Clara Pater

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Clara Ann Pater (bap. 1841–1910) was an English scholar, a tutor, and a pioneer and early reformer of women's education.[1]

Pater contributed to the growing movement for educational equality among women of the Victorian era as they began to graduate from and contribute to institutions of higher education that had traditionally been all-male. Pater served on multiple committees, such as Louise Creighton’s Committee of Oxford Lectures for Ladies and the Association for Promoting the Higher Education of Women in Oxford.[1][2] By 1879, Pater was teaching Classics at Oxford University, and later served as Principal of Somerville College in Oxford where she taught Greek, Latin, and German, and served as the first resident tutor.[3][4][2] After the death of her brother, essayist and Renaissance scholar Walter Pater in 1894, Clara Pater moved to Kensington, London, where she resumed teaching as a tutor of Latin and Greek at the King’s Ladies’ Department.[3] According to the King’s College Magazine, Pater was widely lauded for her passion and her knowledge of the highest and noblest pieces of literature, and had a lasting impact on her students.[5] It was during her time at King's College that Miss Pater become a private tutor to Virginia Woolf.[3]

Pater tutored Virginia Woolf from 1899 to 1900 and became largely influential in Woolf’s life.[citation needed] Pater’s teachings of Greek language and culture contributed greatly to Woolf’s views on the female’s exclusion from education, female authorship, homoeroticism, and literature in general.[6] Miss Pater is thought to have served as an inspiration for Miss Julia Craye in Woolf's 1928 short story, “Moments of Being: ‘Slater's Pins Have No Points’"[7] as well as Lucy Craddock, Kitty Malone’s tutor in the novel The Years.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Clara Pater". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2017-11-17. 
  2. ^ a b "Walter & Clara Pater: Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Scheme". UK: Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Scheme. Retrieved 2017-11-17. 
  3. ^ a b c Jones, Christine Kenyon (January 1, 2010). ""Tilting at universities": Woolf at King's College London". Woolf Studies Annual. 16: 1. 
  4. ^ Martindale, Charles, Evangelista, Stefano-Maria, Prettejohn, Elizabeth. Pater the classicist: Classical scholarship, reception, and aestheticism. Oxford. ISBN 9780198723417. OCLC 973882694. 
  5. ^ King's College Magazine, Ladies'Department, number XIII, Easter term 1901, 6–7.
  6. ^ Lamos, Colleen (2006). Sapphic Modernities. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 149–164. doi:10.1057/9781403984425_9. ISBN 9781349528585. 
  7. ^ Quentin Bell, Virginia Woolf, vol. 1 (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972), p. 68.
  8. ^ Alley, Henry M. "A Rediscovered Eulogy: Virginia Woolf's 'Miss Janet Case: Classical Scholar and Teacher.'". Twentieth Century Literature. 28 (3, 1982): 290–301. JSTOR 441180.