[photograph of a portrait of Helen Avalynne Gibson Tawes]

Helen Avalynne Gibson Tawes (c. 1898-1989)

MSA SC 1545-1217. 1966 by Stanislaw Rembski (b. 1896). Commissioned by Legislature.

Helen Avalynne Gibson Tawes was the wife of J. Millard Tawes (1894-1979), the fifty-fourth governor of Maryland, serving in office from 1959-1967. Known as "Lou" to friends and "Miss Avalynne" to many others, Mrs. Tawes was a native of Crisfield. She met her future husband on a hayride when she was sixteen and married him a year later on Christmas Day. The couple had a son and a daughter, Philip W. Tawes, and Jimmie Lee (Tawes) Wilson. Mrs. Tawes attended the Peabody Institute to study music and voice and often played her electric organ in Government House. The Helen Avalynne Tawes Garden, at the J. Millard Tawes Office Building which houses the Department of Natural Resources, was named in honor of her committment to preserving the natural beauty of Maryland. During her husband's eight years in office, Mrs. Tawes commissioned portraits of five of Maryland's First Ladies, including herself, because she said, "A governor's wife comes here and she works like a dog. I just feel they get so little credit, some recognition would be nice."

Mrs. Tawes' portrait is displayed on the easel next to the piano in honor of her love of music. During her residence in Government House, the Drawing Room was used a music room where she played her own electric organ.

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Copyright December 09, 1998 Maryland State Archives