A Guide to the Adèle Goodman Clark papers, 1849-1978 Clark, Adèle Goodman papers M 9

A Guide to the Adèle Goodman Clark papers, 1849-1978

A Collection in
Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library
Collection Number M 9


Virginia Commonwealth University, James Branch Cabell Library

Special Collections and Archives
James Branch Cabell Library
Box 842003
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2003
Phone: (804) 828-1108
Fax: (804) 828-0151
Email: libjbcsca@vcu.edu
URL: https://www.library.vcu.edu/research-teaching/special-collections-and-archives/

© 2003 By Virginia Commonwealth University. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Special Collections and Archives Staff

Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University
Collection number
M 9
Adèle Goodman Clark papers, 1849-1978
Physical Characteristics
128 linear feet and oversize materials

Administrative Information


The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Adèle Goodman Clark papers, Collection # M 9, Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.

Acquisition Information

Portions of the collection were purchased from Miss Clark in the 1970s. The remainder of the collection was donated by her family after Miss Clarke's death in 1983.

Biographical Information

A founding member of the Virginia suffrage movement and a prominent supporter of the arts in Virginia, Adèle Goodman Clark (1882-1983) exemplified the influential role civically active women played in the major social reform movements of the twentieth century. Calling politics and art her "creative spirits," Clark was involved in a number of reform initiatives throughout her life that championed the rights of women and promoted the arts.

The second oldest daughter of Robert Clark (1832?-1906) and Estelle Goodman Clark (1847-1937), Adèle was born in Montgomery, Alabama on September 27, 1882. Before moving permanently to Richmond, the Clark family lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as the small town of Pass Christian, Mississippi. It was in a one room school house in the latter town that Adèle developed a fondness for the arts. After her family moved to Richmond in 1894, Adèle enrolled in the Virginia Randolph Ellett School (now St. Catherine's). Adèle also studied art with Lilly M. Logan, who ran the art school at the Art Club of Richmond. In 1906 she was awarded a scholarship to the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts (the Chase School of Art), where she studied under Kenneth Hays Miller, Douglas Cannal, William M. Chase, and Robert Henri, leader of the "Ash Can" school of painting. Upon her return to Richmond, Clark began a teaching career at the Art Club of Richmond. It was here that Adèle began her long association and friendship with acclaimed Virginia artist, Nora Houston. When the Art Club of Richmond was dissolved in 1917, the women went on to establish The Atelier. Under their direction this private art studio, located adjacent to Clark's Chamberlayne Avenue residence, became a training ground for such noted Virginia artists as Edmund Archer, Eleanor Fry and Theresa Pollak (founder of the VCU School of the Arts). Two years later Clark and Houston founded the Virginia League of Fine Arts and Handicrafts, where they both held the title of artistic director. During this period, they participated in a fundraising campaign for the resurrection of the old Academy of Sciences and Fine Arts. Their goal became a reality in 1930 when the new Richmond Academy of Arts, forerunner to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, was established on Capitol Street.*

Clark's interest in the suffrage movement began in 1909, when she was asked by novelist Ellen Glasgow to sign a petition calling for Virginia women to gain voting privileges. On November 27th of that year Clark, along with eighteen other civic-minded women, held a preliminary meeting to discuss the establishment of a state-wide suffrage organization. At this first meeting of what would become the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia, Clark was elected secretary, a position she held for one year. She later helped direct legislative initiatives, organized suffrage rallies and went on speaking tours that helped establish new League chapters throughout the state. Clark also served for several years as chair of the ratification committee and head of the Equal Suffrage League lobby to the Virginia General Assembly.

After passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 (which was ratified by Virginia in 1952), the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia was transformed into the Virginia League of Women Voters (VLWV). For nearly two decades Clark played a major role in the VLWV.

Selected as the VLWV's first chair in 1920, Clark became president one year later. She held this position for eighteen years (nonconsecutively). Her work in the VLWV involved constant study of legislation involving social issues and governmental efficiency and administration. In 1924, Clark was elected to the board of the National League of Women Voters (NLWV) as director of the Third Region. The region included Washington, D.C., Virginia, and six other southern states. The following year she was elected second vice president of the NLWV, in which capacity she served until the spring of 1928. During that period Clark traveled to conventions in twenty-four states on speaking tours. Along with other officers of the NLWV she helped resolve league organizational problems.

In addition to her work for the VLWV and NLWV, Clark also served on two important state government commissions. In 1922, Governor E. Lee Trinkle appointed her to the Commission on the Simplification of State and Local Government, on which she served for two years as secretary of the Commission. In addition to performing the editorial and clerical work of the Commission, Clark also authored several of the chapters of the Commission's final report (January 1924) to the Virginia General Assembly. Four years later, Governor Harry F. Byrd, Jr. appointed Clark to the Liberal Arts College for Women Commission, on which she also served as secretary. The nine member Commission studied the feasibility of establishing a new liberal arts college for women in Virginia. The second report of the Commission (January 1930), which contained the "set-up" of the proposed college (now University of Mary Washington), was the product of research conducted by Clark with the assistance of Commission advisors.

