George S. Clarke

Pages 219-220

George S. Clarke, as president of the Central Michigan Paper Company, of Grand Rapids, has attained a place of prominence in wholesale circles of the city. He rose from errand boy to the position of secretary with the company within the phenomenally short time of five years, his rapid advancement being attributed not only to his evident ability as an executive but to the conscientious application to duty and the will to succeed, which have been the guiding stars of his career. He comes of a pioneer family of Michigan, his parents, Edgar A. and Lucena (Caldwell) Clarke, coming from New York state in 1860 to locate at Ionia, Michigan. In that city George S. Clarke was born in 1888 and there attended the public schools. At the age of fourteen he obtained a job with the Central Michigan Paper Company, which was first established in Kalamazoo, as errand boy, his weekly wage being one and a half dollars per week. He realized that his education was not sufficient to take him to the top in the business world and accordingly enrolled in night school. His industry and ability were soon rewarded and he was successively advanced through the positions of stock cutter and shipping clerk until in 1907, though but a young man of nineteen years, he was made a secretary of the company, a position which he retained until 1922. The Central Michigan Paper Company was established in 1885 in Kalamazoo by W. F. Holmes. From its inception the enterprise enjoyed a steady growth. In 1898 the firm moved its plant to Grand Rapids and in April, 1904, drew up the articles of incorporation as the Central Michigan Paper Company. C. L. Blanchard, of Milwaukee, became the first president of the new corporation with Mr. Holmes as vice-president and A. C. Denison filling the office of secretary. The retirement of Blanchard and Holmes in 1907 necessitated a new election of officers, and at that time, George L. Warren became president, S. W. Todd took over the duties of vice-president and treasurer, and George S. Clarke was promoted to the office of secretary. These officers continued in their various positions until 1922 when Mr. Clarke became president, B. J. Barnard, vice-president, and S. W. Todd, secretary and treasurer. Mr. Clarke is one of the progressive young executives of Grand Rapids, and the fact that his company is rapidly becoming one of the substantial and influential wholesale enterprises of the city is proof enough of his managerial ability. He is well known in business, where he is respected by all with whom he comes in contact. Mr. Clarke married Katherine B. Precious, the daughter of Joseph Precious, of Kent County.

Transcriber:  Evelyn M. Sawyer
Created: 17 April 2003