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Special Collections Highlight

Clara Kessler Collection

Clara Kessler


Clara Kessler was born in Greensburg, Kentucky October 7, 1900. Her Family moved to Oklahoma Territory in 1906 and to Edmond in 1918. She graduated from Central State Normal School (UCO) in 1934 and went on to get her Masters from Columbia University. 

Clara Kessler boarding boat


Kessler taught English in Gracemont, Duncan, and Edmond. She was an Assistant Professor of English and in charge of English and Speech in the Demonstration School at UCO from 1943-1947.


In 1947, she accepted a position at Eastern Washington College in Cheney, Washington and taught there until her retirement in 1969. She was an Associate Professor of English and the Foreign Student Advisor.


In 1953, Kessler was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English at Kobe University in Japan for one year.


Her collection consists mainly of her recollections on the year she spent teaching in Japan, as well as letters, photographs, and souvenirs she received from the people she met.


"Kobe is the largest harbour city of the country & is a little long strecth of land which is bordered with the harbour on one side and high mountains on the other. A large part of the city sits on the side of a hill. A million people reside in this area."


"In this crowded city of a million people I taught English in the Junior High school and the University of Kobe... the school was situated in a beautiful spot overlooking the city & harbour. From the school windows I could always look out & see the harbour."



"I was assigned to the school of education where I taught composition, acted as critic teacher to student teachers, did demonstration teaching of English in the Junior High and taught the teachers English at noon."


"I worked in this school for one year and the winter sometimes seemed very long because of the cold buildings. There's not any heat in the schools and the doors stand open all winter long."


"It was a rare privilege to live in Japan & teach these kind, eager people. Japan is a cultured country with a distinct art. I enjoyed the drama, the music, the scenery & the many visits to their sacred shrine."


"I have fond memories of my new friends in Japan and for their overwhelming hospitality, generosity, and friendly enthusiasm."


"Every day several letters come to me from my new made friends."

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