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July 29, 2005

Press Contact: Mike Widener, C.A., Head of Special Collections, Tarlton Law Library, (512) 471-7263 or

Tarlton Law Library Provides Online Access to the Tom C. Clark Papers

AUSTIN, Texas — The Tarlton Law Library at The University of Texas at Austin has released an online guide to the archives of U.S. Supreme Justice Tom C. Clark, viewable at This web-accessible guide is a major step forward in providing access to the Tom C. Clark Papers. The guide will provide researchers an opportunity to better prepare themselves before they make the trip to the archives.

The Tarlton Law Library has rich archives and manuscripts holdings in legal history. Its largest collection, the Tom C. Clark Papers, draws researchers from across the United States.

Tom Clark was a 1922 graduate of The University of Texas School of Law and, so far, the only Texan to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. He was appointed to the court in 1949, and retired in 1967 when his son Ramsey Clark became U.S. Attorney General. The collection contains a comprehensive record of Justice Clark's activities as a Supreme Court Justice, public servant, and advocate for improved judicial administration. Experts regard the Tom C. Clark Papers as one of the two most complete collections of Warren Court papers.

A comprehensive guide to the Tom C. Clark Papers was prepared in 1988. The guide is an essential tool that presents a detailed listing of the contents, biographical information on Clark, and references to related resources. At over 200 pages long, it has been available only in print format in the Tarlton Law Library Rare Books Reading Room.

The release is a multi-phase project. This initial phase provides guides to all the Supreme Court materials (320 boxes of documents and 490 volumes of bound appellate briefs). Guides to the remaining series will be released in subsequent phases. Future phases of the project will also incorporate digital copies of important documents, sound recordings, and photographs from the collection.

The finding aid is encoded using the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) markup language, and is part of the Texas Archival Resources Online repository of EAD finding aids.

In connection with this project, the Law Library's archivists developed a database which automates the EAD markup, significantly reducing the time it takes to prepare large EAD finding aids. Assistant Archivist Addy Sonder designed and built the database tool, based on a concept by Mike Widener, Head of Special Collections.

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