Clara Endicott Sears

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Clara Endicott Sears by Harper Pennington, ca.1880

Clara Endicott Sears (1863–1960) was a New England author, preservationist, and philanthropist.


Sears was born to a wealthy Yankee family in Boston in 1863. Her parents were Knyvet Winthrop Sears and Mary Crowninshield (Peabody) Sears. Sears was educated at private schools in Boston and by tutors in Europe. She authored several historical works as well as poetry, romantic works and popular songs for World War I.[1]

In 1910 Sears purchased a summer estate in Harvard, Massachusetts, which included the farmhouse that was part of a failed Transcendentalist community known as the Fruitlands or consociate family. After restoring the house, and collecting numerous materials, Sears opened the building as the Fruitlands Museum in 1914. Her research about the experiment brought her into contact with the last of the Harvard Shakers. When the Shaker community in Harvard closed in 1918, it was purchased by Fiske Warren a proponent for a single tax enclave. Sears bought the first building built by the Harvard Shakers, a 1794 office building from the Harvard Shaker Village from Warren and moved it to her property; it opened in 1922. Sears also worked with Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University in acquiring a Native American collection to display at the museum. Sears transferred all the museum assets to Fruitlands and the Wayside Museums, Inc., in 1930. By this time the property included about 458 acres. Also during the 1930s, she collected early 19th century primitive portraits and built a gallery to display them in 1939. She also collected Hudson River School paintings and other America folk art for the museum. Sears was awarded a gold medal by the National Society of New England Women in 1942. She was a member of the Colonial Dames of America, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and Society of Mayflower Descendants. Clara Endicott Sears died in Boston in 1960.[1]


  • Prentice Mulford's Works (compiled) (1913)
  • The Power Within, writings of various New Thought authors (compiled) (1911)
  • Bronson Alcott's Fruitlands (Houghton Mifflin, 1915)
  • Gleanings from Old Shaker Journals (Houghton Mifflin, 1916)
  • The Bell-Ringer: an old-time village tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1918)
  • Peace Anthem (1919)
  • The Romance of Fiddler's green (Houghton Mifflin, 1922)
  • Days of Delusions, a history of the Millerites (1924)
  • Whispering Pines: A Romance on a New England Hillside (1930)
  • The Great Powwow (1934)
  • Wind from the Hills (1935)
  • Some American Primitives (1941)
  • Highlights Among the Hudson River Artists (1947)
  • Snapshots from Old Registers (taken from the registers of 1880–1900 of the Hotel Vendome in Boston) (1955)
  • Early Personal Reminiscences in the Old George Peabody Mansion in Salem (1956).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cynthia H. Barton, History's Daughter: The Life of Clara Endicott Sears Founder of Fruitlands Museums (CLB Publications, 1988) (ISBN 9780941632027)

External links[edit]