Clarence Osborne Sherrill graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a degree in civil engineering in 1901. He taught at several service schools between 1907 and 1910 and wrote a textbook on topography for the army. During World War I he served in France and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and Croix de Guerre with Palm. In 1921 Sherrill was named director of the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds, a position he held until 1925. During this time he oversaw the completion of the Lincoln Memorial and the construction of the Grant Memorial, the Meade Memorial, and the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway. He was chief military aide to Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, and was the last Corps of Engineers officer to serve as secretary to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, which became an administratively independent agency in 1922. After retiring from the army in 1926, Sherrill served two terms as city manager of Cincinnati, Ohio (1926–30 and 1937–44).