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The Clarion, a socialist weekly, was established by Robert Blatchford, a Manchester journalist, in 1890. The paper first appeared in Manchester on 2nd December, 1891. Blatchford announced that the newspaper would follow a "policy of humanity; a policy not of party, sect or creed; but of justice, of reason and mercy." The first edition sold 40,000 and after a few months settled down to about 30,000 copies a week.
Tom Hopkinson explained: "Its blend of biblical socialism with love of the countryside caught the mood of the time and the magazine prospered. Earnest young tradesmen and craftsmen took to their cycles at weekends to explore the 'merrie England' of which Blatchford wrote in a book that would ultimately sell two million copies, and discussed plans for a socialist Britain in evening classes and at Workers' Educational Societies during the week. The Clarion was their bible, and a network of Clarion cycling clubs carried its message round the country and pushed its circulation up to 60,000."
In 1893 the Clarion began serializing Blatchford's book Merrie England. When it was eventually published as a book it sold 750,000 copies. Philip Snowden was one of those influenced by the work of Blatchford: "In the 1890s Robert Blatchford was attracting recruits to the movement by his vigorous socialist writings. He established The Clarion, a weekly socialist and literary journal, and written Merrie England, a popular textbook on socialism written in the simple and vigorous English of which he was such a master. This book, which extended to two hundred pages, was published in a penny edition, which had a sale of a million copies. No man did more than he to make socialism understood by the ordinary working man. He based his appeal on the principles of human justice. He preached socialism as a system of industrial co-operation for the common good. His arguments and illustrations were drawn from facts and experiences within the knowledge of the common people."
The Clarion newspaper also became involved in a wide-range of different activities including missionary vans, cycling clubs, choirs, handicraft guilds and holiday camps. The newspaper also sponsored Cinderella Clubs that entertain children from the slums. Robert Blatchford boasted that he would "convert England to Socialism in seven years". However, it soon became clear that Blatchford had overestimated the power of the Clarion and when he was asked about this a few years later, he replied that "the British working classes are not fit for Socialism yet".
In 1895 began to use the work of the illustrator Walter Crane. Blatchford upset a lot of the Clarion readers with his enthusiastic support for the Boer War and opposition to organisations such as the NUWSS and the WSPU that were demanding the vote for women.
Sales fell but revived after the 1906 General Election, when 29 Labour Party MPs were elected. Blatchford increased the size of the newspaper and began to employ talented socialist writers such as George Bernard Shaw. By 1907 sales of the Clarion had reached 74,000.
After the First World War Blatchford moved to the right and became a passionate advocate of the British Empire. In the 1924 General Election he supported the Conservative Party and declared that Stanley Baldwin was Britain's finest politician. The Clarion ceased publication in 1931.
In the 1890s Robert Blatchford was attracting recruits to the movement by his vigorous socialist writings. His arguments and illustrations were drawn from facts and experiences within the knowledge of the common people.
In the 1890s, before cars came to dominate roads built for the brief heyday of the stage coach, there had been a short alliance between two oddly assorted partners - socialism and the bicycle. Robert Blatchford, a journalist who had spent some years as a private soldier, founded The Clarion in 1891 as a weekly paper on a capital of £400. Its blend of biblical socialism with love of the countryside caught the mood of the time and the magazine prospered. The Clarion was their bible, and a network of Clarion cycling clubs carried its message round the country and pushed its circulation up to 60,000.
By 1934, however, most of the clubs had gone the way of the stage coach, and The Clarion's trumpet call had sunk to a feeble quaver. With circulation at 15,000 and next to no advertising, it appeared doomed to rapid extinction. But then Dunbar had an idea. If encyclopedias and sets of Dickens had induced two million homes to buy the Daily Herald six times a week, surely similar offers could entice a quarter of that number, the politically conscious, to pay twopence a week for a 'poor man's New Statesman'. He managed to convince his colleagues and the project went ahead.
