Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
William Smith Clark Papers
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The papers of William Smith Clark, 1814-2001 (bulk 1844-1886, 1956-1976), include correspondence with fellow professors and scientists, students in Japan, and family; photographs and personal items; official correspondence and memoranda; published articles; books, articles, television, and radio materials relating to Dr. Clark, in Japanese and English; and materials regarding Hokkaido University and its continuing relationship with the University of Massachusetts.
The papers reveal many details about the early days of MAC, student life at AC, the Civil War, the island of Hokkaido in the late nineteenth century, and the role of WSC in the founding of SAC, as well as his interactions with colleagues, officials, students, and family. As to full documentation of his life, however, the papers are an uneven representation. The correspondence, for example, adequately covers his undergraduate years at AC, his two years of graduate school in Germany, his less than two years at the front in the Civil War, and his year in Japan. Virtually nothing in the correspondence, however, deals with his years as a professor at AC, his presidency of MAC, his disastrous mining venture, or the final four years of his life.
Clark was not a prolific writer. Apart from his MAC and SAC presidential reports, his writings consisted largely of printed versions of lectures on botanical experiments carried out at MAC during his presidency, and articles on educational issues related to MAC.
Because of his AC career, his MAC presidency, and his prominence as a leading citizen of his town and state, his activities were given a fairly extensive coverage in the local press. A considerable number of newspaper clippings is included in the papers, but his political activities are not represented in other ways. The clippings are generally photocopies, often of poor legibility, especially those in oversize Box 27.
The photographs in Series 1 are numerous enough to be of significance in documenting the life of WSC.
As compared with the number of documents written or received by Clark, there is a disproportionately large amount of material written about him in both English and Japanese. This is a reflection of the breadth of the impact that Clark had on the island of Hokkaido, on SAC (which became Tohoku Imperial University, then Hokkaido Imperial University, and finally Hokkaido University), and on his Japanese students who became leaders in Hokkaido and Japan itself. Clark's fame has long remained green in Japan, as indicated by the long television documentary on his life shown on a Japanese national network in 1981.
Because of WSC's involvement with the establishment of SAC and the constant presence of MAC personnel on its campus in the early years, a close relationship between the two agricultural schools was established long ago. This relationship continued in both formal and informal ways through the years and is documented in the papers, particularly in Series 5.
The Clark papers include copies of a few items of correspondence and other materials at AC, and copies of WSC's official memoranda in the Hokudai Library. The latter also has reproductions of all the original personal correspondence in the Clark papers at the University of Massachusetts.
Additional materials relating to WSC or HU is to be found in the University Archives in the official minutes of the MAC Board of Trustees (RG-2/1), in the published Annual Reports of MAC (RG-1/00/2) (reports for 1864-1932/33 available online), in the papers of William Wheeler (RG-2/3), Horace Stockbridge (RG-40/11), David P. Penhallow (RG-50/6-1873), William P. Brooks (RG-3/1-1905), Jean Paul Mather (RG-3/1-1954), the Center for International Agriculture (RG-15/4), International Programs (RG-6/4/9), Student Union (RG-36/100), John Lederle (RG-3/1-1960), and Charles Goessman (RG-40/11).
This collection is organized into eight series: