Charles Badger Clark

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Charles Badger Clark
BornJanuary 1, 1883
DiedSeptember 26, 1957
Alma materDakota Wesleyan University (did not graduate)

Charles Badger Clark (January 1, 1883 – September 26, 1957) was an American cowboy poet.[1][2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Charles Badger Clark was born on January 1, 1883 in Albia, Iowa.[1][5] His family moved to Dakota Territory, where his father served as a Methodist preacher in Huron, Mitchell, Deadwood and Hot Springs.[1][2][3] He dropped out of Dakota Wesleyan University after he clashed with one of its founders, C. B. Clark.[1][5] He travelled to Cuba, returned to Deadwood, South Dakota, where he contracted tuberculosis, then moved to Tombstone, Arizona to assuage his illness with the dry weather.[1][3][4][5] He returned again to South Dakota in 1910 to take care of his ailing father.[1][2][3][4]


Clark published his first poetry collection in 1917. In 1925, he moved to a cabin in Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where he lived for thirty years and continued to write poetry.[1][2][4][5][6]

Clark was named the Poet Laureate of South Dakota by Governor Leslie Jensen in 1937.[2][7] His work was published in Sunset Magazine, The Pacific Monthly, Arizona Highways, Colliers, Century Magazine, the Rotarian, and Scribner's.[7]

Death and legacy[edit]

Clark died on September 26, 1957.[3]

His poem entitled "Lead My America" was performed by the Fred Waring Chorus in 1957.[5] Pete Seeger included "Spanish Is the Loving Tongue" on his 1960 album The Rainbow Quest.[8] In 1969, Bob Dylan recorded "Spanish is the Loving Tongue".[3] In America by Heart, Sarah Palin quotes his poem entitled "A Cowboy's Prayer" as one of the prayers she likes to recite.[9] In 1989, he was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.[10]


  • Grass-Grown Tales (1917)
  • Sun and Saddle Leather (1919)
  • Spike (1925)
  • When Hot Springs Was a Pup (1927)
  • God of the Open
  • Sky Lines and Wood Smoke (1935)
  • The Story of Custer City, S.D. (1941)
  • Boot and Bylines (posthumous, 1978)
  • Singleton (posthumous, 1978)


  • Jessi Y. Sundstrom: Badger Clark, Cowboy Poet with Universal Appeal, Custer, S.D., 2004


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Badger Clark Memorial Society, biography". Archived from the original on 2013-06-22. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
  2. ^ a b c d e Dakota Wesleyan University biography Archived 2011-05-26 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c d e f Black Hills Visitor Magazine biography
  4. ^ a b c d Marsha Trimble, 'Who is Badger Clark?', in True West Magazine, 08/25/2009 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2011-01-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ a b c d e South Dakota Public Broadcasting biography
  6. ^ Badger Hole
  7. ^ a b "Badger Clark Memorial Society, homepage". Archived from the original on 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
  8. ^ Smithsonian magazine, October 2020
  9. ^ Sarah Palin, America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2010, pp. 230-231
  10. ^ "Hall of Great Westerners". National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Retrieved November 21, 2019.

External links[edit]