In 1990, the Kentucky General Assembly honored Thomas D. Clark by declaring him Kentucky’s Historian Laureate for life, at which time Governor Brereton Jones described him as “Kentucky’s greatest treasure.” Thomas D. Clark of Kentucky; An Uncommon Life in the Commonwealth is a celebration and exploration of the unparalleled life and career of a man who has both recorded the history and shaped the future of his adopted home state.
Born on July 14th 1903, in Louisville, Mississippi, to a cotton farmer and a public school teacher, Clark was the oldest of seven children. Before enrolling in high school at age eighteen, he worked on a farm, in a sawmill, and as a cabin boy and deck hand on a dredge boat. After attending the University of Mississippi and earning graduate degrees at the University of Kentucky and Duke University, Clark joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky in 1931. There he chaired the history department from 1942 until 1965, influencing the lives of thousands of students.