Skip to main content



Save page 1 of 2
Open Finding Aid
small (250x250 max)
medium (500x500 max)
Extra Large
large ( > 500x500)
Full Resolution

Sterling and Francine Clark Papers:


Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Archives
225 South St.
Williamstown, MA 01267

March 31, 2009

Profile Description

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Lacy Schutz March 7, 2007
Language: Finding aid written in English.

A Guide to the Correspondence

Repository:Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Archives
225 South St.
Williamstown, MA 01267
Creator:Clark, Robert Sterling, (1877-1956)
Title: Correspondence
Dates: 1901-1957 (inclusive)
Dates: 1923-1956 (bulk)
Quantity:5.8 linear feet
Abstract: This series contains both incoming and outgoing correspondence and represents a wide spectrum of RSC’s financial, personal, and social life, as well as his interests in collecting art, horse breeding, and politics.
Identification: CAI ARC 2006.01.02
Language: English, French

Arrangement of the Papers

The most voluminous of these correspondences are arranged alphabetically by correspondent and then arranged by date; the other letters, classed as Miscellaneous, are arranged alphabetically by last name of correspondent and chronologically if there is more than one letter to or from an individual.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The materials in the Correspondence series include letters to and from RSC's business associates, friends, family, and acquaintances. They range in content from detailed discussions of world economies, war and politics to details of daily life, practical elements of RSC's business ventures, and accounts of the people and scenes RSC encountered in his travels. These letters illuminate RSC's opinions on a range of topics, especially the political figures of his day, the United States' foreign policies, horse breeding and art. Notable among the Miscellaneous letters is the sheer number of requests for material assistance Clark received. There are accounts throughout the correspondence of small charities he bestowed on individuals. There are also many letters of thanks from various acquaintances for gifts. The Clarks were especially fond of sending chocolates to their friends, but there are also notes referring to pieces of silver and other items. The British Bloodstock Agency is heavily represented. This series contains many letters relating to financial transactions, legal matters and horse breeding. Most of the letters from RSC are carbon copies he kept in his files.

