Clark, Charles L.
Business Archive of Charles L. Clark, merchant of Westbrook, Middlesex County, Connecticut, including Correspondence, Ledgers, and Ephemera, as well as related material of William N. Kirtland, 1856-1952

Large archive consisting of: 138 letters (189 pp.), 28 volumes of business ledgers, accounts, and memorandum books (5,500 pp.), plus approximately 1,068 pieces of paper and manuscript ephemera, including checks, letterhead business receipts, newspaper clippings, brochures, circulars, used envelopes, post cards, etc., as well as essays and verse. Letters date from 1857 to 1939, with the bulk of the correspondence and ephemera dated between the years of 1870 and 1910. The letters tend to be mostly business and financial correspondence, with many written on company letterhead. There are also letters that discuss personal or family matters.

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Charles L. Clark (1850-aft. 1930)

      Charles L. Clark was born in Nov 1850, at Old Saybrook, Middlesex County, Connecticut. In 1870, Charles is found working as a clerk in a store at Old Saybrook. By the time the 1880 Census was taken he is found located at Essex, Middlesex County, Connecticut, listed as a merchant. Clark married Marie Louise Kirtland in 1873, she was born about 1854. Together the couple had at least three children, two daughters Mary E. Clark (1873-1933), and Lulu K. Clark (1877-1932), and a son Charles Chapman Clark (1879-1956).                                           

      Clark was a merchant, with a general merchandise business of dry goods, groceries, and provisions. From records in the archive he was in business as early as 1871, located at Centre Brook, Connecticut. Later he is found located at Westbrook, Connecticut by at least 1889. He remained in Westbrook at least through 1930. He was living with his wife and three children in 1920, all of his children were in their forties and still single. His son Charles Chapman was working with his father as he was listed as a salesman in the grocery trade. By 1930, Charles Chapman is not listed with the family, but one of the daughters was acting as a buyer of general merchandise for the store. Charles apparently married and moved out, but remained in Westbrook and still worked at the family general store, he died in 1956.

      Charles L. Clark was listed at one point (at least 1906) as a director of the Clinton National Bank, along with L.L. Hull, President, E. E. Post, Cashier, and fellow directors Charles A. Elliot, S. P. Hull, Henry C. Hull, John A. Stanton, Elias W. Wellman. Everyone except for Clark was from Clinton. In 1915, Clark had a Cadillac registered in Connecticut, and during World War One, Clark acted as the director/chairman of the Liberty Chorus for Westbrook, Connecticut. The Liberty Chorus was a community organization formed to provide music at war rallies, public gatherings, singing the national anthems, and other patriotic songs. Clark also served as a clerk for the local Westbrook Congregational Christian Church. Clark was also a hunter, as he is seen registering two deer killed in August 1915 and another two in 1917.

      Clark's wife, Marie Louise Kirtland, was the daughter of William Nathaniel Kirtland (1813-1891) and Elouisa Maria Spencer (1817-1909). Clark's in-laws lived at Westbrook, Connecticut, from at least 1860 through 1880 (according to census records). Marie's father William is seen as a fisherman in the 1860 and1870 Census, his son William - a mariner in 1870. After 1870, Marie's father is seen as a grocer, who kept a country store at Westbrook, but was still involved in some manner in the fishing industry. In 1871, Marie's father William and others petitioned the Connecticut House of Representatives for the repeal of the laws prohibiting "pound fishing." He also acted for a time as a justice of the peace for Westbrook. Marie Louise had two siblings, Harriet Emily Kirtland, who married Elbert Stannard, a mariner, and William Abner Kirtland. The Stannard family were also fishermen. The Stannard family shows up in the records of this collection.

     The archive consists of correspondence and business ledgers of both Charles L. Clark and his father-in-law William N. Kirtland. Below we provide a full description of collection, which shows it is quite large and thorough, giving a complete picture of a merchant and his business.

Archive Description:

Correspondence (1857-1939)

138 letters, comprising 189 manuscript pages, without envelopes, dated between 15 January 1857 to 9 June 1939, as follows:

Letters written to Chapman Clark, 6 letters (6 pp.), dated 15 Jan. 1857 -24 May 1860.

Letters written by Charles L. Clark, 3 letters (6 pp.), dated 21 April 1875 - 10 June 1879.

Letters written to Charles L. Clark, 89 letters (99 pp.), dated 6 April 1865 - 9 June 1939.

Letters written to William N. Kirtland, 13 letters (22 pp.), dated 12 May 1875 - 21 Dec. 1880.

Letters written by William N. Kirtland, 3 letters (4 pp.), dated 12 May 1875 - 5 Jan. 1889.

Miscellaneous Letters of family, friends, business associates, 25 letters (53 pp.), date 19 June 1868 - 4 Oct. 1934.

Ledgers and Account Books (1857-1953)

28 volumes (approximately 5,500 manuscript pages) of business account ledgers, business day books, and business memorandum books, various bindings in various formats, mostly worn, some boards loose, some spines lacking, etc., text and entries in good legible condition, written mainly in ink as follows:

1 business account ledger of Wm. N. Kirtland, 434 pp., plus 122 pp. index, measures 8" x 12 ½", bound in suede, red leather label on spine, dated 1857-1872.

