Tatman, Clarice 1973

Like other women at OCW, in 1930 Clarice Tatman turned history around. Reversing the historic practice of men playing women’s roles in Shakespearean theater, Clarice Tatman, in full and flowing beard, played an earnest-looking and dynamic lead in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. One of 6 charter members chosen by Francis Dinsmore Davis for the Green Masque honorary drama club, her time at OCW prepared her well for the stage. She was assistant director and leading actress of the Little Theater of the Rockies at Greeley, Colorado’s College of Education for six summers. Later, she performed in theater at Martha’s Vinyard in 1939. She earned her M.A. in Dramatic Arts and Ph.D. in Speech at the University of Iowa. Clarice could not stay away from OCW, however. Graduated in 1925 with a bachelor’s degree in English, she returned to teach from 1928-44. She came back again, in 1957, as commencement speaker, and returned still again to teach during 1964-65 while Dr. Rose Marie Smith was on sabbatical. In between, she joined the faculty of Mount Holyoke College, the prestigious women’s school in Massachusetts, in 1944 as associate professor of speech, and became department chair seven years later. She also taught briefly at Hunter College in New York and retired from Mount Holyoke in 1965 to return, once again, and settle in Chickasha. She traveled extensively in Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, and the British Isles. Besides performing many roles over the years, she coached, directed, and judged numerous stage productions at Mount Holyoke and at the state, regional, and national level. Students remember Dr. Tatman as kind and caring — an outstanding professor — and she kept in touch with many of them.

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