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Arthur H. Clark Papers, 1804-1931, undated

Identifier: MH 58

Scope and Content Note

The Arthur H. Clark papers contain a combination of personal papers, papers relating to Clark's time as a ship master and captain, both on private yachts and steamships involved in the China trade, materials from his maritime research, and some scrapbooks. This collection has been divided into five series.

Series I. Personal Papers contains photographs of Clark, legal papers, and personal correspondence. The legal papers include an award against Clark, in favor of James Gordon Bennett, and Clark's will along with two codicils. There are bills and receipts for artwork, and invitations and passes given to Clark over the years, including material related to the launching of the armored cruiser U.S.S. New York in 1891. Included in this series is a note about a portrait of Clark when he was on the Indiana; it appears that the note was written by former Peabody Museum Curator Lawrence W. Jenkins, but there is no information about why the note was written or when. Also included are materials related to a photography exhibit by Clark at the St. Botolph Club, a street directory, and Clark's obituaries. There is also an auction catalog from Karl and Faber included in this series. It is dated 1931, nine years after Clark's death, so it is unclear who added this to the collection or why, but it has been placed in this series because some of the auction items fall under Clark's research interests.

Series II. Ship Master, Agent, and Underwriter Business Papers contains four subseries. Subseries A. Non-steamship Papers contains materials from Clark's work on various yachts and other vessels that were not steamships. This includes the yacht Alice, a broadside from the 1859 Boston Regatta, and the cutter Margery Dow. Subseries B. American Steamship Company contains papers related to Clark's time with the company. This includes items such as recognition of Clark's time with the company and his resignation from the company. This subseries also includes a collection of letters from passengers praising Clark as a captain. Subseries C. Suwo Nada contains material relating to the steamship Suwo Nada, which Clark commanded, until it struck a rock and subsequently sunk in 1869. The subseries includes a certificate of survey, clearance papers, protests, testimonies, and articles about the sinking.

Subseries D. Underwriter and Agent Papers contains materials from Clark's time as an underwriter for a number of marine insurance underwriters, including the Boston Board of Underwriters, as well as material from Clark's work as an agent for Lloyd's of London, in New York. Subseries E. Industry Related Papers contains professional certificates earned by Clark, and letters of recommendation. The subseries also includes industry related materials such as an employee manual from the Shanghai Steam Navigation Company, and news clippings about the financial problems of the Hong Kong Pier and the Godown Company.

Series III. Publications contains publications by Clark and reviews of those publications. This includes a series of letters-to-the-editor of the New York Evening Post, "Clipper Ships and their Records" by Clark, and publication announcements and reviews of Clark's History of Yachting.

Series IV. Research contains research related notes, articles, transcriptions of articles and excerpts from larger works, inquiries, and correspondence related to Clark's various research topics. This series contain four subseries. Subseries A. History of Yachting contains research materials related to the history of yachting from the 16th to the 19th centuries. This includes articles removed from journals, and transcriptions from larger works. Subseries B. Clipper Ships contains research materials related to the history of clipper ships. This includes correspondence regarding research requests made by Clark, articles removed from journals, newspapers, and magazines. Subseries C. Maritime Related Research contains research from various related topics such as lists of goods shipped, ship building, and prominent naval figures. Included in this subseries are journal articles, transcripts of larger works, and news clippings. Also included in this subseries is a folder of illustrations that have been removed from various publications; some of these were removed from Clark's scrapbooks. The material was separated with the comment "Newspaper cuts, etc., some to mount for [Marine Room] cab". Subseries D. Marine Society Research contains material related to Clark's proposed book From Galley to Galleon: The Ships and Sailors of Early Days. The book was going to be published posthumously by the Marine Research Society as publication number 23, but it never was. There is correspondence requesting previously published images, photographs and prints, an edited manuscript (separated into two folders because of its size), and advertising materials. It should be noted that the advertising materials are unrelated to Clark or his manuscript, but were filed in the same folder as his editor's correspondence with publishers, so they have been left together; it is unclear who added them to the collection or why—for example, there is a memorandum from the Massachusetts office of the state quartermaster advertising captured German war trophies available for sale to select organizations, dated 1927.

