de Grummond Collection

McCain Library and Archives
University Libraries
University of Southern Mississippi



ANN NOLAN CLARK PAPERS

Collection Number
Collection Dates
Collection Volume
DG0188
1965-1972
.60 cu.ft. (2 boxes)

Biographical Sketch | Scope & Content | Related Collections | Series & Subseries | Box Inventory

Provenance

Donated by Ann Nolan Clark.

Restrictions

Noncirculating; available for research.

Copyright

The collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U. S. Code). Reproductions can be made only if they are to be used for "private study, scholarship, or research." It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials, other than that noted above.


Biographical Sketch

Born in 1898 to Patrick Frances and Mary (Dunne) Nolan, Ann Nolan Clark spent her life as a writer and as an educator for the Indians of the Southwest and the Hispanics of Latin American. She attended New Mexico Highland University, and at twenty-one, she married Thomas Patrick Clark. Their only son--Thomas Patrick, Jr.--died in World War Two.

In college, Clark planned a two-fold career: teaching English and/or history to high school age children and writing historical accounts of the nineteenth-century Far Southwest. However, her first experience as an educator led her in a somewhat different direction than she had planned. After teaching English at Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico, Clark took a position in the early 1920s with the United States government's school for Indian children. She served for several years before the Tesugue Pueblo Indians asked Clark's supervisor if he would send her to teach their children. Although her colleagues warned her that the move would end her career as an Indian educator, Clark enthusiastically accepted the challenge. She later insisted that her experiences in the reservation's one-room schoolhouse were the "richest, most satisfying" in her career because she could work with children from pre-school age through fourth grade--a group she wished to observe and study.

Her experiences also brought a certain amount of frustration. Clark found the Tesugue School woefully underfunded; the school could afford little more than mops, brooms, some yellow soap, and her own meager salary. The children desparately needed instructional material geared for their own language and their Indian culture. Concluding that the Tesugue School had no money to buy books, Clark determined to write her own. The United States Office of Indian Affairs published fifteen of her books between 1940 and 1951, including Little Herder in Spring (1940),The Pine Ridge Porcupine (1941), Young Hunter of Picuris (1943), Singing Sioux Cowboy Reader (1947), and Little Navajo Herder (1951). Many of these books were bilingual, with the English and Indian translation printed in parallel columns. Moreover, Indians typically made up the work-force that produced these books; they translated, illustrated, printed and bound these books. Clark not only wrote her books for and about Indians but in time she also won a larger non-Indian audience.

In the 1940s, Clark went on to supervise the production of materials in Central and South America for the Institute of Inter-American Affairs. In 1945 the Institute sent her to travel and live for five years in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil, training native teachers to work with their own people. Out of this period of her life came Magic Money (1950), Looking-for-Something (1952), and the 1953 Newbery Medal winner, Secret of the Andes. Clark based all her work on personal experiences, writing only about what and who she knew.

Her many awards included the 1953 Newbery Medal for Secret of the Andes the Catholic Library Assocation's Regina Medal in 1963, and the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs' Distinguished Service Award in 1962 for service given between 1960 and 1962. When asked about the development of her gift for story-telling, Clark claimed her inspiration came from her grandfather's Irish fairies.

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