Mary Layfield Nock (1903-1987)

Mary Nock Portrait.JPG

Portrait of Senator Mary Layfield Nock, 1950

Mary Layfield Nock was born on September 3, 1903, on a farm outside of Salisbury, MD. She attended Beacom Business College in Salisbury and, after graduating, she worked as a secretary for David J. Ward, President of Salisbury Motor Company. When Ward was elected a State Senator, she accompanied him to Annapolis.

In 1946, Nock ran on the Wicomico County Democratic ticket for the Maryland State House of Delegates. She won the election and thus began her long political career. In 1954, she became the first woman from the Eastern Shore elected to the State Senate and the only female Senator at the time.

Nock was a strong supporter of public and higher education. Her legislation laid the foundation for what would become Wor-Wic Community College. She was also a champion of women’s rights and was instrumental in Maryland’s early ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

After a three-decade long career in the legislature, Mary Nock was defeated by E. Homer White in 1974. She published her memoirs, It Was a Joy and a Pleasure, in 1979, reflecting on her life and political career. Mary died on May 20, 1987, at the age of 83.

A Vote, A Voice
Mary Layfield Nock (1903-1987)