A Guide to Resources on

George Rogers Clark

and the Revolutionary War in Indiana

The Fall of Fort Sackville by Fredrick C. Yohn

| Introduction | Scope | Key to Abbreviations and Locations | Subject Headings | Browsing Areas | Encyclopedias | Biographies | History Books | Periodicals | Internet Sources | Atlases | Audio Visual Materials | Curriculum Guides | Databases and Indexes |


Born in 1752 on a plantation in what was then the western frontier of Virginia, George Rogers Clark lived in the time of Thomas Jefferson and Daniel Boone. As a young man, he worked as a surveyor in the wilderness of Kentucky and helped lead its defense during the Revolutionary War. This involved going to war against Native Americans armed by the British, and eventually led to his bold attack on British forces at Vincennes, Indiana. The taking of Fort Sackville at Vincennes, done with only 150 men who had traveled far through horrible winter conditions, was what made Clark famous and earned him the rank of General. A national historic park now honors him on that site.

After the close of the Revolution, Clark founded the towns of Clarksville, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky on the Ohio River. He had gone without pay for the last years of the Revolution and had used his own money and credit to buy supplies for his troops. For the rest of his life, Clark faced bankruptcy and legal problems because he was never repaid. In his later life, Clark had a series of accidents and illnesses. One of the few pleasures of his later years was his pride in his youngest brother, William Clark, who along with Meriwether Lewis, headed up the Corps of Discovery that explored the lands west of the Mississippi.

(Source: Burgan, Michael. George Rogers Clark: American General. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2002.)

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This research guide serves two purposes. One is to recall George Rogers Clark to teachers and students as a worthy subject for research and discussion, particularly for Indiana History projects. To this generation of students he seems mostly unknown, or is at best confused with his brother, William. George Rogers Clark's contributions, and his controversies, deserve to be studied and remembered.

Secondly, information on George Rogers Clark can be somewhat difficult for students to locate. While information at the elementary and middle school level is available, it is often located within collected biographies or histories of the Revolutionary War where it might not be easily found.

This research guide includes the following types of sources: encyclopedias, biographies and other non-fiction sources, audio visual materials, Internet sources, and resources for teachers. Most of the materials presented here are located in the Monroe County (Indiana) Public Library system and can be accessed by any member of the public with a MCPL library card, or through interlibrary loan from other libraries. The titles are also likely to be available at many public or school libraries.

Teacher resources are from the Indiana University Libraries on the Bloomington campus. Indiana residents may borrow items from IU libraries with a borrower's card. To obtain a borrower's card, simply present picture identification at the library.

Since the materials presented here are intended for students in elementary and middle school, more complex scholarly sources have not been included. Adults interested in this subject will find many more detailed accounts in the Monroe County Public Library's Indiana Room.

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Key to Abbreviations and Locations

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Library of Congress Subject Headings

The following subject headings may be used when searching for information on George Rogers Clark. Use these terms when searching online catalogs at libraries such as Monroe County Public Library, http://monroe.lib.in.us/. Look for Catalog Search and choose subject from the drop-down menu. In the search box, type one of the subject headings below.

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Browsing Areas

When looking for books with information about George Rogers Clark, it is helpful to browse the library shelves in the areas listed below. Look for books that either name Clark in the title or are about the Revolutionary War, especially the war in the West. Many books about the Revolutionary War include at least some information about Clark.

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Encyclopedia Articles

Encyclopedias are a good place to start your research. They give the basic information and often a list of other places to look for more details. In these encyclopedias you will find short articles, usually just a few paragraphs, about George Rogers Clark. They all follow the same basic format: a very brief description of his early life, a longer section on the capture of Vincennes, and a very brief summary of his life after the war. The encyclopedias do not differ much, with the exception of The Revolutionary War - The American Cause in Peril, which provides more detailed information.

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Biographies provide information about a person's life and give more details than an encyclopedia. Some are about only one person, while others include several people in the same book. Both kinds are listed here.

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History Books

These books have some information about George Rogers Clark, but he is only part of the story. These books about the American Revolution mention the role Clark played in that war.

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Magazines or journals are good sources of detailed information. This magazine devoted an entire issue to the life of George Rogers Clark.

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Internet Sources

The Internet is full of information. Some of it is very good, but some of it is not. The websites listed below will give you good information about George Rogers Clark, including some things that are hard to find in books.

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Atlases provide some text, but are most helpful for their maps. Although Clark is only mentioned briefly, this atlas has a useful map showing the location of the three forts Clark took from the British. It helps us see how alone these forts were, so far from the colonies.

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Audio Visual Materials

These short films about George Rogers Clark are entertaining and informative.

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For Teachers

Curriculum Guides

These lesson plans and activities were designed specifically for a unit on George Rogers Clark.

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Databases and Indexes

Databases and indexes provide lists of other sources, such as books and magazines. Some are in print only, some are electronic, and some are available in both formats. Those listed below were used to find materials for this research guide and would be helpful in locating additional materials. The electronic databases can be accessed through the IU Bloomington Libraries Web page. A user name and password are required. The best search strategy was generally to use "George Rogers Clark" as a keyword or subject.

Biographical Sources


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Created by Jennifer Perry
Indiana University School of Library and Information Science
Begun March 29, 2005 and last updated April 25, 2005.
Email jeperry@indiana.edu

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