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George Hyde Clarke (b.1768) had a habit of preserving every document he ever produced or received. In his will, he not only provides for the care of his family and the disposition of his real and personal estate, but also for the disposition of his papers.

“. . . I desire and direct that all titles, deeds, maps, charts, contracts, leases, writings, memorandums whatsoever relating to my estates in the United States of America be kept together in a safe and appropriate manner at my said mansion house of Hyde Hall, but so that any person or persons interested therein may upon reasonable request have access thereto for the purpose of inspecting examining or copying the same or any part thereof if it be necessary or suitable or convenient for them so to do.”

His children carried out his intent; they preserved not only their forebear’s papers, but also their own. Although it is of course impossible to reconstruct totally the original extent of the papers and to note which documents were preserved and which were destroyed, the breadth and depth of documentation of many aspects of the life of the family is remarkable for a collection of this age and extent. “

George Hyde Clarke family papers, #2800.
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library
Barry L. Wold
July 1977

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