Giovale Library Receives Rich Archival Collection
by David Hales
Mrs. Josephine Starling of Arlington, Virginia, recently gave the Giovale Library a rich collection of materials about her cousin Hannah Claire Haines. The collection consists of photographs, newspaper clippings, a biographical sketch of Miss Haines, and awards, including her graduation pin from the Holy Cross Hospital Training School of Nurses.
Claire was born on a ranch near Saratoga, Wyoming, on July 15, 1891. In 1900, the family moved to Santa Cruz, California, where Claire attended grade school until 1905. The family then moved to St. Anthony, Idaho, where her father managed the Riverside Hotel and Claire graduated from the St. Anthony High School on May 21, 1909. Since nursing and teaching were virtually the only professions open to women at the time, Claire’s father urged her to enter into nurse’s training. Claire came to Salt Lake City where she enrolled in the Holy Cross Hospital Training School for Nurses and graduated on May 23, 1912.
After working as a nurse for a few years, Claire decided nursing was not for her. She went back to St. Anthony, Idaho, for a few years and persuaded her father to let her become an accountant. Returning to Salt Lake City in 1915, she took a special business course, an extension course in accounting from the University of Utah, and an accounting course from the Walton School of Commerce in Chicago.
When Claire first canvassed accounting offices for work, the men who sat in the swivel chairs laughed. “A woman public accountant? Unheard of!” Undaunted, she opened her own accounting office and passed the Certified Public Accountant exam in 1923, becoming the only woman CPA in Utah. Later, she was hired by Haskins and Sells, a national accounting firm. They soon recognized her talent and sent her to their head office in New York City. After a few years, she took a position with Bead Chain Manufacturing Co. in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the firm that made the familiar chain strings for lamps. In 1929, she moved to Chicago where she specialized in hotel and property management accounting. In 1935, she returned to Salt Lake City to assist in the care of her aging parents. For the next 20 years, she conducted a private practice from an office in the Union Bank and Trust Co. building. From 1954 until 1957 she was both a director and an accountant of the Union Bank and Trust Co., Salt Lake City. She remembered, “The men just did not know what to do with me—whether to accept me as one of them or to treat me with kid gloves. It often led to amusing (and sometimes embarrassing) situations. But eventually they’ve come to adjust themselves to the fact that women are in the business world to stay.”
She was a member of the American Institute of Accountants, National Association of Bank Auditors and Controllers, Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants, American Women’s Association of CPAs, and Business and Professional Women’s Club of Salt Lake City, which she was instrumental in establishing. In her later life, she also traveled extensively.
One of Claire’s great loves was Westminster College. She admired the efforts that were made to provide an education to women. She provided a generous gift to the scholarship fund with a $100,000 endowed scholarship. She always enjoyed hearing from the scholarship recipients. She also contributed to the building fund for Malouf Hall. Claire died on November 12, 1974, in Covina, California, at the age of 83. Her obituary stated, “Contributions may be made to Westminster College in her name.” In 1976, a portrait of Claire by Lauren Spalding was unveiled at Westminster College; it presently hangs in Bamberger Hall, Room 211. Materials detailing the life of this outstanding woman, who thought so much of Westminster, will enrich the Giovale library’s archival collection.