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By the flip of a coin, Thomas Dionysius Clark became intertwined in the vast history of Kentucky. In 1928, Clark received scholarships to both the University of Cincinnati and to the University of Kentucky. Kentucky won the coin toss and the claim to one of the South's eminent historians.

In 1990, when the Kentucky General Assembly honored Clark by declaring him Kentucky’s Historian Laureate for life, Governor Brereton Jones described Clark as “Kentucky’s greatest treasure.” Historian, advocate, educator, preservationist, publisher, writer, mentor, friend, Kentuckian—Dr. Clark has filled all these roles and more. Thomas D. Clark of Kentucky is a celebration of his life and career by just a few of those who have felt his influence and shared his enthusiasm for his adopted home state of Kentucky.

John E. Kleber, emeritus professor of history at Morehead State University, is the editor of The Kentucky Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Louisville.

"Underscores how Clark remains a major force in every area of intellectual life in Kentucky through his role of state, local and regional historian; archival preservationist and publisher; agricultural, environmental and educational advocate; and friend and mentor to the people of the Commonwealth."—Bowling Green (KY) Daily News

"Through the reports of eighteen excellent writers from varied backgrounds, this book puts in perspective Clark’s life and contributions much better than would a conventional biography."—Indiana Magazine of History

"Succeeds in reminding us of Clark's importance and his ubiquity in twentieth-century southern and Kentucky historiography."—Journal of Southern History

"A fitting way to note the historian’s 100th birthday."—Kentucky Living

"While many know of Clark as the state’s historian laureate and from his 32 books, these personal observations reveal what he has accomplished behind the scenes in areas such as the environment, archives and education."—Kentucky Monthly

"Clark is a genuine hero because he is mortal, pragmatic and inspired. With this book we salute him and his works. . . . The ultimate tribute is for present and future generations to read and then heed the insights of this remarkable Kentuckian."—Lexington Herald-Leader

"Marks Clark’s unsurpassed achievements as scholar, educator, preservationist, agrarian, advocate, and mentor."—Louisville Courier-Journal

"What a life! The chapters written here by colleagues, students, and friends recall a career of remarkable range and depth."—Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Celebrates the achievements of one of Kentucky’s most valued citizens."—Union County (KY) Advocate

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Thomas D. Clark, Kentucky, Kentucky history, Historians


United States History

Thomas D. Clark of Kentucky: An Uncommon Life in the Commonwealth
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