Jane Clarke-Owen papers, 1869-1926

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Clarke-Owen, Jane
2.25 Linear Feet
775 Items
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The Jane Clarke-Owen Papers consist primarily of Dr. Clarke-Owen's letters to her two daughters and other family members, and letters from each daughter to Dr. Clarke-Owen and other individuals. The bulk of the letters were written between 1886 and 1919 and document the domestic lives, financial difficulties, and relationships of the women in the Clarke family. The letters written by Dr. Clarke-Owen document her years as a medical student in Chicago, her struggles in the medical profession, and her domestic life. Therese Clarke's correspondence chronicles her life as a working actress in the early 20th century and her domestic life. The Laura Clarke letters are primarily concerned with domestic and financial matters and her prospects as a sales clerk for various shops and department stores on the east coast. Miscellaneous correspondence includes letters from family members and friends to all three women, and a small selection of the business correspondence of Thaddeus "Tom" Clarke. The collection also includes clippings and programs of the performances of Marguerite Urquhart, the stage name employed by Therese Clarke, and a photograph of Jane Clark-Owen from 1870. Miscellaneous papers in the collection include undated and unaddressed cards, notes, and letters.

The period of 1886 to 1890 is heavily documented by letters written by Jane Clarke-Owen while she was in medical school and corresponding regularly with her daughters. The period of 1901 to 1904 is also heavily documented by the letters sent from Therese and Laura Clarke to Jane Clarke-Owen. There are few letters written by Jane Clarke-Owen after 1901 available in the collection.

Biographical / historical:
Date Event
Born in Warsaw Indiana
Married to Thaddeus L. "Tom" Clarke
Birth of daughter, Laura Clarke
Birth of daughter, Therese Clarke
Divorced from Thaddeus Clarke
Attended Women's Medical College in Chicago
Begins medical practice in Boston.
Thereses Clarke marries Will Dougherty

Dr. Jane Clarke-Owen was born in 1854 in Warsaw, Indiana, where her mother, Dr. Marie Parks Furlong, practiced medicine. She married Thaddeus L. "Tom" Clarke in 1875 and had two daughters with him, Laura (b. 1877) and Therese (b. 1878). After divorcing her husband in 1884, she enrolled at Women's Medical College in Chicago. She studied there from 1885 to 1889. She lived apart from her daughters for much of her schooling and early career. After 1890, Clarke-Owen practiced medicine in Boston and elsewhere on the east coast. In order to support herself and her daughters, she also took on various odd jobs, including writing, working for Charles Hughes's presidential campaign, and operating a convalescent home. She was married briefly for a second time to a railroad worker named Ole Owen. She died in 1917.

Laura Clarke, Dr. Clarke-Owen's oldest daughter, lived on and off with her mother while she worked as a book canvasser, department store products demonstrator, and shop assistant in Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington D.C. Therese Clarke became an actress under the stage name Maguerite Urquhart and toured with various stock companies in the south and midwest. In 1904 she married a fellow actor, Will Dougherty, known on the stage as William H. Dupont, and converted to Roman Catholicism. She had two sons with Dougherty, Richard and Edwin, before their marriage ended.

Custodial history:

The collection was purchased by the Duke University David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library from Carmen Valentino in 1998. Acc. 2011-0153 was donated in 2011.

Processing information:

Processed and encoded by Don Sechler

Completed June 3, 1998

Updated with Acc. 2011-0153 by Meghan Lyon, October 2011

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Collection is open for research.

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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Jane Clarke-Owen Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.