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Arthur Henry Clarke Letters, 1878-1887: Finding Aid

Published in 1992

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 273
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Arthur Henry Clarke Letters
  • Dates: 1878-1887
  • Size: 0.06 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 8 folders
  • Creator: Clarke, Arthur Henry, 1860-1887
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Arthur Henry Clarke was an officer in the United States Marine Corps and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1882. The Arthur Henry Clarke Letters, spanning from 1878 to 1887, focus on Clarke's service aboard U.S.S. Hartford and Lackawanna during his two years sea service following his completion of the Academic program at the Naval Academy, and his service aboard U.S.S. Iroquois as a newly minted second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

Biography of Arthur Henry Clarke

Arthur Henry Clarke, the only son of Henry W. Clarke, was born in Newport, Rhode Island on August 20, 1860 and attended Rogers High School. A resident of, and appointee from, Rhode Island, Clarke was admitted to the Naval Academy on October 1, 1878 as a Cadet Engineer. After graduating on June 10, 1882, Clarke served aboard the U.S.S. Hartford (Screw sloop-of-war) from 1882 to 1883 and aboard the U.S.S. Lackawanna (Screw sloop-of-war) from 1883 to 1884.

Due to the severely restricted number of commissions available for Cadet Engineers, Clarke joined the United States Marine Corps on July 1, 1884. Second Lieutenant Clarke was subsequently stationed at the Marine Barracks in Pensacola. The following year, 1885, Clarke received command of the Marine guard aboard U.S.S. Iroquois (Steam sloop-of-war). Arthur Henry Clarke died aboard U.S.S. Iroquois at Panama on May 7, 1887.

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Description of Contents

The Arthur Henry Clarke Letters, comprising sixteen pieces of correspondence, are composed of the personal correspondence of Arthur Henry Clarke (1860-1887), U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1882. Spanning from 1878 to 1887, the letters were sent and received by Clarke during his two years sea service as recently graduated Cadet Engineer of the Naval Academy, and later, as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Included among the correspondence is a printed death memorial for USNA Cadet Engineer Edward K. Taylor, as well as a cabinet card photograph of Clarke in uniform.

Six of the letters in the collection were written by Clarke to his parents, with the remainder written by Clarke's mother, his friends, and various military officials. Clarke's letters offer accounts of his activities and experiences aboard the U.S. screw sloops-of-war Hartford and Lackawanna and the steam sloop-of-war Iroquois, and include his 1884 trip from Latin America to the U.S. as a passenger aboard the steamers Ayacucho and Colon. His letters include descriptions of the native peoples and places of Peru, Chile, and Tahita, and contain remarks on other islands of the Pacific, the Falkland Islands, and Guayaquil, Ecuador. Among his naval experiences, Clarke recounts how, in 1883, U.S.S. Hartford transported a scientific team to the Caroline Islands to observe an eclipse.

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The Arthur Henry Clarke Letters are arranged alphabetically by document type, thereunder arranged chronologically.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Arthur Henry Clarke Letters are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Purchased in February 1992. Accession No. 92-09.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Material pertaining to Clarke's time at the Naval Academy as a Cadet Engineer may be found in his Conduct Record and Alumni Jacket in Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Arthur Henry Clarke Letters, MS 273

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1992. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1992 and revised by David D'Onofrio in December 2013.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Chile -- Description and travel
  • Clarke, Arthur Henry, 1860-1887
  • Hartford (Screw sloop-of-war)
  • Iroquois (Steam sloop-of-war)
  • Islands of the Pacific -- Description and travel
  • Lackawanna (Screw sloop-of-war)
  • Peru -- Description and travel
  • Tahiti -- Description and travel
  • Taylor, Edward Kenyon, 1860-1880
  • United States Naval Academy. Class of 1882

Genre Terms

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs
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Contents List

Correspondence, 1878, 1881

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 1

W. F. Darrah to Arthur Clarke, 1878 December 10

William Francis Darrah's studies, prior to becoming a Cadet Engineer, United States Naval Academy Class of 1883.

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 2

Mrs. Clarke to Arthur Clarke, 1881 June 17

Ball at the Naval Academy and family events in Newport.

