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This profile was last updated on 12/24/14  and contains information from public web pages.

Mr. Spencer M. Clark

Wrong Spencer M. Clark?

Board Member

Phone: (817) ***-****  HQ Phone
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
9000 Blue Mound Road
Fort Worth , Texas 76131
United States

Company Description: The mission of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is to serve as the Federal Government's most secure and efficient source of vital Government securities.

Employment History

34 Total References
Web References
U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing - BEP Directors - Spencer M. Clark, 24 Dec 2014 [cached]
Spencer M. Clark | 1862 - 1868 U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing - BEP Directors - Spencer M. Clark
Spencer M. Clark
Spencer M. Clark (1811 - 1890) Chief of First Division, National Currency Bureau circa 1862 - 1868
Spencer Clark was a native of Vermont. He was involved in a variety of business activities until 1856 when he became a clerk in the Bureau of Construction of the Treasury Department in Washington, DC. Later, as acting engineer, Clark became interested in the work of finishing new currency notes at the Treasury and gradually assumed increasingly greater responsibilities in the engraving, printing, and processing of U.S. Government currency and securities. A strong advocate for a distinct bureau within the Treasury Department for the production of currency and securities, Clark was the first head of the agency that became the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He resigned in 1868 amidst a congressional investigation into record-keeping and security within the fledgling currency operations at the Treasury. Clark went on to work at the Department of Agriculture in the Statistical Division. He later headed the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the Agriculture Department until his death in 1890.
That is because of an unfair ..., 11 April 2014 [cached]
That is because of an unfair vendetta that besmirched the integrity of one of the greatest men ever to work in the Treasury Department--Spencer Morton Clark. Clark was the first Superintendent of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and when the need for the third issue of fractional currency came about, he was responsible to get it printed.
A public uproar ensued (of course in the media) and the government needed a scapegoat, so they said Clark did it all without permission.
In actuality, Clark had full permission to place his portrait on the note. He had designed the five-cent note to have Spinner's portrait on it and McCulloch's on the fifty-cent. But, the die with McCulloch's portrait was lost or damaged and he refused to sit to have a new one done. Clark then moved Spinner to the fifty-cent note and being pressed for time asked Spinner "whose head shall we place on the five-cent?
Clark was a very faithful employee of the department and would have never placed the blame on Spinner and allowed himself to become the convenient scapegoat.
Spencer Morton Clark
Spencer Morton Clark
Bust of Spencer M ... [cached]
Bust of Spencer M Clark
Head of Spencer M Clark, First Superintendent of the National Currency Bureau (now the Bureau of Engraving and Printing). Dec 5, 1864 to Aug 16, 1869. FR 1238
Spencer M. Clark, ..., 16 April 2000 [cached]
Spencer M. Clark, Cornerstone of the BEP
Rumors abound regarding Spencer Clark, the Supervisor of the National Currency Bureau during the time of Fractional Currency.The main story usually told has to do with the Five Cent, Third Issue Note bearing his portrait.
Our friend Spencer M. Clark, as noted above, was the Supervisor of the National Currency Bureau during the time of Fractional Currency.He was responsible for the introduction of many of the features and processes associated with the printing of not only Fractional Currency, but our currency today.
Spencer M. Clark, Cornerstone of the BEP
(We are greatly indebted to Benny Bolin, who has given us consent to publish and post his excellent article on Spencer Clark on the website.This article was originally published in SPMC's Paper Money.Added graphics are from the archives and are not part of the original article.)
Spencer Morton Clark was a little known gentleman who overcame great odds and formed one of the largest and most important printing agencies in the world.The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), which is currently celebrating its 125th anniversary, was a direct result of Clark's persistence and dedication to the government.He was the first superintendent of the National Currency Bureau under President Abraham Lincoln.In the process of forming the bureau, Clark weathered many storms.His reputation, morality and integrity were often publicly questioned.He was investigated by three separate Congressional Committees based on reports of poor administration of his bureaus and for other numerous charges that turned out to be false.In spite of these assaults on his character, Clark remained loyal to the government and strove to make the National Currency Bureau the best it could be.
Clark was born on Monday, June 3, 1811, in Brattleboro, Vermont.He was the second of nine children of Ezra and Laura Hunt Clark.In 1819, when Spencer Clark was eight years old, his family moved to Hartford, Connecticut.His father was a merchant in the wholesale iron trade until his death on January 10, 1870.One of Clark's younger brothers, Ezra Jr., became a U.S.Congressman and represented the Hartford district from 1855 to 1859.
Before the age of 18, Clark got his first job as a clerk in the hardware store of James H. Welles.Around 1830, he entered into private business and became a partner in the firm of Gilbert, Clark and Company.This company built and operated a mill in Simsbury, Connecticut for the reduction and separation of ore from the surrounding copper mines.On August 5, 1833, he married Mariah J. Barnard of Hartford.They eventually had two children, Spencer Jr., born in 1834 and Harriet born in 1840.In 1834, Clark moved his family back to Brattleboro.Here he worked as a cashier in the Bank of Brattleboro until 1836 when he formed Clark and Company.This company manufactured rulers and other mathematical instruments.Clark and Company failed in 1842 and Clark then moved his family to New York City.On December 3, 1842, Clark appeared before Commissioner J.W. Metcalf of the U.S. District Court for the southern district of New York and declared bankruptcy due to the failure of his company.He listed as debts a total of $12.191.75 and as assets only the clothes he and his family owned.
