Manuscript Collections - Fred G. Clark Papers

March 13, 2020

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8 linear feet, 5 linear inches
(18 manuscript boxes, 2 oversize boxes)
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library


Fred George Clark was born in Cleveland, Ohio on November 2, 1890.  His parents had immigrated to Ohio from Canada in 1882. Clark’s father, Frederick G. Clark, had established an oil refining and marketing company in Cleveland.  By the age of 13 both of Clark’s parents had died.  He attended school in Asheville, North Carolina before returning to Cleveland and completing his schooling at the University School in 1909.  He then enrolled at Kenyon College and although he was active in student life, he left without graduating in 1913.

That same year Clark went to work as an oil tester for his late father’s firm, the Fred G. Clark Company.  Clark rose quickly within the company, becoming office manager in 1914, salesman in 1916, and vice-president in 1920. He served in the Army during World War I as a Captain assigned to purchase lubricating oil for the Army. 

In 1924 he became president of the Fred G. Clark Company, and two years later also became president of the Conewango Refining Company in Pennsylvania.  Clark continued working in the oil industry until 1932 when he established the insurance firm of Clark, Curtin and Norton in New York.  Clark initially served as president and remained associated with it until 1965.

Clark developed an interest in Prohibition and established The Crusaders, an organization in Cleveland dedicated to repealing the 18th Amendment. After the repeal of prohibition in 1933, The Crusaders remained active in politics by attacking various New Deal policies throughout the 1930s.  Their views were spread through Clark’s radio program The Voice of the Crusaders which broadcast until 1937.

In 1939 Clark established the American Economic Foundation and was the general chairman until a month before his death in 1973. During the campaign to end prohibition Clark became convinced that many Americans suffered from economic illiteracy, and he created the AEF in order to simplify economics for the masses.  Clark was a staunch advocate of the free market and one early AEF activity was a campaign among labor representatives in northeast Ohio, in which he sought to emphasize the shared interests of labor and management in fostering industrial production. 

To reach a wider audience, Clark and his associates turned to the print and broadcast media.  Clark moderated a radio program on the NBC Blue Network, Wake Up, America!, which ran from 1940-1946.  The format consisted of a panel of experts who debated various economic and political issues of the day, and was usually comprised of academics, journalists, politicians, and business leaders.  Included among the guests were such names as Max Lerner, Ruth Alexander, George Sokolsky, Arthur Garfield Hays, Henry Hazlitt, Norman Thomas, Senator Robert A. Taft, and former President Herbert Hoover.

Hoover in particular, who shared Clark’s economic views, developed a close friendship with Clark, and invited him to be a frequent guest at the annual “encampments” of the Bohemian Club in Northern California (held at a location known as “Bohemian Grove”).  Yet even those panelists who disagreed with Clark’s views often respected his program and his organization.  Socialist Norman Thomas stated years later that although he was “in ideological disagreement with a great many things that the Foundation says,” he thought that it was “doing an educational work from its own point of view and an educational work of value.”

In addition to his radio work, Clark also collaborated on several books with Richard Stanton Rimanoczy, the educational director of the foundation.  These titles included How We Live (1944), Money (1947), and How to Be Popular, Though Conservative (1948).  Clark also wrote editorial columns and articles for many magazines and newspapers, and the Foundation also produced and distributed motion pictures as well as sponsored a “Hall of Enterprise” at the World’s Fair in New York in 1964-1965. 

In addition to his activities as chairman of the Foundation, Clark also pursued photography as a hobby, practicing his craft frequently at the annual Bohemian Club meetings.  Herbert Hoover referred to Clark as “not only my good friend but my best photographer.”  Many examples of Clark’s photography are included in this collection of papers.

Fred Clark died at his home in New York City on January 7, 1973.

Fred G. Clark was a research and organization executive in the field of Economics.

He was credited with the repeal of Prohibition through his organization, “The Crusaders.” 1929-33.

He was moderator for the radio program, “Wake Up America,” (1941-47)  on current issue debates.

1939, He was chairman for 30 years of the American Economic Foundation which worked to foster economic literacy among citizens. His work was in descriptive economics, simplifying the jargon used by economists. The AEF promoted the teaching of economics in the schools.
Also, it  built a Hall of Free Enterprise at the 1964-65 World’s Fair.

