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By: Lauren H. Beaty, Director of Alumni Relations // MDS Musings Blog

Miss May Duffy, 1900

Last month, MDS was the fortunate recipient of a collection of papers belonging to May Duffy Kingman, Class of 1900.  Miss Duffy, as she was known at MDS, was the valedictorian of her class. The collection includes her valedictory address and what appears to be term papers in algebra, history, rhetoric, literature, and philosophy.  Each paper has a title page, which is a work of art itself; the subject name graces the title page in elegant calligraphy and each subsequent page is written in beautiful penmanship.

MDS has always been proud of its long-standing history within the Macon community and treasures such as these papers provide us with remarkable insight into the life of a young woman about to embark on her next journey. After graduating from MDS, May attended Georgia State College for women and married her husband, Robert H. Kingman, Jr., in 1905.  According to a Macon Telegraph article from November 20th of that year, “The people of James witnessed one of the most beautiful weddings ever solemnized in Jones county on last Wednesday evening … when Miss May Duffy and Mr. Robert H. Kingman, Jr. were united in the holy bond by Father Schonhardt of Milledgeville.”

May and Robert had one son, Robert D. Kingman, and two grandchildren. MDS thanks the Kingman family for graciously sharing May’s treasured memories with the Academy.

Included below is an excerpt from May Duffy’s valedictory address, which was titled, “Woman and Her Place in the World.”

“Today I stand on the threshold of the unknown future ready to take my place in the rank and file with those noble women, who, well equipped for life’s battles, have passed from this peaceful, happy home, and are now in their respective spheres, bright lights reflecting luster on their Alma Mater, filling the home circle with the sunshine of happiness, and by their beautiful useful lives portraying all a Christian woman should be, before God and the world.

With these bright examples before me, fortified with good resolutions, and strengthened by wise counsels, I too, hope to be a faithful child of dear old Mount de Sales.

Dear Companions, our paths in life must separate today. In a few short months, many of you will retrace the well beaten path that will lead you back to our dear Convent home, but I will be among the absent ones. ‘Too swiftly time has fleeted by, yes, fleeted like a sunny dream, and childhood’s happy hours have fled and faded like a sun-lit beam.’

Today I bid farewell to thee my dear Convent home with all your sweet memories that cluster around thee. Strangers, who see thee for the first time, admire thy beautiful exterior, but they know not of the peace and happiness that are to be found within thy hallowed walls; nor of the golden chains, which are being constantly linked, uniting our hearts and memories to thee, our girlhood’s happy home.

They tell me that gratitude is the music of the heart, when swept by the hand of kindness then truly must my heart abound with sweet sounds, for full and many are the cords of kindness, with which it has been touched, by these dear, black robed Sisters of mercy.

When the heart is full, the lips are silent. Dear Sisters, my love and gratitude are too deep for words. May the dear God, whom you so faithfully love and serve, bless and reward you for your loving care, your unwearied kindness and your skillful training of my mind and heart. God bless you. Farewell.”