Clark's strong commitment to higher education was exemplified in several other ways. From March - September, 1926, she served as the Social Director of women students at the College of William and Mary. She was also instrumental in the establishment of citizenship courses for women through the University of Virginia's Extension Division. The courses were designed to educate women about the intricacies of governmental institutions.

During the New Deal era, Clark distinguished herself in two important agencies. In 1933, she was selected as a field supervisor for the National Reemployment Service (NRS). Along with the state reemployment director and other field staff, she assisted in the organization of local reemployment offices throughout Virginia. After stepping down as field supervisor for the NRS, Clark became the Virginia Arts project director of the Work Projects Administration (WPA). This particular branch of the WPA was created to provide employment opportunities for artists in Virginia. In addition to producing murals for public buildings, artists employed by the WPA executed hundreds of paintings that were then distributed to local and state tax-supported institutions for display. One major accomplishment during Clark's tenure at the WPA was the establishment of new art galleries, such as the Southwest Virginia Museum at Big Stone Gap.

In the later years of her life, Adèle Clark remained active in the Richmond community. After converting to Roman Catholicism in 1942, Clark utilized her political experience as a member of the Richmond Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (RDCCW). From 1949 to 1959 she served as the chair of the RDCCW's Legislative Committee. Clark also continued to speak out against a number of issues affecting women, such as the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and abortion.

Clark remained an active supporter of the Richmond art community. From 1941 to 1964 she was a member of the Virginia Arts Commission. The Commission helped to produce many of the murals and portraits displayed in state government buildings that depict the history of Virginia. Moreover, Clark's dedication to the teaching of art did not wane in these later years. She taught art to both the young and old in hospitals, schools and church classrooms. She also continued to enjoy creating her own artwork. Clark's paintings, mostly portraits and landscapes, have been exhibited in several states. One of her paintings, "The Cherry Tree," is in the permanent collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Clark had a unique perspective on the influence of art on her political ideology. She once stated, "I've always tried to combine my interest in art with my interest in government. I think we ought to have more of the creative and imaginative in politics."

Adèle Clark died at the age of 100 on June 5, 1983.

*Capitol Street is now a pedestrian path between the General Assembly building and the Capitol Grounds, parallel to Broad Street and running from Ninth Street to Governor Street.

[Biographical Information is from newspaper accounts and the Adèle Goodman Clark papers.]

Scope and Content Information

The Adèle Goodman Clark papers document the life and activities of Miss Clark (1882-1983) throughout her adult life, as well as those of her closest friends and relatives. Miss Clark was a member of a small group of civically active Richmond women whose names appear throughout the collection. Of particular note are members of Clark's family, Edith Clark Cowles, Estelle de Willoughby Ions, and friends Roberta Wellford, Lila Meade Valentine, Lucy Randolph Mason, Ida Mae Thompson, Eudora W. Ramsay Richardson, Nora Houston and Josephine Houston. A list and chart describing the family relationships follows the Series Description and Arrangement, which specifically details the arrangement of the collection and highlights areas of particular significance within each series.

The collection is comprised of five major components, each with its own depth of coverage, usually dependent upon the length of Clark's involvement. The first major component of the collection contains materials pertaining to the Clark and Houston families with their multiple activities, responsibilities and affiliations. The documents in this section include the personal correspondence of Adèle Clark, Nora Houston, and members of both the Clark and Houston families. Correspondence from Estelle Goodman Clark, Cely "Nainaine" Ions, and Estelle Adèle Goodman

Estelle de Willoughby Ions provide a richly detailed account of the more significant events within the Clark-Ions family. Also included is personal, business, and legal correspondence between members of the Goodman family, predating the Civil War, and personal correspondence to Clark and Nora Houston from close friends and associates such as Cornelia Adair, T. Bowyer Campbell, Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon and Roberta Wellford. Additional family information is provided by legal and real estate correspondence, biographical sketches, family and genealogical histories, composition books, diaries, journals, and poetry by various members of the Clark and Houston families. Some items of significance include handwritten memoranda and notes, poems, short stories and other fictional material written by Adèle Clark during her lifetime.

The collection also includes correspondence from businesses and civic organizations with which Clark, Edith Clark Cowles, and the Dooley/Houston family were affiliated during their lifetimes. A list of the more significant organizations includes the Virginia Society for Crippled Children and Handicapped Adults, Commission of Inter-Racial (or Interracial) Cooperation, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, National Consumers League, and Social Science Research Council-Committee on Public Administration. There is also correspondence from prominent local and state government officials that further document the political activities and biases of these women. Brochures, memoranda and publications from these organizations are scattered throughout the collection.

While the family correspondence provides information about Clark's early years, the greatest significance of the collection lies in its documentation of the activities of the suffrage movement, both locally and nationally. The collection is particularly strong in its representation of correspondence, reports, memoranda and publications reflecting the sentiments and political positions of both the pro- and anti- suffrage movement from 1913 until the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. A large portion of this segment also documents the actions of the post-suffragists in their work through the national, state and local chapters of the League of Women Voters (LWV). Clark's considerable role of participation in the Virginia League of Women Voters (VLWV) in the first two decades of the organization provides an abundant amount of material chronicling the many social and political issues in which local and national LWV members were engaged. Although the documentation of the activities of the LWV continues well into the 1970s, the collection is not as strong for the later years as it is for the earlier period.

