Harford History

Cornelia Ruff: dedicated educator

February 18, 2007

On Feb. 22, 1935, The Bel Air Times announced the production of the play Incidents in the Life of Douglass by Cornelia Ruff at the Kalmia School as part of the Frederick Douglass Day exercises.

Ruff's 48-year teaching career was dedicated to the educational and personal well-being of her students. Born in Bel Air on April 9, 1893, Cornelia Franklin Ruff attended school in Harford County and graduated from Douglass High School and Morgan State College in Baltimore before earning a master's degree in education from New York University.

She taught in schools for African-American children in Rocks, Fairview and Kalmia, at Bel Air Colored High School and at Central Consolidated.

Her involvement in the community is evident from her participation in organizations including the Colored Parents and Teachers Association of Harford County, the NAACP, the Harford County Education Association, the Maryland State Teachers Association, the Red Cross and Ames United Methodist Church.

In 1951 she helped establish the Ruff-Ross Scholarship Fund to benefit talented students. Miss Ruff died Sept. 21, 1981, and was buried on the grounds of the McComas Institute in Joppa.

[ Source: Harford Historical Bulletin, Winter 1988]

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