1 manuscript notebook containing exegetical notes on several books of the Bible: (1st Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Epistle to the Hebrews, Luke), 374 pp., measures 8" x 10", bound in half leather, marble papered boards, not dated, circa 1850.

1 manuscript memorandum book on various essays dealing with agriculture, some extracts, etc., 137 pp., measures 6" x 8", ¼ leather, marbled paper covered boards, boards detached, no date, circa 1870s.

1 manuscript memorandum book on various essays dealing with agriculture, some extracts, etc. approximately 202 pp., measures 7 ½" x 13", bound in ½ leather, marbled paper covered boards, boards detached, some leaves loose, extra leaves tucked in, also has some science related material, un- dated circa 1870s.

1 account book, 37 pp., measures 3 ½: x 5 ½, bound in wrappers, dated 1870-1871.

1 memorandum book of C. L. Clark, 19 pp., measures 3 ¾: x 6", bound in wrappers, dated 1874.

1 account book of W. A. Comstock in account with C. L. Clark, 40 pp., measures 3" x 6 ¼", bound in stiff wrappers, dated January 1874 -April 1875.

1 memorandum book of C. L. Clark, measures, 3 ½ x 6", lacks binding, dated 1875.

1 account book of Wm. N. Kirtland, 286 pp., measures 7 ½" x 12", bound in ¼ red leather, and marbled paper covered boards, dated 1875-1876.

1 business account day book of Wm. N. Kirtland, 336 pp., measures 7 ¾" x 12 ½", bound in ¼ red leather, and marbled paper covered boards, dated 1875-1876.

1 check receipt book, 50 pp., 154 check receipts (amounts, person written to, date), measures 10 ½" x 8", dated 1875-1876.

1 business account day book of Wm. N. Kirtland, 476 pp., measures 8" x 12 ½", bound in half red leather, marbled paper covered boards, entries dated 1875-1879.

1 business account ledger of C. L. Clark, 44 pp., measures 8" x 10", bound in half red leather, marbled paper covered boards, rear board detached, dated 1877.

1 check receipt book, 50 pp., 147 check receipts (amounts, person written to, date), measures 12" x 9 ¾ ", dated 1878-1880.

1 cash account/inventory book of Wm. N. Kirtland & Co., 26 pp., measures 7 ½" x 12", bound in ¼ red leather, marbled paper covered boards, dated 1881-1882.

1 receipt book, 50 pp., bound in ½ cloth, measures 2 ¾" x 4 ¾", marbled paper covered boards, dated 1882.

1 cash ledger of Wm. N. Kirtland & Co., 131 pp., measures 5" x 9 ½", bound in ¼ red leather, cloth covered boards, dated 1882.

1 business day book of Wm. N. Kirtland, 724 pp., measures 9 ½" x 14", bound in leather, dated 1882-1884.

1 business account ledger of Wm. N. Kirtland & Co., 44 pp., measures 6" x 12", bound in ½ cloth, marbled paper covered boards, dated 1885-1886.

1 cash account ledger of Wm. N. Kirtland & Co., 105 pp., measures 5 ½" x 13", bound in ¼  red leather, cloth boards, dated 1888-1891.

1 cash account ledger of C. L. Clark, 101 pp., measures 7" x 8 ½", bound in ¼ red leather marbled paper covered boards, dated 1891-1893.

1 business account ledger of C. L. Clark, 655 pp., measures 9" x 14 ¼" and is 3 ½" thick, bound in leather, spine loose, dated 1892-1894.

1 bank account book of C. L. Clark, 46 pp., measures 3 ¼" x 5 ½, bound in limp cloth,  entries dated Dec .1920 - June 1924.

1 foodstuff account book, 60 pp., measures 3 ¾: x 6", spiral binding with limp paper wrappers, dated Aug. 1937 – Sept. 1938.

1 business account ledger of C. L. Clarke, 114 pp., includes 7 pp. index, measures 8 ½" x 14 ½", bound in buckram, leather corners and label on spine, dated 1938-1941.

1 Security Simplified System: The Approved Business and Tax Record, for Clark's Store in Westbrook, 157  pp., measures 13" x 10", bound in cloth, includes accounts, social security tax deducted for employees, etc., dated 1943-1945.

6 receipt books, "daily sheets," approximately 600 pp., measures 6" x 11", bound in ¼ cloth, paper wrappers, dated 1946-1953.

1 notebook "Famous Men by Sallee Holbrook," 28 pp, 6 ½" x 9 ½", bound in ¼ cloth, paper covered boards, dated 1948, Westbrook School, Westbrook, CT. [self-made book by a student writing on famous men, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin]

Ephemera:

8 pieces (24 pp.) containing essays, verse, etc., not dated (c. late 19th early 20th Centuries).

84 pieces of printed ephemera (blank checks, letterhead, form letters, newspaper clipping, notice to stockholders, brochures, circulars, etc.

4 calling cards, 13 post cards to the Clark family, 9 used envelopes to Clark family

5 insurance receipts for Clark family, 10 tax receipts for Clark family

 11 pieces of legal ephemera for the Clark family, such as tax records, insurance policy, subpoena, contracts, protests, cemetery plot, etc.

10 pieces concerning public library at Westbrook

10 pieces pertaining to banking and stocks

1 telegram

812 business receipts, many letterhead receipts, showing goods bought or sold 142 pieces related to William N. Kirtland, includes old checks, letterhead receipts, postcards, envelopes, etc.