He was author of several books in collaboration with Richard S. Rimanoczy.

He was an excellent photographer, called by Herbert Hoover his, “favorite photographer.”
His photographs show the activites at Bohemian Grove and the participants of his radio show, “Wake Up America.”


The collection is divided into three series and contains correspondence, manuscripts, publications, and photographs.

AMERICAN ECONOMIC FOUNDATION: Contains primarily general business correspondence about this organization, from 1939-1978, yet also includes files on The Crusaders dating from 1930-1937.  Also contains correspondence to and from Clark’s widow, Diana Grafmueller, who remained active in the Foundation in the years after his death.  In addition to general correspondence, files and scripts related to Wake Up, America! as well as plans for the Hall of Enterprise can be found in this series.

NAME AND SUBJECT FILES: Correspondence.  Significant correspondents include Herbert Hoover, Herbert Hoover, Jr., Allan Hoover, Richard Nixon, Barry Goldwater, Thomas Dewey, DeWitt Wallace, and A. C. Wedemeyer. Arranged alphabetically by name.

PERSONAL FILES:  Contains books, manuscripts of his speeches, clippings, and photographs.  Also included are his photographs, primarily of activities at the annual encampments at Bohemian Grove, but also of participants in his broadcasts of Wake Up, America!



Box      Contents
1          Business
                     Better America editorials, 1954
                     Bureau of Economic Research - A Study of Receipts, 1915-1944
                     Charts, undated
                     Citizens Foreign Aid Committee, 1962-1967
                     Clark, Diana Grafmueller, 1973-1983
                     Dahlberg, Arthur O.
                              Correspondence, 1969-1977
                              Money in Motion, 1962 (book)
                     Economic Facts of Life editorials, 1948-1974 and undated (6 folders)

2                   Educational concerns, 1949-1953, 1963-1968 (2 folders)
                     Educational programs, 1965-1972 and undated
                     Endorsements, 1947-1966 and undated
                     Films, slides, scripts, undated
                     Handbook of Accepted Economics, 1941
                     History, 1940-1954 and undated
?                   How We Live In America – film script

?3                 Miscellaneous, 1938-1975 and undated (2 folders)
                     National Schools Committee, 1965
                     Pamphlets, 1944-1971
                     Publications, 1964 and undated
                     Services available, 1939-1965
                     Tax exempt status, 1939-1940
                     Speeches by others, 1955-1967 and undated
                     Ten Pillars of Economic Wisdom, 1966

4          The Crusaders
                     Correspondence, 1930-1939
                     Organization, 1930-1939
                     Radio Broadcasts, 1935-1936
                     Sheet Music, 1935
                     Report Concerning Prohibition, undated (2 copies)

5          Hall of Free Enterprise at the World’s Fair
                     Correspondence, Clippings, Announcements, 1962-1965
                              (7 folders, arranged alphabetically)
                     Economic workshop, 1963-1965
                              General, 1964-1965

6                            Information Kit, 1964
                              Pamphlets, 1963-1965 (2 folders)
                              Preparation, 1963-1964
                              Steering Committee, 1963-1964
            Liberty Village
                     Correspondence, 1976-1977
                     Grant Requests, 1977-1978

7                   Orientation Film, 1977-1978
                     Program, 1977-1978
            Wake Up America, Radio Show, 1940-1946
            Wake Up America Scripts, 1942-1947

20        Comments on the work of the American Economic Foundation
            The Hall of Free Enterprise at the New York World’s Fair 1964-65
            How We Live, 1960 (book)
            How We Live, 1969, 1976
            How We Live Promotional Materials
?          New York Daily Mirror – American Economic Foundation Ad (5 copies)
            Scrapbook on Magnificent Delusion, 1940-1941 (promotional materials, clippings,
            What the Crusaders have done to Wake Up America, 1936

            Clark, Fred G., 1939-65
            Congress and Presidents, 1950-81
            Chamberlain, John, 1964-82
            Committee for Economic Development, 1957-74