The suffrage materials, the second and largest component in the collection, are composed of documentation of the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia (ESLV), Richmond League of Women Voters, the VLWV, and the reorganized League of Women Voters of Virginia (LWVV). The ESLV materials includes correspondence, committee and financial memoranda, convention material, notes, reports and miscellaneous literature. There is a large quantity of outgoing correspondence created by the corresponding secretaries of the ESLV which pertains to the efforts of organizing local suffrage chapters throughout the state and between officers of the ESLV, state and national government officials. Also included is correspondence between ESLV President, Lila Meade Valentine, and women of significance within the suffrage movement including Carrie Chapman Catt, Anna Howard Shaw, Maud Wood Park and Kate Gordon. While there is a substantial amount of correspondence generated by the central office of the ESLV, between 1909-1912 there are some major gaps. A portion of this documentation for the early history of the ESLV can be found at the Library of Virginia. Throughout its eleven year existence, the ESLV compiled an enormous amount of literature on the suffrage movement published by the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), and other organizations. Materials generated by the movement and represented in this portion of the collection include petitions, photographs, enrollment cards, posters, suffrage maps, sashes and other ephemeral items. Additional publications have not been indexed but are available for research.

The bulk of the materials of the remaining suffrage organizations represented in the collection fall within a fourteen year time frame, 1920-1934, and includes President/Executive Secretary correspondence, bulletins, circulars, committee memoranda, and financial statements as well as records relating to the Virginia Cookery Book, the Governor's Ball and the citizenship courses sponsored by the VLWV. Clark also corresponded with the president of the NLWV and other officers in the national organization. The significant correspondents include Maud Wood Park, Belle Sherwin, Katherine Ludington, and Gertrude Ely. Incoming correspondence from prominent Virginia women such as Faith Morgan, Roberta Wellford, Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon, Kate Waller Barrett, Mrs. John L. Lewis of Lynchburg, Mrs. John H. Lewis of Ashland, and Mrs C.E. [Jessie] Townsend of Norfolk can be found in both the President/Executive Correspondence files and the Board of Directors/Executive Committee/Standing Committees file of the VLWV.

The records of the VLWV document in great detail the legislative agenda over a fourteen year period. The VLWV materials contain correspondence, circulars, memoranda questionnaires and reports pertaining to the Children's Code Commission, Virginia Women's Council Legislative Chairman of State Organizations and other major committees of the VLWV; revealing which major pieces of legislation were of utmost concern to Clark and the VLWV. Like its predecessor, the VLWV collected a wide variety of literature from state, national, and international organizations which championed a spectrum of causes of interest to Clark and her associates. These organizations include the League of Nations Association, National Council for the Prevention of War, National Women's Trade Union League of America, and Southern Council of Women and Children in Industry.

Documentation of the NLWV (1920-1945) and the later reorganized League of Woman Voters of Virginia (1946-) includes correspondence and memoranda produced by Clark as second vice president in charge of Legislation and Law Enforcement and third regional director for the NLWV. In addition to correspondence, memoranda, minutes, notes and reports there are materials detailing her involvement in nationally sponsored speaking tours throughout several regions of the United States. Items from the national office consist of mimeographed correspondence and memoranda, reports, press releases and various publications created by the major standing committees and departments of the NLWV. Clark's activity in both the state and national leagues diminished to a great extent after 1934. Records of the latter local, state, and national organizations primarily consists of bulletins, newsletters, and other literature published and distributed by the organizations.

Clark was very involved in the commemoration of the contributions of Lila Meade Valentine to the suffrage movement. The collection contains the organizational records of the Lila Meade Valentine Memorial Association (1921-1937), which was established to raise money for a memorial tablet dedicated to Mrs. Valentine to be placed in the Capitol Building in Richmond. Much of the material consists of correspondence and memoranda between the association's chairperson, Adèle Clark and the individuals who contributed to the memorial fund. There is also correspondence between Clark and the sculptor chosen to produce the memorial tablet. Other material includes financial data, contributors lists, minutes, notes and reports documenting the association's fundraising activities.

The collection of materials related to state and national politics comprises the third major section of the Clark Papers. These materials include correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports, statistical data, and literature generated by or related to the work of the Commission on the Simplification of State and Local Government (1921-1927) and the Liberal Arts College Commission (1918, 1929-1933). Material pertaining to both of these government commissions highlight the research and information gathering work undertaken by Clark and the members of these commissions before presentation of the final reports to the Virginia General Assembly. The collection also contains the annotated drafts and proofs of the reports in various stages of development. Correspondence, notes, reports and travel vouchers highlight Clark's duties as a NRS field supervisor and her involvement with the National Reemployment Service (1925-1937). Correspondence between Clark and the State Reemployment director reveal the types of reemployment projects in which the NRS was actively engaged throughout the state. In addition, correspondence between Clark and other field staff demonstrate the extent to which Clark participated in managing local reemployment offices during her tenure with the NRS. Published reports, speeches, manuals, newspaper clippings and other ephemeral materials are also included.

