The daughter of Robert Clark and Estelle Goodman Clark, Adèle Goodman Clark was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on September 27, 1882. After her family moved to Richmond in about 1894, she enrolled in the Virginia Randolph Ellett School (later St. Catherine's School), graduated in 1901, and studied art with Lilly M. Logan at the Art Club of Richmond. In 1906 she was awarded a scholarship to the Chase School of Art (later the New York School of Art and eventually the Parsons School of Design), where she studied with William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri.
In November 1909, Clark attended a meeting to discuss the establishment of a statewide suffrage organization. At this first meeting of the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia, Clark was elected secretary. She helped direct legislative initiatives, designed postcards, organized suffrage rallies, and went on speaking tours that helped establish new chapters throughout the state. Despite the efforts of the league (and Clark's as chair of the ratification committee in 1919 and 1920), Virginia was one of the nine southern states that refused to grant the vote to women.
In 1926, Clark accepted a job as acting social director and dean of women at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. Soon after she started, an article on the front page of the Virginia Gazette ran a headline reporting that "Women Lead Men in Scholarship—Women Students Outdo Men in Nearly All Academic Courses." Clark later recalled that the college administration pressed her to discourage female students from smoking, and that she had to stop smoking herself (although she soon resumed her pack-a-day habit).
Clark was employed by two important New Deal–era agencies. She first worked as a field supervisor for the National Reemployment Service (beginning in 1933), and later became the Virginia Arts Project director of the Work Projects Administration (1936–1942), working to provide employment opportunities for artists in the state.
Adèle Clark died on June 4, 1983, at the age of one hundred.
September 27, 1882 - Adèle Clark is born in Montgomery, Alabama.
November 27, 1909 - A group of women, including Ellen Glasgow, Mary Johnston, Kate Langley Bosher, Adèle Clark, Nora Houston, Kate Waller Barrett, and Lila Meade Valentine, found the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia.
1919 - Despite pressure from the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia, the Virginia General Assembly rejects the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
1920 - After the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which grants women the right to vote, Adèle Clark becomes the first chair of the newly organized Virginia League of Women Voters.
1921 - Adèle Clark becomes president of the League of Women Voters and holds this position for nineteen years (from 1921 until 1925 and again from 1929 until 1944).
1926 - Adèle Clark accepts a job as acting social director and dean of women at the College of William and Mary.
1933 - Adèle Clark becomes a field supervisor for the National Reemployment Service.
1936–1942 - Adèle Clark becomes the Virginia Arts Project director of the Works Projects Administration to help provide employment opportunities for artists in the state.
1941–1964 - Adèle Clark serves as a member of the Virginia Art Commission.
February 2, 1973 - Appalled by the idea of the Equal Rights Amendment, Adèle Clark appears in a front page photograph of the Richmond Times-Dispatch with the skeptical headline, "Beginning of an ERA?"
June 4, 1983 - Adèle Clark dies at the age of one hundred.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
McDaid, J. D. Adèle Clark (1882–1983). (2011, May 17). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Clark_Adèle_1882-1983.
- MLA Citation:
McDaid, Jennifer Davis. "Adèle Clark (1882–1983)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 17 May. 2011. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: October 8, 2008 | Last modified: May 17, 2011
Contributed by Jennifer Davis McDaid, historical archivist, Norfolk Southern Corporation.