8          D miscellaneous, 1939-55
            Dewey, Thomas, 1941-66
            Eagan, P. F., 1963
            Eisenhower, Dwight, 1962
            F miscellaneous, 1938-68
            The Freeman, 1958-68
            Free Society Association, 1965
            G miscellaneous, 1940-62
            Goldwater, Barry, 1955-72 and undated
            H miscellaneous, 1943-68
            Hoover, Allen, 1945-73
            Hoover, Herbert
                     Correspondence, 1937-44, 1947-64 and undated (3 folders)
                     Articles, Speeches, 1942-52

9                   Miscellaneous, 1955-71
            Hoover, Herbert, Junior, 1954-69
            Hoover, Herbert III, 1955
            Hoover Foundation, 1954
            Hoover Oral History Program, 1970-72 and undated
            Hoover Presidential Library and Association, 1972-89 and undated
            Humphrey, George, M., 1953-70
            Hutton, Edward F., 1953-60
            Ingram, Samuel, 1951
            J-K miscellaneous
            Keller, Edward A., 1950
            Kennedy Assassination – Clippings, 1963
            Kenyon College, 1934-49
            L miscellaneous
            M miscellaneous
            McCormick, Chauncey, 1941-45 and undated
            Mattei, Albert C., 1947-69
            Mote, Carl H., 1942
            National Association of Foremen, 1942
            National Observer (first issue), February 4, 1962

10        New Zealand Trip, 1949
            Nixon, Richard, M., 1950-1971
            Ohio Society of New York, 1953-63
            Pew, J. Howard, 1938-71
            Peirce, William Foster, 1937-67 and undated (2 folders)
            Pollock, Channing, 1941-43
            “Profit,” Two Views, undated
            Rimanoczy, R. S., 1946-47 and undated
            Rovensky, John E., 1956-70 and undated
            Rustgard, John
                     Correspondence, 1942-50 and undated (3 folders)
                     Autobiography - Draft chapter, undated

11                 Biographical data
                     “The Doom of Democracy,” 1947
                     “Economics in Our Schools,” 1947
                     Memorial Church, 1950
                     “Nature’s Despotism,” undated
                     Publication rights, 1935-54
            Rustgard, Josephine, 1952-54
            Ruthenberg, Louis, 1960-62
            S correspondence
            Saturday Evening Post editorial, 1942
            Taft, Robert A., 1951
            Taylor, Henry J., 1969-75
            Taylor, Jaquelin E., 1967-81
            Tunney, Gene, 1933
            Thomas, Norman, 1965
            University of Oregon, 1977
            W miscellaneous
            Wall Street Journal, 1973-81
            Wallace, DeWitt, 1962-72 and undated
            Wedemeyer, A. C., 1954-83 (2 folders)
            Wilkie, Wendell L., 1941 and undated
            Wolfe, Charles, 1963-72

12        Wolfe, Charles, 1973-80
                     Speeches and Scripts, 1974-79
            Wormser, Felix, E., 1959-79

            Biographical data
            Bohemian Grove, 1958-1962
                     How We Live, 1944
                     The House Divided, undated
                     How to Be Popular Though Conservative, 1948
                     Magnificent Delusion, 1946

13                 Money, 1948
            Speeches, 1932-1963 (7 folders)                              

14                 1964-1970 and undated
                     Drafts, 1947-1959
                     Drafts and ideas, 1960-1969
            Successes, 1949-1969
                     Personal interest, 1943-1960 and undated (3 folders)

15                 Political, 1961-1967 (4 folders)
16                 Political, 1968-1973 and undated (3 folders)
17        Photographs
                     Wake Up America Participants (3 folders)
                     Miscellaneous (2 folders)


18        Bohemian Grove photograph albums (2 vols.)
                     Volume IV, 1939-1953 (Herbert Hoover Sr. and Jr., Lowell Thomas, Irwin Cobb,
                     Harvey Firestone, Lawrence Tibbets, Fred Clark, caveman members)
            Volume X, 1959 and undated (General Wedemeyer, Clarence Buddington Kelland,
                     Norman Chandler, Chauncy McCormick, San Francisco party, Peter Grimm,
                     Scripps Howard, Jack Howard, cartoonist George McManus, Ruth Alexander,
                     Thomas Dewey house)

19        Bohemian Grove photograph albums (2 vols.)