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Charles Hopkins Clark


Centurion, 1896–1926

Born 1 April 1848 in Hartford, Connecticut

Died 5 September 1926 in Hartford, Connecticut

Buried Spring Grove Cemetery, Hartford, Connecticut

Proposed by Howard Mansfield and Henry H. Anderson

Elected 7 March 1896 at age forty-seven

Proposer of:

Century Memorial

In one important aspect, the newspaper career of Charles Hopkins Clark resembled that of Bowles and Griffin and Oliver Johnson in the East, Watterson and Nelson in the younger West, Joseph R. Hawley and Charles Dudley Warner in the early days of Clark’s own Hartford Courant. The moral of his achievement, as of theirs, is first, that the editorial page has not, in a period of eagerness for the news and nothing but the news, become an exotic and a superfluity; second, that the small-town daily newspaper will get a state-wide or nation-wide audience if it has something worth while to say and has the intelligence, the courage and the persistency to say it.

The news columns of the Courant, aside from its Associated Press dispatches, might almost be called parochial. It had, to be sure, a willing audience even for parochial news. Hartford is a small city, yet there are those who love it—as the elder Morgan did, when he vetoed elimination of the name of his birthplace from the New York, New Haven & Hartford railway’s official title. But the Courant swayed American public opinion in a far wider circle than the Connecticut Valley. It reached New England communities which owed no fealty to Hartford. Godkin said of the old Evening Post that the shaping of belief for its 25,000 subscribing constituency was a slight achievement, measured against its influence on the mind of hundreds of other editorial writers East and West, by whom the principles set forth were passed along to a reading constituency of millions. The Courant’s views got a similar hearing.

Unlike his fellow-journalists of that kindred New England small-city oracle, the Springfield Republican, Clark was a whole-souled party man. All other things being equal, his party and its policies were right—and he usually found other things equal. But he never knowingly defended a morally wrong act or policy of his party and, if he accepted as authority the perfunctory point-with-pride and view-with-alarm declarations of the party’s platform, he was apt in his own columns to support the sensible planks with better arguments than the convention had discovered, and to leave the foolish planks to show their own foolishness.

Alexander Dana Noyes
1927 Century Association Yearbook