History is the discipline of critical inquiry into the human past. The history major introduces students to the study of causes and consequences of change through an examination of social, political, economic, cultural and intellectual developments over time. The enterprise of history is much more than a recitation of facts and dates. It encourages students to examine the values of their society and those of other societies. It prepares students to read critically, think analytically and argue logically about the events and forces that have shaped past and present worlds. These skills have served students well in a wide range of careers in business, law, public policy and advocacy, education, journalism historical societies, museums, and archives. This program is offered only at the Clarion campus.
Minor in History
History is the discipline of critical inquiry into the human past. A history minor is exposed to causes and consequences of change through an examination of social, political, economic, cultural and intellectual developments over time. This type of minor complements many majors and career paths in business, law, public policy and advocacy, education, journalism, historical societies, museums and archives. This minor is offered at the Clarion campus and online.
In 1859, some local citizens generated a proposal for the creation of a seminary in Clarion, the earliest recorded evidence of an institution of higher education for Clarion, according to Caldwell's Illustrated Historical Combination Atlas of Clarion County.
The proposal was forwarded to the Erie Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but Civil War engulfed the nation before any action could be taken. (The impact of wars throughout the history of Clarion, like many other colleges and universities, had a direct impact on enrollment and growth.)
The institution began operation Sept. 10, 1867, as the Carrier Seminary of western Pennsylvania. It was named in honor of the Carrier family for their contributions of $6,000 and lumber for the endeavor. Lacking any facilities of its own, classes were held in the old academy building. The Seminary was a coeducational institution with the Rev. James G. Townsend as principal.
Carrier's calendar called for three, 13-week terms with tuition as follows: Common English branches: $6, Higher English branches: $7, and Languages: $8.
Normal program to college
Carrier Seminary began operation and offered a normal program as early as 1871. However, it wasn’t official for another 16 years. Clarion State Normal School, the successor to Carrier Seminary, opened its doors on the old Seminary grounds April 12, 1887.
The commonwealth’s purchase of Clarion was official in December 1915 with the state assuming full control the following year.
Clarion became a college-level institution in 1920. A student now needed 15 units of high school work to be considered for admission and after 1924 intelligence tests were used as criteria for admission. The old Normal School was composed of students who were preparing for entrance to college of liberal arts, technical schools, professional schools, a business school or the teaching profession. Clarion was no longer a preparatory school, but rather, a technical school of junior college rank.
Clarion became a college on May 28, 1929, and Dr. G.L. Riemer became its president. The nation was in the midst of an unparalleled economic boom. In a span of five short months, however, the Depression set in. On Oct. 24, 1929, otherwise known as "Black Thursday," total panic seized the stock market and by Oct. 29 the bottom had dropped out. The Great Depression had profound effects upon state appropriations and student enrollment at Clarion.
Dr. Paul Gladstone Chandler, the son of an itinerant Methodist preacher, arrived in Clarion as the nation was emerging from the doldrums of the Depression. He led Clarion toward great heights during his 23 years as president.
Although crises kept intruding during the two decades of turmoil from 1930 to 1950, the period was a time of continuing thoughtful inquiry and soul-searching into the philosophy, organization, structure and operation of the educational program. These efforts resulted in the primary achievement of the Chandler administration, academic respectability. In 1948, Clarion was accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The accreditation was vital because it implied that Clarion's course offerings were now of collegiate quality in name as well as in fact.
Dr. James Gemmell knew what it would take to make Clarion State College successful when he arrived in 1960. "The basic ingredients of a good college are namely able students, sufficient money, and sense of purpose, plus able administrators and teachers," said Gemmell in his inaugural address.
When Gemmell arrived on campus in 1960 there were about 1,100 students and 10 buildings. The institution's sole educational function had been teacher preparation. By the time he left the presidency in 1976, the student body had expanded to about 5,000 with 25 buildings completed, under construction or on the drawing boards. Clarion's mission expanded into that of a multipurpose institution.
