Clara Lee Tanner (1905-1997) was an American archaeologist and ethnologist who specialized in Native American arts and crafts. In 1927, she graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in archaeology and in 1928 she received one of the first three master’s degrees in archaeology granted from the UA.
Tanner specialized particularly in Southwestern Native American pottery and basketry, and authored an extensive list of articles and books ranging from newspaper articles to college textbooks in addition to being a regular contributor to Arizona Highways Magazine. She also served as editor to Kiva, the journal of the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society.
Above everything, Tanner enjoyed educated the public on Native American art. She was a highly sought out public speaker, whose audience ranged from first graders to senior citizens to Hollywood celebrities. She felt that she had a sense of responsibility to the public and the community to introduce the entire world to the beauty, skill and creativity of Native American artists and artisans. This mindset was rare for academics of her time, who felt that the one should only publish for their peers. She also aided many Native American artists by renting them space and holding special exhibits of their work.