William Clark (judge)

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William Clark (February 1, 1891 – October 10, 1957) was a United States federal judge.

Clark was born on February 1, 1891 in Newark, New Jersey. His father, John William Clark, was president of the Clark Thread Company of Newark.[1] (Clark Thread Co. later merged with J. & P. Coats to become Coats & Clark Inc.) His mother, Margaretta Cameron Clark, was the daughter of United States Senator J. Donald Cameron.[2] He earned successive degrees at Harvard University, starting with a B.A. at the age of 20 in 1911, followed by an M.A. a year later, and finally an LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1915. Two years later, when the United States entered World War I, he joined the U.S. Army, where he stayed until 1918.

Clark married Marjory Blair, daughter of investment banker C. Ledyard Blair, on September 20, 1913. Eight hundred guests were invited to the celebration at the Blairsden Mansion in Peapack-Gladstone, New Jersey, not far from the Clark family's own estate, Peachcroft.[1] Their daughter Anne was born on July 18, 1914. Anne Clark Martindell would go on to serve in the New Jersey Senate and as United States Ambassador to New Zealand. Their son Ledyard Blair Clark was born on August 22, 1917 and would become a prominent journalist and Democratic Party activist.

In 1920, Clark started out the practice of law in Newark, which lasted a bare four years before he became a judge of the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals in 1923. He was only a state judge for one year. On May 21, 1925, he received a recess appointment from President Calvin Coolidge to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, to vacated by Charles F. Lynch. Formally nominated on December 8, 1925, Clark's appointment was confirmed by the Senate on December 17, 1925, and he received commission the same day.

On June 10, 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Clark for elevation to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacated by Joseph Whitaker Thompson. Clark was confirmed on June 16 and joined the court on June 25.

On March 24, 1943, Clark resigned his judgeship and became a full-time member of the United States Army, this time as part of World War II. This service lasted until the war's conclusion in 1945.

After Clark's first marriage ended in divorce, he married Sonia Tomara, a foreign correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune, on October 4, 1947 in Paris.[3]

In 1949, Clark became the chief justice of the Allied High Commission Court of Appeals in Nuremberg, Germany. He stayed in this position until 1954. He died three years later, on October 10, 1957.


  1. ^ a b Schleicher, William A. and Susan Winter. In the Somerset Hills: The Landed Gentry. Arcadia, 1997.
  2. ^ The History of Blairsden in Peapack, NJ, Historical Society of The Somerset Hills.
  3. ^ "Ex-Judge Clark Weds Miss Tomara in Paris". The New York Times, November 1, 1947. Accessed June 13, 2008.

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Legal offices
Preceded by
Charles Francis Lynch
Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
December 17, 1925 – June 25, 1938
Succeeded by
Thomas Glynn Walker
Preceded by
Joseph Whitaker Thompson
Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
June 25, 1938 – March 24, 1943
Succeeded by
Gerald McLaughlin