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Financial Series

Financial Series

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Sterling and Francine Clark Papers:

Financial Series

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

March 31, 2009



Profile Description

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

A Guide to the Financial Series

Repository:Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Archives
225 South St.
Williamstown, MA 01267
Creator:Clark, Robert Sterling, (1877-1956)
Title: Financial Series
Dates:1903 - 1955 (inclusive)
Dates: 1921 - 1954 (bulk)
Quantity:3.3 linear feet
Abstract:This series contains financial records, including bills and receipts, check registers, and bank statements.
Identification:CAI ARC 2006.01.04
Language: English, French

Arrangement of the Papers

The distinction between business records and receipts was maintained from the original organization of the material. The receipts are in alphabetical and then chronological order. The remaining financial material is arranged chronologically, with the exception of three folders that contain the records of RSC’s interactions with the Equitable Trust Company; Gardner, Mountain & Company; and Tiffany & Company. Checkbooks are arranged chronologically, separate from the business records.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The business records span the years 1903-1955. The material consists of bank statements; assets statements; cash statements; statements of holdings and earning on the Bond and Stock markets; expense reports on RSC’s various businesses and properties; and reports on financial and investments accounts for RSC, Francine and RSC’s companies. The Equitable Trust company folder contains bank statements; the Tiffany & Co. folder contains receipts and appraisals for jewelry; and the Gardner, Mountain & Co. folder contains receipts and insurance policies, many of them forwarded from Lloyd’s of London. In addition to these companies, there are many assets statements from William Allen & Co.; bank statements from Chase National Bank and Bankers Trust Company; and financial and investment reports from R.G. Rankin & Co. The receipts series contains receipts from 1920-1955 for a variety of goods and services such as jewelry, horse breeding and care, rare books, clothing, luggage, medical expenses and hotel bills. There are significant quantities from the book dealers James F. Drake, Inc., Bernard Quaritch, Ltd. and the Estate of George D. Smith. There are many receipts for horse breeding and care from the British Bloodstock Agency, A.B. Hancock and the Kentucky Association. There are many bills from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Folder 20a contains a number of records received from the office of Talcott Banks related to insurance and shipping. At the end of the receipts, there are two folders: one contains some real estate records; the other contains reports from private investigators RSC engaged to scrutinize people who asked him for money. The checkbooks span the years of 1937-1948.


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

Names:

Banks, Talcott
Clark, Francine, d. 1960
Clark, Robert Sterling, 1877-1956
Hancock, A. B.

Organizations:

Bernard Quaritch (Firm)
British Bloodstock Agency
Equitable Trust Company (Wilmington, Del.)
George D. Smith Book Co.
James F. Drake, Inc.
Kentucky Association
Ritz-Carlton Hotels (Firm)
Tiffany and Company

Document Types:

Appraisals
Bills of sale
Checkbooks
Financial records
Insurance policies
Invoices
Receipts (Financial records)

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

This material is currently restricted.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

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

Acquisition Information

Most of these items were found in a filing cabinet in the office of David Brooke (Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Director, 1977-1994. The book dealers’ records came from the office of the Librarian. A handful of receipts were added from records found in the office of the Registrar in December 2007.

Processing Information

The distinction between business records and receipts was maintained from the original organization of the material. Because most of the business associates with whom RSC corresponded were also friends, letters were removed and integrated into the Correspondence series. The receipts were found in alphabetical order. There was no obvious organization of the business records with the exception of three folders that contained all the records of Clark’s interactions with particular companies. The organization of these three folders, for the Equitable Trust Company; Gardner, Mountain & Company; and Tiffany & Company, was maintained and the remaining financial material was arranged chronologically. The receipts are arranged alphabetically and chronologically if there is more than one item from a company. Checkbooks are arranged chronologically, separate from the business records. These records were processed by Lacy Schutz, Archivist; Danielle Ryan, Archives Assistant; and Alex Grimley, Archives intern.


Related Material

Related or similar material can be found in the following series in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Records, Williamstown, Massachusetts: Diaries Series, Sterling and Francine Clark Papers; Correspondence 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.

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: Correspondence Series, Sterling and Francine Clark Papers; Diaries 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; Institutional Oral Histories.


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