Cornelia Clark Fort was born February 5, 1919 in Nashville, Tennessee to parents Rufus Elijah and Louise Clark Fort. Her father was a successful physician and businessman who had already made his fortune long before Cornelia was born. In 1909 he married Louise Clark and together they raised their family at Fortland, a sprawling 365-acre estate.
Although the family was wealthy, Cornelia’s father made sure his children weren’t “spoiled rich kids”, insisting that they attend public school in order “to know people and learn to get along with everybody,” her brother Dudley said. In school, Cornelia excelled in her favorite subjects of history, literature and English and loved to read – math and science she barely passed. The family chauffeur, Epperson Bond, schooled her in Latin as he drove her to school (her father never learned to drive).
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