Following is a list of major correspondents
Auval BakerThis correspondence includes the years 1924 and 1928 through 1931. Auval Baker was a horse trainer based in Lexington, Kentucky and handled much of RSC’s horse-related business in the south.
James Phinney BaxterThe correspondence between RSC and James Phinney Baxter, President of Williams College from 1937-1961, spans the years 1949 through 1956 and includes two memos from Lane Faison, the influential professor of art, to Baxter about the possibility of the Clarks creating a museum in Williamstown. Most of the letters are photocopies of RSC's letters, obtained by David Brooke from the Williams College Archives. There are some original letters from Baxter to RSC, as well as some photocopies. The correspondence contains accounts of early planning for the Institute.
W. Beach DayThe correspondence in this series begins in 1911 with a letter from W. Beach Day and a report from late 1910 / early 1911 on RSC’s New York City real estate holdings. Other years included are 1914, and 1916 though 1921. These letters, both incoming and outgoing, are concerned primarily with business. Beach Day was an agent at Clark Estates and worked closely with Stephen Clark to administer the family's financial interests. RSC and Beach Day corresponded several times a month, with an occasional telegram concerning matters that needed immediate attention. Beach Day managed RSC's real estate holdings, Singer trusts, stock and bond trade and the practical details of shipping art and other objects. There is additional correspondence from Beach Day in Correspondence -- Cooperstown Village Club & Library.
Ernest BurkhardtThe correspondence between RSC and Burkhardt is in French. Burkhardt was a Parisian lawyer who handled some of RSC’s French business.
F.D. ChapmanF.D. Chapman was a partner in A.E. Ames & Co., a stock brokerage and bond investment business located in Montreal. The correspondence between RSC and Chapman begins in 1939 and continues until shortly into 1957, just after RSC's death. During RSC’s final illness in 1956, Peter Guille took over the task of replying to Chapman's long, warm and chatty letters, full of news of his family, commentary on politics, and reports on his financial dealings. There is a gap between 1940 and 1945, and no letters for the years 1950, or 1952 through 1954. Towards the end of the correspondence, RSC and Guille begin addressing Chapman as "Little Boy Blue." Chapman and his family visited Williamstown in the summer of 1956 and some of the letters touch on the early successes of the museum. Of special interest are Chapman's observations and thoughts on the international political and financial situation during World War II.
Albert ChristmasAlbert Christmas was an attorney who worked for Clark on a variety of legal and financial matters, including RSC's efforts to break up the Singer trusts and the morass surrounding the hearings on an alleged plot against Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This series of letters covers the years 1930-1942, though the business relationship between RSC and Christmas began, according to RSC's diaries, in July of 1923 when RSC hired Christmas's brother, an accountant, to look over his affairs in the Clark Estates' office. Many of the letters in this series are neither to nor from RSC but all are about RSC’s financial dealings. The early correspondence in the series deals with legal and financial matters, advice about starting a corporation in Canada for tax purposes, and stock tips. The correspondence from 1935-1942 is largely between Christmas and Helen King, Gladys Newman and other employees of Admiral Cary T. Grayson. This material deals almost exclusively with the financial and legal matters of maintaining and breeding RSC's horses. There are bills, updates on the property and animals, and advice about naming new horses. There are also several letters concerning RSC's anonymous donations to the American Red Cross, Washington and Lee University, and the College of William and Mary, all of which were handled by Grayson. Letters addressed to Christmas from 1937-1939 often include updates on Grayson's work with the Red Cross, and in 1938, his declining health. Letters from March 23-25, 1936 explain the move from the Wall Street office to the Cyllene Corporation and include a lengthy description by Gladys Newman of the disaster relief efforts of the Red Cross. There are many references in the series to Katharine Dwyer, another of RSC's employees and possibly Christmas's secretary as well. Two letters in this series are addressed to Francine and one letter is from Theodore Christmas, thanking RSC for a wedding gift. See also: Correspondence -- Katharine Dwyer; and Correspondence -- Admiral Cary T. Grayson.
Francine ClarkThe letters between RSC and Francine cover the years 1931, 1937, 1949, 1950 and 1954. Most of them are from RSC, with three letters from Francine to RSC in an indecipherable hand. The contents of these letters generally concern reports of everyday life while RSC and Francine are apart and are almost wholly taken up with their daily activities, health, and social lives. Some are in French.
Nathan D. ClarkIn 1932 Nathan D. Clark sent a copy of his "History and Genealogy of Samuel Clark, Sr., and His Decedents" to RSC. This 69 page genealogical report, and an accompanying letter, is the only correspondence between Nathan Clark and RSC in the collection.
Stephen ClarkThe bulk of the correspondence between RSC and his brother dates from 1911 through 1916, with one letter from 1953 and some undated materials. RSC and Stephen discuss, and dispute, the disposition of artworks from their mother’s estate. Stephen expresses bitterness about his role as the keeper of the family business. There is much discussion of the salaries of the family's employees, as well as the disposition of various objects from the various estates. RSC dispenses a great deal of advice to Stephen regarding his art purchases, decorating choices and business acumen. In 1912 Stephen and his family visit Europe to purchase art. Many letters contain later annotations in RSC's hand summarizing the subjects covered. During the beginning of World War I, the brothers' letters contain extensive discussion of Theodore Roosevelt and the political situation both in the United States and Europe. No correspondence has come to light documenting the breakdown of relations between RSC and Stephen. In 1953 Stephen's son, Bobby, died unexpectedly. RSC and Francine apparently sent their condolences because there is a letter from Stephen thanking them. It appears to be their first and only contact since their falling out in the 1920’s.
Paul Lewis ClemensRSC met the artist, Paul Lewis Clemens, in 1942, after purchasing one of his portraits from Durand-Ruel. RSC flew Clemens and his first wife, Ruth, from Los Angeles to New York City for the exhibition of the Clarks' silver that Peter Guille had arranged and a long friendship ensued. This subseries is comprised of RSC’s letters to Clemens and to Ruth, spanning 1942 through 1955. David Brooke (Director of the Clark, 1977-1994) obtained them, along with a copy of Clemens's unpublished memoir. Materials relating to this exchange may be found in Records and Papers of David Brooke, Director, 1977-1996, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Records, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts. In the beginning of the correspondence, RSC offers Clemens advice on his painting, but over time the letters become friendly, affectionate and chatty. RSC seems to have enjoyed having someone with whom to talk about painting, the art world and dealers. He discusses technique, as well as war and politics and the sundry events of his and Francine's daily lives. At times, RSC wrote to Clemens as many as two or three times per month. Particularly notable are details of their lives at Sundridge, the farm in Virginia. One folder of fragments follows the run of correspondence.
Cooperstown Village Club and Librarycorrespondence. CooperstownIn the early 1920's RSC took an interest in the library in Cooperstown. This correspondence is mainly between W. Beach Day, agent of the Clark Estates; Jessie F. Brainard, the librarian at the Horace Mann School for Boys, who was contracted to advise the Cooperstown Library on its collections; and Bertha Kramer, the Librarian at the Village Club & Library. Other correspondents include Margaret Jackson, a librarian with the Library School at the New York Public Library; Gladys G. Leslie, a New York Public librarian; Floyd M. Shumway, an agent with Clark Estates; Waldo C. Johnston, the Clark Estates' agent in Cooperstown; and Ada Vassar Harbott-Taylor, the librarian who succeeded Kramer at the Village Club & Library. The letters describe various efforts to winnow what were perceived as worthless books from the library and build up a collection that would amuse the people of Cooperstown and yet lead them on the path to moral and intellectual development. There are only two letters from RSC, both carbon copies. In them, he expresses his opinion on books recently purchased, or proposed for the library. Some of the letters and lists created by Brainard and Kramer are annotated by RSC.
Ernest CoussellErnest Coussell was a journalist, horse breeder and co-founder of the British Bloodstock Agency. The correspondence between Coussell and RSC runs from 1929 through 1933 and there are some letters from 1939 and 1941. The subject matter relates to the daily business of breeding, racing, buying and selling horses. See also in Correspondence: John Crawford; Gerald McElligott; British Bloodstock (unidentified); A.B. Hancock; W. O Seabourne.
