Tom Clark: He Kept Working Right Up to the End

Historians in the News

In the spring of 2005, Charles Bertram, a photographer for the Lexington Herald-Leader, asked Kentucky’s “historian laureate,” Dr. Thomas D. Clark for a list of ten places in Kentucky he thought every Kentuckian should visit. Clark, a former professor of history at the University of Kentucky, promised to produce a list but soon afterwards was hospitalized and died on June 28, 2005, ten days before his 102nd birthday. His widow found the list on his desk. He had been struggling to reduce his favorite places to ten, and had gotten the list down to eleven. Bertram and another photographer David Stephenson, along with reporter Jim Warren, then visited, photographed, and described each of those places, which they published as Dr. Thomas Clark’s Kentucky Treasurers: A Historian’s List of 11 Places That Shaped the State (Louisville, Ky: Merrick Printing, 2005). In the book, Charles Bertram recalls previous trips that he made with Dr. Clark: "We would be driving down some rural road, with him pointing out bits of history as we went along. He would say, ‘Now, Daniel Boone crossed that ridge right over there.’ He would have this childlike look in his eyes–as if he was loving every day, exploring every day, and still learning something new every day."

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