Charles Clark

From Rags to Riches


How do you make history?

To Charles Clark, success meant finding ways to serve his family, community, and country. He is best remembered as a founder of the consumer products corporation, Kimberly-Clark, but his work in Neenah, Wisconsin, dates back to the 1850s when he worked in a furniture factory to help support his family while also going to school. His hard work and perseverance inspired others to continue his work even after his death.

Meet Charles Clark

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Questions to Consider

Illustration of the geographical shape of the State of Wisconsin with the number 1 superimposed above it

After Charles arrived in Neenah with his mother, he went right out to get a job, and kept working as he went to school. What did you learn about Charles from this part of his story? What qualities did he demonstrate?

Illustration of the geographical shape of the State of Wisconsin with the number 2 superimposed above it

When The Big Four went into the paper-making business, they didn’t know how to make paper! What were some of the ways they worked together to make their business successful? How did the paper-making industry change from the time they started?

Illustration of the geographical shape of the State of Wisconsin with the number 3 superimposed above it

Charles dedicated his life to helping others in his family, community, and country. Of all the things he did, which stands out to you the most? Why? How might you be inspired by Charles to help others in your family, community, or country?

Read On

Charles Clark portrait illustration

Charles Clark: From Rags to Riches

Get the full story with this biography book. Audio files are available on each page if you’d like to listen along!


Project Credits

Becky Marburger

Philip Ashby
Brandon Ribordy

The Brave Union

Sound Design
Matthew Kramer

Animation Voice Over
Dawson McKay

Audiobook Narration
Paul Elite

Audiobook Editing
Kerman Eckes

Catie Pfeifer
Vicki Way Kipp

Translation Services
University of Wisconsin-Madison Cultural Linguistic Services

Educator Support Materials
Mia Forslund

John Vieth
Erika Kachama-Nkoy
Tim Schneider

Charles Barrows

Director of Education
Alyssa Tsagong

Director of Television
Jon Miskowski

Story Advisors

Don Nussbaum

Debra Burmeister
Neenah Joint School District
Neenah, WI

Amanda Ironside
Menasha Joint School District
Menasha, WI

Greg Kehrning
Menasha Joint School District
Menasha, WI

Kerri Lintl
Merrimac Community School
Merrimac, WI

Darcy Maxwell
Summit Environmental School
La Crosse, WI

Neenah Historical Society
Neenah, WI

Menasha Historical Society
Menasha, WI

Stephanie Schuettpelz
Marion Elementary School
Marion, WI

Beth Thayer
Hillsboro Elementary School
Hillsboro, WI

Christina Venn
Sheboygan Falls Elementary School
Sheboygan Falls, WI

Wanda Welch
Hawthorne Elementary School
Milwaukee, WI

Funding provided by

This project was part of Wisconsin Hometown Stories: Neenah-Menasha, funded in part by major support from Richard and Amy Jo Aylward and the Aylward Family of Neenah, Mary and John Sensenbrenner, Bergstrom Automotive, Community First Credit Union, Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, Inc., Daniel and Mame Heaney, Thomas J. Prosser, and Theda and Tamblin Clark Smith Family Foundation, with additional support from Alta Resources, John and Katherine Davis, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Legacy Private Trust Company, Bettie Hill, Miron Construction Company, Friends of Wisconsin Public Television and the Wisconsin History Fund, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.