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Thomas D. Clark of Kentucky: An Uncommon Life in the Commonwealth
     

Thomas D. Clark of Kentucky: An Uncommon Life in the Commonwealth

by John E. Kleber (Editor)
 

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In 1990, the Kentucky General Assembly honored Thomas D. Clark by declaring him Kentucky's Historian Laureate for life, at which time Governor Brereton Jones described him as "Kentucky's greatest treasure." Thomas D. Clark of Kentucky: An Uncommon Life in the Commonwealth is a celebration and exploration of the unparalleled life and career of a man who has both

Overview

In 1990, the Kentucky General Assembly honored Thomas D. Clark by declaring him Kentucky's Historian Laureate for life, at which time Governor Brereton Jones described him as "Kentucky's greatest treasure." Thomas D. Clark of Kentucky: An Uncommon Life in the Commonwealth is a celebration and exploration of the unparalleled life and career of a man who has both recorded the history and shaped the future of his adopted home state. Born on July 14, 1903, in Louisville, Mississippi, to a cotton farmer and a public school teacher, Clark was the oldest of seven children. Before enrolling in high school at the age of eighteen, he worked on a farm, in a sawmill, and as a cabin boy and deck hand on a dredge boat. After attending the University of Mississippi and earning graduate degrees at the University of Kentucky and Duke University, Clark joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky in 1931. There he chaired the history department from 1942 until 1965, influencing the lives of thousands of students.

Though many think of Clark's influence as solely in Kentucky, his career also encompassed a wide variety of service in other states and countries. He taught at institutions such as Harvard, Duke, North Carolina, Chicago, Wisconsin, Stanford, and Indiana and lectured in England, Greece, Yugoslavia, and India. Clark held national leadership posts in the Southern Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians, and for four years he served as the editor of the Journal of Southern History. In addition to being a popular lecturer, Clark became nationally known for his research and writing on topics ranging from southern to American to economic to environmental history. Of the 32 books he has written or edited, some of his seminal works include A History of Kentucky, The Great American Frontier, Travels in the New South, The Beginnings of the L&N: A Pioneer Southern Railroad, and Pills, Petticoats, and Plows: The Southern Country Store. At the age of 99, he continued to research and publish, co-authoring the book The People's House: Governor's Mansions of Kentucky.

Outside of teaching and writing, Clark is equally engaged with an dedicated to a number of preservation and advocacy issues. He was directly responsible for the creation of the Special Collections and Archives at the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Library and Archives Building in Frankfort, and the Kentucky History Center. In 1943, Clark helped establish the University of Kentucky Press and oversaw, two decades later, its transformation into a statewide consortium, the University Press of Kentucky, representing the majority of Kentucky's institutions of higher learning.

What most people know Thomas D. Clark for today, however, is his remarkable capacity for friendship, continued learning and teaching, and an active engagement with public life. As former Governor Edward Breathitt notes, Clark "probably has more credibility than any other Kentuckian in the field of history, public affairs, and political reform." In Thomas D. Clark of Kentucky, a selection of Clark's many colleagues, students, and friends mark and honor this centenarian's unsurpassed achievements as a scholar, educator, preservationist, agrarian, advocate, and mentor.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Underscores how Clark remains a major force in every area of intellectual life in Kentucky through his role of state, local and regional historian; archival preservationist and publisher; agricultural, environmental and educational advocate; and friend and mentor to the people of the Commonwealth." — Bowling Green (KY) Daily News

"Through the reports of eighteen excellent writers from varied backgrounds, this book puts in perspective Clark's life and contributions much better than would a conventional biography." — Indiana Magazine of History

"Succeeds in reminding us of Clark's importance and his ubiquity in twentieth-century southern and Kentucky historiography." — Journal of Southern History

"A fitting way to note the historian's 100th birthday." — Kentucky Living

"While many know of Clark as the state's historian laureate and from his 32 books, these personal observations reveal what he has accomplished behind the scenes in areas such as the environment, archives and education." — Kentucky Monthly

"Clark is a genuine hero because he is mortal, pragmatic and inspired. With this book we salute him and his works.... The ultimate tribute is for present and future generations to read and then heed the insights of this remarkable Kentuckian." — Lexington Herald-Leader

"Marks Clark's unsurpassed achievements as scholar, educator, preservationist, agrarian, advocate, and mentor." — Louisville Courier-Journal

"What a life! The chapters written here by colleagues, students, and friends recall a career of remarkable range and depth." — Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Celebrates the achievements of one of Kentucky's most valued citizens." — Union County (KY) Advocate

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813122977
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
07/28/2003
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.26(h) x 0.94(d)

Meet the Author

John E. Kleber, emeritus professor of history at Morehead State University, is the editor of The Kentucky Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Louisville.

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