The spectacular growth was not painless. Major adjustments were required on campus and in town. Expansion of the institution required the acquisition of a significant amount of private property in Clarion Borough. While the college had the legal right to exercise its power of eminent domain at the time, many local citizens questioned the disruption of their lives and the loss of a good percentage of the loss of the tax base.
Clarion State College emphasized its significance as an intellectual, social, cultural and economic stimulus to counter community concerns. Just as the number of buildings increased, the student population escalated from 1,100 at the start of the Gemmell presidency to about 5,000 at the end of his tenure.
Venango becomes reality
Oil City was the next area of growth for Clarion State College. With the support of the chamber of commerce, the superintendent of schools, the mayor, local business and civic leaders, Gemmell was asked to explore the possibility of providing higher education in this Venango County community. What resulted was Clarion State's Venango Campus, the Commonwealth's first public community college.
Since no state money was available for building construction, a local campaign was undertaken to raise $350,000. The citizens of Oil City exceeded the goal by about 10 percent. Classes began in the fall of 1961 with an enrollment of 131. The venture made a high-quality, low-cost higher education available for many young people. An associate degree in nursing became one of the mainstays of the Venango Campus.
Despite the tremendous growth of Clarion during the Gemmell years, financial concerns continued as a state institution. Commonwealth funding was never a certainty and after the boom the late 60s and early 70s, budget appropriations did not keep up with growing enrollment. Tuition and fees started to increase regularly and by the mid-70s retrenchment and lay-offs became part of the campus vocabulary. During the early 70s, Gemmell was frequently the financial spokesman in Harrisburg for the state colleges as a whole.
The Clarion State College Foundation was founded on Dec. 8, 1969, based on the premise of providing people with an opportunity to donate to Clarion State College and ensure that their contribution would be used as intended. Contributions still fund scholarship programs, fund selected capital projects, and support other projects.
During the Gemmell presidency the institution's student body, academic programs, physical plant and overall reputation reached a level that would have been considered preposterous if prophesied only a few years earlier. Much of this change resulted from two decisions. The first decision was that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania chose to convert its single-purpose teachers colleges to multipurpose state colleges. The second decision was that the trustees hired Gemmell as president.
Clarion was in the vanguard of the state colleges. A survey reported in the May 5, 1975, issue of The News indicated that Gemmell had turned the tide in the community. According to the survey, 91 percent of the participants were proud that Clarion State College was in their community.
The following year Gemmell announced his intentions to leave Clarion. "To everything there is a season, and there is no reason to regard the college presidency as an exception," said Gemmell in a letter to trustees. "Generally a college president is chosen to fill a particular need of the institution and when that need has been fulfilled it is time to move on."
Gemmell moved on to become associate director of the Academic Collective Bargaining Service, a Washington, D.C., based consulting service. In recognition of his leadership at Clarion, a student complex which houses student organizations, a food court, meeting rooms and a bookstore was named in his honor.
The Bond years
Thomas A. Bond was named president June 3, 1980. He assumed responsibility after the university was under interim leadership for several years. Writing at the end of the 1980s, three-time interim president, Dr. Charles Leach, said, "The decade of the 1980s was the decade of President Thomas A. Bond. A good share of what Clarion is today is because of his impact."
Highlights of the decade include:
- a change to university status
- a substantial increase in enrollment
- a significant number of retirements and replacements
- advancement in the realm of academic standards
- introduction of campaigns to raise capital funds.
By Legislative Act 188 of 1982, all 14 state colleges were taken from the control of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and placed under the jurisdiction of the newly-created Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
When Dr. Diane L. Reinhard assumed the presidency of Clarion on June 1, 1990, she brought with her perspectives from larger universities, but also an understanding of what was needed at Clarion.
The professional level of academic programs and administrative approach evolved under her leadership. She also guided Clarion to seek the top level of accreditations available for its programs.
"Fly Eagles Fly" was the ending of most speeches made by Joe Grunenwald during his presidency and the words emphasized how Clarion Proud he was of his Golden Eagles.
