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Woman of the Century/Clara Jessup Moore

MOORE, Mrs. Clara Jessup, poet, novelist and philanthropist, born in Philadelphia, Pa., 16th February, 1824. Her ancestry is distinguished. Her mother's family name is found in Domesday Book, compiled in 1081. From Ernald de Moseley descended the families of Maudesley, Moseley and Mosley. in the counties of York, Lancaster and Staffordshire, in England, and the families of that name in Virginia, Massachusetts and other States in the Union. The first of her mother's family who came to America was John Mosley, who settled in Dorchester, Mass., in 1630, and died in 1661. His son, John Joseph Mosley. born in Boston in 1638, married Miss Mary Newbury and settled in Westfield, Mass. He was a lieutenant in King Philip's war and held a number of military and other offices. His son John and his descendants filled many offices in Westfield, serving as magistrates and army officers. Many of the prominent men in those pioneer days were among Mrs. Moore's ancestors. Her father was lineally descended from John Jessup, who settled on Long Island in 1635. CLARA JESSUP MOORE A woman of the century (page 525 crop).jpgCLARA JESSUP MOORE. Mrs. Moore's home education was carefully superintended by competent teachers, the late Mrs. Gov. Ellsworth of Kentucky, having been among them. She next went through a course of study in Westfield Academy, and completed her studies in New Haven, Conn., in the school of Mrs. Merrick and h«T sister, Mrs. Bingham, where she studied for three years. She became the wife of Bloomfield Haines Moore, of Philadelphia, Pa., on 27th October, 1842. The marriage occurred in the old country home of her father, in a glen of the Hampshire hills, bordering on Berkshire, in western Massachusetts. Up to the time of her marriage Mrs. Moore had displayed but little talent for or tendency toward literary work. After her marriage she took up her pen as a means of filling her leisure hours, and her immediate success made her home in Philadelphia the resort of literary people, among whom were some of the most gifted authors of the day. In 1855 she was widely known as a writer of both prose and poetry, and her name was included in Hart's "Female Prose Writers of America," published in that year. One of Mrs. Moore's early stories, "The Estranged Hearts," received the first prize out of four-hundred stories offered. George H. Boker and Dr. Reynell Coates were on the committee. Several novelettes, "The Adopted," "Compensation," "The Fulfilled Prophecy," "Emma Dudley's Secret" and "Renunciation," next bore off prizes from numerous competitors. Those were followed by an anonymous romance called "The Hasty Marriage." One of Mrs Moore's stories was published in London with much success, and was copied here as an English production. The London " Daily News," under the heading " Who Reads an American Book?" wrote of the "ingenious heart picturings of Clara Moreton." Up to that time Mrs. Moore had shielded herself from publicity under that pen-name. Her next story, "The Houses of Huntley and Raymond," was published without any name, as was "Mabel's Mission," her last story before the breaking out of the Civil War, which took her from her literary pursuits, giving her other work to do as corresponding secretary of the Woman's Pennsylvania Branch of the United States Sanitary Commission. Mrs. Moore, who was nominated by Dr. Bellows, of New York, as president, declined the nomination, naming Mrs. Grier, who was elected, and whose rare executive ability, as shown in the fulfillment of the duties devolving upon her while holding that office, did credit to Mrs. Moore's discernment of Mrs. Grier's capacities. Mrs. Moore projected and aided in founding the Union Temporary Home for Children in Philadelphia, and she aided potently in establishing the women's branch of the Sanitary Commission. She also created and organized the Special Relief Committee which took such an active part in the hospital work during the Civil War. knowing no difference between the soldiers of the North and the soldiers of the South in its objects of aid, laying aside all feeling of sectional animosity and administering, with the hands of christian charity, alike to the suffering wearers of " the blue and the gray." In the organization of the committees of women for the great Sanitary Commission Fair, by which over one-million dollars was realized in Philadelphia, the entire responsibility devolved upon Mrs. George Plitt and herself. Mrs. Moore resumed the companionship of her pen after the war. She has always given the proceeds of her books to works of charity. When her pen-name was no longer a shield to her, she published without any signature until her anonymous paper on " Reasonable and Unreasonable Points of Etiquette," which title was changed by the editor to "Unsettled Points of Etiquette," published in "Lippincott's Magazine," in March, 1873, drew down upon her a storm of personal abuse, such as would not have been poured out, had her name accompanied the essay. Mrs. Moore, who holds the same ideas as Herbert Spencer concerning a life regulated by spendthrifts and idlers, dandies and silly women, did not submit to being held up as a "leader of fashion," but, overcoming her sensitiveness and rising out of it into the independence that was natural to her, and which had been held in check by her shrinking from publicity, she now boldly entered the ranks of authors and gave to the public two volumes under her own name. In 1873 she published a revised edition of the "Young Lady's Friend," continuing her work in behalf of the young. In 1875 she collected in one volume some of her verses with the title " Miscellaneous Poems, Stories for Children, The Warden's Tale and Three Eras in a Life." Those poems met no adverse criticism. In 1876 she published her romance, "On Dangerous Ground," which has reached a seventh edition, and has been translated into the Swedish and French languages. It is eminently a book for women. Mrs Moore also wrote "Master Jacky's Holidays," which went through over twenty editions, and "Frank and Fanny," another book for children. Her many charitable works are known the country over, but it is not generally known that she is bound by a promise never to give when asked. Often her life is burdened by requests to give, which are useless. She has spent much time abroad, and her house in London. England, was a re-sort for literary and scientific men. Interested in all things scientific, Mrs. Moore has been a supporter of Keely, the inventor, and her support has been of the substantial kind, enabling him to pursue his investigations of the force which he liberated by dissociating the supposed simple elements of water. She has been a widow since 1878. She maintains her interest in everything that pertains to the elevation of men and women. Her latest literary work Is "Social Ethics and Society Dutie, University Education for Women" (Boston. 1892).