1865 - 1919

Kate Upson Clark

Born in Camden, Alabama, in 1851, Kate Upson Clark was an active and influential member of Wheaton’s alumnae association for more than half a century. She was the founder of the New York Wheaton Club in 1885, Wheaton’s first regional alumnae club. She served as a trustee from 1906 to 1935 and was awarded Wheaton’s first honorary degree in 1919 on the fiftieth anniversary of her graduation.

After graduating from Wheaton, Kate Upson went to Westfield for the normal course, then began teaching in Ohio. In 1872, she married Edward P. Clark, managing editor of the Springfield Republican. Together they had three sons.

She was an editor, clubwoman, author of children’s books and lecturer. She was also an advocate of women’s rights during her school days and advocated for prohibition and other causes.

In a December of 1868 Rushlight editorial, Kate Upson wrote:

Now that the cruel war is o’er, and the poor slave, a slave no more, the rights of the down trodden, oppressed woman are brought for the first time, before the minds of this mighty nation…. Republican principles are rapidly gaining ground, and our experienced (?) editorial eye has to glance down the vista of only a few of the coming generations to foresee the day when the whole world shall be one vast republic, and an American citizen (possibly a woman) shall be its president!”

Clark was only the fourth alumna elected to the board of trustees. Clark Hall and the Clark Room of the Madeleine Clark Wallace Library were named for Kate Upson Clark, built and dedicated in 1960.