Townsend, Mary Elizabeth

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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.

From the guide to the Mary E. Townsend papers, 1918-[194-], (University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Gould, Hannah Flagg, 1789-1865. person
associatedWith Macdonald Institute. Faculty. (1963-1964? : Townsend) corporateBody
associatedWith Townsend family. family
associatedWith Townsend family. family
associatedWith University of Kansas corporateBody
associatedWith University of Kansas. School of Social Welfare. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
African American social workers
African American social workers
University of Kansas
University of Kansas. School of Social Welfare


Active 1676

Active 1877



Ark ID: w6dv3tww

SNAC ID: 22205209