Davis, Mary Dorsey

Caption: Drawing of Maryland state seal signed by Mary Dorsey Davis, 1882, for sale on Ebay, Oct. 29, 2018.

Mary Dorsey Davis came from a distinguished Maryland family, and the study of historical documents became her avocation. She was the daughter of Allen Bowie Davis and his wife Hester Ann Wilkins and was raised on the family farming estate Greenwood in Montgomery County. One of her research projects was to trace the original design of the Maryland State seal, which had been lost. When the state legislature appointed a committee to recreate the seal in 1882, they used Mary Dorsey Davis’s research and drawings.

Davis was invited to join the Club in May 1893, but was an infrequent contributor until 1900, when she became a member of the Committee on Unfamiliar Records.

She lived with her sister Rebecca Dorsey Davis on Lanvale Street and took classes at the Maryland Institute of Art. In February 1904, during the fire that destroyed much of downtown Baltimore, Davis did a watercolor of the scene from the third-floor window of her home, “The Great Baltimore Fire from 137 West Lanvale Street, 1904.”


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“Davis, Mary Dorsey,” The Woman's Literary Club of Baltimore, accessed May 25, 2020, https://loyolanotredamelib.org/Aperio/WLCB/items/show/2833.