The fourth area of interest of Adèle's, as reflected in the collection, was religion. Included here are the organizational records and personal items documenting the religious activities of Clark, Nora Houston, and several members of the Houston family. It should be noted that Clark was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church and later became a devout Roman Catholic after Nora Houston's death in 1942. Included is correspondence between both women and various religious organizations, church leaflets, pamphlets and prayer books, periodicals and other items of a religious nature. Some of the organizations with which Clark and Houston corresponded include the Catholic Woman's Club, National Council of Catholic Women, National Conference on Christians and Jews, and Catholic Daughters of America. Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives holds other materials of a religious nature relating to the Goodman family.

The final component of the collection, second in size only to that of the suffrage and voting rights material, is that of art, particularly art in Virginia. An artist by training, Adèle Clark worked ceaselessly for increased public awareness of the traditions and richness of art within the Commonwealth. To this end, the collection documents the contributions of Clark and her colleagues in the following endeavors: the Art Club of Richmond, Atelier, Virginia League of Fine Arts and Handicrafts, Richmond Academy of Arts, Virginia Arts Commission, and Works Project Administration-Federal Arts Project. In addition to containing the correspondence relating to the operations of these organizations, the records also contain memoranda, minutes and reports of committees, and materials on exhibitions sponsored by these organizations. Of particular significance are the records of the Academy Committee of the Art Club that document the committee's role in attempting to resurrect the arts academy. Materials relating to the WPA and the Virginia Arts Commission emphasize Clark's substantial role in making the public a more active player in the promotion of the arts. Clark's monthly and narrative reports on several WPA art galleries, as well as data on the Index of American Design, provide a detailed account of the variety of art projects the WPA underwrote in Virginia.

The collection also contains a range of art and art school publications, art supply advertisements, catalogs, exhibition bulletins and notices from local and national art institutions. A small number of drawings, sketches and miscellaneous artwork created by Adèle Clark, Nora Houston and other artists are also represented. Some of the more notable pieces include Clark's original lithograph "Richmond Market at Christmas", copies of Nora Houston's house sketches and artwork produced by children of various ages. Lastly there are numerous kinds of illustrations and reproductions that Clark and Houston utilized in their art classes.

Significant portions of the collection are in fragile condition, particularly newspaper clippings and photographs. Reference copies of the photographs are available for use. A large portion of the clippings have been photocopied and the process will continue as time and staff permit.

Special Collections has also purchased suffrage and related materials. Please ask a staff member for information about these supporting items.

Arrangement and Series Description

Series I: Correspondence and Family Materials, 1849-1971

Subseries A: Adèle Clark, 1893-1971
Subseries B: Clark Family, 1849-1954
Subseries C: Houston Family, 1874-1946
Subseries D: Others, 1899-1969
Subseries E: Greeting Cards, 1910-1970

Series II: Business/Civic Organization Correspondence, 1903-1971

Subseries A: Adèle Clark, 1908-1971
Subseries B: Edith Clark Cowles, 1903-1949
Subseries C: Alice Dooley/Josephine and Nora Houston, 1915-1953

Series III: Equal Suffrage League of Virginia, 1892-1926

Subseries A: President/Secretary Correspondence, 1909-1920
Subseries B: Equal Suffrage League of Richmond, 1915-1920
Subseries C: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1913-1920
Subseries D: Other Suffrage Organizations, 1910-1926
Subseries E: Topical File, 1892-1920
Subseries F: Enrollment Cards, 1914-1915
Subseries G: Petitions of Equal Suffrage League, undated
Subseries H: General Assembly Petitions (organized by both county and city)

Series IV: Richmond League of Women Voters, 1920- 1978

Series V: Virginia League of Women Voters, 1915-1967

Subseries A: President/Executive Secretary Correspondence, 1920-1944
Subseries B: Board of Directors/Executive Committee/General Council/Standing/Special Committees File, 1921-1934
Subseries C: State/National League Convention Material, 1921-1933
Subseries D: Financial Material, 1921-1939
Subseries E: Legislative Material, 1921-1944
Subseries F: Local District/League Material, 1920-1934
Subseries G: University of Virginia File--University Extension Division, 1920-1938
Subseries H: Other Organizations, 1915-1956
Subseries I: Governor's Ball, 1926-1929
Subseries J: Virginia Cookery Book, 1921-1937
Subseries K: Topical File, 1918-1967

Series VI: League of Women Voters of Virginia, 1945-1970

Series VII: National League of Women Voters, 1919-1947

Subseries A: Adèle Clark Officer File, 1924-1932
Subseries B: Standing Committees\Departments File, 1919- 1935
Subseries C: Topical File, 1919-1947

