Samuel A. and Harriet T. Clarke papers, 1845-1914  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Clarke, S. A. (Samuel Asahel), 1827-1909Clarke, Harriet T., 1832-1890
Samuel A. and Harriet T. Clarke papers
1845-1914 (inclusive)
.45 cubic feet (1 document case)
Collection Number
Diaries of Oregon pioneers Samuel and Harriet Clarke, including Harriet T. Buckingham Clarke's diary of her overland journey to Oregon in 1851, Samuel Clarke's diary of 1845, and a copy of his diary of 1850-1853. Also includes correspondence, articles on the silver question (1894-1896), other historical articles and poems, and family histories and genealogies.
Oregon Historical Society Research Library
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public. The original diary of Harriet T. Clarke cannot be used by researchers without the permission of the Library Director.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Samuel A. Clarke was an Oregon newspaperman, poet, and businessman. Born in Cuba in 1827, he was raised in New York City and came to California by ship in the gold rush of 1849. In 1850 he moved to Oregon and helped establish the city of Portland. He served as editor of the Oregonian and ran two other newspapers, among other businesses. He moved to Washington, D.C., around 1897 and became a librarian at the General Land Office. He covered the Modoc War as a correspondent for the New York Times in 1873, and was the author of Pioneer days in Oregon (Portland : J. K. Gill, 1905). He died in 1909.

In 1852 Samuel Clarke married Harriet Talcott Buckingham in Oregon. A native of Norwalk, Ohio, she was born in 1831 and came overland to Oregon with her brother Hiram Smith and his family in 1851. After her marriage to Samuel Clarke, the couple moved to Salem, Oregon, where they lived most of their lives. Mrs. Clarke died in Salem in 1890.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection contains diaries, letters, writings, and genealogical materials related to Samuel and Harriet Clarke. Most significant is Harriet Clarke's 1851 overland diary, which describes her trip from Council Bluffs, Iowa (1851 May 5) to Portland, Oregon (1851 September 26), traveling with 50 wagons. Her observations include descriptions of landscapes, weather conditions, and campsite locations. Also included in the collection is a brief diary of Samuel A. Clarke from 1845, prior to his trip to California; a photocopy of his diary of 1850-1853, started during his ocean voyage to the west coast; letters to both Samuel and Harriet Clarke; reminiscences of a trip to the Shasta mines in 1851; articles on the silver question (1894-1896), other historical articles and poems, Clarke family history by Samuel Clarke, and letters and notes on the Buckingham family genealogy. Among the correspondence are letters from poet Joaquin Miller, pioneers Jesse and Sallie Applegate, Oregon Governor George L. Curry, and merchant James W. Nesmith.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

Included in the collection is a hand written transcription of the Harriet Clarke diary, along with a typescript transcription.

Restrictions on Use

The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library before any publication use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Samuel A. and Harriet T. Clarke papers, Mss1156, Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 Diary of Harriet T. Clarke (typescript copy) 1851
2 Diary of Harriet T. Clarke (manuscript copy) 1851
3 Diary of Harriet T. Clarke (original volume) 1851
4 Samuel A. Clarke diary 1845
5 Samuel A. Clarke diary (transcript)
Includes account of ocean voyage to the west coast of the U.S., and entries made in Portland and elsewhere. Also includes a brief reminiscence of Samuel Clarke, written in 1879 in Portland.
1850-1853, 1879
6 Samuel A. Clarke diary (photocopy of original) 1850-1853, 1879
7 Samuel A. Clarke articles on the silver question (scrapbook) 1894-1896
8 Samuel A. Clarke reminiscences and other papers
Includes reminiscences on trip to Shasta mines, 1851.
1853-1902, undated
9 Historical articles, poems, and program for the inauguration of President William McKinley 1901-1910, undated
10 Letters to Samuel A. Clarke
Includes letters from Joaquin Miller and others
11 Letters to Harriet Clarke
Includes letters from James W. Nesmith and others.
RESTRICTED: photocopies must be used for reference.
12 Genealogical materials 1878-1914
13 Clarke family history, by Samuel A. Clarke (typescript) 1900

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Gold mines and mining--California--Shasta County--History.
  • Overland journeys to the Pacific.
  • Pioneers--Oregon--Diaries.
  • Silver question.
  • Women pioneers--Oregon--Diaries.
  • Personal Names :
  • Applegate, Jesse A., 1811-1888--Correspondence.
  • Applegate, Sallie--Correspondence.
  • Clarke, S. A. (Samuel Asahel), 1827-1909. (creator)
  • Clarke, Harriet T., 1832-1890. (creator)
  • Curry, Geo. L. (George Law), 1820-1878--Correspondence.
  • Miller, Joaquin, 1837-1913--Correspondence.
  • Nesmith, James Willis, 1820-1885--Correspondence.
  • Family Names :
  • Buckingham family.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Oregon National Historic Trail.
  • Oregon--Description and travel.
  • Shasta County (Calif.)--Description and travel.
  • West (U.S.)--Description and travel.
  • West (U.S.)--History, 1848-1860.
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Diaries.
  • Letters.
  • Poems.
  • Reminiscences.
  • Scrapbooks.