John CrawfordJohn "Jock" Crawford worked for the British Bloodstock Agency. The correspondence between Crawford and RSC spans 1929 through 1933 and is concerned with the daily business of breeding horses. See also in Correspondence: Ernest Coussell; Gerald McElligott; British Bloodstock (unidentified); A.B. Hancock; W. O Seabourne.
T.M. DowlingDowling worked for Stillman, Maynard & Co., members of the New York Stock Exchange, and handled some of RSC's stock trading. RSC and Dowling were on friendly terms and RSC assisted the family financially when Dowling’s wife was ill. The correspondence spans the years 1946-1954.
Katharine DwyerKatharine Dwyer worked as RSC's secretary in New York City from 1931 through the 1950s. She was hired after he closed his Wall St. office in 1931, and worked out of the office of Albert G. Christmas. The correspondence from the 1930's centers on interactions with Gladys Newman, Helen King and other employees of Admiral Cary T. Grayson. These are short, professional letters about the financial matters of the Sundridge farm and horse breeding. There are also several letters between Dwyer and King exchanging suggestions for naming new horses. Dwyer's role in Clark's affairs evolved over time and by the 1940s she was handling everything from laundry and issues with the domestic help to facilitating RSC's horse breeding and managing details of the Virginia farm. She wrote to RSC, and sometimes to Francine, with details of their affairs in New York City and at Sundridge, when the Clarks were traveling. Correspondence exists for the years 1933, 1936-1938, 1945, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1951 and 1953. Of particular note are RSC's letters to Dwyer relating the details of packing up their home in Paris and shipping their belongings back to the United States. There is also discussion of the 1946 election, including the effects of post-war labor strikes, price-controls and shortages of meat. Many particulars are included relating to RSC's horses and his efforts to breed them.
Gardner, Mountain & Co.Gardner, Mountain & Co. was an insurance brokerage. The correspondence is from several agents within the company and mainly deals with RSC's insurance policies. Letters date from 1927 through 1933.
Gutenkust, O.Gutenkust worked for the Colnaghi art dealership and this file contains photocopies of correspondence between Gutenkust and Clark about the purchase of artworks.
Admiral Cary T. GraysonThis series of RSC's letters to Cary Grayson covers the years 1929 through 1938, the entire span of the RSC/Grayson acquaintance. Grayson was a prominent naval medical officer and later the Inaugural Committee Chairman for Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933 and 1937. He was also chair of the American Red Cross from 1935 to his death in 1938. The letters begin shortly after RSC and Grayson met through common friends interested in breeding and racing horses and the early correspondence concerns mostly business arrangements for stabling some of RSC’s horses at Grayson's farm in Upperville, VA. In 1932 RSC purchased part of Grayson's land to start his own farm, Sundridge. The correspondence around this time is primarily concerned with breeding plans, purchases, and racing results. Just before Roosevelt's inauguration in 1933, RSC starts reporting frequent and lengthy observations about world economies, the gold standard, markets, and politics. Letters in 1934 mention the accusations that Clark was involved in an alleged plot against FDR. In 1936 attention turned to bequests. Grayson died February 15, 1938. Clark wrote two letters to Mrs. Grayson after Grayson’s death with advice on the disposition of the horses and the farm. The majority of the letters are photocopies, with some originals both from RSC and from Grayson, including letters from Grayson's wife. There is also some correspondence between the Clarks and Grayson's son, Gordon. Following this span is one folder of correspondence both to and from Helen King and Grace Newman. King worked for Grayson on his farm in Virginia and it's likely that all unsigned correspondence in this run relating to the farm is from her. Newman was Grayson's secretary at the American Red Cross in Washington, DC.
A.B. HancockArthur Boyd Hancock, Sr., ran Claiborne Farm, a business that bred, traded and raced horses. The correspondence spans the years 1924 through 1956.
John B. HowJohn B. How was a financial advisor and friend of Robert Sterling Clark. These letters are friendly in tone and focus more on personal exchanges and musings on the political and financial issues of the day rather than on business matters. In 1961 How wrote a brief summary of his recollections of Clark at the request of Peter Guille, the first director of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. How, an amateur, self-taught sculptor, also made a model of Never Say Die, and other of the Clarks' horses. The correspondence spans the years 1935 through 1957, but all the letters before 1946 are from Clark. Many of the early letters from Clark were sent by How's Daughter, Elizabeth How Savage, to David Brooke, director of the Clark Art Institute from 1977-1994, in 1980. Many of these early letters include transcriptions prepared by Savage and notes from Brooke.
