A writer who focused on the experiences of Native Americans, Ann Nolan Clark was born Anna Marie Nolan on December 6, 1896, in Las Vegas, New Mexico. She graduated from Highlands University in Las Vegas at age twenty-one, and married Thomas Patrick Clark on August 6, 1919. She later gave birth to an only son, Thomas Patrick, Jr., who died in World War II.
Beginning her career teaching English at Highlands University, in the early 1920's she transferred to a job teaching Native American children for the Tesugue Pueblo Indians. This lasted for twenty-five years. Unfortunately, Clark found that the Tesugue School was dreadfully underfunded, and was unable to afford any substantial intructional material. Therefore, she decided to write her own books for the 1st to 4th grade one-room schoolhouse. Between 1940 and 1951, the U.S. Office of Indian Affairs published fifteen of her books, all relating to her experiences with the Native Americans.
In 1945, the Institute for Inter-American Affairs sent Clark to live and travel for five years in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil. Those experiences led her to write books such as Magic Money, Looking-for-Something, and The Secret of the Andes, which received the 1953 Newbery Medal.
She won several other awards, including the Catholic Library Association's 1963 Regina Medal, and the U.S. Office of Indian Affair's 1962 Distinguished Service Award. Clark died in 1995, leaving behind thirty-one books, countless stories in periodicals such as the New Mexico Magazine, and a new glance at Indian culture.
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