About Cornelia Maria Clapp
Cornelia Maria Clapp (March 17, 1849 - December 31, 1934) was an American zoologist and academic specializing in marine biology.
Born in Montague, Massachusetts, Clapp was educated at Mount Holyoke Seminary, the forerunner of today’s Mount Holyoke College, and graduated in 1871. She spent a year as a Latin teacher at an Andalusia, Pennsylvania boarding school before returning to Mount Holyoke to join the faculty. She taught mathematics and zoology, and also created a manual of exercises for the school’s gymnastics courses.
Clapp continued her postgraduate studies at Louis Agassiz’s Anderson School of Natural History on Penikese Island off Massachusetts in 1874. She later attended Syracuse University, earning a PhB degree in 1881 and a PhD in 1882. She earned a second PhD from the University of Chicago in 1896.
Beginning in 1888, Clapp was affiliated with the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where she conducted laboratory research and later became a lecturer and a trustee. Her doctoral dissertation on toadfish was published in the Journal of Morphology in 1889. Although she was primarily known as an educator and did not author many scientific research papers, she was named in 1906 as being among the 150 most prominent zoologists in the U.S. by the journal American Man of Science.
Mount Holyoke’s Cornelia Clapp Laboratory, built in 1924 to house the school’s biology classes, was named in her honor