George L. HarrisonGeorge L. Harrison was a lawyer and a banker who served as a governor of the Federal Reserve Bank during the time of his correspondence with RSC. This group of correspondence contains only a few letters most of which are casual such as thank you for gifts and telegrams. One letter, written by Albert Christmas on Clark's behalf, asks for Harrison's help during the time that the Clark's were struggling to send relief money to Francine's daughter Viviane who was in France during the occupation.
Hugo KohlmannOriginally consulted in the matter of the Singer trusts in 1923, Hugo Kohlmann was a New York City attorney who represented RSC in some legal matters and with whom the Clarks were friendly. 1930 is the only year represented in this correspondence.
KnoedlersKnoedler & Company is an art gallery where RSC purchased many artworks. This file contains photocopies of correspondence about the purchase of art.
Gerald McElligottGerald McElligott worked for the British Bloodstock Agency. The correspondence between McElligott and RSC spans 1939 through 1956 and is concerned with the daily business of breeding, selling and racing horses. In 1956, Peter Guille takes over the correspondence on behalf of the ailing RSC. See also in Correspondence: Ernest Coussell; John Crawford; British Bloodstock (unidentified); A.B. Hancock; W. O Seabourne.
L.B. PatchRSC hired L.B. Patch as an accountant in 1923. The correspondence deals with business matters and continues through 1931.
Francoise "Javotte" RayJavotte is Francine's granddaughter. There is one letter and a postcard from Chamonix, both undated, from Javotte to RSC.
Viviane RayViviane was Francine's daughter. The correspondence consists of letters concerning everyday occurrences, although a form for a passport application for a US born citizen is enclosed with a letter from RSC dated October 27, 1925. The reason for this is unclear. A fifty-one-page letter from RSC to Viviane dated from internal evidence January 1925, probably never sent as both the original and copy are here, describes various scenes from RSC's life with Francine including a sketch of life at the hairdresser’s and a dinner party with art dealers. There is also discussion of a fund RSC set up for Viviane, and a document, which has no year indicated, written by an American Express official summarizing their efforts to get Dr. Jacques Ray (Viviane's husband), Viviane, Mme. Franciska Modzelewska (Francine's mother), Francoise, and their dog out of France and to the U.S. during World War II.
Thomas RobertsThe bulk of this correspondence between RSC and Thomas Roberts, one of his attorneys, falls within the year 1946. Additional letters are from 1951 and the years 1954 through 1956. Roberts handled some of RSC’s stock trading, as well as some real estate business. He was instrumental in facilitating the early issues relating to the founding of the museum, such as communicating with the engineers and communicating with Karl Weston. The 1946 letters from RSC contain extensive observations about living conditions in France and England immediately after World War II. RSC and Roberts discuss post-war world economies and the methods by which world governments were dealing with them. Much of the subject matter deals with the stock market and what stocks RSC should add to his portfolio. The 1951 correspondence is of particular interest because of the light it sheds on planning for the museum. Roberts forwards a letter from Karl Weston and letters from the art historian, Millard Meiss, then teaching at Williams College, who wanted to preview RSC's Piero della Francesca painting. RSC’s reply to Roberts contains his assessment of art historians and his refusal to allow Meiss premature access to the work. See also in Correspondence: F.D. Chapman; Katharine Dwyer; John B. How; Hugo Kohlmann.
W. O. SeabourneSeabourne was the accountant for the British Bloodstock Agency. This run of correspondence deals strictly with business matters and dates from 1929 through 1931.
Albert A. SouthwickAlbert A. Southwick was Tiffany's chief designer. These letters, most of which are from Southwick to RSC, are friendly and contain news of Paris and London. There is some discussion of the museum in Williamstown. There are letters from the years 1948, 1949, 1952, 1954 and 1956.
