita in late 2008.