Biography of Hon. Mrs. Nettie M. Clapp
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

HON. NETTIE MacKENZIE CLAPP, distinguished citizen of Cleveland, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the daughter of William and Lucretia (Lounsbury) MacKenzie, natives of Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively, the father of Scotch and the mother of English ancestry.

Mrs. Clapp attended the public and private schools of Cincinnati, and then spent three years as a student at the Cincinnati School of Arts, as well as receiving private instruction under leading artists of that time. Soon after leaving art school she was married to Harold Thompson Clapp, M. D., who was born in Salem, New York, but spent the greater part of his early life at Glens Falls, that state. He was educated at the Glens Falls Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire, and Western Reserve University, graduating from the Medical Department of the latter, and has since been in the practice of medicine in Cleveland. To Doctor and Mrs. Clapp one daughter has been born, Dorothy Annette, who was educated in the Cleveland public schools, graduated from Laurel School (a private school for girls of this city), and afterwards attended Lake Erie College, Painesville, Ohio, and is married to Daniel Hammond Petty, of Cleveland.

Previous to her marriage Mrs. Clapp made a specialty of interior designing and illustrating. She is an able artist and for several years attracted attention by the excellence of her commercial designing and illustrating. She is known also as one of the "busiest and most able club women in Cleveland," and her notable prominence has come from her 'activity in modern civic, economic, educational and political affairs. She has sought comprehensive remedial measures for the higher development of children and for the liberation of women from the old customs and bonds, and in advocating and securing progressive human advancement.

As chairman of the Civic and Legislative Committee of the Federation of Woman's Clubs, Mrs. Clapp became a leader of various progressive movements for civic betterment. One of these fundamental measures was the printing, "In the Interest of Good Citizenship," of 1,000 copies of the City Charter for free distribution through libraries and civic organizations for use in the study of city government, as no copies of the City Charter were available in Cleveland; another progressive measure was the promotion of a course in citizenship, the first undertaking of that kind among women, when for the first time in open forum about 500 women discussed city, state and national government. She was for two years a member of the Governing Board of the Cleveland Woman's Suffrage League, and for two years chairman of the Cleveland Heights District. She was also one of the organizers and served as president of the Republican Woman's League of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. She was one of the organizers of the Woman's Civic Club of Cleveland Heights and served successively as membership chairman, recording secretary and vice president.

During the World war period Mrs. Clapp was very active in all local affairs, doing extensive and constructive war work. She was the organizer and chairman of the Cleveland Heights Red Cross Auxiliary of the Woman's Civic Club and was the organizer and captain of the Canteen Company of the Woman's Suffrage Party; she was ward organizer for food conservation, and ward organizer of the Victory Loan and a member of the Woman's Executive Committee of the same. She also rendered valuable service as a member of the Americanization Council and of the Ohio State Planning Council, being one of the first women to become interested in a zoning program and the civic organization of which she was chairman being the first woman's organization to join this movement. She also served for two years on a jury of five members appointed by the Chamber of Commerce to inspect and to award medals to apartment houses of especial merit or construction. She served the Woman's Club as vice president, and as organizer and chairman of its Civic and Legislative Committee her work was unusually constructive printing in the "Interests of American Citizenship" 10,000 copies of the Constitution of the United States for free distribution to new citizens, libraries and civic organizations, as none were otherwise available.

Mrs. Clapp entered the domain of state politics in 1922 as a republican candidate from Cuyahoga County for the Ohio General Assembly. In the primaries of that year she was one of seventy nine candidates for the House of Representatives, eight of whom were women seeking that honor, and was the only woman nominated. After a spirited campaign she won the distinction of standing third on the ticket for the House of Representatives of the Eighty fifth General Assembly. In the organization of the House she was appointed chairman of House Committee on universities and colleges, chairman of House Committee on libraries; having the honor of being the only member of the House to be appointed to two chairmanships; she was also a member of House Committee on cities, health, and benevolent and penal institutions. As a member of the latter committee, being especially interested in the problems that confront state institutions, Mrs. Clapp visited almost all of them during the session of inspection by the Finance Committee of the House of Representatives.

Mrs. Clapp was one of the first six women to be elected to the Ohio General Assembly, and was the first woman in Ohio to see a measure of which she was the author and sponsor enacted into law. This bill (House Bill No. 141), making compulsory the teaching of the United States Constitution and Ohio Constitution in our public schools (which law is now in force) was one of the few to pass the General Assembly without a dissenting vote, and is regarded as one of the most fundamental measures enacted into law during that session. She introduced House Bill No. 344, designed to adjust difficulties in administration of library laws; House Bill No. 584, to eliminate difficulties in administration of county library laws (both enacted into laws). She supported all welfare legislation; stood for all measures promoting respect for the Constitution of the United States, law enforcement, business methods in state legislation, welfare of women and children, and efficient service to the public. Of Mrs. Clapp's service in the Eighty fifth General Assembly the following estimate was given by the Hon. H. H. Griswold, speaker of the House of Representatives: "She (Mrs. Clapp) has helped to establish a high standard in public life for Ohio women. Standing for progressive legislation, she has been sane and sensible; humanitarian, but never sentimental. I hope she will consider it her duty to serve again, for she has been, and will be, a stabilizing influence."

Mrs. Clapp entered the August, 1924, republican primaries, seeking a renomination for reelection to the General Assemly, and was accorded the distinction and honor in a field of ninety one candidates for the House of Representatives of leading the ticket by a large margin, thus being the first woman in Cuyahoga County to lead a county ticket.

Mrs. Clapp is a member of the joint legislative commission appointed by the Eighty fifth General Assembly to investigate the advisability of a law fixing a minimum wage scale for women. This committee consists of six members, three from the Senate and three from the House.

Mrs. Clapp served as the only woman member of the Executive Committee of the Republican National Convention at Cleveland in 1924, she being the first woman to serve on an executive committee of a national republican convention. She organized and was chairman of the Woman's Committee of the convention and had the appointing of an advisory committee of fifty and an assisting group of seven hundred and fifty hostesses, and of her appointment to this position a leading periodical says: "Mrs. Clapp has demonstrated to her colleagues that she has the essential qualities, and her appointment to the important post of chairman of the convention Woman's Committee is a recognition of her sane and very human point of view and her ability as an organizer." Of her work as chairman of that committee, Hon. Carmi Thompson, chairman of the Cleveland committee in charge of the convention, had the following to say: "The women have been splendid. They have worked shoulder to shoulder with men's committees. I cannot speak too highly of Mrs. Clapp's efficient organization. We have consulted with her not only on all matters concerning the arrangements for women delegates, but have invited her to sit at our council table and have profited by her keen judgment and wise advice. Women will play an important part in the success of the convention." This prediction proved true, for the last action of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland before adjourning was the unanimous passage of a resolution on behalf of the National Committee and the Convention thanking "Carmi A. Thompson, chairman of the Cleveland Committee and Mrs. Nettie M. Clapp and their associates and sub committees and city officials for their hospitality and the perfect arrangement for the Convention."

Mrs. Clapp is a member of the Tippecanoe Club, of the Woman's Club, the Woman's City Club, of the League of Woman Voters, of the. Martha Bolton Literary Club, of the Cleveland Heights Civic Club, of the Business Woman's Club, is a member of the board and chairman of the hospitality committee of the Republican Women of Ohio, the largest woman's political club in Cleveland, and of other social, civic and political organizations.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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