Letter from Hazel Skjersaa to Marie Jones Francis (June 13, 1975)


Dublin Core


Letter from Hazel Skjersaa to Marie Jones Francis (June 13, 1975)

Alternative Title

Letter from Skjersaa to Francis (June 13, 1975)


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


Letter from Hazel Skjersaa, the Maternity Nursing Coordinator at Valencia Community College, to Marie Jones Francis, a midwife in Sanford, Florida. In the letter, Skjersaa thanks Francis for a series of lectures she gave students in her home during April and May of 1975.

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.


Firpo, Julio R.


Original letter from Hazel Skjersaa to Marie Jones Francis, June 13, 1975: Private Collection of Daphne F. Humphrey.

Date Created



Humphrey, Daphne F.

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original letter from Hazel Skjersaa to Marie Jones Francis, June 13, 1975.

Is Part Of

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




130 KB


1-page typewritten letter on Valencia Community College letterhead






Valencia Community College, Orlando, Florida
Jones-Francis Maternity Hall, Georgetown, Sanford, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Economics Teacher


Originally created by Hazel Skjersaa and owned by Marie Jones Francis.
Inherited by Daphne F. Humphrey.

Rights Holder

Copyright to the resource is held by Marie Jones Francis 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. http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2008/02/24/3287685.htm.
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.



June 13, 1975

Ms. Marie Francis
621 East 6th Street
Sanford, FL 32771

Dear Ms. Francis:

Thank you for the memorable learning experience you gave our nursing students during visits to your home in April and May. I received the picture from the April visit and I thank you for that, too.

The enclosed picture was made by the professional photographer who accompanied us in May. The rest of the pictures were slides, but I will have some prints made and send them to you.

Next year another instructor will plan this course, but I will still be teaching and certainly want to keep in touch with you. You are, indeed, an inspiration.


Hazel Skjersaa, RN
Maternity Nursing Coordinator

Home phone: (305) 855-9021

Document Item Type Metadata

Original Format

1-page typewritten letter on Valencia Community College letterhead


Firpo, Julio R., “Letter from Hazel Skjersaa to Marie Jones Francis (June 13, 1975),” RICHES, accessed February 26, 2024, https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka/items/show/2961.