C-SPAN Cities Tour visits Worcester, will feature Goddard legacy and Clark

Interview at Goddard Library archives and exhibit destined for December broadcast; Clark faculty authors to be part of literary culture segment

C-SPAN History Producer Benjamin Sorenson prepares to interview Clark University Archives and Special Collections Coordinator Fordyce Williams in the Rare Books Room of the Goddard Library.

C-SPAN History Producer Benjamin
Sorenson prepares to interview Clark
University Archives and Special
Collections Coordinator Fordyce
Williams in the Rare Books Room of
he Goddard Library.

Not one but two C-SPAN vans were spotted outside the Goddard Library on October 21, as the venerable TV outlet came to Clark University to gather video for an upcoming C-SPAN Cities Tour featuring Worcester's rich history. Many Clarkies and Worcesterites alike know the city's and University's histories are deeply entwined, with perhaps no better embodiment than Worcester-born Clark alumnus Robert Hutchings Goddard  (M.A. 1910, Ph.D. 1911), known as the father of modern rocketry.

Robert H. Goddard at Clark University

Robert H. Goddard at Clark University

The video crew was warmly welcomed by University Librarian Gwen Arthur and Archives coordinator Fordyce Williams. In the Rare Books Room, Williams had prepared a display from the University's extensive Goddard Collection, which included journals and diaries, letters, papers, photos, scientific equipment and even a nosecone designed for an early rocket test. Correspondences included an exchange between Goddard and the author he credits for inspiration, H.G. Wells. The C-SPAN crew was thrilled to see the first book to have gone to the moon — a special-edition miniature autobiography of Goddard that was carried aboard Apollo 11 by Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. (Read more about Aldrin's amazing connection to Clark and Goddard.)

Moon cover - Clark University

The C-SPAN Cities tours include an exploration of literary culture, and two Clark professors are to be featured in the Worcester episodes: History Professor Janette Greenwood, author of "First Fruits of Freedom: The Migration of Former Slaves and Their Search for Equality in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1862-1900" (UNC Press, and associate professor of history Ousmane Power-Greene, author of "Against Wind and Tide: The African American Struggle against the Colonization Movement" (NYU Press). Clark alumnus James Dempsey (M.A. '78), a professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and author of "The Tortured Life of Scofield Thayer" also was interviewed. While in Worcester, C-SPAN gathered video at the Worcester Historical Museum, the American Antiquarian Society, and WPI, where WPI President Laurie Leshin also spoke about the rocket pioneer. Leshin was director of science and exploration at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Goddard received a B.S. in physics at WPI in 1908. The C-SPAN "Worcester Weekend" segments are expected to appear Dec. 19-20 on Book TV on C-SPAN2 (Charter Communications channel 85/HD 836) and American History TV on CSPAN3 (Charter channel 86/HD 837). The programming also will be available online at www.cspan.org. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette covered a kickoff ceremony Wednesday at the Worcester Historical Museum: C-SPAN trains its lens on Worcester: 'The city tells the story'. The program and event were organized by C-SPAN, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Charter Communications, and Destination Worcester.