Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Rex Clark papers

Abstract

The Rex Clark papers (dated 1922-1941; 0.11 cubic feet; 5 folders) comprises papers and letters belonging to Rex Clark, the owner and manager of the Lake Norconian Club, a resort in Norco, California that operated during the early part of the twentieth century.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Rex Clark papers
Date
1922-1941 (inclusive)
Creator
Clark, Rex Brainerd, 1876-1955
Extent
0.11 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Hotels.
Hotels -- United States.
Ocean travel
Travel.
Children
Families.
Divorce -- United States
Divorce -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Automobiles
Publishers and publishing -- United States.
Business correspondence
Business cards.
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by subject. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Hanna Rumbarger
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.0776: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Rex Clark papers, 1922-1941, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Rex Brainerd Clark (1876-1955) was the owner and manager of the Lake Norconian Club hotel and resort located in Norco (Corona), California. Clark bought the fifteen miles of land in 1920, and construction on the resort started in 1926 and was finished in 1928. Settled right by Lake Norconian, the resort featured a hotel, gold course, air field, hiking trails, clubhouse, indoor bath and spa complexes, a ballroom and the first and only outdoor pool in California that met the requirements for the 1932 Summer Olympics. Many movies were shot on the grounds and different celebrities would use the golf course, including Babe Ruth, Norma Shearer and Buster Keaton. The resort was such a popular filming location, that Fox studios built Norconian sets at their sound stages in Hollywood. The Great Depression took a toll on the resort, and it closed in 1933. The resort reopened in 1935 and continued to be successful. Walt Disney Studios celebrated the Success of Snow White and Seven Dwarfs at the resort in 1938. On December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor, the resort was commissioned by the United States Navy and turned into a hospital. Injured soldiers from Pearl Harbor were patients at the hospital and the grounds were slowly transformed to meet the Navy's needs. This hospital had many firsts occur on site; the first use of penicillin for tubercular patients, first air transportation of Naval patients across the United States, first use of the polio vaccine outside of Pittsburgh, first hand-held X-Ray machines and advancements in prosthetic devices and occupational therapy. The hospital closed in 1949 but was shortly reopened during the Korean War. The brief closure allowed for the Naval Weapons Assessment Center to be opened. The hospital was permanently closed in 1957. In 1962, the hospital was converted to a rehab center and was the first state-funded addiction treatment program in the nation. The Lake Norconian Club was listed on the national Register of Historic Places in 2000.
Grace Scripps Clark (1878-1971) was the daughter of James Scripps, the publishing pioneer and founder of The Detroit News. Grace and Rex married sometime before the birth of their first child, Rex Scripps Clark (1902-1986) in 1902. The couple had two more children together, William Scripps Clark (1908-1982) and Ellen Virginia Clark Revelle (1910-2009). Grace and Rex divorced by 1928. Rex married his secretary, Emma Snyder, and Grace married Gotfrid Johansson, the skipper of one of Norconian's yachts. Grace was very adventurous and was the first woman to drive an automobile in Detroit.
William Scripps Clark was the founder of the Clark Cine-Service, a motion picture equipment company located in Detroit, Michigan. William is the father of Peter B. Clark (b. 1929) who followed in his great grandfather's footsteps and became the publisher of The Detroit News between 1963 and 1982.
Ellen Virginia Clark Revelle was named after her great aunt, Ellen Browning Scripps, the founder of both Scripps College in Claremont, California and Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. She greatly admired her great aunt and tried to emulate her, especially in public service and philanthropy. Ellen married Roger Revelle (1909-1991) in 1931 after Ellen's graduation from the first class at Scripps College. Roger helped to establish the University of California, San Diego in 1959. The Revelles traveled the world and the couple had four children together. They both dedicated their life to philanthropy, advancements to oceanography and higher education.
American Letters collector Wade Hall (1934-2015) was a native of Union Springs, Alabama. Starting in 1962, he lived in Louisville, where he taught English and chaired the English and Humanities/Arts programs at Kentucky Southern College and Bellarmine University. He also taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida. He held degrees from Troy State University (B.S.), the University of Alabama (M.A.), and the University of Illinois (Ph.D.). He served for two years in the U.S. Army in the mid-fifties. Dr. Hall was the author of books, monographs, articles, plays, and reviews relating to Kentucky, Alabama, and Southern history and literature. His most recent books include A Visit with Harlan Hubbard; High Upon a Hill: A History of Bellarmine College; A Song in Native Pastures: Randy Atcher's Life in Country Music; and Waters of Life from Conecuh Ridge.
Sources: About Scripps College. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.scrippscollege.edu/about/.
Lake Norconian Club. (2018). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Norconian_Club.
Peter B. Clark. (2011). Retrieved from https://www.wilsoncenter.org/person/peter-b-clark.
Scope and Content
The Rex Clark papers (dated 1922-1941; 0.11 cubic feet; 5 folders) comprises papers and letters belonging to Rex Clark, the owner and manager of the Lake Norconian Club, a resort in Norco, California that operated during the early part of the twentieth century. This collection features letters to Rex from his ex-wife, Grace Scripps Clark and two of his children, William and Ellen Clark. He also receives letters and business papers from his friend Roger Adams and assistant manager at the resort, Bill Scripps, Grace's brother. Grace writes to Rex during their marriage and after their divorce in 1928. She sends him letters from her yacht trip with friends as they go destinations, including Canada, Jamaica, Aruba and Costa Rica. They agree to keep peace between the two of them for their children and for the success of resort. Ellen Clark writes to her father about her trip on yacht with her friends while they sail around California. The professional papers included in this collection are all centered on the resort and the changes it undergoes throughout the years.Rex receives updates on the weapons testing being conducted at the resort after it was purchased by the Navy in 1941, a day after Pearl Harbor. One letter includes a newspaper clipping that explains the testing of an air-power gun. The other professional papers are business cards, membership cards, and pamphlets to other hotels in southern California.
The Rex Clark papers collection is part of the Wade Hall Collection of American letters, which includes correspondence and diaries from all over North America covering the time period of the Civil to Korean Wars. The materials were collected by Wade Hall and document everyday men and women.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Grace Clark to Rex Clark, 1923-1929

  • Box WH-83, folder 7
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Letters to Grace Clark, 1929

  • Box WH-83, folder 8
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Ellen Clark and William Clark to Rex Clark, 1927-1932

  • Box WH-83, folder 9
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Roger Adams to Rex Clark, 1940-1941

  • Box WH-83, folder 10
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Rex Clark professional papers, 1922, 1940-1941

  • Box WH-83, folder 11
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If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.

UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Appointments are encouraged but not required. Schedule an appointment here.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

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You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.