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Personal papers of William D. Clark


Reference code(s) 



Personal papers of William D. Clark


1967-1981, 1985



Extent and medium

0.40 linear feet (1 archival box)

2.2  Biographical history   William D. Clark was born in Featherstone, England, in 1916.  He obtained a first-class honors degree in modern history from Oxford University, and was the Commonwealth fellow and lecturer in humanities at the University of Chicago from 1938 to 1940.

From 1941 to 1944 he was attached to the British Information Services, U.K. Ministry of Information, in Chicago.  Beginning in 1945, he served for a year as the press attaché for the British Embassy in Washington, and from 1946 to 1949 he was the London editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica.  Clark became the diplomatic correspondent of The Observer in 1950.  From 1955 to 1956 he was the public relations adviser to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, resigning in the wake of the Suez Canal crisis.  In 1957 and 1958 he was the New Delhi correspondent for both The Observer and The Economist, and between 1958 and 1960 he edited a column called “The Week” for The Observer.  In 1960 he was appointed the first Director of the Overseas Development Institute in London.

On 1 April 1968 Clark became Director of Information for the World Bank Group.  In 1973 he became the Director of External Relations, and in 1974 the Vice President for External Relations.  In 1980 he resigned from the Bank and returned to London to become the President of the International Institute for Environment and Development.  He died in 1985.

2.3  Archival history  William Clark’s practice was to write notes and memoranda in spiral notebooks and give them to his secretary to type.  When he left the Bank he took the notebooks with him.  While compiling his memoirs with the help of his friend and colleague Julian Grenfell, Clark gave some of his notebooks and files to Grenfell.  When Clark died in 1985, Grenfell retained the materials.  In 1989 the Bank contracted the Brookings Institution to produce a history of the first fifty years of the Bank.  During that project, the history team obtained six of Clark’s notebooks and five of Clark’s files from Grenfell.  The materials accumulated by the Brookings History Project were given to the Bank’s Office of the Historian, who in turn gave them to the World Bank Group Archives.

2.4  Source  Transferred from the Office of the Historian

3.1 Scope and content  William Clark’s notebooks provide a unique view of the World Bank during the McNamara years.  Although some of this material found its way into the memoirs, the notebooks contain colorful and candid entries that are not in print.  The description of the first meeting of McNamara’s President’s Council, for example, is much fuller and more lively in the notebooks than in the memoirs. 

The notebooks, all of which are handwritten, contain a mix of items, ranging from draft memos and letters either for Clark’s signature or for McNamara’s, drafts of speeches and press articles, notes on meetings and conversations,  diary-type entries and memoir drafts, to grocery lists.  The subjects cover an equally broad range of topics, including relations with the United Nations, development issues, public support strategies for the Bank, and the Pearson and Brandt Commissions that studied development issues during the McNamara years.  The files contain documents and clippings about Clark’s appointment to the World Bank and McNamara’s appointment to the World Bank Presidency, letters and notes about writing an article for Foreign Affairs and on the development of the memoirs, and copies of some Bank records from the McNamara years. 

One of the notebooks contains a 14-page account of the start of the Suez crisis that Clark wrote in 1976, twenty years after events, plus another twelve pages of notes.  It differs from the Suez piece in the memoirs. 

3.4  Arrangement  See annotated file unit list

4.1 Conditions of access  Papers are subject to the World Bank Policy on the Disclosure of Information

4.2 Conditions of reproduction  Copyright and literary property rights held by Nicolas, Lord Hemingford

4.3 Language/scripts   English

4.5  Finding aids  Annotated file unit list

5.3  Related units of description  WB IBRD/IDA 03-04,  Records of the Office of the President, Robert S. McNamara;  WB IBRD/IDA 23, Records of the Office of External Relations; WB IBRD/IDA 44-02, Oral histories, William Clark (2 interviews), see also interview with Julian Grenfell

5.4  Publication note  William Clark, From Three Worlds.  London:  Sidgwick & Jackson, 1986

7.2 Rules or conventions    Internal World Bank Group Archives rules
7.3 Date(s) of descriptions  2004-08-06

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