She was the second woman elected to Congress from New York, after Ruth Baker Pratt. Clarke was born in Standing Stone, Pennsylvania. She attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln art school for a year, before she graduated from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1902.
She served from December 28, 1933 until January 3, 1935, withdrawing her nomination for reelection prior to the primary of 1934.
She died in Cooperstown, New New York She is interred at the Locust Hill Cemetery in Hobart, New New York