Series VIII: League of Women Voters, 1946-1976

Series IX: Commission on Simplification of State and Local Government, 1921-1927

Series X: Liberal Arts College for Women Commission, 1918-1970

Series XI: The National Reemployment Service, 1925-1938

Series XII: Lila Meade Valentine Memorial Association, 1921-1936

Series XIII: Religious Materials, 1893-1970

Subseries A: Richmond Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (RDCCW), 1948-1970
Subseries B: Literature, 1922-1970
Subseries C: Organizational Correspondence, 1912-1970
Subseries D: Topical File, 1893-1970

Series XIV: Art, 1850-1971

Subseries A: Art Club of Richmond, 1895-1919
Subseries B: Atelier, 1918-1937 [merged with the restored Academy in the spring of 1930]
Subseries C: Virginia League of Fine Arts and Handicrafts, 1919-1934 [grew out of the Atelier and later merged with the Academy]
Subseries D: Richmond Academy of Arts/Academy of Sciences and Fine Arts, 1917-1953
Subseries E: Virginia Arts Commission [established 1916], 1913-1965
Subseries F: Works Project Administration/Virginia Arts Project, 1935-1942
Subseries G: Other Art Organizations, 1932-1971
Subseries H: Printed Materials, 1901- 1969
Subseries I: Topical File, 1917-1968
Subseries J: Artwork, 1850-1939

Series XV: Ephemera and Photographs, 1850s-1970s
Subseries A: Newspaper Clippings, 1910s-1970s
Subseries B: Ephemera, 1918-1950
Subseries C: Photographs, 1850s-1970s

Series I: Correspondence and Family Materials, 1849-1971, has been organized into four major subseries.

Subseries A consists of the personal correspondence, diaries, poetry, short stories, memoranda, notes written by Adèle Clark, as well as legal and real estate data pertaining to Clark's residence at 3614 Chamberlayne Ave. Clark's written manuscript entitled "My Cossack" is included. The subseries has been further divided by family members, friends and associates and outgoing and miscellaneous correspondence only roughly identified. Correspondence found in this subseries provides some biographical data on several members of the Clark family and close personal friends.

Subseries B consists of all of the correspondence written to the members of the Clark family (Cowles, Ions and Goodman families) and personal items. Arranged alphabetically, some of the letters are addressed to more than one individual, legal and real estate data of property owned by the members of these families.

Subseries C includes correspondence written to Nora Houston, her mother, Mrs. Josephine Dooley Houston, and other members of the family, personal items of the Dooley-Houston family legal and real estate data. The materials have been arranged in a similar fashion to that found in Subseries A. This section provides detailed information about Alice Dooley, Coralie Floyd Lewis, Florence Dooley Lewis and Sarah Lewis Woodville.

Subseries D consists of the correspondence, essays, poetry and items from individuals not obviously related to the Clark or Houston families.

Subseries E consists of birthday, Christmas, holiday, sympathy cards and commencement, wedding and other invitations received by Adèle Clark. Most of the material is arranged according to type. Some of Clark's Christmas cards are arranged chronologically.

Series II: Business/Civic Organization Correspondence, 1903-1971, has been organized into three major subseries.

Subseries A consists of correspondence from various business and civic organizations with which Adèle was affiliated during her life. Various local civic associations are represented including the Richmond Child Labor Committee, Richmond Council on Adult Education and Richmond Public Forum. There is also correspondence from several state, civic and government entities such as the Virginia Women's Council of Legislative Chairman of State Organizations. In the Virginia Society for Crippled Children and Handicapped Adults file, there is correspondence between Adèle and Cornelia Adair, President of the Richmond Area Chapter and Walter C. Chapman, Executive Director of the Virginia Society in regards to program and fundraising events put on by the society. This file also documents Clark's teaching of art and drawing to the children who were cared for by the society. Clark also corresponded with several national organizations devoted to social and political reforms such as the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, National Consumers League and Social Science Research Council-Committee on Public Administration. In the Woodrow Wilson Foundation file there is one letter addressed to Adèle Clark from Franklin D. Roosevelt, who thanked her for contributing money to the foundation. As a result of Clark's political activities in Virginia there are a number of letters from prominent members of both the executive and legislative branches of state government, including Harry F. Byrd, Jr., E. Lee Trinkle and Hill Montague.

Subseries B consists of the business correspondence of Adèle's sister, Edith Clark Cowles. Included in this small subseries is correspondence from the Richmond Training School where Mrs. Cowles taught for a number of years.

Subseries C contains all of the correspondence to Nora Houston, Mrs. Josephine Houston, and Alice Dooley from business and civic organizations and prominent local and state civic leaders. Arranged alphabetically, most of the correspondence is addressed to Nora Houston during the period when she was most active in civic affairs. Some of the local civic organizations in which Houston was active include the Business and Professional Women's Club of Richmond, City Democratic Committee, Richmond Community Fund, Richmond Tuberculosis Association, and Commission on Inter-Racial Cooperation.

Series III: Equal Suffrage League of Virginia (ESLV), 1892-1926, is composed of eight major subseries.