Arthur de Carle SowerbyArthur de Carle Sowerby was a naturalist, explorer and writer who accompanied RSC on his 1908-09 expedition to the Shaanxi and Gansu provinces in northern China. Sowerby remained in China collecting specimens for various museums of natural history and editing the journal he'd founded, The China Journal of Science and Arts. He was interned by the Japanese during World War II and returned to the United States in 1949. RSC funded Sowerby for many years. The bulk of the correspondence dates from 1923 through 1930, with letters through 1953, the year before Sowerby's death. Most of the letters are from Sowerby, with some carbon copies of brief notes sent by RSC. The letters concern the often dire state of Sowerby’s finances as well as updates on his scientific pursuits and analyses of the tumultuous political and economic situation in China. Also included in this correspondence, and of particular note, is a folder containing the reports of a private investigator RSC retained to keep tabs on Sowerby and his wife during their tenure in DC during the last few years of Sowerby's life. The reports continue through 1953 and present a poignant, if dispassionate, portrait of Sowerby's final years. RSC sent money through the private investigator to alleviate some of Sowerby's difficulties and Sowerby wrote several letters to RSC to thank him, but no evidence suggests RSC ever had direct contact with his old partner again.
S. C. StevensonS. C. Stevenson was a partner of Bacon, Stevenson & Co., members of the New York Stock Exchange. He handled some of RSC's stock trading. The letters are a mix of business and pleasure, dating from the years 1945 and 1946.
Erastus TefftThis correspondence spans the years 1912 through 1931 and includes letters between RSC, Erastus and Erastus's wife, Ethel. There are few letters after 1923 and those letters represent a cooler relationship, focused mostly on business. Among them are notes from Helen Tefft and Minchen Tefft, Erastus's daughter and second wife, respectively. Tefft was a member of the New York Stock Exchange and handled some of RSC's stock transactions. They were also close friends and Teftt had a connection to Cooperstown and the whole Clark family. Highlights of this subseries include both Erastus's and Ethel's impressions of the famed 1913 Armory Show and Erastus's account of being involved in the decision to close the NYSE at the onset of World War I. The letters between RSC and Ethel are playful, full of gossip and accounts of local color. RSC and Tefft discuss the political situation in Europe, America's involvement in the War, and the War's impact on the economy, from their respective vantage points. There is some dialogue regarding the sinking of the Lusitania. There is no correspondence from 1929 and no subsequent mention of the stock market crash.
J.A.H. TorryJ.A.H. "Archie" Torry was an engineer with General Electric and a friend of the Clarks. This run includes letters to and from Torry's wife, Tiny, as well. RSC wished Torry to have his guns, and Torry wrote in December 1956, that he'd picked them up from Sundridge in Virginia. There are letters from 1931, 1939, 1940, 1946, 1953, 1955 and 1956, as well as some undated materials.
Douglas WilliamsDouglas Williams was an agent of the British Bloodstock Agency. The correspondence, almost entirely from him to RSC, is concerned primarily with insurance for RSC's horses. It spans the years 1929 through 1933.
Alton YoungThe Reverend Alton M. Young of New Jersey seems to have held various positions within the Volunteers of America organization. He solicited RSC for donations to the Volunteers, as well as for personal assistance when his mother became ill and needed an operation. Thereafter, in a series of letters, Young attempts to secure an interview with RSC relating to a "personal matter," apparently unsuccessfully. The letters begin in 1920 and end in 1924.
OthersThese letters are arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Multiple letters to and from an individual correspondent are arranged by date. Many of these letters are thank you notes for various gifts bestowed by RSC and / or Francine; some are requests for monetary assistance. Much of the correspondence relates to financial transactions and horse breeding. Notable among these materials are letters between RSC and Herbert Finney, the President of Fasig-Tipton Co., horse auctioneers, facilitating the donation of RSC's books on horses to the Thoroughbred Club of America; John Jay Astor; Herbert Elfers, a dealer with Durand Ruel; Lane Faison, art history professor at Williams College; Senator Carter Glass; Gene Harmon, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank and later of New York Life Insurance Co.; Will H. Hays, Chairman of the Republican National Convention from 1918 -- 1921; Harry Primrose, the 6th Earl of Rosebery; Stevenson Scott, an art dealer with Scott & Fowler; and George Percival Scriven, author and prominent Army officer. Towards the end of RSC’s life, Peter Guille answers many of the letters on behalf of the Clarks. See also Personal / Horses and Personal / Financial Records.

