Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / Charles Lorenzo Clarke Papers, 1780-1987, n.d. (bulk 1870-1942)

Charles Lorenzo Clarke Papers, 1780-1987, n.d. (bulk 1870-1942)

5.0 linear feet.

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Agency History / Biographical Note:
Charles Lorenzo Clarke (1853-1941) was present when Thomas Alva Edison opened the Pearl Street station in New York, the world's first electric generating plant, which supplied current for the operation of Edison's elecric lamps. Born on April 16, 1853, to Daniel and Mary Lewis (Bragg) Clarke, Charles Clarke grew up in Portland, Maine, attending Portland High School. He then worked as an assistant engineer with the Boston & Maine railroad, which ran between Portland and Boston. He was graduated from Bowdoin College in 1875.

On February 1, 1880, Clarke became an assistant to Thomas Edison in his laboratory at Menlo Park, New Jersey. He was later made chief engineer of Edison Electric Light Co. in New York City. When Edison moved his plant to Schenectady in 1886, Clarke followed and continued to consult and work for General Electric (formerly Edison General Electric Company) until he retired on November 1, 1931.

Clarke was the author of Diagonal Functions and their Operation (1937) and various papers, including "Edison's Electric Railway" (Van Nostrand's Eng. Mag., 1880), "Electric Motor Diagrams" (Elec. Eng., 1889), and "High Frequency Oscillatory and Pulsatory Dischory Discharges" (Trans. Amer. Electrotherapeutic Assoc., 1904).

Clarke was married three times and had four children: John Curtis, Mary Willatowski, Daniel William, and Charles Lorenzo, Jr.

Charles Lorenzo Clarke died on October 9, 1941, in Newton, Massachusetts.

Scope and Content:
The collection consists of material by and concerning Charles Lorenzo Clarke, including: correspondence, with the bulk to and from family members; documents, such as Clarke's Bowdoin College Master of Science and Civil Engineering degrees; writings; and images, including photographs of the Clarke family, photographs of Japanese engineers and their families, and an album with postcards of Errol, New Hampshire. Also included are newspaper clippings, many concerning Thomas Edison; printed material, the bulk regarding General Electric; memorabilia, featuring colonial and Confederate currency; and scrapbooks, which include pencil drawings by Clarke.

Cite as: Charles Lorenzo Clarke Papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.

Access Restrictions: None.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
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