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Correspondence, 1882-1883

Box 1 Folder 2 Item 1

Office of James Mahony to Arthur Clarke, 1882 February 1

French Mask Ball and sleighing party in New York City.

Box 1 Folder 2 Item 2

Mrs. Clarke to Arthur Clarke, 1882 February 22

News of Clarke's friends, Naval Academy June Ball, and advice on new uniforms.

Box 1 Folder 2 Item 3

Mrs. Clarke to Arthur Clarke, 1882 April 1

Clarke's physical and well wishes on upcoming examinations.

Box 1 Folder 2 Item 4

Arthur Clarke to Mr. and Mrs. Clarke, 1882 December 26-1883 January 2

U.S.S. Hartford off Valparaiso, Chile. Passage to Valparaiso, Chile, difficulties in obtaining horses at Punta Arenas, visit to a local schoolhouse, plans for future examinations of Cadet Engineers, the Falkland Islands, and descriptions of South American natives as savages.

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Correspondence, 1883

Box 1 Folder 3 Item 1

Arthur Clarke to Mr. and Mrs. Clarke, 1883 March14-22

U.S.S. Hartford off Callao, Peru. Italian ship decorations, Peruvian-Chilean-American relations, American ships a "disgrace" compared to foreign vessels, impending eclipse, description of Lima, Peru, and examination of Naval Cadets of the Class of 1881.

Box 1 Folder 3 Item 2

Arthur Clarke to Mr. and Mrs. Clarke, 1883 March 29-May 4

U.S.S. Hartford at sea. Transporting scientific team for eclipse observation, state of the ship's sheep, Navy Bill limiting commissions of Naval Cadets to ten, descriptions of Lima and Callao, description of Tahiti and Tahitian natives, and landing eclipse observation team in the Caroline Islands.

Box 1 Folder 3 Item 3

Arthur Clarke to Mr. and Mrs. Clarke, 1883 September 2

U.S.S. Lackawanna off Callao, Peru. Transfer to U.S.S. Lackawanna and a bull fight in Callao. Includes copies of letters of August 24 and 25 from Clarke's former Captain and Chief Engineer appraising Clarke's skills.

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Correspondence, 1884

Box 1 Folder 4 Item 1

Mrs. Clarke to Arthur Clarke, 1884 March 3-17

Efforts to forward Arthur's career, details of home, and the death of Clarke's friend [Frederick Edward] Coley [USNA Class of 1882] from either typhoid or Panama Fever.

Box 1 Folder 4 Item 2

Arthur Clarke to Mr. and Mrs. Clarke, 1884 April 30-May 26

U.S.S. Lackawanna off Callao, Peru. Fear of being discharged from the Navy, travel home via the steamer Ayacucho and rail over the isthmus, orders to report to Annapolis for examination, homes and peoples (described as lazy) in Guayaquil, parents' efforts to secure Arthur a commission in the Army, and potential of Cadet Engineers refusing examination.

Box 1 Folder 4 Item 3

LT Louis Kingsley to Secretary of the Navy W.E. Chandler, 1844 May 5

U.S.S. Lackawanna off Callao, Peru. Letter of recommendation for Clarke.

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Correspondence, 1885, 1887

Box 1 Folder 5 Item 1

[Goodrich] to Arthur Clarke, 1885 May 14

Conveyance of certain articles to Clarke.

Box 1 Folder 5 Item 2

Captain William R. Brown to Arthur Clarke, 1885 December 15

U.S.S. Hartford off Callao, Peru. Invoices for clothing sent to Clarke, then a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps commanding the guard aboard U.S.S. Iroquois.

Box 1 Folder 5 Item 3

Arthur Clarke to Mr. and Mrs. Clarke, 1887 March 24-30

U.S.S. Iroquois off Caldera, Chile. Quarantine of Central American and Chilean ports due to cholera outbreak, impact of cholera outbreak on mail service, and painting of the ship for Admiral's inspection.

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Box 1 Folder 6

Correspondence, undated

Miss Hodges to Arthur Clarke, regarding Clarke's invitation to Hodges to a matinee.

Box 1 Folder 7

Death Notice, 1880 December 16

Notice of the death of Cadet Engineer Edward K. Taylor from the Annapolis Advertiser.

Box 1 Folder 8

Photograph, undated

Cabinet card of Arthur Clarke in uniform.

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