THE LOST CLEW ARCHIVES: STATEMENTS OF POLICY
The legendary Clew Collection was thought to contain a random, and rather puzzling, assortment of artifacts associated with individuals involved in what was purportedly the only Prohibition-related murder to take place on Cape Cod (Massachusetts) and the subsequent criminal investigation into the case. The Franklin Bearse murder was sensationalized at the time as a symbol of government and law enforcement corruption but the individuals involved were lost in the scandal and their voices were never heard. The Clew Collection contained evidence documenting the ordinary moments and everyday lives that were overshadowed by more dramatic events. The collection itself was lost but the recent discovery of hand-drawn illustrations of the contents of the collection has made a theoretical inventory possible. When the Lost Clew Collection renderings were found, the Institute for Clew Studies was established to oversee the preservation of the artifacts and make them available for study.
After three years of research, I may or may not know the identity of whoever it was that a bullet through my great-grandfather’s heart or who masterminded the murder. What I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter. “Solving” the case does not provide insight into who Frankie was or what led him to be caught in the glare of powerful spotlights on that fateful night. “Solving” the case does not lead me out of the maze of questions regarding my own identity and what characteristics Frankie passed down to my grandmother, my father, and me. My extensive research into the circumstances and people involved in this case has failed to result in a cohesive truth about these the dramatic events surrounding Frankie’s murder. In full recognition of the impossibility of positing definitive answers, I have pursued random, fragmentary details that I uncovered. This tangential line of inquiry has led to discoveries that are strange, mysterious, amusing, mundane, and spectacular. The drawings in the Clew Collection are an attempt to tell these stories. The Collection seeks to illuminate a broad range of poignant moments in everyday lives —clews that are more revelatory than a murder conviction. My research informs a body of work that questions the relationship between the past and the present, reflects on inevitable obscurity that awaits us all, and embraces the impossibility of controlling legacy and the absurd details that outlive us. Official Mission The mission of The Institute for Clew Studies is to further the understanding of granular history and develop creative contexts in which to situate fragmentary narratives.
Official Mission Statement
The mission of The Institute for Clew Studies is to further the understanding of granular history and develop creative contexts in which to situate fragmentary narratives.
UnOfficial Mission Statement
The Institute for Clew Studies provides the impetus for me to sit alone in a room voyeuristically sifting through the detritus of other peoples’ lives, desperately seeking resonance and taking elaborate notes using a choice selection of my favorite office supplies.
The objective of the ICS acquisitions program is to build a collection of materials (“clews”) documenting the period of time between December 30, 1932 (the date that Franklin Crosby Bearse was murdered) and December 7, 1933 (the date the investigation ceased without conclusion). Criteria for acquisitions will be determined by the extent to which the material will contribute to the mission of the ICS and expand the field of Clew Studies.
Though originally founded for the purpose of managing the archives related to the Bearse murder, (CORE COLLECTION) The Lost Clew Archives has within its mandate the directive to expand to include vestiges of other events (True Stories) that occurred during this time period (December 30, 1932 - December 7, 1933) as they surface (ANCILLARY COLLECTIONS). Additionally, ICS is responsible for the stewardship of contributions to the collections based on new Clew research by independant creators (OPEN CALL FOR NEW RESEARCH).