The Richard H. Clarke Papers consist of letters, essays and printed materials of Richard H. Clarke (1827 - 1911). The papers comprise .25 linear feet of material, arranged in 15 folders in one box.
Robert H. Clarke was born in Washington, D.C., July 3, 1827 and attended Georgetown University, receiving an AB in 1846, an MA in 1849 and finally an OLD in 1872. Clarke was admitted to the bar in Washington in1848 and began his practice. He was involved in a number of important cases there that proved to be legally important and precedent setting. Among them was the case that established the validity of at common law of building associations. Another established that a municipal government issuing bonds or certificates of indebtedness out of a particular fund was liable generally for the debt in case such a fund was not provided by the municipality.
During the Civil War, Clarke was accused of being an agent for the Confederacy; and for a time he was imprisoned in the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. Clarke moved to New York in 1865, where he was again involved in a number of important cases, including, ironically, the United States Government's prosecution of Jefferson Davis for treason. He was also involved in the Forest divorce case, the Jumel will case and in investigations of the alleged claims of the heirs of Anneke Jans, which related to large sections of the Trinity Church property. He also helped to found the New York Bar Association.
A devout Roman Catholic, Clarke was heavily involved in organizations associated with the Church, including the Young Catholic Friends' Society,the Society of St. Vincent dePaul and the Catholic Union. He served for several terms in the late 1880's as president of the New York Catholic Protectory, an institution for destitute children about which there are several letters and reports in this collection.
Clarke wrote extensively about the Church and was a frequent contributor to Catholic periodicals. He was the author of "Lives of American Bishops," "The Illustrated History of the Catholic Church in the United States," and "The Life of Pope Leo XIII." He also wrote "The History of the Bench and Bar of New York," "Old and New Lights on Columbus," "France's Aid to America in the War of Independence," "Hints on Prolonging Life," and "Guide to Washington." For his literary efforts and his contributions to historical literature, Clarke was Awarded the Golden Cross Medal by Notre Dame University.
The corresponence and manuscripts of this collection mainly involve Clarke's interest in Catholic history in America. He founded the United States Catholic Historical Society in the mid-1880's and conversed with many Catholic historians such as Martin I. J. Griffin, George Pax, Colonel Lamson, Alexander Garesche, R. S. Dewey, S.J. and Patrick F. Healy, S.J. Much of his emphasis fell upon pre-Columbian America, and many of the manuscripts are about early explorations and missionary activity done in Greenland and New Foundland.
Further material by and about Clarke can be found in the Georgetown University Archives Alumni Files, the Edward Devitt, S .J. Papers, the Henry Shandelle, S.J. Papers, and the Colonel Lamson Papers. The Archives holds a number of letters from Clarke to Joseph Havens Richards, S.J. A note in the Archives states that Richard H. Clarke's "papers & pamphlets were sent to GU by his sister, Ada, in April or May of 1914." Further information on Clarke can also be found in Anderson Humphreys and Curt Guenther's "Semmes America" (1989), p . 404.
ACCESSION DATA: Gift of Richard H. Clarke's sister, Ada, April or May, 1914.
BULK DATES: 1872 - 1911
SPAN DATES: 1863 - 1911
EXTENT: .25 linear feet