CJBM Biography

MOORE, Clara Sophia (Jessup), poet, novelist and philanthropist, was born in Philadelphia, PA., Feb. 16, 1824, daughter of Augustus E. and Lydia (Moseley) Jessup. Her father, Augustus E. Jessup, was the scientist of an expedition under Maj. Stephen H. Long, which visited the Yellowstone region in 1816. He was a native of Berkshire county, Mass., and a descendent of John Jessup, who in 1635 settled in Long Island. The Moseleys are an ancient English family, mentioned in "Domesday Book," and have several branches in the United States, including that in Massachusetts, found by Mrs. Moores ancestor, John Moseley, of Dorchester, 1630. A son of the emigrant was married to Mary Newbury, of Boston, and removed to Westfield, Mass.; was a lieutenant in King Phillips war, and held other public offices. Clara Jessup was educated partly at home, partly at Westfield Academy, and at the school of Mrs. Merrick, New Haven, Conn. On October 27, 1842, she was married at her fathers old home, in Mass., to Bloomfield Haines Moore, of Philadelphia, and took a prominent place among leaders of society, literary as well as fashionable, of that city. Having much leisure time at her command she began to write for the press, contributing to newspapers and magazines verse and prose purporting to be the work of Clara Moreton. One of her early stories, : "The Estranged Hearts," received the first prize in a competition, where 400 manuscripts were submitted. Later novelettes, such as "Compensation" and "Emma Dudleys Secret," were similarly successful. Three books, "The Hasty Marriage," "The Home of Huntley and Raymond" and "Mabels Mission," were published without any name on the title page. When the civil war broke out, Dr. Bellows, of New York, president of the sanitary commission, named Mrs. Moore for the president of the womans Pennsylvania branch, which she had aided in organizing. She declined, but accepted the position of corresponding secretary, and with this important work upon her hands gave up literature for a time. She created and organized the special relief committee for aiding hospital work, and with Mrs. George Plitt organized the committees of women which conducted the great sanitary fair in Philadelphia. She also projected and aided in founding the Union Temperance Home for children. 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." After the [conflict] was [over] she returned to literary work, using, as a rule, her own name. In 1873 an anonymous article by her on etiquette, published in Lippincotts Magazine, attracted much attention and provoked much unreasonable criticism. In that year, also, she published a revised edition of one of her popular works, "The Young Ladies Friend;" in 1875, "Mission on Dangerous Ground," which passed through seven editions, and in 1878 her famous work, "Sensible Etiquette." Among her works were: "Gondalines Lessons and other Poems" (1881); "Slander and Gossip," privately printed (1882); "The Wardens Tale, San Moritz, Magdalena and Other Poems" (1883); "Social Ethics and Social Duties" (1892), and several books for children, of one of which, "Master Jackys Holiday," more than twenty editions were published. The proceeds of the sales of Mrs. Moores work were spent in aiding philanthropic institutions and individuals who were engaged in literary or scientific pursuits. Among these individuals was John Worrell Keely, the inventor, who for many years was supported by her gifts. Much of Mrs. Moores life was passed in London, especially after the death of her husband in 1878, and there, as in Philadelphia, her house was a resort for artists, musicians and authors. Mrs. Moore had three children: Clarence B. Moore, of Philadelphia; Ella, wife of Count Carl Gustaf von Rosen (external link), first lord in waiting to King Oscar of Sweden and Norway, and Lillian, wife of Baron Carl de Bildt, Swedish and Norwegian minister in Rome. She died in London, England, January 5, 1899.(2)

(1) Ancestry of Clarence Bloomfield-Moore of Philadelphia; by Clara Jessup Bloomfield-Moore, edited by Baron Harold de Bildt, Cairo, Egypt and Milton Rubincam, Washington, D.C., circa 1940.

(2) National Encyclopedia of American Biography, 1899.

Click here for additional biographical information. (external link)

American Women Writers. A critical reference guide from colonial times to the present. Second edition. Four volumes. Edited by Taryn Benbow-Pfalzgraf. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. (AmWomWr 2)

Biographical Dictionary and Synopsis of Books Ancient and Modern. Edited by Charles Dudley Warner. Akron, OH: Werner Co., 1902. (BiD&SB)

A Dictionary of American Authors. Fifth edition, revised and enlarged. By Oscar Fay Adams. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1904. Biographies are found in the 'Dictionary of American Authors' section which begins on page 1 and in the 'Supplement' which begins on page 441. (DcAmAu)

A Dictionary of North American Authors Deceased before 1950. Compiled by W. Stewart Wallace. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1951. (DcNAA)

Index to Women of the World from Ancient to Modern Times: A Supplement. By Norma Olin Ireland. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1988. (InWom SUP)

Notable American Women, 1607-1950. A biographical dictionary. Three volumes. Edited by Edward T. James. Cambridge, England: Harvard University Press, Belknap Press, 1971. (NotAW)

See Also

Clara Jessup Bloomfield-Moore
Keely Biography
Moore's commitment to support Keely

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