P A S T        E V E N T S



John Clarke Day 2011


NOTE: With the assistance of Rhode Island State Senators Theresa Paiva-Weed and June Gibbs, the John Clarke Society established John Clarke Day to celebrate John Clarkes birth date on October 16, 1609.


On Saturday, October 1, 2012, Professor Victor Nuovo Ph.D. presented the John Clarke Day lecture. A Manchester Harris / University of Oxford scholar and Middlebury College Professor, Victor Nuovo Ph.D. Victor is a John Locke scholar and one of the Society’s Founding Advisors. As such, he has contributed hours of guided research and support to the Society’s cause. Splitting his time between Oxford and Middlebury, Victor will provide a rare treat for attendees. While it is unlikely that John Clarke and John Locke ever met, Clarke’s groundbreaking Colonial Charter of 1663 cleared the way for Locke as he wrote a Charter for the Carolinas.

Charter Day 2011


On Sunday, July 17, the John Clarke Society honored Rhode Island Charter Day 2011 with a lecture by Professor Mary Sarah Bilder Ph.D., Professor of Law, Michael and Helen Lee Distinguished Scholar, Boston College Law School. The lecture was held at the Redwood Library & Athenaeum.

Rhode Island was criticized for its failure to send delegates to the 1787 Philadelphia Convention. The 1787 Constitution, however, owes a great deal to Rhode Island and its colonial charter. The colony played a crucial role in the development of American constitutionalism.  

Beginning in 1787, Rhode Island's version of American constitutionalism and the national understanding would begin to diverge. Eventually, Rhode Island would agree to reframe its political system to parallel, more or less, national constitutionalism. Nonetheless, the older constitutionalism long held dear by Rhode Island continues deep within our modern Constitution.

Lecture 13 January 2011  

Investigative reporting runs in the family; as WJAR reporter John Rappleye investigates current affairs, his brother Charles Rappleye investigates 18th century American history. A highly esteemed author and independent scholar, Charles flies in from Los Angeles to present The Nationalists of 1781, drawing on his acclaimed book Robert Morris. A Founding Father, Morris, like Clarke, was ahead of his time. He espoused global capitalism and helped to establish the financial system that established American financial hegemony.


Lecture 15 April 2011 Society Director James A. Wermuth presents White Paper from Kew; recent research into the life and times of Dr. John Clarke. Did Dr. Clarke rely on astrology? Was he a surgeon or a physician? Did he excel in cranial surgery? What did his house look like and, most importantly, can the issue of who wrote and secured Rhode Island’s Royal Charter of 1663, Williams or Clarke, be definitively declared for once and for all? Join me for this rollicking investigation drawn from three weeks of research at the British National Archives, Kew, the Royal Society of Surgeons, London Museum, and Ipswich Records Office.
Charter Day 20010 Charter Day 2010 was not celebrated due to research activities
John Clarke Day 20010 John Clarke Day 2010 was not celebrated due to research activities
Lecture June 2010 Prof. Patrick Conley Ph.D. of Providence College delivered a spellbinding lecture based on his newly published book, Rhode Island's Founders. Focusing on several of the lesser known patriots that forged Rhode Island's unique democracy, Prof. Conley filled the hall at the Redwood Library & Athenaeum.
John Clarke Day 2009 Ambassador John L. Loeb was awarded the John Clarke Laureate for his continuing philanthropic work with religious freedom. Most particularly, Ambassador Loeb is responsible for building and filling the Loeb Center for Jewish American History in Newport, RI.



PhotoProfessor Tom Luxon Ph.D., Cheheyl Professor, Director of the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning, Director of the Milton Reading Room, and Professor of English delivered a riveting talk on John Clarke's influences on John Milton.



Lecture January 2009

Rhode Island College Adjunct Professor Paul Robinson Ph.D. delivered a strong lecture focused on Rhode Island before the dawn of western intervention. Bringing first-hand knowledge as Rhode Island's state anthropologist, Paul discussed Indian civilizations as they were before settlers arrived from England.

Lecture November 2008 Joseph (Jay) Waller, a University of Connecticut Ph.D. candidate delivered a lecture complimentary to Dr. Robinson's lecture (see above) discussing Rhode Island's Indian civilization immediately following the dawn of western settlement.
Charter Day 2008 Ambassador J. William Middendorf II was awarded the John Clarke Laureate for his continuing work to encourage both religious freedoms and property rights with emerging democracies.

 Professor James Calvin Davis Ph.D. presented the John Clarke Day lecture. He detailed the theological roots of Roger Williams and John Clarke that led them to seek previously unheard of religious freedom and separation of church and state.

Lecture March 2007 John Clarke Society Director James Wermuth discussed the story of Dr. John Clarke in a PowerPoint presentation. Intended as a refresher and introduction of the Society to Newport, it played to an overflow crowd at the Redwood Library & Athenaeum.
Charter Day 2007 Bryant College President and former Senator Ron Machtley delivered the John Clarke Society's first Charter Day celebration. Presenting the power and influence of Rhode Island's Royal Charter of 1663, Ron also honored Society co-founder Ralph Carpenter.
Lecture November 2007 George Washington University Professor and Smithsonian Institute Fellow delivered a lecture on God's Providence in the 17th and 18th centuries with a focus on Bishop Berkeley. The John Clarke Society partnered with the Colonial Dames and Berkeley Society for this event. The picture, from left to right: Margot Grosvenor, Prof. David Belajac, Nancy Bredback, James Wermuth, and (Currently being written)