1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Inventory

5.   Subjects

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    R.I.H.S. Library page

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 Franklin C. Clark Papers

 Providence physician and historian

 Unpublished historical works, 1898-1913

 Size: 0.5 lin. ft.

 Catalog number: MSS 348

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, August 1995


©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Franklin C. Clark (1847-1915) was the son of Edward T. and Mary A. Clark of Providence. He graduated from Brown University in 1869, and received his M.D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City in 1872. He then returned to practice medicine in Providence for the rest of his days. He married Lillian Delora Phillips (1856-1932) in 1902; they had no children. She was the aunt of the celebrated horror author Howard P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), who cited Dr. Clark's erudition as an early influence.

            In addition to publishing many important articles in medical journals, Clark was a talented and prolific historian and genealogist. He compiled genealogies on the Finney and Maxwell family, indexed Staples' seminal History of Providence, and assisted James N. Arnold in compiling his monumental set of Rhode Island vital records. In addition, he wrote the unpublished historical works found in this collection.


Faig, Kenneth W. Jr. Some of the Descendants of Asaph Phillips and Esther Whipple of Foster, Rhode Island Moshassuck Press, Glenview, IL, 1993.

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Scope and content:

            This collection consists wholly of unpublished drafts of historical works by Dr. Clark. It does not contain any family or personal papers, diaries, correspondence, or records of his medical practice. A larger collection of Franklin C. Clark papers is at the John Hay Library at Brown University.

            The manuscripts here cover a wide variety of topics in Rhode Island history, including fisheries, the Providence Fire Department, sanitary science, the Providence town house, circuses, and taverns.

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            Though no record seems to appear in the rather sketchy accession books of the time, this collection was apparently donated in 1915 or 1916 by Dr. Clark's widow. According to a November 16, 1916 letter from H.P. Lovecraft discussing his uncle, "His historical attainments were likewise immense. After his death last year, the R.I. Historical Society took over his unpublished manuscripts." (H.P. Lovecraft: Selected Letters, 1911-1924, Arkham House, 1965)

            The accession books do list two genealogical works by Dr. Clark, donated by Dr. George T. Spicer circa 1915, which are not included in this collection.

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Folder 1: Historical Sketch of Rhode Island Fisheries (1893-1913)

              2: History of the Providence Fire Department (1905)

              3: History of the Development of Sanitary Science in Rhode Island (1904)

                        - Preface and Chapters 1-2

              4:       - Chapters 3-6

              5:       - Chapters 7-9 and notes

              6: The Old Town House in Providence & its Precursors (1904)

              7: The Providence Ring (undated draft - circuses)

              8: The Ring in Providence (1909)

              9: Notes on circuses.

             10: Sketches of Oldtime Providence (1906)

             11: Notes on Rhode Island taverns

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Circus - Rhode Island

Fire Departments - Rhode Island - Providence

Fisheries - Rhode Island

Lovecraft, Howard P. (1890-1937)

Providence, R.I. - Fire Departments

Providence, R.I. - History

Providence Town House

Public health - Rhode Island

Ring in Providence, The

Sanitation - Rhode Island

Taverns - Rhode Island

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