Clara Breed was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, in 1906. Her parents were Estelle Marie Potter and Reuben Leonard Breed, a Congregational minister. The family lived in New York and Illinois, before moving to San Diego in 1920 following the death of Reuben Breed. A 1923 graduate of San Diego High School and a 1927 graduate of Pomona College, Breed received her master's degree in library science from Western Reserve University.
[Estes, Matthew T. and Donald H. Estes. "Hot Enough to Melt Iron: The San Diego Nikkei Experience,1942-1946." The Journal of San Diego History, vol. 42, no. 3, Summer 1996, http://sandiegohistory.org/journal/1996/july/nikkei/. Accessed 1 Nov. 2016.]