Remembering SJA's Dorothy Clark (1898-1973)

To the Editor:

June 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the passing of legendary and beloved St. Johnsbury Academy English teacher, Dorothy Clark. A Radcliffe College graduate and longtime St. Johnsbury resident, who valiantly struggled in life with serious bodily physical limitations, Miss Clark had a remarkably deep reservoir of intellectual firepower as she taught decades of SJA students the rules of grammar, the love of literature, and proper comportment.

The author of Before Ever The Earth (1946) and The Potiphar Picnic (1953), Dorothy Clark was also an accomplished theater arts director who guided SJA thespians to the New England Drama Festival in both 1939 (The Boy Comes Home) and in 1946 (Heritage of Wimpole Street).

From her classroom in Colby Hall, Miss Clark positively shaped the hearts and minds of legions of St. Johnsbury Academy students. In her later years, with her nuanced sense of humor, Miss Clark delighted in the satirical and campy television writing and production found in the old ABC TV series, Batman.

St. Johnsbury Academy students of today, particularly those whose academic interests align with the study of English grammar and literature, would do well this summer to seek out SJA alumni and former faculty in town for their recollections of a truly remarkable woman who sadly passed from the scene four decades ago. God rest the soul of Dorothy Clark.

Christopher E. Ryan

Alexandria, Va.

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