Subseries A contains the correspondence of the President/Secretary and is arranged chronologically. This subseries includes incoming and outgoing correspondence of the main office of the ESLV, a large portion generated by the corresponding secretaries. Significant correspondence within the series is addressed to President Lila M. Valentine from prominent members of the national suffrage movement, such as letters from Kate Gordon, President of the Southern States Woman Suffrage Conference and Carrie Chapman Catt regarding the plank proposed by the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1916.

Subseries B Equal Suffrage League of Richmond consists of bulletins and circulars, drafts, notes and correspondence of the Board of Directors/Executive Committee, as well as lists of officers and members of the local League. Arranged alphabetically much of the material from the local suffrage league covers only the last two years of its existence.

Subseries C National American Woman Suffrage Association consists primarily of literature and is arranged alphabetically. This includes the "Efficiency Booklet Series" pamphlets, political equality leaflets, convention brochures, and press releases.

Subseries D contains literature distributed by state and national suffrage organizations. The series also contains other organizational materials devoted to reform. Three organizations of particular note are the Empire State Campaign Committee 1914-1915/New York State Woman Suffrage Party 1916-1917, Just Government League of Maryland, and Southern States Woman Suffrage Conference.

Subseries E comprises a wide range of materials pertaining to the activities of the ESLV and is arranged alphabetically. There are more than a dozen essays written by such Virginia activists as Kate Langley Bosher, Adèle Clark, and Lucy R. Mason. Also included is printed literature documenting the anti-suffrage movement.

Subseries F consists of signed enrollment cards.

Subseries G includes signed petitions of the ESLV that are arranged alphabetically by county and city.

Subseries H consists of petitions to the Virginia General Assembly and is also arranged alphabetically by county and city. Petitions include information on an individual's occupation in addition to name and address.

Series IV: The Richmond League of Women Voters, undated, 1920-1978, has been arranged in two different ways. The President/Executive Secretary Correspondence has been arranged chronologically. The remainder of the series has been arranged alphabetically by subject and record type.

Series V: Virginia League of Women Voters (VLWV), 1915-1967, has been organized into twelve major subseries.

Subseries A is arranged chronologically and consists of all of the correspondence from various officers of the National League of Women Voters. The NLWV officers include the President, Congressional Executive, Press secretary, various chairpersons from the NLWV standing committees, the treasurer and assistant treasurer, and the vice-presidents. The large amount of correspondence between the state and national office provides valuable insight into the legislative reform agenda of the NLWV during the first two decades of its existence. It also provides information on the amount and breakdown of dues the VLWV was expected to pay on an annual basis. In addition to the correspondence of the NLWV, there is also a considerable quantity of outside correspondence from civic organizations involved in legislative reforms. For example, the Florence Crittenton Mission, Co-Operative Education Association, American Social Hygiene Association and National Popular Government League lobbied the VLWV to support specific bills before Congress. Edith Clark Cowles held the post of executive secretary of the VLWV from 1920 to 1922 and Ida Mae Thompson was executive secretary of the VLWV from 1922-1934. This series includes correspondence from significant VLWV members such as Mrs. C.E. "Jessie" Townsend, Roberta Wellford, Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon, Jeffries Heinrich, Mrs. John L. Lewis and Kate Waller Barrett. After 1933, the correspondence in the subseries reflects Clark's increasing interest in issues related to labor and unemployment. Letters form Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins and the Assistant Director of the Division of Labor Standards, Clara M. Beyer, pertain to state and federal labor legislation advocated by the Department of Labor. Little specific information is provided on the actual reorganization of VLWV because of gaps in the correspondence during this time period.

Subseries B consists of records generated by the Board of Director, Executive Committee, General Council and major standing committees of the VLWV. The minutes of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors document in great detail actions taken by various standing committees on proposed programs. The committee portion of the subseries is arranged alphabetically by committee name. The work of the nine standing committees parallels that of the standing committees and departments of the NLWV.

Subseries C is comprised of materials pertaining to the participation of Adèle Clark and other VLWV members in the state and national league conventions. Arranged chronologically by year, the records of the national convention primarily consist of the correspondence of VLWV members who attended the conventions. There is, however, additional material in the files of the 1925 NLWV Richmond convention such as program committee correspondence, staff conference minutes and notes and Gala Finance Luncheon data. These files demonstrate the time and effort that Clark and others put into planning the national convention held in Richmond.

Subseries D consists of material created by the Finance Department and the Treasurer's Office of the VLWV. The treasurer of the state league established quotas for local leagues, while the finance chairperson's main duty was to devise the means for raising money in the VLWV.

Subseries E contains materials pertaining to the activities of the Children's Code Commission, Virginia Women's Council of Legislative Chairman of State Organizations, and the legislative committee of the VLWV. New state and federal legislation concerning child welfare, health and education, economy and efficiency in government and the legal status of women were closely monitored by the VLWV's legislative chairperson. Nora Houston, who served as the VLWV legislative chair for six years, corresponded regularly with the sponsors of key pieces of legislation originating in the Virginia General Assembly. The file of candidates/legislator's replies, as well as other materials, in this subseries documents the successes and failures of the VLWV advocacy of key legislative measures.

