Edward Cabot Clark

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Edward Cabot Clark (1811-1882)

Edward Cabot Clark (December 19, 1811 – October 14, 1882) was an American lawyer, businessman and investor.[1]

He was the patent attorney and business partner of Isaac Merritt Singer, and they co-founded the Singer Sewing Machine Company in 1851.[2] They began investing in New York City real estate in the 1870s. Clark built The Dakota, an apartment house at 72nd Street and Central Park West, but died before the building's completion in 1884. He bequeathed it to his 12-year-old grandson and namesake, Edward Severin Clark.[3]

He entered Williams College in 1826 and he graduated in 1830.[4] In 1835, Clark married Caroline Jordan (1815–1874), and they had four children: Ambrose Jordan Clark (1836–1880),[5] Edward Lorraine Clark (1838–1860),[6] Julia Clark (1841–1841), Alfred Corning Clark (1844–1896). Three of Clark's children predeceased him, and Alfred was the only one to marry and have children: Edward Severin Clark, F. Ambrose Clark, Robert Sterling Clark, Stephen Carlton Clark.[7]

In 1856, Clark created the hire-purchase plan, which was the first American installment plan.[8][9][10]

In 1869, Clark built "Fernleigh," a country house near Cooperstown, New York, on the shore of Otsego Lake.


  1. ^ "The Clarks of Cooperstown" New York Times article. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  2. ^ Official website of the Singer Sewing Company Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  3. ^ Stephen Birmingham, Life at The Dakota: New York's Most Unusual Address, (Open Road Media, 2015).
  4. ^ Weber, Nicholas. "The Clarks of Cooperstown". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Ambrose Jordan Clark, from Find-a-Grave.
  6. ^ Edward Lorraine Clark, from Find-a-Grave.
  7. ^ Jack Buckman, Unraveling the Threads: The Life, Death and Resurrection of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, America’s First Multi-National Corporation (Dog Ear Publishing, 2016), p. 99.
  8. ^ "Isaac Merritt Singer". PBS. Retrieved August 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-27. Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  10. ^ Weber, Nicholas F. The Clarks of Cooperstown: Their Singer Sewing Machine Fortune, Their Great and Influential Art Collections, Their Forty-Year Feud. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.

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