Lady with Her Hands Full


Dublin Core


Lady with Her Hands Full

Alternative Title

Lady with Her Hands Full


African Americans--Florida--Sanford
Sanford (Fla.)
Georgetown (Sanford, Fla.)
Midwives--United States
Maternity homes--United States


A newspaper photograph Marie Jones Francis, the "midwife of Sanford." Francis left behind a successful hotel and restaurant she owned in Sarasota in 1942 to return to Sanford and become a midwife. World War II caused a shortage in doctors and nurses, so Florida's Children's Bureau sent Francis to Florida A & M to acquire her practical nursing license in 1945. She specialized in premature babies and returned to Sanford to aid her mother, Carrie Jones, at Fernald-Laughton Memorial Hospital before they opened the ward in their home. "When her health starting failing," she recollects in a newspaper article, "I took over." Francis converted her house at 621 East Sixth Street to also serve as a maternity ward, where she delivered over 40,000 babies over her 32 year career. She became a midwife in the same vein as her mother, Carrie Jones, and together they ran the Jones-Francis Maternity Hall in Georgetown.

Francis served her community in several ways. She delivered babies for both white and black families from Seminole County, primarily patrons who either preferred natural births or could not afford deliveries at a hospital. In the 1950s, it cost $70 to stay nine days where soon-to-be mothers were taken care of. Francis was assisted by her sister, Annie Walker, who did the cooking. The house and ward also served as a school, where Marie Francis taught nurses the art of midwifery. Nurses would come from across the state to learn how to delivery infants naturally. A heavy burden on a single working mother, Marie Francis had three daughters, Cassandra Clayton, Daphne Humphrey, and Barbara Torre. Clayton and Humphrey became school teachers and Torre became a purchaser at Seminole Memorial Hospital.


Patteson, Jean


Original newspaper photograph by Jean Patteson: The Sanford Herald: Private Collection of Daphne F. Humphrey.

Date Created

ca. 1970-1977

Date Copyrighted

ca. 1970-1977

Date Issued

ca. 1970-1977


Humphrey, Daphne F.

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original newspaper photograph by Jean Patteson: The Sanford Herald.

Is Part Of

Marie Jones Francis Collection, Georgetown Collection, Sanford Collection, Seminole County Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.




217 KB


1 black and white photograph




Still Image


Jones-Francis Maternity Hall, Georgetown, Sanford, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher


Originally published by The Sanford Herald.

Rights Holder

Copyright to the resource is held by The Sanford Herald and is provided here by RICHES of Central Florida for educational purposes only.

Contributing Project


Firpo, Julio R.

Digital Collection

Source Repository

Private Collection of Daphne F. Humphrey

External Reference

Dickinson, Joy Wallace. “A Very Rich Trail: Florida’s Black Heritage is Celebrated in an Updated and Expanded State Publication." The Orlando Sentinel, February 24, 2008, J1.
Moore, Stacy. "Midwife on Job Here 32 Years." The Little Sentinel, April 4, 1979, 26.
Flewellyn, Valada Parker, and the Sanford Historical Society. African Americans of Sanford. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2009.
"Oral History of Daphne F. Humphrey." Interview by Julio R. Firpo. Home of Daphne F. Humphrey. April 8, 2011. Audio record available. RICHES of Central Florida.


(Herald Photo by Jean Patteson)

"You have to really love this job and lay aside many pleasures for it" -- Marie Francis of Sanford, midwife, 30 years and 40,000 babies later. . . .Story Page 1B

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

1 newspaper photograph


Patteson, Jean, “Lady with Her Hands Full,” RICHES, accessed July 15, 2024,