Retiring June 30, 2010, after 40 years of public service, the last 32 of which were at Clarion, he was quick to add, "I want to continue to help Clarion in any way possible once I retire." Since his retirement, Grunenwald has assisted in general fundraising and promoting the Barnes Center for Biotechnology Business Development. He has also served as a consultant for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
Clarion turned "Eagletastic" with the arrival of Dr. Karen M. Whitney as its 16th president on July 1, 2010. The new word coined at Clarion reflected a continuation of the pride in Clarion University and its mascot, the Golden Eagle.
When she assumed the presidency, Whitney articulated a vision of engaging leadership with the goal of advancing the university and its region through increased degree attainment, a campus culture of civility, listening, entrepreneurialism, achievement, relationships, civic engagement, and institutional leadership.
Clarion's 17th president
With the arrival Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson on July 1, 2018, Clarion's 17th president has sought to help Clarion find its True North. True North is a three-year plan of action to move the institution in a new direction.
Pehrsson has more than 25 years of experience in higher education, beginning her academic career as an affiliate faculty member and clinical supervisor for counselor education at Idaho State University in 1991. She also has worked in the healthcare field, as both a counselor and registered nurse.
Throughout its history, the Clarion University community has evolved from the immediate greater Clarion to the state, nation and world. It all started as a dream of providing local advanced education through a seminary to the current Clarion University that is part of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education.
The History of the Record Player
One of the most important inventions in the history of home entertainment is the record player. The record player has brought music into people’s homes for over a century. For many years it was thought as a long and dead technology.
Yet this relic, that was doomed to collecting dust in a basement or attic, has risen from the ashes to see the world once again. Record players have evolved across iterations, starting with the phonautograph, then to the turntable and reaching the modern vinyl version. Vinyl music has grown in popularity over the last decade. Others use their record players as a feeling of nostalgia. Now lets take a look back at the history of record players to make people better understand the roots of this interesting music technology.
The Beginning: The first version of the turntable was made by Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville. He created the phonautograph in France 1857. Yet this device could not play sound back. The phonautograph was mainly used in lab settings.
The rise of the phonograph: Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877. This device recorded and played sound. It inscribed audio to tinfoil wrapped along a cardboard cylinder for subsequent playback. Alexander Graham Bell added wax to Edison’s phonograph design in order to record waves of sound. The result was referred to as the graphophone.
Berliner’s Breakthrough: Emile Berliner took record players to the next level. He dubbed his creation the “gramophone” and secured a patent for the device in 1887. The gramophone was made of hard rubber and shelac before being constructed with vinyl. The gramophone is the basis of the contemporary record player. It grooves on flat discs instead of a cylinder. This is the point in time when records became necessary.
The Record Player goes Commercial: The first record player was released to the masses in 1895. This gramophone record player was quite popular until the rise of radio. Though radio didn’t kill the record player, it certainly stole the spotlight for a while. Record players sold well in the 30s and 40s but didn’t quite hit a mainstream tipping point until a couple decades later.
The Golden Age: Record players became really popular in the 60s and 70s when Dual released the first turntables to provide stereo playback. High-fidelity sound reproduction hit the scene and motivated a lot of people to add a record player to their home. The automatic high-fidelity turntable was an immediate hit in the early 60s. This was the golden age of record players. It was during this era that Electrohome released its famous space-aged Apollo Record Player along side their classic wooden stereo consoles.
A new use for the record player: Hip-hop DJs used record player turntables in a new and creative way through the 80s, 90s and beyond. They connected audio mixers to record players, guided their hands along the records so they scratched against the needle and produced a new rhythmic instrument of sorts. Though some people still use record players to play music, plenty of modern day hip-hop artists use record players in unison with mixers to add a rhythmic element to their music.
