A consummate and innovative entrepreneur and fundraiser, by the 1950s Dr. J. Calvitt Clarke was running the world’s largest Protestant organization dedicated to the welfare of children. Yet while Dr. Clarke’s life and accomplishments make him one of the twentieth century’s foremost and beloved figures in philanthropy, his legacy is sometimes recorded with confusion, contradiction, and even outright error.
In Fifty Years of Begging, Dr. J. Calvitt Clarke III, author and grandson to Dr. Clarke, navigates the complexities of Dr. Clarke’s personality and intellectual life—and yes, even their contradictions—to offer a detailed and heartfelt profile of this compelling man. Based on hundreds of newspapers and extensive archival research—including a large cache of family papers—Fifty Years of Begging is inspired by Dr. Clarke’s own badly fragmented and scattered manuscript of his unfinished memoirs.
Although both Dr. Clarke and his grandson called Richmond their home, while growing up the author did not know his grandfather well. On the other hand, his work on his grandfather Clarke’s biography did set him on an exciting and enjoyable road of discovery, one that would reveal Dr. J. Calvitt Clarke’s proud heritage and lasting legacy of philanthropy and service.