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The Papers of D. Worth Clark




MSS 207



Biographical sketch


            David Worth Clark , U.S. Representative and Senator from Idaho, was born on April 2, 1902, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, the son of David Worth Clark, Sr., and his wife Nellie.  Clark came from a family active in Democratic politics; two of his uncles, Barzilla Worth Clark and Chase A. Clark, served as Governors of Idaho.  D. Worth Clark graduated from Notre Dame University and received a law degree from Harvard.  He returned to Idaho to practice law, and after two years as assistant attorney general of Idaho, was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1934.  He was reelected in 1936.  He took a strong stand against President Roosevelt's plan to expand the Supreme Court and was seen as a protege of Idaho Senator William E. Borah in his foreign policy views.  In 1938 he challenged sitting U.S. Senator James P. Pope for the Democratic nomination and defeated Pope in the primary election. He was then elected to the Senate in the Fall.  In the Senate, Clark was highly critical of President Roosevelt's foreign policy and earned a reputation as an isolationist.  He opposed the Lend-Lease bill and became a spokesman for the America First Committee, advocating strict neutrality and opposing what he saw as America's drift into World War II.  He spoke out for neutrality as Notre Dame's commencement speaker in 1940, and, with Charles A. Lindbergh and Lillian Gish, headlined a huge America First rally in the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in June 1941.  Clark sought reelection to the Senate in 1944 but was defeated in the Democratic primary by Glen Taylor.  After his defeat he worked in Washington, D.C., as a lawyer.  He went to China in 1948 as a consultant for the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee to assess the military and economic situation there in the midst of civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists.  Clark's trip highly publicized and his report was much anticipated as a guide to U.S. aid efforts. He returned to the political fray in 1950, defeating incumbent Senator Glen Taylor in the Democratic primary, but was defeated by Herman Welker in the general election in November.  He moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1954 and died there in 1955.



The collection


            The D. Worth Clark papers consist of one large box of loose scrapbook pages of newspaper clippings chronicling Clark's career in the U.S. House and Senate, particularly his activities on behalf of America First Committee, and one box of miscellaneous files.  It includes letters he received after his speech at the Hollywood Bowl in June 1941 on behalf of the America First Committee, some from individuals who were there; newspaper coverage of his trip down the Salmon River (River of No Return) in Idaho with a National Geographic Society exploring party, 1935; papers from his service on the U.S. Senate's Subcommittee Investigating Wire Tapping, 1941; and a file of correspondence with Dan J. Cavanagh relating to Idaho Democratic politics and Clark's plans to run for the Senate again in 1950.  There is a file of correspondence (1946-1950) with Ralph W. Olmstead, former China operations officer of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, who was establishing himself in business in Shanghai, China.  Olmstead's letters contain several references to meetings with T.V. Soong.   The collection also contains a copy of the report (1948) Clark made to the U.S. Senate about his fact finding trip to China,  the Time magazine coverage of his report, and a copy of Senate hearings Clark chaired in 1941 on pro-war propaganda in motion pictures.


            The collection was presented to Boise State University by Senator Clark's daughter, Helen C. Barber, in 2001.


                                                            Collection number:  MSS 207
                                                            Inclusive dates:  1935-1950
                                                            Size of the collection.  ca. 1 ft. (in 2 boxes)
                                                            Processed by: Alan Virta, 2010



Papers of D. Worth Clark, 1935-1950

Box and Folder List


Box 1: Miscellaneous papers


Folder 1          Profile by Drew Pearson (clipping), 1938
Folder 2          Commencement speech (typescript), Notre Dame University, 1940

Folder 3          Correspondence: Cavanagh, Dan J., 1949-1950 (Political plans)
Folder 4          Correspondence: Corcoran, Clark & Youngman, 1948
Folder 5          Correspondence: Hollywood Bowl speech, public reaction, 1941
Folder 6          Correspondence: Olmstead, Ralph W., 1946-1950

Folder 7          1944 campaign: Democratic Party committeemen roster, statewide, 1944
Folder 8          1944 campaign: Nominating petitions, 1944
Folder 9          1944 campaign: Lists of names, 1944

Folder 10        China report, 1948
Folder 11        Salmon River trip clippings, 1935
Folder 12        Submarginal lands, Oneida County (Philo W. Austin), 1944

Folder 13        Wiretapping bill: Stewart subcommittee, 1941
Folder 14        Wiretapping bill: Stewart subcommittee: Testimony, 1941
Folder 15        Wiretapping bill: Correspondence from labor unions, 1941
Folder 16        Wiretapping bill: Dept. of Justice press releases, 1940-1941
Folder 17        Wiretapping bill: Press clippings, 1941

Folder 18        Photo: D. Worth Clark with John Nance Garner and William Barry
Folder 19        Photo: Mrs. Clark, potato publicity



Box 2: Scrapbook pages and other items


46 loose scrapbook pages (laminated) on 23 leaves; mainly clippings, 1935-1944


Propaganda in Motion Picture. Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Interstate Commerce, United States Senate...September 9 to 26, 1941 (449 pages).  Chaired by Senator Clark.


Pictorial Directory of the War Congress (1944)


Certificate from Governor of New Mexico, naming Clark a "Colonel, Aide-de-camp" (1946)


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