Backstory and Context
Maria Daniel Graham was born in 1876 in Warrenton, North Carolina. She grew up in a teaching family where many of her relatives had major roles in the educational system of North Carolina. Throughout her early teaching career, Maria Daniel Graham taught Greek and Mathematics in rural North Carolina. In 1909, Maria Daniel Graham was one of the first three faculty members at the East Carolina Teacher Training School. (3) Graham was the head of the mathematics department for thirty-six years. Out of those thirty-six years, eighteen of those years, she served as the chair of the department. (1)
On top of holding a position as one of the first faculty at East Carolina Teacher Training School, Maria Daniel Graham was a part of many organizations. Graham was the chair of the advisory committee for the YWCA for twelve years. She was also a member of the Student Loan Fund, Homecoming Committee, Course of Study Committee, Alumni Advisory Council, and Social Activities Committee. Although Graham enjoyed mathematics, she was an advisor of the Edgar Allen Poe Literacy Society on campus.
Graham was regarded as a sympathetic woman who dedicated her passion of teaching and students into her everyday life. Students admired her time-commitment to their successes. She spent a lot of time outside of the classroom on campus providing her time and commitment to the multiple organizations she was a member of. Maria Daniel Graham had an everlasting impact on the expectations of future educators at the East Carolina Teacher Training School, which is present day East Carolina University.
Raleigh architect George R. Berryman designed the Graham Building and it was constructed in 1929 . The building has served many purposes such as science, education classes and the East Carolina Nursing School. A third floor was added in 1960 to house additional classrooms for students. In 1993, the building was named part of East Carolina University’s historical district on behalf of the ECU Board of Trustees. (2) The graduating class of 1993 donated a clock in front of the building. (4)
(1) "Maria Daniel Graham" in Digital Collections, East Carolina University Archives, Joyner Library, East Carolina University.
(2) "Graham Building" in University Archives, East Carolina University Archives, Joyner Library, East Carolina University. URL:http://media.lib.ecu.edu/archives/bldg_history.cfm?id=60
(3) John Allen Tucker and Arthur Carlson, East Carolina University (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2013), 61.
(4) "Building upon the Past: Graham Building," in Digital Collections, East Carolina University, https://digital.lib.ecu.edu/buildingtour/index.aspx?decade=1930s