Clapp began her MBL career as a student and investigator and progressed to lecturer, librarian, Member of the Corporation, and finally, Trustee. The commemorative essay by Dr. Frank R. Lillie, excerpted from The Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly, pays tribute not only to Dr. Clapp but also to the many women of vision who were influential in the establishment of the MBL.
“Dr. Cornelia M. Clapp was always a beneficent presence at the Marine Biological Laboratory from the day of its opening in 1888. In the first annual report her name appears as investigator. From that time until 1934, the year of her death, very few indeed were the sessions not graced by her presence. Enthusiasm and loyal devotion, humor, modesty and wisdom combined to make her a unique personality, respected and beloved by all her associates.