Clara Bertha Eno (1854–1951)

Clara Bertha Eno has been called Arkansas’s first lady of history. She devoted her life to researching and recording Arkansas history and collecting Arkansas archival material. Her three published works are History of the Arkansas Federation of Women’s Clubs 1897–1934 (1935), with Frances Marion (Mrs. Frederick) Hanger, Historic Places in Arkansas (1940), and History of Crawford County, Arkansas (1950). During the 1920s and 1930s, she authored numerous historical newspaper articles. In 1940, she compiled Information of Fifty-Five Revolutionary [War] Soldiers buried in Arkansas. Although never published, it has long been a mainstay for early Arkansas research.

Eno was born on February 14, 1854, in Van Buren (Crawford County), the daughter of Ellen Ward Eno and Jonathan Adams Eno. Her father was a druggist who served as Van Buren’s postmaster and, later, mayor of Greenwood (Sebastian County). He died during the Civil War. A schoolteacher by profession, Eno never married. However, she was extremely active in women’s organizations such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Arkansas Federation of Women’s Clubs. In 1905, because of her interest in Arkansas history, she became one of the vice presidents of the old Arkansas Historical Association. That year, she also assisted the organization’s president, