Huguette was the daughter of self-made copper industrialist William A. Clark, who was nearly as wealthy as John D. Rockefeller in his day. Clark was a controversial senator, builder of railroads, namesake for Clark County, Nevada, and the founder of Las Vegas. Huguette grew up in the largest house in New York City, the William A. Clark House at 952 Fifth Avenue, which was unimaginably luxurious with 121 rooms for a single family of four. She owned paintings by Edgar Degas and Renoir, a world-renowned Stradivarius violin, and a vast collection of antique dolls. During her life, she used her wealth to buy gifts for friends and strangers alike while quietly pursuing her own calling as an artist and guarding the privacy she valued above all else.