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Guide to the Louise A. K. S. Clapp Collection, 1834-1849
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Collection Overview
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Correspondence, lectures on art, and photographs.
Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clapp was born July 28, 1819, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. She was the daughter of Moses and Lois (lee) Smith who died in 1832 and 1837, respectively, leaving three boys and four girl orphans. After Mr. Smith's death, Osmyn Baker, an Amherst attorney, served as Louise's guardian until 1841. In 1838, Louise attended the "Female Seminary" in Charleston, Massachusetts. In 1839-40, she and her sister Mary Jane attended Amherst Academy. Louise was an active correspondent with friends and relations during this period. In 1839, she met Alexander Everett, an American diplomat, brother of Edmund Everett, while traveling in Vermont. They became friends and corresponded until 1847 when she met Fayette Clapp, a doctor, whom she married in 1848 or 1849. In 1849, she and her husband sailed to California. In 1851, they moved to Rich Bar, a mining camp on a fork of the Feather River and the setting for 23 letters to her sister Mary Jane under the pen name "Shirley". Around 1853, Fayette Clapp left his wife in San Francisco and returned east. They were divorced in 1857. Louise began teaching in San Francisco Public Schools in 1854 and retired in 1878. She also gave evening classes in art and literature during this period. In 1878, she returned east, dying in New Jersey on February 9, 1906.
Please credit California State Library.