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Clarice U. Heckert papers


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Clarice U. Heckert (1911-2005), a Republican and community activist, served as representative to the Delaware General Assembly in the 11th (1965-1968) and the 9th districts (1969-1974), in the Wilmington area, between 1964 and 1974. She served as the chairman of the Education Committee from 1966-1974 and was a member of the Joint Finance Committee from 1972-1974.

Clarice Upson Heckert was born in Connecticut on November 11, 1910 to Robert and Helen Upson. Mrs. Heckert was educated at Wheaton College in Massachusetts where she studied political science. She studied international politics for one semester in Geneva, Switzerland, before graduating with honors in 1932. The following year, she married Dr. Winfield W. Heckert, a DuPont chemist who helped develop nylon. Together they had four children. She remained active in the community of Brandywine Hundred, in northern Delaware, following her retirement from politics.

Prior to her election to the state House of Representatives, she was chair of the Brandywine Hundred Republican Women's Club, a member of the Women's Republican Club of Wilmington, and was an active volunteer in the area. She maintained membership in the Wilmington branch of the American Association of University Women. During her tenure in the state legislature, she was a member of the First Unitarian Church of Wilmington.

In 1964 she ran for the state representative of the 11th district of Delaware, a district located northeast of Wilmington. She served as the chairman of the Education Committee from 1966-1974 and was a member of the Joint Finance Committee from 1972-1974. During her time in office, she spoke on issues such as the integration of schools, vocational opportunities, crime in Wilmington, taxes, and social welfare.

Following her retirement from the state House of Representatives, she remained active in the community of Brandywine Hundred, at one point serving as the Chair of the Wilmington Torch Club. On May 31, 2005, she died in Wilmington.

Some biographical information related to Clarice U. Heckert derived from the papers in her collection. "Clarice Heckert, Obituary." The News Journal. June 3, 2005. (accessed January 2018). Connecticut. Southington, Hartford. 1920 U.S. Federal Census. Digital images. January 2018. "Winfield Heckert, 85; Helped Develop Nylon." New York Times. April 14, 1988.

The Clarice U. Heckert papers document the decade-long political career of a northern Delaware woman in the Delaware General Assembly during the mid-twentieth century. The collection contains .3 linear feet of Heckert's speeches and public addresses, correspondence, and handwritten notes.

The collection is arranged in three series: I. Speeches and testimonies, II. Correspondence, III. Handwritten notes.

The speeches and testimonies make up the largest portion of the collection. These speeches and testimonies highlight Heckert's stance on issues such as social welfare, education, taxation, and poverty. The speeches reflect her belief that vocational training was a solution to income inequality in Delaware (especially northern Delaware and Wilmington) during the mid-twentieth century. Speeches highlighting these beliefs were delivered to the Business and Professional Women's Club's Annual Banquet, her response to the Coleman Report, a 1968 study of public education in the United States, and a speech to Delaware social workers. These speeches also documents her attachment to Brandywine Hundred, an unincorporated community north of Wilmington, Delaware. Her correspondence indicates her political and personal relationships to state politicians. After her retirement, she wrote reflections on her time in the General Assembly, especially her interest in political party divisions.

  1. Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)

Gift of Clarice U. Heckert, 2000.

Processed and encoded by Katherine Riley, January 2018.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2018 January 11
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Testimony on S.S. #1 for Senate Bill #5, The Department of Finance Bill, 1960-04-19.
Box 1 Folder 1
Campaign Speech, 1966, 1966.
Box 1 Folder 1
Speech on the N.Y.U. Consultants Report to the City of Wilmington, 1968 February 13.
Box 1 Folder 1
Speech to League of Women Voters, 1968 October 4.
Box 1 Folder 1
Business and Professional Women's Clubs Annual Banquet, 1968 October 25.
Box 1 Folder 1
Speech to Social Workers, 1970 January 15.
Box 1 Folder 1
Speech to DBTA , 1970 October 30.
Box 1 Folder 1
Press Conference, 1972 October 16.
Box 1 Folder 1
The Inner Workings of the Democratic Process, Torch Club Speech, 1977 November 9.
Box 1 Folder 1
Torch Club Speech Notes, 1977 December 5.
Box 1 Folder 1

Letter to Honorable David P. Buckson, 1968 September 27.
Box 1 Folder 2
Letter to Russell W. Peterson, 1971 January 24.
Box 1 Folder 2
Letter to William L. Frederick, 1971 August 5.
Box 1 Folder 2

Thoughts on the Legislative Process, 1984.
Box 1 Folder 3

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