In New York, Clark worked as a clerk and bartender at the Carleton and Clarendon Hotels for two years.In 1844, in partnership with Mr. E.W. Coleman, he formed yet another company, Clark and Coleman.They were general produce merchants dealing primarily in grain and flour.In 1855 this company also failed.It was the opinion of the other merchants and was widely reported in the papers of the day that this failure was the sole responsibility of Clark.They pointed out the fact that Mr. Coleman paid off his portion of the debts and reopened his own successful company.Clark, on the other hand, was reported to have offered his creditors only seventy cents on the dollar and even then did not pay his debts.
He left New York and moved to Washington D.C. where he served in various positions for a short time.In early 1856 he became a clerk in the Bureau of Construction under the U.S. Treasury Department.In August 1856, Mr. A.H. Bowman, the engineer in charge of the bureau, made Clark his chief clerk.He served in this position until May 1860 when he was named Acting Engineer, replacing Mr. Bowman.Clark was promoted to this position even though a large number of more qualified engineers were unemployed at the time.He also merely "professed" to being an engineer but had never actually been qualified as such, nor had he ever adopted it as a profession.Clark himself stated that he had never had any connection with public works until given this position.As acting engineer, Clark made a quick impression on the Secretary of the Treasury S.P. Chase.He quickly came up with a number of unique innovations designed to ensure the security of the notes issued by the Treasury and to speed their production.Clark suggested that the notes be imprinted with facsimile signatures of the required officers as well as a copy of the U.S. Treasury seal.In proposing that this work be done in the Treasury building he formed the basic framework of the BEP.Clark designed the machinery for the imprinting as well as the seal used (a variation of which is still used today on some securities).He also designed and constructed the machines used to cut and separate the four-note sheets.
On July 10, 1862 Clark was to be involved in the first of the three Congressional committees investigating him or his bureau.The "Committee on Expenditures on Public Buildings" was convened to investigate the costs of the extensions of the Treasury building and the Capitol.They were also instructed to decide if the officers of the Bureau of Construction were qualified to hold their positions.The committee found that contracts were honored that caused great "extravagance in the expenditure of public moneys," and that the work that was done was not of good quality.The committee found Clark guilty of no wrongdoing, as all of the contracts were signed before he was in charge of the bureau, but they did find that substandard work was allowed under his supervision.Because of this, they ruled that Clark was not qualified for his position and recommended his removal.Nevertheless, no further action was taken and Clark continued in his position.
On April 10, 1862, Clark submitted a plan to Secretary Chase to take over the printing of the one and two-dollar United States notes.This was accepted on August 22, 1862, officially forming the BEP with Clark as its first superintendent.Secretary Chase instructed Clark to keep a perfect record of all steps in the process and to implement checks and guards necessary to maintain security.He was instructed to keep a daily record of the amount of notes on hand at each step as well as a daily record of all costs incurred.This was an. area In which Clark proved himself to be less than attentive.Notes, sometimes large amounts, were unaccounted for and sometimes lost.Also, the required daily and weekly reports at times became monthly and some records were never even kept.However, Secretary Chase was so satisfied with Clark's overall progress that in January 1863 he assigned the processing of all notes to Clark's department.
Due to the widespread counterfeiting of the first issue of fractional currency, Clark became involved in anti-counterfeiting innovations for the second issue.Clark helped Dr. Stuart Gwynn develop a membrane paper that had a foreign fiber introduced into it.It was hoped that this "distinctive" paper would help deter counterfeiting.Clark also added to the design a bronzed oval on the face and large bronzed denominational numerals on the back.
Clark felt that his currency bureau could do the job "for a comparatively small outlay, at a great savings of cost."This was of course strongly opposed by the bank note companies and the unions representing the people who would become unemployed.The private bank note companies did not want to lose the lucrative and profitable business of printing the bank notes.
Initially they attempted to "buy" Clark off.It was reported that Clark's wife did not like living in Washington, D.C. and desired to move back to New York.The bank note companies proposed that they give Clark fifty-thousand dollars to abandon and stop the printing and engraving being done in the Treasury Department and leave Washington.It was felt that Clark was the only person who would attempt to carry out the printing and that if he
S. M. Clark, Superintendent ..., 18 Mar 2007 [cached]
S. M. Clark, Superintendent of the National Currency Bureau, suggested the second issue be withdrawn from circulation, and be replaced with a third issue.This was the first issue of Fractional Currency to contain signatures.
The obligation on these is similar to that on the Second Issue.
Head of Spencer M. Clark, First Superintendent of the National Currency Bureau (now the B.E.P.)
On the five cent note of this issue Congress had intended to honor Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but S. M. Clark, the Superintendent of the National Currency Bureau, put his own portrait on the note.This led to a Congressional uproar and the passing of a still existing rule forbidding the use of the image of a "living American" on the notes, coinage or obligations of the United States Government.The Law, however, did not prohibit the production of notes with living portraits on them, if the plates had already been prepared prior to the passage of that statute.Consequently, the notes with portraits of S. M. Clark, F. E. Spinner and William Pitt Fessenden were not illegally issued.
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