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Collection Overview

Clark, Blair, 1917-2000
Blair Clark Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
3 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-3


Blair Clark was a journalist and political activist who held many positions in both spheres. His papers contain items related to his employment with CBS News, his role in the establishment of the Edward R. Murrow Chair at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and personal correspondence.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Blair Clark Papers document Clark's professional activities as a member of the CBS News staff. Additionally, there is information pertaining to his involvement in the establishment of the Edward R. Murrow Chair at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Personal correspondence includes handwritten notes from both Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy.

Collection Creator Biography:

Clark, Blair, 1917-2000

Blair Clark was a journalist and political activist who held many positions in both spheres. Ledyard Blair Clark was born in East Hampton, NY in 1917. He attended boarding school at St. Marks and received his bachelor's degree in 1940 from Harvard University, where he was editor and president of the Harvard Crimson newspaper.

While at Harvard he befriended classmate John F. Kennedy. The two would remain in touch throughout Kennedy's political career, and Clark and Jacqueline Kennedy would correspond for decades. Other notable people with whom Clark was close include poet Robert Lowell and journalist Theodore H. White.

Clark reported for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before serving in the Army from 1941 to 1946. He had several others journalistic posts prior to joining CBS News in Paris in 1953. From 1961 to 1964 Clark was general manager and vice president of CBS News. He was known for broadening the radio and television coverage of CBS News by hiring additional correspondents in the United States and abroad. He worked with Edward R. Murrow, and among those hired during his tenure were Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather.

After leaving CBS, Clark was associate publisher of the New York Post, editor of The Nation magazine, and a fellow of the New York Institute for Humanities at New York University. In the early 1960s he helped raise money for the formation of the New York Review of Books.

Following retirement from The Nation, Clark remained active by teaching at Princeton University and New York University, raising funds for Harvard, and holding board memberships at the National Committee for an Effective Congress and the Human SERVE voter registration group.

Politically, Clark was known as an avowed "left wing" Democrat. In 1968 he served as Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy's national campaign manager for the Democratic presidential nomination. Later Clark became treasurer of the New Democratic Coalition, a group of disaffected liberals from the 1968 election that tried unsuccessfully to foment a national movement. When the Watergate break-in occurred, Clark was serving as the Democratic National Committee's communications director.

His first marriage was to Jessie Holladay Philbin in 1942. Together they had a son, Timothy. They divorced in 1960 and Clark married Joanna Rostropowicz in 1971, with whom he had his second son, Ian. Joanna had a son, Tomasz Malinowski, from a previous marriage. Clark was predeceased by a son from his first marriage, Cameron.

Collection History


This collection was donated by Joanna Clark in October 2002 .


Newspaper clippings and other material gathered in research were separated from this collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jennifer Sharp in June 2006. Finding aid written by Jennifer Sharp in June 2006.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, any copyright vested in the donor has passed to The Trustees of Princeton University and researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of donor-created materials within the collection. For materials in the collection not created by the donor, or where the material is not an original, the copyright is likely not held by the University. In these instances, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Blair Clark Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-3

Find More

Other Finding Aids

Electronic finding aid describing Clark's compilation of papers related to Robert Lowell, and reflecting their close friendship until Lowell's death in 1977, is available online via the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin:


Bernstein, A. (2000, June 8). Journalist, Democratic Activist Blair Clark Dies. Washington Post, p. B6. Pace, E. (2000, June 8). Blair Clark, 82, CBS Executive Who Led McCarthy's '68 Race. New York Times, p. B14.

Subject Terms:
Broadcast journalism.
Genre Terms:
Office files.
CBS News.
Clark, Blair, 1917-2000
Kennedy, John F. John Fitzgerald 1917-1963
Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy, 1929-1994.