Biographical Note

Born in 1877, Robert Sterling Clark, along with his three brothers, was heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune. Their father, Alfred Corning Clark, was the son of Edward Corning Clark, Isaac Singer's business partner. RSC attended Yale University and graduated in 1899 with a degree in engineering. He joined the army and his service during the Boxer Rebellion earned him the commission of first lieutenant. In 1908, RSC undertook an expedition to the Shaanxi and Gansu provinces in a remote area of northern China. He intended to carry out ethnographic and zoological research, as well as conduct surveys and create maps. His partner in this undertaking was Arthur de Carle Sowerby. Sowerby, in addition to being a naturalist, explorer, artist and editor, collected specimens for the British Museum and other museums of natural history in the United States and China. The expedition came to an abrupt end when Hazrat Ali, their translator and surveyor, was murdered.

Shortly thereafter, RSC moved to Paris. In 1909 he inherited various pieces of art from his family and these pieces became the foundation of the collection he was to build over the ensuing decades. He made his first purchases in 1912 and was initially attracted primarily to Dutch, Flemish and Italian old masters. Soon, his interests expanded to include silver, prints and drawings, rare books, and more contemporary artists such as Renoir, Degas, Sargent and Homer.

During this time RSC met Francine Clary. Formerly an actress with the Comedie Francaise, Francine was the mother of a daughter, Viviane Modzelewska. Francine and RSC began seeing one another in 1910, but didn’t marry until 1919. Their relationship was a source of tension with RSC's family and eventually led to a rift between him and his brother, Stephen. Stephen, the youngest of the Clark brothers, had shouldered the daily administration of the family's fortunes. RSC felt that he was at a disadvantage because of the way the Singer trusts were constructed. Should something befall RSC, the money would pass back into the Clark family rather than to Francine and her daughter. When he was unable to resolve the issue within the family, he and Stephen had a falling out that would never be mended and RSC sued unsuccessfully in court to break up the trusts.

RSC and Francine were partners in assembling the collections that would eventually be housed at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, visiting galleries and dealers together. Another keen interest was horse breeding. RSC owned large operations that bred, raised and trained racehorses, first in Belgium and then in Virginia. In 1951, his horse, Never Say Die, won the Epsom Derby, the first American-bred horse ever to do so.

After considering various options for the eventual disposition of their artworks and objects, including donation to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and founding a museum in New York City, RSC and Francine decided to locate their collections in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Beginning in 1950 and continuing through RSC’s death late in 1956, their lives were focused on building the Institute, both physically and administratively.

Index Terms


Clark, Alfred Corning
Ali, Hazrat, d. 1909
Astor, John Jay
Baker, Auval
Baxter, James Phinney, 1831-1921
Beach Day. W.
Burckhardt, Ernest
Chapman, F. Douglas
Christmas, Albert G. (Albert Grant), d. 1953
Clark, Edward Severin, 1870-1933
Clark, Edward, 1811-1882
Clark, Francine, d. 1960
Clark, Nathan D.
Clark, Robert Sterling, 1877-1956
Clark, Stephen Carlton, 1882-1960
Clemens, Paul Lewis, 1911-1992
Coussell, Ernest
Crawford, John
Dowling, T.M.
Dwyer, Katherine C.
Elfers, Herbert
Faison, S. Lane (Samson Lane), 1907-2006
Finney, Herbert
Glass, Carter, 1858-1946
Grayson, Cary T. (Cary Travers), 1878-1938
Guinard, Robert
Gutekunst, Otto
Hancock, A. B.
Harmon, Gene
Harrison, George L.
Hays, Will H. (Will Harrison), 1879-1954
How, John B.
Kohlmann, Hugo
McElligott, Gerald
Patch, L.B.
Primrose, Harry
Ray, Françoise, 1933-
Ray, Viviane
Roberts, Thomas
Scott, Stevenson
Scriven, George Percival
Seabourne, W.O
Singer, Isaac Merritt, 1811-1875
Sowerby, Arthur de Carle, 1885-1954
Stevenson, S.C.
Tefft, Erastus
Tefft, Ethel
Torry, J.A.H.
Williams, Douglas
Young, Alton M.


