Guide to the J. Kent Clark Papers, 1954-2003

Processed by Charlotte E. Erwin
California Institute of Technology
1200 East California Blvd.
Mail Code 015A-74
Pasadena, CA 91125
Phone: (626) 395-2704
Fax: (626) 793-8756
© 2003
California Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.

Guide to the J. Kent Clark Papers, 1954-2003

Collection number: Consult repository


California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California

Contact Information:

  • Archives
  • California Institute of Technology
  • 1200 East California Blvd.
  • Mail Code 015A-74
  • Pasadena, CA 91125
  • Phone: (626) 395-2704
  • Fax: (626) 793-8756
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
Charlotte E. Erwin
Date Completed:
August 23, 1993
Date Updated:
Through March 2003
Encoded by:
Francisco J. Medina
© 2003 California Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: J. Kent Clark Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1954-2003
Collection number: Consult repository
Creator: Clark, J. Kent, 1917-
Extent: 2 linear feet
Repository: California Institute of Technology. Archives.
Pasadena, California 91125
Abstract: J. Kent Clark, 1917-pres. Professor of English, CIT 1947-86. The papers include manuscripts of dramatic and musical works (with audio casettes), biographical sketches, essays, a manuscript of Clark's biography of Thomas, Earl of Wharton, and some correspondence (esp. with Walter Garner).
Language: English.

Administrative Information


The collection is open for research. Researchers must apply in writing for access.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the California Institute of Technology Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the California Institute of Technology Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

Papers of J. Kent Clark. Archives, California Institute of Technology.

Acquisition Information

The papers of J. Kent Clark have been donated to the Caltech Archives over a large period of time. Much of the collection was donated in 1990.


J. Kent Clark came to Caltech in 1947 as an instructor in English. He was born in 1917 in Utah, and educated at Brigham Young University and at Stanford. At Caltech he was one of a group of outstanding teachers of the humanities who began their tenure following World War II, at the end of the Millikan era. His renown on campus grew with the creation of a series of musicals on campus life and characters between 1954 and 1988, in collaboration with Elliott Davis. The musicals were performed by the Caltech Stock Company. A number of songs from these shows have achieved notoriety of their own. Clark also wrote musicals and plays for organizations other than Caltech. He is the author of a novel, The King's Agent, and biographies of Goodwin and Thomas Wharton (the Tom Wharton biography is still in progress). Clark's life and career are described in the oral history done for the Caltech Archives in 1990. He became Emeritus in 1986.

Scope and Content

J. Kent Clark's papers were given to the Archives over a period of time. The first items to be received were the musicals, which in most cases were represented by text, musical scores, and frequently by audio cassettes as well. Of the remaining papers, the bulk was given in 1990. In preparing the materials for use, it was decided to bring all of them together in one place, in the collection now called the Papers of J. Kent Clark. The exception is the audio cassettes, which reside mostly--there are some exceptions--in the Archives' audio collection. Cross references to these audio cassettes are given in the Guide to the Papers. However, researchers should consult the separate guide to the audio cassette collection for some items which are not referenced in the papers. Three phonorecords of Clark's songs and musicals are also separately catalogued.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection.
California Institute of Technology
Caltech. Division of Humanities

Container List


J. Kent Clark Papers


Section I: Dramatic and Musical Works



Box 1, Folder 1

The Road to Stockholm (The Appalling Life of Dr. Pauling) 1954 See also: audio cassette collection; phonorecord collection

Folder 2

[This is Science] (Show for the AAAS Meeting, Pasadena City College) 1955

Folder 3

Who is this Guy DuBridge? 1956 See also: audio cassette collection; phonorecord collection

Folder 4

Take Your Medicine 1957-58; rev. 1985 [includes audio cassette]

Folder 5

The Importance of Being Earnest 1959 See also: audio cassette collection

Folder 6

Committees 1960 [2 copies]

Folder 7

What Makes Beadle Run? 1961

Folder 8

The Organization Women 1962

Folder 9

Lee and Sympathy 1966 [includes audio cassette] See also: audio cassette collection

Folder 10

A Broader View (Show for Caltech Y) 1966

Folder 11

The Bacher File 1970 See also: audio cassette collection

Folder 12

Beautiful Beckman 1975 [2 copies] See also: audio cassette collection

Folder 13

A Broader View (rev.) and Troll's Progress (Playreaders' Party) 1987

Folder 14

Middlekauf Cantata 1987

Folder 15

Caltech Revisited: or Déjá, Déjá Vu 1988

Folder 16

Selections from Kent Clark Shows [audio cassette]


Song Collections

Box 2, Folder 1

"Let's Advance on Science" and other songs [includes audio cassette] See also: phonorecord collection

Folder 2

Retirement songs: R. Sharp, H. Wayland, H. Brown

Folder 3

"Ballad of Chappaquiddick" and "The Richter Scale" [phonodisc]


Show, Huntington Library celebration

Folder 4

Paradise Re-Lost 1983 [for James Thorpe]


Section II: Literary Works


Profiles [Biographical sketches]

Box 2, Folder 5

[Note on Profiles]

