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Clapp, Harold L. Grinnell College -- History Correspondence
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Harold L. Clapp Papers 1929-1961 1947-1961

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.03
  • Collection

The Harold L. Clapp papers consist of talks; unpublished articles, stories, books, verse, and translations; newspaper clippings about Clapp; and correspondence.  One published book is reproduced here; other published works are listed in Appendix A.  The papers span the years 1929-61, with the bulk of the material between 1947 and 1961. Mr. Clapp was very concerned about American public primary and secondary education and in teacher training, favoring greater emphasis on basic elementary subjects.  Much of the collections records his active work in this area, speaking and writing and working for the Council for Basic Education in Washington, D.C.  This interest began with his observations of his sons’ education in Swiss public schools during the family’s year in Geneva, 1947-48.  The year is described in detail in letters written by HLC and Laura Clapp and in Laura Clapp’s introductory pages to the letters.  All of these are in “Letters from Switzerland,” the first series in the Clapp papers.  The Swiss letters also describe living and travel conditions and problems of American students in post-war Europe. Mr. Clapp’s ideas on education are most fully documented I the series Council for Basic Education, Talks, and Published and Unpublished Writings.  French Play School shows the practical application of his ideas.  His fiction (three books) was satire on American education.  Other than the Manual for French A2 the papers contain very little directly relating to Mr. Clapp’s teaching of French at Grinnell College. Laura Clapp transcribed by hand or had typed some of the papers because the originals were difficult to read.  She collected and in part arranged the material and appended explanatory notes where she felt they would help a reader better understand her husband’s writings.  Excerpts from her letters to her mother (series 10) describe some campus events of the 1940s and ‘50s.

Clapp, Harold L.