American Red Cross
British Bloodstock Agency
Cooperstown Village Club & Library
Gardner, Mountain & Co.
M. Knoedler & Co.
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
Williams College


Race horses -- Breeding
Armory Show (1913 : New York, N.Y.)
Art -- Collectors and collecting
Art, American -- 19th century.
Art, American -- 20th century
Art, French -- 19th century
Art, French -- 20th century
Booksellers and bookselling -- France -- Paris
Booksellers and bookselling
China -- Politics and government -- 20th Century
Cooperstown (N.Y.)
Derby (Horse race)
Gold standard -- History
Gold standard -- United States
Gold standard
Horse farms -- United States.
Horses -- Breeding -- America
Horses -- Breeding -- Belgium
Horses -- Breeding -- Europe
Horses -- Breeding -- Great Britain
Horses -- Breeding -- Kentucky
Horses -- Breeding -- United States
Horses -- Breeding -- Virginia
Horses -- Breeding
International economic relations -- 20th century
Libraries -- History -- 20th century
Libraries -- History
Libraries -- New York (State) -- History
Libraries -- New York (State)
Lusitania (Steamship)
Presidents -- Election
Race horses
Race horses -- England -- Epsom
Race horses -- New York (State) -- New York
Racehorse trainers
Real estate investment
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 -- Inauguration
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 -- Military leadership
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 -- Political activity
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 -- Political and social views
Stock exchanges -- United States
Upperville (Va.)
Volunteers of America
World politics -- 1900-1945
World War, 1914-1918
World War, 1939-1945

Document Types:

Business letters
Greeting cards
Letters (Correspondence)
Personal correspondence


Restrictions on Access

This material is currently restricted.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

RSC’s correspondence was assembled from a variety of sources within the Clark Art Institute. The majority of it was stored in the Director’s Vault and arranged in boxes by correspondent. There were two boxes of miscellaneous correspondence, organized roughly by name. Two letter boxes containing letters to and from members of the British Bloodstock Agency and several loose letters and photocopies of letters from RSC obtained from the recipients were discovered among the materials of David Brooke (Clark Art Institute Director, 1977-1994). More correspondence was found in the Curatorial offices and the office of the Registrar.

Preferred Citation

[Cite the item (as appropriate)], Correspondence Series, Sterling and Francine Clark Papers, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Acquisition Information

Acquisition history may be found in the following bibliographical records: 11751642, 11750479 and 11757061.

Processing Information

All of the letters from various sites throughout the Institute were grouped together. The most voluminous of those correspondences were separated out alphabetically by correspondent and then arranged by date; the other letters were classed as Miscellaneous. Miscellaneous letters are arranged alphabetically by last name of correspondent and chronologically if there is more than one letter to or from an individual. All of these materials have been handled and organized by numerous people over the years. Their original order is unknown. They were rehoused and arranged between October 2006 and January 2007 by Lacy Schutz, archivist; Danielle Ryan, archives assistant; and Anne Just, archives intern.

Related Material

The Smithsonian Institution Archives houses the Arthur de Carle Sowerby Papers. The finding aid may be found at:

RSC and Sowerby published an account of their 1908 -- 1909 expedition in: Through Shên-kan; the account of the Clark expedition in north China, 1908-9. By Robert Sterling Clark and Arthur de C. Sowerby, ed. by Major C. H. Chepmell, London, T. F. Unwin, 1912

On the occasion of the Clark Art Institute’s 50th anniversary, the Clark published: The Clark brothers collect: impressionist and early modern paintings / Michael Conforti ... [et al.] ; with additional contributions by Daniel Cohen-McFall ... [et al.], Williamstown, Mass., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2006

Related or similar material can be found in the following series in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Archives, Williamstown, Massachusetts: Diaries Series, Sterling and Francine Clark Papers; Financial Series, Sterling and Francine Clark Papers; Images Series, Sterling and Francine Clark Papers; Personal Series, Sterling and Francine Clark Papers; and Realia Series, Sterling and Francine Clark Papers; Records and Papers of David Brooke, Director, 1977-1996, Institutional Oral Histories.

you wish to report:

Select the collections to add or remove from your search