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Charles Upson Clark papers

Call Number: MS 1294

Scope and Contents

Charles Upson Clark, scholar and lecturer, was born January 14, 1875, in Springfield, Massachusetts to Edward Perkins Clark (1847-1903) and Kate Upson Clark (1851-1935). His father was a graduate of Yale, class of 1870 as were his grandfather, Perkins Kirkland Clark, Yale 1838, and his great-grandfather, Enoch Clark, Yale 1797. His father was a journalist for The New York Evening Post and his mother, who graduated from Wheaton Seminary, was also a writer and lecturer. (Three of her personal diaries are in the Diaries Miscellaneous Collection, manuscript group number 181. They cover the years 1868-1869 and 1890.)

Clark attended Froebel Academy, Brooklyn, New York, and later spent seven years preparing for college at The Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute where he specialized in scientific subjects and languages. He originally wanted to become a biologist. He entered Yale College in 1893, was a member of the debate team and Alpha Delta Phi, served as president of the Yale Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated as valedictorian of the class of 1897.

After studying in Munich, Rome, Grenoble and Paris he returned to Yale in 1900 as a tutor in Latin and received his Ph.D. in 1903. He remained on the faculty as a professor of Latin epigraphy, paleography and medieval Latin until 1916.

Clark directed the Massawippi Summer School on Lake Massawippi, North Hatley, Quebec, Canada from 1908-1928. From 1916-1919 he directed the School of Classical Studies, American Academy in Rome. For several years Clark worked as a research investigator in Europe for Smithsonian Institute (1927, 1930, 1935-1937 and 1940). He was professor of languages, City College, New York, 1932-1940. During the 1940's and 1950's Clark combined his traveling in Europe with his lecturing and writing and found it so stimulating that he become a professional lecturer. He lectured on conditions in European countries, particularly in France, Spain and Italy. Some popular lecture topics were, "How the Italians are Protecting Their Monuments," "Rome, Capital of the Caesars" and "Greater Roumania".

The Charles Upson Clark papers span 1886-1960 but do not adequately reflect all aspects of his career. Clark kept a series of diaries which he would later consult in writing his memoirs. The early diaries, 1886-1893, are mostly written in English and indicate Clark enjoyed his time at school, taking nature walks and playing baseball. The later diaries are written entirely in what appears to be Clark's own shorthand. However, a few transcripts from 1897 are included in folder 6. Loose material within each diary has been removed and placed at the end of each diary. It consists of notes on scrap paper, photos, newsclippings that cover items of interest, programs from activities he attended, some receipts from supplies purchased and copies of college examinations from his college days. This loose material is helpful in determining some of Clark's activities during given periods.

Clark wrote many books and articles but his papers only include various memoir drafts which he tentatively titled, "Salient Facts in the Life of Charles Upson Clark." He wrote some text books for students studying Latin and Italian and several books on the subject of the Eropean War 1914-1918 in Roumania. The Sterling Memorial Library has ten of Clark's books.

The correspondence section consists of letters from Clark to his future wife during 1898-1900. Other correspondence from Clark consists of personal, chatty letters to his good friend, Judah Goldin (folder 46) and to Mr. James Babb. The letters to Mr. Babb (folder 45) concern the donation of Clark's papers to Yale and contain some fragmentary transcripts of Clark's diaries.

The memorabilia section consists of the same type of material as the loose material found in the diaries. The 1897 memorabilia consist of programs from debates between the Yale and Harvard debating clubs and other Yale functions. Some biographical data can be found in (folder 57).

The Charles Upson Clark papers were donated to Yale University by Charles Upson Clark and his daughter, Mrs. John F. Gunther.

Note: In the following list an asterisk next to a folder title for correspondence indicates that the folder contains ten or more items.


  • 1896-1960


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts of Charles U. Clark in 1960 and his daughter, Mrs. J. F. Gunther in 1961.


5.25 Linear Feet (13 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Diaries, writings, correspondence, and memorabilia of Charles Upson Clark. The diaries (1886-1960) make up the largest part of the papers and are reflected in Clark's autobiography, a draft of which is included in the papers. The correspondence with family and friends includes approximately 180 letters (1898-1900) written by Clark to Annie White Frary, his future wife. His major correspondents are Judah Goldin and James Babb.

Guide to the Charles Upson Clark Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Nancy A. Robertson
July 1982
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
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Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

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