Series V. Scrapbooks contains three scrapbooks. The first scrapbook contains transcriptions of logbook entries, articles, abstracts of letters, news clippings, and correspondence to Clark. The second scrapbook is labeled "Letters Mounted and Not," it is unclear if this was Clark's title, and contains correspondence to Clark. The third scrapbook contains transcripts of articles, news clippings and journal articles. All of the scrapbooks relate to Clark's research on ships.


  • Creation: 1804-1931, undated


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical Sketch

Arthur Hamilton Clark was born on December 27, 1841 to Benjamin Cutler and Mary (Preston) Clark, in Boston, Massachusetts. Benjamin was a prominent Boston merchant and ship owner. After studying at Boston Latin School for two years, Arthur convinced his father to allow him to go to sea sailing as a "boy" aboard Black Prince. After two years, he returned to Boston as third mate and received his father's blessing to make the sea his career. Shortly thereafter he attained master's status and commanded both sail and steam powered vessels during his career at sea. When he returned home in 1865, he commanded the yacht Alice, from Boston to Cowes, England, in 19 days—making it, at that time, the smallest yacht to cross the Atlantic, and the first American yacht to sail from the United States directly to England. After returning to the States, Clark continued to command steamships engaged in the China trade.

For several years, Clark mastered vessels on the China coast, returning to the United States in 1874 serving as master of vessels for the American Steamship Company for the next two years. In 1877, the then Captain Clark accepted a position in London, representing a number of American marine insurance underwriters, including the Boston Board of Underwriters, a position which he held for the next thirteen years. During his stay in England he married Anna Eichenberger, the daughter of Jean and Marie Eichenberger. Following his stay in England, he returned to the United States in 1895 to become an agent for Lloyds of London in New York. He retired from this position in 1920 and moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he died on July 5, 1922.

Captain Clark was well known in yachting circles, and was an accomplished oarsman in his teen years; in fact, he was a member of the one the first crews that defeated Harvard in rowing on the Charles River. He became a writer in his later years. He published two major works: The Clipper Ship Era: An Epitome of Famous American and British Clipper Ships, Their Owners, Builders, Commanders, and Crews, 1843-1869, and The History of Yachting, 1600-1815.


7.92 linear feet (8 boxes; 1 flat file)

Language of Materials



The Arthur H. Clark papers contain a combination of personal papers, papers relating to Clark's time as a ship master and captain, both on private yachts and steamships involved in the China trade, materials from his maritime research, and some scrapbooks.

Series List

SERIES I. Personal Papers

SERIES II. Ship Master, Underwriter, and Agent Business Papers

  • A. Non-steamship Papers
  • B. American Steamship Company
  • C. Suwo Nada
  • D. Underwriter and Agent Papers
  • E. Industry Related Papers
SERIES III. Publications

SERIES IV. Research

  • A. The History of Yachting
  • B. Clipper Ships
  • C. Maritime Related Research
  • D. Marine Research Society
SERIES V. Scrapbooks

Physical Location

Phillips Library Stacks


A portion of this collection was received in November 1922, however, no accession information is available. Some materials were a gift from the Marine Research Society. The material in box 8 was found in the collection, December 2021.

Bibliography and Related Collections

Philpott, A. J. "Great Marine Authority Dies in Newburyport." Boston Daily Globe 9 July 1922: 40.

Rogers, R. E. Arthur Hamilton Clark, 1841-1922. Volume of clippings.

Captain Arthur H. Clark Scrapbook Collection, 1848-1897. SCR 3.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Robert Craig, November 2002. Updated by Hilary Streifer, March 2015.


ARTHUR H. CLARK PAPERS, 1804-1931, undated
Processed by: Robert Craig; Updated by: Hilary Streifer; machine-readable finding aid created by: Rajkumar Natarajan.
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Updated by Hilary Streifer, December 2021

Repository Details

Part of the Phillips Library Repository

Peabody Essex Museum
306 Newburyport Turnpike
Rowley MA 01969 USA