Pancoast, Clara Caffery

Clara Caffery Pancoast

 (AM. 1873-1959)

Clara Pancoast was a writer by profession and an artist by choice. In spite of the fact that she painted mostly on weekends and vacations, she managed to produce a prodigious number of paintings during her lifetime. She the daughter of Jefferson Jackson Caffrey and Ann M. (Crow) Caffrey and was the second-youngest of their thirteen children. Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, Clara was educated at the Home Institute in New Orleans, where she majored in art and music. She married William Test Pancoast in San Antonio on November 17, 1892, and they were the parents of two daughters, Mary Irene and Edith Caffrey. Just when Clara Pancoast started her journalistic career is uncertain, but she worked for the San Antonio Express as head of the women’s department for eleven years. Following this, she was society editor of the women’s section of the San Antonio Light for many years. She was organizer and first president of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of San Antonio, which was given official recognition in 1922. She was a member of many organizations: the San Antonio Art League, the Pioneer Club, the Army Civilian Club, the Pan-American Round Table, The Palette and Chisel Club, the Villita Art Gallery, and the Texas Fine Arts Association. The Coppini Academy and the San Antonio Women’s Club both made her an honorary life member. Clara was a regular exhibitor in local, state, and national shows. Considered one of Jose Arpa’s prize students, she also had a number of solo exhibitions, mostly in San Antonio. During the depression, when the Witte Memorial Museum was struggling to keep its doors open, Clara Pancoast was one of the local artists to donate a painting as a prize at a benefit card party for the museum. She always was ready to lend a hand and served as chairman for many events and sometimes acted a judge in competitions. Clara Caffrey Pancoast died in September 1959, leaving a legacy of hundreds of paintings and prints locally, in Mexico, and in West Texas. Source: Art for History’s Sake: The Texas Collection of the Witte Museum by Cecilia Steinfeldt