Botany Class, 1885
After graduating from Wheaton Female Seminary in 1866, Clara M. Pike (ca. 1844-1933) taught the English Branches from 1869 to 1871, and Natural and Physical Sciences (botany, chemistry, physics and astronomy) from 1871 to 1901. Often antagonizing the principals, president and trustees with her intensity and tenacity, she fought for improvements in science facilities and equipment, and organized lecture series by faculty from Harvard and M.I.T. A woman of "enthusiasm and magnetism" who was considered to be "one of the most important nullWheaton influencesnull of her time", Miss Pike was loved by her students. A bird feeder and bench were designed in her memory by Ralph Adams Cram, and placed near the library. Her obituary in the Alumnae Quarterly noted that it was impossible to estimate the value of Miss Pikenulls "unflagging enthusiasm, excellent instruction, and sympathetic understanding..." The many Wheaton alumnae taught by her agreed that this unusually gifted woman had made their lives richer and finer. "Miss Pikenulls sensitive appreciation of Nature has left a deep impression on all her students and her eagerness to show her pupils the poetry which lies in the nullmeanest flower that blowsnull inspired in them her own great love for the out-of-doors." Mary E. Wolly (class of 1884), president of Mount Holyoke College, wrote that, "All of Miss Pikenulls students will bear witness to her unfailing sympathy, tact and personal interest in them, as well as to her unbounded enthusiasm for her work, which was contagious, and made would-be scientists out of us all!"
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