The Return of the Vinyl: After years of the vinyl industry being sustained by hardcore enthusiasts and niche music audiences, vinyl has come back into the mainstream. They are now being sold at major department stores like Urban Outfitters, grocery stores and even new independent record stores. Most major artists are now releasing their latest albums as LPs allowing generations young and old to experience this 100 year old technology in their homes today.
This increased interest in vinyl has resulted in a need for modern day record players. Many music enthusiasts or casual music listeners want to experience music on vinyl, while also wanting some more modern features such as USB recording, or connecting their smartphones and tablets to music systems so they can enjoy their entire music collection.
True Tales of the Clarion River: Some History of Mays Gap
“True Tales of Clarion River,” published in 1933 by George P. Sheffer and the Northwestern Pennsylvania Raftsmen’s Association. The story below was written by W.W.Braden of Clarington, PA.
I will try to tell you of Mays Gap and some of my experiences of funning rafts and boats to Pittsburgh.
My house burned in 1912 and I lost all my records so will have to tell you the dates as near as I can remember them. George Shawkey built the first mill and boat scapold at Mays Gap about 1884. I worked for him until about 1890. Then I bought him out and operated for myself until 1900.
At this time, I began to operate for C.R. Vasbinder & Co. of Brookville and continued until 1912. During that time, I probably built a hundred boats and rafts. I lost two boats on the Allegheny River. One trip that I made, I could not get over the Springdale Dam: so, I had to tie them. The ice went out and took them. I tore up one raft on Clough’s Ripple for Reason Gorden, but we rescued the most of it.
I swung a boat on “Licking Point” without springing a leak. It was loaded with 195,000 shingles and 28,000 feet of lumber. Will Groce was with me and Wayne Motter and Lawrence Cook who were but boys were on the front end. They all laughed at me as I filled and lighted my pipe while we were swinging.
At one time I run 12 boats for the Vasbinder Co.
Tom McCanna and I run around “Licking Point” side by side with two of the heaviest oaded boats. My boat had 3,000 pit posts and Tom’s had 48,000 stringers.
I built two small boats 40 feet long and 18 feet wide for a man in Pittsburgh, who wanted them for showboats. He was anxious to get them so, when there came a little rain and raised the water, Len Agnew and I started with them. We just go to “Steel Trap” when the water got too low and we had to tie up there. Starting to walk home we came up over the hill to a farm where Len was acquainted and talked there a little while. Len had a very good rubber raincoat, for which he says he paid $15.00. He thought it safe to hang it on a gate post: then, we went up in the orchard and got some apples. When we come back to the gate a large hog had the coat torn to ribbons. Naturally, Len was quite provoked at the hog and said “Confound. I never liked hogs anyway.”
In the year of 1900, I hauled 145,000 cubic feet of timber to Mays Gap. Berl Agnew and I rafted and run it in 1901.
Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club
Time, I thought, for a bit of relief from all this ‘political’ stuff – interesting and important though it is Many years ago now I featured a longer version of what follows in the newsletter. You can still find it in the ‘History’ section of the old website via the current blog. But even if you read it when I used it before then the chances are you’ve long forgotten it. So here goes.
As you can read in Denis Pye’s Fellowship is Life it all started with a letter from Tom Groom – now commemorated in the Tom Groom trophy awarded every year at the Meet.
