David Augustus Dickson (1887-1979) came to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica, British West Indies in 1911 and became a naturalized citizen in 1916. His wife, Mary Daly (1890-1981), came to the US in 1914. The couple lived on Lafayette Street for several years before purchasing the home at 48 Lafayette Street in 1927 from Cressey & Allen, David’s employers.
David worked as a shipper (1930), porter (1940) and janitor at Cressey & Allen’s retail music store on Congress Street for many years. He later worked as an elevator operator and janitor at Porteous, Mitchell and Braun Department Store (1941-1943) and as a janitor at Associated Hospital Service of Maine (1950s). Mary worked as a maid and seamstress. In 1950 she was named Maine State Mother of the Year.
The Dicksons raised five children. David and Mary greatly valued education and all of their children went onto higher education. The four eldest, Leon, Audley, David, and Frederick, graduated from Bowdoin College. Leon, Audley and Frederick became medical doctors. Leon graduated from Howard Medical School, Audley graduated from Columbia University School of Optometry, and Frederick became a surgeon after attending the University of Rochester Medical School, but died young in 1957 at age 35. Their brother David received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard, served in World War II, and went onto spend 40 years in academia as a teacher and university president.
Their youngest and only daughter, Lois, was valedictorian of Portland High School in 1950 and class president of Radcliffe College. A few years after her graduation from Radcliffe College she became the vice-president and director of the Washington DC office of the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). While with the CEEB she designed and implemented the Pell Grant Program. She married Emmett J. Rice, an economist, and had two children E. John Rice Jr. and Susan E. Rice, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and U.S. National Security Advisor for President Obama.*
Although David and Mary Dickson moved to 51 Melrose Street in the early 1960s, the Dickson family continued to own the house at 48 Lafayette Street until 1984.