Harriet Clark led a long and interesting life, which is only lightly summarized here.

When Harriet was growing up in East Cornwall, a high school education was not guaranteed for everyone. Because of Cornwall’s small population size, there was no local high school. Harriet’s older sister, Sarah, began working at 16 as a teacher for the East Cornwall School District. Her second sister, Marjorie, enrolled at Litchfield High School and worked washing dishes in exchange for a place to live near the school.

Sarah fought hard to persuade the family to send Harriet to high school. Eventually, their aunt in Winsted agreed to let Harriet live with her, so that she could attend the local high school.

After completing high school, Harriet went on to earn a B.S. from Boston University in 1927. She returned to college during World War II, earning an M.A. from Columbia University in 1942.

Harriet Clark, 1957.
(Collection of Cornwall Historical Society)

Harriet Clark’s female relatives and their East Cornwall neighbors, circa 1918.
(Collection of Cornwall Historical Society)

Harriet worked for many years as a teacher at East Cornwall, Warren, Goshen, and at Danbury High School. She also continued her involvement with the Camp Fire Girls, which began in her youth.

Upon retirement from teaching, Harriet was elected to the State House of Representatives from 1956 until 1965. She served on the Educational and Constitutional Amendment Committees from 1957 to 1959, and on the Constitutional Amendments and Public Personnel Committees from 1959 to 1961.

Harriet Clark’s Legislative ID card, 1961.
(Collection of Cornwall Historical Society)

Letter from President Clinton’s cat Socks to Harriet Clark, 1995. (Collection of Cornwall Historical Society)

After leaving politics, Harriet became involved with the Cornwall Historical Society. Among her many projects, she recorded oral history interviews with some of Cornwall’s oldest residents: these audio tapes are an important part of the Society’s archives today.

Harriet was also a writer, composing essays that documented life in Cornwall during the early decades of the twentieth century, preserving a history that would otherwise have been lost.