At the time Groom was Secretary of the Bond Street Labour Church in Birmingham. This was a recently-formed organisation – another part of the ‘socialist revival’ of the 1890s that helped float the Clarion. Its founder was an ex Unitarian (as in New Road, Brighton) minister – John Trevor. The Labour Church must not to be confused with the various brands of Christian Socialism. Basically the difference was that whereas Christian Socialists believed that Christianity was essentially socialist, the Labour Church started as it were from the other end seeing the Labour Movement itself as essentially religious. At the end of April 1894 the letter below appeared in the paper. It was followed by a very typical Clarion editorial comment
[We print the above with some misgiving. After recent allegations we are not wholly untroubled with a horrific suspicion that it may be an invention of this unconventional person. Our fears in him stick deep – especially since he has gone, or has not gone – on Tour. If our suspicions should prove correct – but enough – Ed. Clarion]
The ‘unconventional person’ was, you probably won’t be surprised to learn, that early Clarion stalwart Edward Fay – aka The Bounder
I’m convinced that the editorial comment was just one of Blatchford’s jokes – but perhaps not everyone was at the time. Or perhaps they saw in it the opportunity for another ‘go’ because the following week , 5 May 1894, there appeared in the Clarion as one of the contributions to ‘Local Notes’ a report on Birmingham, signed ‘Arturo’ which, after reporting the recent foundation of the Birmingham Democratic Club went on:-
The Clarion Cycling Club has come to stay and the article in last week’s
Issue in reference thereto was written by a prominent member. So the editorial misgiving that the Bounder may have done this thing may now give way to editorial calm, and the Great and Only one stands once more vindicated before men.
So, with that by way of introduction here – at last – is the letter in its entirety. It’s a bit long but you need to read the whole thing to get the full flavour.
BEING AN ACCOUNT OF THE CLARION CYCLING CLUB’S EASTER TOUR
‘We shall arrive!’ And in order that our coming may be speedy, we have started the Clarion Cycling Club, and at Easter we want to tour. We were seven And we started from Birmingham to Wolverhampton by train on a dirty, dark, damp, dismal, dreary morning at 7.15.
We were only half awake and we were cold and hungry and the journey between Birmingham and Wolverhampton is one of the most mournful in England.
But – aha – we got to Wolverhampton, and had a little refreshment, and we got on our jiggers, and we woke up, and the sun came out, and the ‘little squeakers’ began to warble fit to crack their little throats, and we got hopeful, and cheerful, and oh! we were gay!
Then came we unto Bridgnorth and did there Bounderise. Bounderise – verb irregular (very) meaning to imbibe liquors of various degrees of strength – to assimilate resuscitating comestibles – to walk on one’s heels – and to generally spread oneself out. Afterwards we sampled Bridgnorth on the banks of the silvery Severn, and departing thence came to Arley and Bewdley both on the banks of the aforesaid silvery Severn.
On our way hitherwards we were led by ‘The Fiend’ into a veritable slough of despond, from which we emerged covered with much variety of landed estate causing a delay of many golden moments whilst we scraped ourselves.
Bewdley is a fine place, but – they haven’t been used to catering for cyclists there. We assisted in their education, however, and the next time they hear of our coming they will prepare themselves. For we shall arrive.
Next day we pushed on to Evesham, via Stourport, Ombersley, Worcester and Pershore. At Worcester we indulged in periphery swelling, consuming spring chickens (year doubtful), sampled the cathedral, and then in single file proceeded through the town. Suddenly the first man rang his bell and dismounted, the others following suit. The first man spoke not but pointed with trembling delight to where they sold the Clarion. There is hope for Worcester – they sell the Clarion there. We marched in, in order, and purchased our Clarions, and then as solemnly walked out, once more mounted our machines and proceeded on our way, as men who had glimpses of higher things.
In this mood we came to Evesham, as quaint and pretty a little town as existeth, and there once more we Bounderised. Good Lord! How we did eat! Before we commenced operations, our fair hostess besought us to stay for dinner the next day, telling us of the gracious things provided for the meal. She plied us with legends of cyclists who had fared at her hands, and had afterwards wandered to other taverns, but had come back to her hostelry once more as a haven of rest and home of plenty. Then provender appeared. For half an hour we raised not our eyes and spoke not a word, but steadily thought on the Bounder. The landlady became silent, the moody, then morbid, flinched, trembled, quivered, quavered, quock, broke line and finally succumbed. It was a glorious victory. ‘Are you,’ she asked with quivering lips, ‘are you gentlemen going to stay dinner tomorrow?’ We said we were not and once more she breathed freely.
We went to bed late that night – very late – but we arose early next morn, for the Army of Salvation paraded the town at 6 a m with a band, the big drum being in charge of the local blacksmith. May he be eternally spiflicated.