Subseries F documents the formation and activities of local leagues throughout Virginia. The original order (alphabetical by city, by city/county and by county) has been maintained. While a majority of these leagues existed for only a few years, there were several that maintained a large, active group of members for more than a decade. Correspondence and reports from Mrs. C.E. [Jessie] Townsend of the Norfolk League, Mrs. John H. Lewis of the Lynchburg league and Gertrude Boatwright of the Roanoke league illustrate the successful measures these women employed in making the local organization active branches of the VLWV.

Subseries G is comprised of material relating to the VLWV's involvement in citizenship courses taught at the University of Virginia's Extension Division in providing courses that were designed to educate the new women voters on the complexities of government. Letters between Clark and citizenship course instructors, E. Jeffries Heinrich and Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon, as well as the Extension Division Director, make up the more significant correspondence in the subseries. Additional correspondence between these individuals can be found in Subseries A (President/Executive Secretary Correspondence).

Subseries H consists of a wide variety of literature from local, state, national and international civic organizations. The subseries is arranged alphabetically. Some of the more significant publications collected include the Foreign Policy Association, League of Nations [Non-Partisan] Association, National Council for the Prevention of War, and National Women's Trade Union League. The NLWV also collected literature from such state agencies as the Board of Health, Bureau/Department of Labor and Industry and Board/Department of Public Welfare. Bulletins and Publications from the U.S. Department of Labor Women's/Children's Bureau and the U.S. Civil Service Commission are also found in this subseries.

Subseries I consists of all records relating to the VLWV's short-lived fundraising activity, the Governor's Ball.

Subseries J is comprised of material pertaining to the publication and distribution of the Virginia Cookery Book. The cookbook was also a fundraising effort on the part of the VLWV.

Subseries K is arranged alphabetically and some of the more significant files in this subseries include correspondence to the congressional district directors, vice-presidents of the VLWV and between the third regional director and the VLWV. Biographical data on prominent legislators, government officials and prominent women affiliated with the VLWV can also be found in this subseries.

Series VI: The League of Women Voters of Virginia, 1945-1970, is comprised of material pertaining to the state league after its reorganization in the mid- 1940s. Although Adèle Clark was a member of the new state league, she did not serve as an officer during the later period. The series does contain, in addition to the usual materials, a convention message made by Clark in 1969 as well as scripts of local radio addresses she gave in the 1950s.

Series VII: The National League of Women Voters, 1919-1947 has been organized into three major subseries.

Subseries A: consists of materials that document Clark's major activities as a NLWV officer. Some of the more significant material in this subseries include correspondence between Clark and other NLWV officers during her tenure as third regional director (1924-1925) and as second vice president in Charge of Legislation and Law Enforcement (1925-1928). There is no correspondence between Clark and the state league in these files. Also to be found in this series is material relating to Clark's participation as a delegate to several NLWV conventions, as well as her NLWV sponsored speaking tours to different regions of the country.

Subseries B in conjunction with the usual files, contains memoranda and publications from several of the special NLWV committees: the Get-Out-the-Vote Committee, Special Committee on Immigration and Radio Committee. The voluminous amount of Committee/Department records in this subseries documents all the major spheres of legislative action and lobbying undertaken by the NLWV at this time.

Subseries C is arranged alphabetically.

Series VIII: League of Women Voters, 1946-1976, is comprised of materials related to the activities of the national league after World War II. The first part of the series, arranged alphabetically, includes some of the major surviving publications of the LWV, such as Action, Brief for Action and The National Voter.

Series IX: Commission on Simplification of State and Local Government (1921- 1927), consists of material documenting the work of the Commission charged to produce a report for the Virginia General Assembly outlining the ways in which state and local government bureaucracy could be streamlined.

Series X: Liberal Arts College for Women Commission (1918-1938) is composed of materials documenting the efforts of the Commission to establish a separate liberal arts college for women. Over a four year period, this nine member commission studied several possible sits for the new college. Some of the more significant material in this series includes correspondence between Clark, members of the Commission and city government officials whose cities were considered as proposed sites. In 1930, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation continuing the work of the commission with the proviso that the new college be located no less that thirty miles from the University of Virginia.

Series XI: National Reemployment Service (1925-1938), is arranged alphabetically. The series contains correspondence between Clark and the State Reemployment Director, George Grey (1933-1934), and Frank Cavedo (1934-1935), correspondence and minutes from the Employment Planning Committee, literature from the U.S. Employment Services, NRS, Department of Labor and Richmond's Public Employment Bureau. Records generated by Clark and other NRS field staff demonstrate how the NRS helped local communities alleviate the critical problem of unemployment.

Series XII: Lila Meade Valentine memorial Association, 1921-1936, contains the records documenting the work of Clark and others to finance a tablet in memory of the famous suffrage leader.

Series XIII: Religious Materials has been organized into four major subseries.

Subseries A consists of materials concerning the Richmond Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. This socially active organization was an affiliate of the National Council of Catholic Women.

Subseries B is comprised of periodicals, leaflets, pamphlets and prayer books from a number of denominations. The Catholic periodicals are alphabetically arranged by title. The last five folders in this subseries consist of miscellaneous church literature.

