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Richard L. Champlin papers

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.