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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

COOLEY, Clara Aldrich

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Ancestry: https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/60537070/person/120126521111/facts

An enthusiastic supporter of civic organizations in Dubuque, Clara Aldrich Cooley represented Iowa in 1900 at the Paris Exposition. Photo courtesy: Center for Dubuque History, Loras College
Headstone in Linwood Cemetery

COOLEY, Clara Aldrich. (Wyndham, VT, Sept. 13, 1829--Dubuque, IA, Nov. 16, 1925). The motto of Clara Cooley, Dubuque pioneer in the field of literature, philanthropy, and social clubs was, "Ceasing to give, we ease to live." (1) The founder and first president of the DUBUQUE LADIES' LITERARY ASSOCIATION in 1876 which became the DUBUQUE WOMEN'S CLUB, Clara was the wife of Judge D. N. COOLEY. A political force, she represented Iowa as the Educational Commissioner in 1900 to the Paris Exposition, an appointment endorsed by Speaker of the House David B. HENDERSON and Senator William Boyd ALLISON. Cooley read a paper entitled "Women in Science.

An enthusiastic member of the DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, Cooley founded the Dubuque chapter and served two terms as its Regent and State Regent. (3) Her work for the organization led to her being named to the life office of Honorary State Regent. Considered a genius as an organizer and originator, she was one of the incorporators and first president of the HOME FOR THE FRIENDLESS. (2) A life member of the Mary Washington Memorial Association, Cooley also served as one of the first officers of the Association for the Advancement of Women. Cooley held memberships in the National Geographic Society, American Economic Association, the Pioneer Woman's Club of New York, and the Academy of Political Science.

Among her honors, Cooley was named Honorary Vice-President of the General Federation of Women's Clubs for her pioneering work on women's behalf in the Midwest. Sorosis of New York named her an honorary member of their organization. Powerful in the Methodist Church, she gained a national reputation as a Bible teacher and for her leadership of a Palestine club. Cooley served as the president of the social union of St. Luke's Methodist Episcopal Church. (3)


The Cooley residence at 1394 Locust was a fine example of SECOND EMPIRE ARCHITECTURE construction. It is believed she lived there until her death.(4) The building was later used for Pregler Chiropractic.



1. "Dubuque's Cultural Trail Blazers," Telegraph-Herald, September 15, 1946, p. 14

2. Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4. Jackson Park Historic District, Phase IV District Report Investigation initiated by Tom Sigwarth

Goodspeed, Weston Arthur, History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Goodspeed Historical Association, 1911, p. 762

Reeves, Winona Evans.The Blue Book of Iowa Women: A History of Contemporary Women. Online: http://www.kinyon.com/iowa/iawomen1914/00538rogers.htm

"Dubuque's Cultural Trail Blazers," Telegraph Herald, September 15, 1946, p. A14

"Clara Aldrich Cooley." Linwood Legacies. Online: http://www.linwoodlegacies.org/the-cooley-family.html