Guide to the Richard L. Champlin papers , 1747, 1973-1998

(bulk 1973-1998)

Redwood Library and Athenaeum
50 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840
Tel: (401) 847-0292
Fax: (401) 841-5680

Published in 2016

Collection Overview

Title: Richard L. Champlin papers
Date range: 1747, 1973-1998, (bulk 1973-1998)
Creator: Champlin, Richard L.
Extent: 1.0 linear feet (3/4 full record box, 1 half document case, 1 flat file)
Abstract: Richard L. Champlin was one of the foremost experts on clocks made by Newport clockmaker William Claggett and other clockmakers in the Claggett family. This collection consists of photocopies of primary source material, correspondence, photographs, notebooks and other research materials collected or created by Mr. Champlin in the process of writing articles on Claggett clocks for various publications, including Newport History, the Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society.
Language of materials: English
Repository: Redwood Library and Athenaeum
Collection number: RLC.Ms.593

Scope & content

This collection consists primarily of research materials prepared by Richard L. Champlin over the course of several years. The bulk of the records are from 1974-1998, but there is an indenture of land to Samuel Champlin from 1747 in the collection. The research materials were used as the foundation for several scholarly articles Champlin wrote about William Claggett and his family.

A large portion of the collection pertains to a census compiled by Mr. Champlin of clocks made by William Claggett, his extended family members, and his associates in Newport, RI. This census consists of photographs of several of the clocks, correspondence with many of their owners, and provenance information regarding the clocks.


This collection is arranged using the principle of original order. The majority of materials arrived in binders and was foldered in the order in which they were housed.

Biographical note

Richard L. Champlin (1926-2003) dedicated the majority of his working life to the Redwood Library and Athenaeum. He started his career at the library in 1951 as a cataloger and ended his time at the Redwood serving as Librarian from 1988-1991. Mr. Champlin was highly regarded as an amateur biologist, an acknowledged expert on the local flora and fauna of Rhode Island, with several publications on the subject to his name. As one of the foremost experts on Claggett clocks, Mr. Champlin was also the author of several scholarly articles on William Claggett and his family for Newport History, the Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society. Mr. Champlin died in his apple orchard in Jamestown, RI at the age of 77.

William Claggett (1696-1749), clockmaker, engraver, and printer, was born in 1696 in Wales and immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1708. On October 21, 1714, he married Mary Armstrong (b. 1696) and by the end of 1716, they had moved to 16 Bridge Street in Newport, Rhode Island. While in Newport, Claggett became known for his clocks and clock making, but he was also appointed by the Rhode Island General Assembly to engrave and print paper currency to prevent counterfeiting in 1738. William Claggett died on October 18, 1749, and was buried at the Common Burial Ground in Newport.

Access & Use

Access to the collection: Access is open to members and researchers at the Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
Use of the materials: This collection is owned by the Redwood Library and Athenaeum. Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the Special Collections Librarian of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
Preferred citation: Richard L. Champlin papers, RLC.Ms.593, Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
Contact information: Redwood Library and Athenaeum
50 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840
Tel: (401) 847-0292
Fax: (401) 841-5680

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Purchased from Richard Haymon, Richard L. Champlin’s nephew, in March of 2016.
Accruals: Accruals are expected.
Author: Finding aid prepared by Tim Rohe.
Encoding: This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2016-04-27
Descriptive rules: Finding aid based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)

Additional Information

Related material: William Claggett invoice, RLC.Ms.508, Redwood Library and Athenaeum Marjorie W. Champlin papers, RLC.Ms. 540, Redwood Library and Athenaeum
Separated material: The monograph William Claggett and His Clockmaking Family has been removed and cataloged as part of the Newport Collection.
  • Champlin, Richard L. “High Times: William Claggett and His Clockmaking Family.” Newport History 155 (1974): 157-190.
  • Champlin, Richard L. “Thomas Claggett: Silversmith, Swordsman, Clockmaker.” Newport History 163 (1976): 57-68.
  • Champlin, Richard L. “James Wady.” Newport History 160 (1975): 348-357.
  • Champlin, Richard L. “Quaker Clockmakers of New England.” Newport History 168 (1977): 77-89.
  • Champlin, Richard L. William Claggett and His Clockmaking Family: An Account of Three Generations of Master Rhode Island Clockmakers, the Clocks They Made, and the Various Interests They Exercised in Their Eighteenth Century Society. Columbia, PA: National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, 1976.
  • Inventory

    Box 1, Folder 1 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Listing

    circa 1974
    Box 1, Folder 2 Claggett Clock Slides

    Box 1, Folder 3 Claggett Clock Research

    Box 1, Folder 4 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census #1-19

    Box 1, Folder 5 US Department of State Claggett Clock Research

    Box 1, Folder 6 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census #20-39

    Box 1, Folder 7 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census #40-55

    Box 1, Folder 8 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census #56-60

    Box 1, Folder 9 Claggett Clock Research

    Box 1, Folder 10 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census #61-69

    Box 1, Folder 11 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census #70-76

    Box 1, Folder 12 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census (William Claggett, II)

    Box 1, Folder 14 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census (James Wady)

    Box 1, Folder 13 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census (Thomas Claggett)

    Box 1, Folder 15 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census (Nicholas Geoffrey)

    circa 1980s
    Box 1, Folder 16 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census (David Williams)

    Box 1, Folder 17 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census (Walter Cornell)

    circa 1980s
    Box 1, Folder 18 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census (William Coggeshall)

    circa 1980s
    Box 1, Folder 19 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census (W.F. Barker)

    1976 Jan 17
    Box 1, Folder 20 Champlin’s Claggett Clock Census (Isaac Anthony)
    circa 1992
    Box 1, Folder 21 Newport History Number 155 Summer 1974 Vol. 47, Part 3 (annotated)

    1974 Jun-Sep
    Box 1, Folder 22 James Wady Biographical Information

    Box 1, Folder 23 Clock Correspondence

    Box 1, Folder 24 Richard Champlin’s Files

    Box 1, Folder 25 Thomas Claggett Biographical Information

    Box 2, Folder 1 Claggett Family Biographical Information

    Folder 1, Manuscripts-Box Manuscripts Oversize Box 1 Indenture of Land to Samuel Champlin

    1747 Nov 10