work to the lamps’ bases, and, to ensure that her girls were always fully
employed, she was responsible for a number of what she called “novelty
items”—inkwells, tea screens, desk sets, and candlesticks
While her salary was equal to the men’s who held similar manage-
rial positions, it hardly allowed her to live lavishly in Manhattan. Being
naturally thrifty, she updated her dresses, walked to work, and bought
standing-room theater tickets. For fifty dollars a month, she had a top-
floor room and three meals a day at an Irving Place boardinghouse in
Gramercy Park, one of the city’s finest neighborhoods. The boarding-
house was home to artistic and literary tenants with whom she rode
bikes, attended theaters and art galleries, and had lively conversations
about literature, politics, and art. They called themselves “Clara’s Cir-
cle,” and in this group she met Edward Booth, whom she married. In
1909, Clara left Tiffany Studios for the final time. While she dreamed
of founding a handicrafts organization in Ohio, she instead moved to
Florida and built a modest career painting scarves with flowers or land-
scapes. She died in 1944.
In the 1920s, during the rise of art deco, Tiffany lamps fell out offashion. The studio closed in 1930, three years before Louis’s death. Thecompany’s advertisements never disclosed the names of its designers,preferring to maintain the image that Tiffany himself labored to perfectthe richly colored stained-glass lamps and windows. By 1896, the company became more transparent, printing a brochure with a picture of awoman dressed in a prim, full-length skirt and crisp white shirtwaistworking on a stained-glass panel. The brochure stated that many of themosaics were executed by women. Today it is widely accepted that ClaraDriscoll and the Tiffany Girls created some of the studio’s most prizedand valuable lamps, specifically those bearing natural motifs such as insects and flowers.
In 1983, Tiffany collector Dr. Egon Neustadt donated 132 lamps to theNew York Historical Society. Many of the pieces are attributed to ClaraDriscoll and the Tiffany Girls, showing that while they labored anonymously behind the scenes, they created of some of the studio’s mostcelebrated and beloved designs.