Subseries C consists of two major parts: correspondence between Adèle Clark and local and national religious organizations with which she was affiliated and secondly, correspondence between Nora Houston and numerous Roman Catholic churches and organizations. The first is arranged alphabetically, and includes the Catholic Daughters of America, Daughters of the King, National Conference of Christians and Jews, and Richmond Diocese. The latter, also arranged alphabetically, contains correspondence from the National Council of Catholic Women, St. Joan's Social and Political Alliance, and Catholic Women's Club (Houston briefly served as president).

Subseries D contains items of a religious nature, primarily baptismal and confirmation certificates, religious essays and stories pertaining to the Roman Catholic church.

Series XIV: Art, 1850-1971, has been arranged into ten major subseries. The first six subseries contain the records of six major art organizations.

Subseries A consists of materials that document the twenty-six year history of the Art Club of Richmond, 1895-1919. The correspondence files are arranged chronologically and provide information on the relationship between the Art Club and the American Federation of Arts. It also includes information pertaining to the sale of Liberty Loan Bonds for the purpose of resurrecting the old Arts Academy.

Subseries B contains information concerning the management of the Atelier, 1918-1937.

Subseries C details Clark and Houston's work as artistic directors for the Virginia League of Fine Arts and Handicrafts (1919-1931). Since this organization was an outgrowth of the Atelier, the correspondence overlaps with the correspondence in the previous subseries.

Subseries D is comprised of material documenting the establishment and activities of the Richmond Academy of Arts/Academy of Sciences and Fine Arts (1917-1920, 1925-1944, 1946, 1949-1950). The files reveal Clark's role in the early history of the institution and her activities while serving on the Academy's Board of Trustees. There are also a number of historic accounts written by Clark on the founding of the original Arts Academy in 1786.

Subseries E contains materials spanning the twenty three period, 1941-1964, when Clark was an active member of the commission. The files contain early records of the committee to establish an Art Commission.

Subseries F consists of material concerning Clark's role as the director of the Works Project Administration--Virginia Arts Project. Under Clark's supervision, art galleries were operated in three localities and county museums in two locations, with extension work in several Virginia counties. Information concerning the art galleries and museums can be found in the narrative and monthly progress reports which Clark wrote as a WPA director. Correspondence exists discussing the establishment of the Southwest Virginia Museum at Big Stone Gap and additional material in the subseries pertains to Clark's work on the Index of American Design. Correspondence between Clark and C.A. Glasgold, the coordinator for the Index of American Design and Nora Houston, its state supervisor, demonstrates how the documentation was carried out.

Subseries G consists of information on a variety of local and state cultural institutions with which Clark was associated, including the Richmond Artists Association, Virginia Art Alliance and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Subseries H contains a variety of printed materials pertaining to art work and art in general.

Subseries I is comprised of unrelated items such as art museum, school supply correspondence, essays, exhibit notices and notices of Adèle Clark and Nora Houston's artwork. Also included is a typewritten transcript of an interview done with Adèle Clark in 1963.

Subseries J consists of sketches, drawings, lithographs and other artwork produced by Clark, Nora Houston and several others. A large portion of the artwork is undated.

Series XV: Ephemera and Photographs, 1850s - 1970s, is comprised of material relates to all segments of the collection.

Subseries A contains newspaper clippings collected by Clark, members of the family, friends and co-workers. There is evidence that the ESL and VLWV subscribed to a clipping service that enabled these organizations to receive clippings concerning their political and social interests from newspapers across the country.

Subseries B contains the ephemeral items found throughout the collection that range from postcards and buttons, to tickets and cemetery receipts.

Subseries C consists of all the photographs from the various sections of the collection. There are over 500 photographs in all; approximately 350 family photos, and 100 relating to the suffrage leagues.

Related Material

The Virginia Historical Society holds additional Clark Family materials in its Adèle Clark papers. For additional materials related to the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia, see the records at the Library of Virginia. The finding aids for both collections are available on Virginia Heritage.

Adjunct Descriptive Data

Contents List

Series I: Correspondence and Family Materials, 1849-1971
Series II: Business/Civic Organization Correspondence, undated, 1903-1971
Series III: Equal Suffrage League of Virginia, undated, 1892-1926
Series IV: Richmond League of Women Voters, 1920-1978
Series V: Virginia League of Women Voters, undated, 1915-1967
Series VI: League of Women Voters of Virginia, undated, 1945-1970
Series VII: National League of Women Voters, undated, 1919-1947
Series VIII: League of Women Voters, undated, 1946-1976
Series IX: Commission on Simplification of State and Local Government, undated, 1921-1927
Series X: Liberal Arts College for Women Commission, undated, 1918-1970
Series XI: National Reemployment Service, undated, 1925-1938
Series XII: Lila Meade Valentine Memorial Association, undated, 1921-1936
Series XIII: Religious Materials, undated, 1893-1970
Series XIV: Art, undated, 1850-1971
Series XV: Ephemera and Photographs, 1850s - 1970s