License to Practice Midwifery for Marie Jones Francis


Dublin Core


License to Practice Midwifery for Marie Jones Francis

Alternative Title

Franics Midwifery License


Sanford (Fla.)
Midwives, African American
Midwives--United States


A License to Practice Midwifery, issued by the Florida State Board of Health Department, certifying the completion of midwifery requirements by Marie Jones Francis. The certificate was issued in Sanford, Florida, on May 27, 1943, and signed by Dr. Lucille J. Marsh, the Director of the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health.

Marie Jones Francis, the "midwife of Sanford," 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.


Original license, May 27, 1943: Florida State Board of Health, Jacksonville, Florida: Private Collection of Daphne F. Humphrey.

Date Created


Date Issued



March, Lucille J.
Humphrey, Daphne F.

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original license, May 27, 1943: Florida State Board of Health, Jacksonville, Florida.

Is Part Of

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




223 KB


1 license certificate






Sanford, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Civics/Government Teacher


Originally created by the Florida State Board of Health and owned by Marie Jones Francis.
Inherited by Daphne F. Humphrey.

Rights Holder

Copyright to the resource is held by Daphne F. Humphrey 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.


No. 419


Date of Issue May 27, 1943

License to Practice Midwifery
This is to Certify, That
Marie Francis
of Sanford, Florida County of Seminole Florida, has met the requirements of Chapters 457 and 154, SEctions 381.49 - 381.57, Florida Statutes 1941.

State Health Officer
Lucille J. Marsh, M.D.
Director, Bureau of Maternal and Child Health

Document Item Type Metadata

Original Format

1 license certificate


Florida State Board of Health, “License to Practice Midwifery for Marie Jones Francis,” RICHES, accessed June 16, 2024,