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Series 14: Clara Downes Hoar, circa 1865-1915

 Series — Box: 35, Box: 36

Scope and Contents

Series 6 contains correspondence from Clara to siblings Charles and Beth, as well as a smaller amount of correspondence to other family members. Incoming correspondence contains extensive runs from her nephew Roger S. Hoar and her friend and nursing colleague Mary Couch Morris. Mary's correspondence is rich in details about nursing work, especially in the 1880s. Clara was also close to several members of the Emerson family, who are represented by a small but interesting group of letters.


  • Creation: circa 1865-1915

Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Bowles-Hoar Family Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Biographical / Historical

Clara Downes Hoar was born in Concord, Massachusetts, to E. Rockwood and Caroline D. Brooks Hoar on May 18, 1852. She was the fifth of the couple's seven children.

Clara, known as Pussy to her family throughout her life, seems to have been the mainstay of the family. It was Clara who remained unmarried and was therefore always able and willing to help other members of her family. She studied nursing in the early 1880s and received a nursing certificate, but seems to have put those skills to work mostly for her family. Clara's brother Charles was two years older than she, and Clara appears to have remained close to him even after the birth in 1854 of her sister Beth and in 1860 of Sherman, the baby of the family. However, it was Beth whom Clara helped extensively, devoting years of her life to helping Beth bring up her two boys. She was also the mother figure to her nephew Roger S. Hoar after the death of his mother, Caroline P. Wood Hoar, when Roger was just four. Clara also helped her parents in their declining years -- letters from this period reveal a hint of the toll on her from years of caring for others.

After the birth of Samuel Bowles V in 1885, Clara lived for extended periods with the Bowles family in Springfield, helping to care for the children and providing her sister with a constant infusion of "home." Clara died in Springfield on October 1, 1915, six and a half months after Beth's husband Samuel Bowles IV.


From the Collection: 50.0 Linear feet (41 records boxes, 6 archives boxes, 2 1/2-archives boxes, 8 flat boxes, 2 small boxes)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


Series 14 is arranged in six sub-series, all but one of them focused on correspondence. The six sub-series are:

  1. Sub-series A: Clara Downes Hoar: Personal Affairs
  2. Sub-series B: Clara Downes Hoar: Incoming Correspondence--General
  3. Sub-series C: Clara Downes Hoar: Incoming Correspondence from Family Members
  4. Sub-series D: Clara Downes Hoar: Outgoing Correspondence to Family Members
  5. Sub-series E: Clara Downes Hoar: Outgoing Correspondence to Charles E. Hoar
  6. Sub-series F: Clara Downes Hoar: Outgoing Correspondence to Elizabeth Hoar Bowles

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299