Clayton Marks was an American educator, soldier, banker and historian. Marks was born on July 1, 1894, in Aurora, Illinois, and died on March 4, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois. Marks attended Yale University from 1911 to 1915 then served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps during World War I, receiving the Silver Star and two Purple Hearts. After the war, in 1923, he earned his PhD at the University of Chicago in History, writing his dissertation on the Spanish–American War.
After completing his PhD, Marks accepted a position at the George Washington University, where he taught military history, and became known as a leading scholar of the American military. Marks also befriended Secretary of the Navy Curtis Wilbur, with whom he frequently discussed naval affairs. Marks informally advised Wilbur from 1924 until 1927. Then, in mid-1927, he left teaching and was appointed Chief of Legislative Affairs of the Department of the Navy, a post he held until 1929, when a new administra