We were due at the Labour Church that night, so we started Brumwards, having spent as good a holiday as possible. Ah-h-h-h. It was glorious!! Say no man lives till he has been on tour with the Clarion CC. Till then he but exists. After – .
We are going on another tour at Whitsun of which more anon.
By the way, we want a President. Bounder, what sayest thou? Wilt thou preside o’re us? The duties are light. Thy might name to grace our fixture list, and a visit of yourself to Brum to preside over a periphery–swelling function. Wilst thou come? Look you, Bounder, we are no mean admirers of yours. See here, what you have moved one of us to: –
When the bounding Bounder boundeth
Lightly o’er the Clarion page
Then the reader’s heart rejoineth
Filled with wisdom from the Sage
Fig for Nunquam and for Dangle
Fraud Mcginnis and Mont Blong
Thou alone, mighty Bounder
Art fit subject for our song
There are 98 more verses to this, which, if the Bounder will become our President we solemnly promise to destroy, If not – .
THE O’GROOMIE O
As you see our Clarion ride reports are not without precedent from the very earliest days. Not sure who our version of ‘The Fiend’ might be. Any nominations?
Next time ‘Real Democracy’ and the Clarion
Map Caldwell's Illustrated historical combination atlas of Clarion County, Pennsylvania
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Clarion was established in 1982, when owner Clara Hsu received an offer from the Captain of the Salvation Army Corps in Chinatown to take over a retail space in the basement of an old church.
In the early days, Clarion dealt mostly in pianos, violins and Chinese traditional musical instruments. Musicians who discovered the shop wanted the Chinese instruments, and would trade in their own doumbek or berimbau for a dizi or erhu.
After a few years, Clarion collected many unusual and beautiful instruments. These instruments in turn inspired Clarion to become a world music instrument shop, a consummate meeting place for exotic music, where musicians and non-musicians can explore sound, history and art.
The instruments are displayed in a way that stimulates the imagination and curiosity. Besides more than 100 varieties of instruments from every continent, there are books, instructional videos and CDs for teachers and students.
In 2000, at age forty-four, Clara discovered poetry as her artistic expression. She wrote energetically and began to engage with the poet community in San Francisco. The demands of running a business and the desire to work on her skills as a poet came to a breaking point, and Clara had to give up one in order to pursue the other. She chose poetry.
Clarion was sold to Clara’s long time employees, Jien Ha and Lu Xian, in 2005. Because of Lu’s China connections, Clarion shifted its world focus to specialize in Chinese music, carrying classical as well as minority musical instruments.
The powerful internet finally caught up with Clarion. Retail sales steadily declined year after year and profit margin became smaller and smaller. In early 2016, sensing the inevitable, Jien and Lu decided to close the business.
After a ten-year hiatus in business Clara has a new vision of the role of Clarion in the 21st Century. This 34-year old institution that has been an amalgamation of music and art and a symbol of diversity must reinvent itself. Now a published poet and well recognized for her reading performances, Clara bought Clarion back in July 2016 with the intention of celebrating music, theater, art and poetry in this high-tech world. Our story is just beginning here . . .
With the support of many local organizations and individuals, including the Cosmopolitan Club and the Women’s Club, the Clarion Free Library was founded on June 20th, 1914. Upon its opening, 225 books were available for circulation and hours of operation were on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 4 to 5 p.m.
During its first year, CFL had an average circulation of 25 books per week. It was predicted by the Clarion-Republican in 1915 that CFL “will become an important factor in the town’s welfare. [The library’s] work is today a greater benefit than anyone can imagine.”
Black History Month
- Class PDM learned about our first female African American Astronaut Mae Jemison!
- Ms. Asaro’s class discussed the importance of celebrating Black History
- Ms. Cirrincione’s students also discussed the importance of celebrating Black History month
- 1EB chose from one of the people they learned about and explained what they learned