Profile page for Ruth B. Clarke, 2017 Hall of Fame Honoree

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Ruth B. Clarke

portrait of Ruth B.Clarke

Much of our early history might have been lost had it not been for the archival diligence of, Ruth B. Clarke. Ruth Biggers, whose life here lasted well into her 90s, was another early arrival at what was then the western tip of the peninsula. During the early 1900s. Johnny Roxbury built a cottage for Ruth's uncle. Henry Snitzer, on Seabreeze Walk and persuaded them to build on the new lot at 43 Graham Place, soon to be a summer haven of long duration for the family.

During the 1920s, Ruth and her brother Bill—avid fishermen—purchased a "fishing bungalow" on the bayside. It was fated that young Joe Clarke's family summered on nearby Reid Avenue, and before long marriage was imminent and two young Clarkes. Joseph Jr., and Leslie. were eventually added to the growing Rockaway Point summer population. Ruth's early employment as the Social Secretary for the prominent publisher Conde Nast was auspicious in that it gave her access to the New York world of popular culture and entertainment and undoubtedly taught her skills at managing both schedules and personalities.

This was followed, interestingly, by service on behalf of the Australian government in Washington D.C. on the eve of war in 1940 and 1941. After the war, Ruth was one of the few women selected by the New York State Training School to undergo training in what today we would term emergency response. This led to the publication of many articles authored by her, including radio serialization of her publishing, which undoubtedly sharpened her instincts and her voice in handling stressful circumstances.

However, while not overlooking Ruth's numerous other activities and accomplishments, tonight we are recognizing Ruth's role in the formation of the next phase of our community, the creation of the Breezy Point Cooperative, as well as for her diligence in preserving our community history. As a board member and eventual chairperson of Rockaway Point Association. Ruth would have been involved in community activities in any event. But, at that critical moment of crisis, when our dissolution seemed imminent with the sale of the property, Ruth was an active participant in the renowned Joint Action Committee. Subsequently, she was a member of the corporation's interim Board of Directors and thereafter served as Secretary of the corporation and Office Manager. And later. harkening back to an earlier more carefree time in her life. Ruth joined others in creating the esteemed Teen Show in 1972.

But a final plaudit must be noted. Our efforts as a community historical society owe more than can be easily measured to Ruth Clarke's secretarial instincts over the decades as she collected and preserved documentation, recorded important events in our history. and thereby created the nucleus of what are now our growing archives. For these many reasons, tonight we enshrine Ruth B. Clarke as an inaugural inductee in the Breezy Point Hall of Fame.