Posted on 05/01/2011

Photo taken on May  1, 1907

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Mamie Luella Williams

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Photo replaced on July 24, 2013
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Mamie Luella Williams

Mamie Luella Williams
Portrait of Mamie Luella Williams, an elementary school teacher and principal in Topeka, Kansas.

Mamie L. Williams, prominent educator and a resident of Topeka, Kansas, was born in Greenwood, South Carolina, in 1894. The Williams family moved to Topeka in 1899 and in 1900 purchased a home on Quincy Street. Mamie never left Quincy Street and her life there was the subject of a 1976 TV special "75 years on Quincy Street."

Mamie received her education at Highland Park School, Garfield School, and Topeka High School before graduating with honors from Washburn University (Topeka, Kansas) in 1915. In the same year she began her teaching career at Lane College in Jackson, Mississippi. With the aid of her father, she was elected to the Topeka Public School System in 1918 where she would teach for the next 42 years until her retirement in 1960. During the summer months she returned to Lane College as professor of education in 1925, taught at Texas College in 1928 through 1930, and spent four summers at Columbia University in New York where she earned a "Teacher of Education” diploma in 1924.

Her tenure with the Topeka Public School System included teaching 25½ years at Buchanan School before she was transferred to Washington School as assistant principal in 1943. She later became principal of both Washington and Monroe Schools before her retirement. In 1956 Mamie traveled around the world gathering information for presentations to students and local groups.

After her departure from the Topeka school system Mamie remained active in church and community affairs. In 1965 she was appointed to the Kansas Commission on the Status of Women, served as a delegate to the 1971 White House Conference on Aging, and was active on the Senior Citizens Advisory Council for the Republican Party for Kansas, 1974-1976.

Other highlights of her career included the creation of the AAUW Mamie L. Williams Fellowship Award at Washburn University in 1968, and receiving the Washburn University Distinguished Service Award in 1973. Mamie Williams died in Topeka in 1986. Ten years later, the Topeka School Board named its new science and fine arts magnet school in her honor.

Kansas Historical Society

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