J. Frank Raley papers
Scope and Contents note
J. Frank Raley was often referred to as the Senior Statesman of St. Mary's County. Raley's papers document his involvement with a broad range of activities related to the advancement of St. Mary's County, including the Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas Commission, Historic St. Mary’s City, the Maryland Constitutional Convention, St. Mary’s County Technology Council, the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance, the Sotterley Foundation, the Tri-County Council, and his service as a longtime member of the St. Mary's College of Maryland Board of Trustees. Raley also collected a large amount of loose and historical material related to St. Mary's County.
- 1925, 1946-2008, 2012
Conditions Governing Access note
Collection is open without restriction.
J. Frank Raley, Jr., often referred to as St. Mary’s County’s Senior Statesman, was born September 13, 1926 in Park Hall, St. Mary's County, Maryland. He attended Charlotte Hall Military Academy, served in the U.S. Army in 1945-1946, and received a B.A. from Georgetown University.
Raley originally served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1955–1959 before becoming a member of the Maryland State Senate, where he served from 1963–1966 and in a short period of time helped radically improve the outdated infrastructure of St. Mary's County. During his Senate Career Raley supported bills to designate Point Lookout as a Maryland State Park, construction of the bridge between St. Mary’s County and Solomon’s Island, and creating the St. Mary’s County Technical Center. He was defeated in 1966 as a result of the controversy surrounding the question of slot machine gambling in St. Mary's County.
Also in 1966, Senator Raley became chairman of the St. Mary's College of Maryland Board of Trustees, where he served through 1990. J. Frank Raley was instrumental in rallying support for the college from the Maryland legislature, and helped in converting the school from a two-year Junior College to a four-year Liberal Arts College. In honor of his dedication to the institution, the college's dining hall is named the Raley Great Room where an oil portrait of him hangs on the wall. From St. Mary's he also received a Degree of Doctor Laws, Honoris Causa, and he was awarded the school's highest honor, the Order of the Ark and Dove, in 2006. J. Frank Raley would live to see his dreams for the college come to fruition, as St. Mary's College of Maryland became consistently recognized as one of the leading public college's in the United States according to the U.S. News and World Report rankings.
J. Frank Raley is also widely credited for playing a key role in modernizing St. Mary's County and paving the way for a forty year period of economic growth and development. He co-founded the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland in 1964 which assisted in moving the Southern Maryland region’s agenda in Annapolis, the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission (1985–90), served as president of the Lexington Park, Maryland Chamber of Commerce, served as first President of the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance, was a member of the Maryland Human Relations Board, and was a delegate to the 1967 Constitutional Convention of Maryland. Raley was honored as one of Maryland's "First Citizens" in 2006, cited as a profile of courage for suffering political defeat as a result of his efforts to successfully wean Southern Maryland from its dependence on gambling. He has also received the Cross Bottony Award from the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission and an Honorary Degree from the College of Southern Maryland.
Aged 85, J. Frank Raley died August 21, 2012 in St. Mary's County, Maryland. His papers are housed in the St. Mary's College of Maryland Archive.
Oral History Interviews from 1998 and 1999 are available on the college's SlackWater Oral History Collection website: http://smcm.cdmhost.com/cdm/singleitem/collection/p4105coll5/id/199/rec/1 http://smcm.cdmhost.com/cdm/singleitem/collection/p4105coll5/id/283/rec/2
15.9 Linear Feet (36 boxes (including 1 oversize box) and 1 oversize folder)
Language of Materials
J. Frank Raley was often referred to as the Senior Statesman of St. Mary's County. Raley's papers document his involvement with a broad range of activities related to the advancement of St. Mary's County, the Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas Commission, Historic St. Mary’s City, the Maryland Constitutional Convention, St. Mary’s County Technology Council, the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance, the Sotterley Foundation, the Tri-County Council, and his service as a longtime member of the St. Mary's College of Maryland Board of Trustees.
- J. Frank Raley papers
- Finding aid prepared by College Archivists Kent Randell and Katherine Ryner, as well as Jennifer Housley.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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