Folder 6

Coltrin, Bill 1982

Folder 7

Eagleson, Harvey 1967

Folder 8

Eaton, Paul 1976

Folder 9

Hershey, Wes, memorial service 1989

Folder 10

Kent, Henry C. [JKC's grandfather; in letter to Clarence Kent] 1987

Folder 11

Kent, Percy D. and Sara [JKC's uncle and aunt] 1978

Folder 12

Langston, Beach 1979

Folder 13

Oliver, Bob, retirement 1988; Oliver, Darlene, memorial speech 1987

Folder 14

Searle, Don 1982-83


Essays and Other Writings

Folder 15

[Note on Essays]

Folder 16

[Jonathan] Swift and the Dutch 1954

Folder 17

Eliot's Poetic Theory and Practice 1956

Folder 18

Readings in Rationalism 1959

Folder 19

The Art Program at Caltech 1971

Folder 20

Diatribe [re Jenijoy LaBelle; in letter to Peter Fay] 1976

Folder 21

The Creative Arts and Twentieth Century Education 1979

Folder 22

Article on secretaries 1986

Folder 23

Letter to students [re abolishing Invocation at Commencement] 1985


Humanities Division Working Papers:

Folder 24

The Inglorious Revolution 1979


Lilliburlero (Chap. 16 of Goodwin Wharton biography) 1979


The Colonel and the Queen (Chap. 19 of Goodwin Wharton biography) 1980

Folder 25

The Search for the First Earl of Wharton [2 copies] 1988


Young Tom Wharton 1989


Marriage á la Mode 1990


The Third Whig 1991


The Plot of "The Plot" [Ch. 9 of Wharton biography, n.d.]

Folder 26

Defense of Robert Oliver's George Woods and the World Bank 1993


Section III: Personal

Box 2, Folder 27


Folder 28

Reunion Program, Brigham Young University 1989


See also: Oral History Collection


See also: Audio Tape Collection


Supplement 1994

Box 3, Folder 1

Exclusion [Ch. 10-12 of the Wharton biography]

Folder 2

The Search for Goodwin Wharton 1976

Folder 3

The Publication of Goodwin Wharton... and the Search for Thomas, Earl of Wharton 1984


Supplement 1995

Box 3, Folder 4

Anne Wharton [Ch. 13 of the Wharton biography]

Folder 5

Outrages [Ch. 14 of the Wharton biography]

Folder 6

Seizures [Ch. 15 of the Wharton biography]


Supplement 1996

Box 3, Folder 7

Transcript of speech by J. C. Clark for 100th Founder's Day celebration of Gnome Club 9 March 1996

Folder 8

Letter to Denise Smith 17 Jan 1996


Correpondence with Walter Garner

Folder 9


Folder 10


Folder 11


Folder 12


Folder 13


Folder 14


Folder 15


Folder 16


Box 4, Folder 1

Letter about Elliott Davis 20 Nov 1996 (to Walter and Irene Garner)


Supplement 1997

Box 4, Folder 2

Horses and Bridles [Ch. 19 of Tom Wharton Biography] November 1997


Supplement 1998

Box 4, Folder 3

Speech to the Class of 1958 [ 15 May 1998]


Supplement 1999

Box 4, Folder 4

Wharton, Thomas, Draft for Dictionary of National Biography


Supplement 2001

Box 4, Folder 5

Foreward to Diary of Martin Tangora


New Vita (1999): See 2.27


Supplement 2002

Box 4, Folder 6

Talk to Class of 1952 May 16, 2002


Short essays

Box 4, Folder 6

George Epstein's poetry

Box 4, Folder 6

Elegy on my brother: Ernest Eugene Clark


Supplement 2003

Box 4, Folder 7

Huntington Library (with Carol B. Pearson), March 12, 2003


J. Kent Clark Audio Material


I. Audio Cassettes in Audio Cassette Archive


12-9-54 The Road to Stockholm [2 copies]


12-7-56 Who is This Guy DuBridge?


10-22-59 [The Importance of Being Earnest]


3-21-61 What Makes Beadle Run?


4-28-66 Caltech in E-flat


11-18-66 Lee and Sympathy


1966 A Broader View [Caltech Y Anniversary]


1-12-69 DuBridge Farewell Program


DuBridge Farewell Dinner (also exists on reel-to-reel tape)


11-19-70 The Bacher File


The Bacher Dinner


1-13-75 Beautiful Beckman [2 copies]


5-13-78 On the Trail of Goodwin Wharton (Talk on Alumni Seminar Day) [2 copies]


4-7-80 Arnold Beckman's 80th birthday party (performance by K. Clark and G. Lorden)


1-11-90 Caltech As Musical Comedy (for Caltech Women's Club)


4-10-92 Arnold Beckman's 92nd birthday party (reprise of material from 80th party by Clark and Lorden)


II. Audio Cassettes in the Papers of J. Kent Clark


1958 Songs from Take Your Medicine [1.4]


1966 Lee and Sympathy (excerpt) [1.9]


1975 Selections from Kent Clark Shows [1.16]


1975 Let's Advance on Science (song collection) [2.1]


III. Phonorecords in Phonorecord Collection


ca 1954 The Road to Stockholm [2 copies]


ca 1956 Who is This Guy DuBridge?


after 1975 Let's Advance on Science (song collection)


IV. Phonorecord in the Papers of J. Kent Clark


no date "Ballad of Chappaquiddick" and "The Richter Scale" [2.3]