Biography of Clarence H. Van Vliet
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Clarence H. Van Vliet was born in Racine, June 13, 1885, a son of John Wicher and Christina (Henry) Van Vliet, the former a native of Vermont and the latter of New York. In the paternal line he is descended from one of the old New England families and his great-grandfather was a soldier in the war of 1812. In the ’40s his father left the Green Mountain state and sought the opportunities offered in the middle west, establishing his home in Wisconsin. He was a carpenter and builder by trade. He died in 1904 and is still survived by his widow, who yet makes her home in this city. They became the parents of seven children, four of whom are yet living.
Clarence H. Van Vliet, reared under the parental roof, became a public school pupil at the usual age and passed through consecutive grades to the high school, where his education was completed, for he then put aside his textbooks to become an active factor in business life and thereafter provided for his own support. He was first employed by the Racine Wagon & Carriage Company, but when twenty-three years of age he became interested in the West Side Printing Company, purchasing stock in the business in the spring of 1909 and thus becoming a partner of E. H. Wadewitz and R. A. Spencer. This association has since been maintained, the company’s name being changed to Western Printing & Lithographing Company in 1911. The company entered upon an era of very substantial advancement. The three men studied every phase of the business as related to the output, the extension of the sales and the building up of a name for the house. All were actuated by a spirit of enterprise and progress and the labors of one ably supplemented and rounded out the labors of the others. Along well defined lines they have not only kept abreast with the progress that has been made in the printing business, but have to a considerable extent been leaders in their line in the middle west, taking the initiative in bringing out high class and artistic work, not only in the matter of printing but also in binding and engraving. Their output has become an expression of the highest standards in their line. They make a specialty of the printing of fine books. During all of these years Mr. Van Vliet has concentrated his energies upon the business, putting forth every effort to improve upon the methods of the house in the conduct of actual work and in the character of the output, and he is today accounted one of the forceful and resourceful business men of the city.
In 1915 Mr. Van Vliet purchased an interest in the Whitman Publishing Company and was elected president of that concern. He has since devoted his time and energy to the publication of juvenile books.
On the 26th of June, 1911, Mr. Van Vliet was married to Miss Rose L. Reiman, of Racine, a daughter of Robert and Mary (Bowman) Reiman, who were early settlers here. Mrs. Van Vliet is a member of the Universalist church, and both she and her husband are well known socially in the city. Mr. Van Vliet is a Knight Templar Mason, holding membership in blue lodge, chapter and commandery, and also with the Elks and the United Commercial Travelers.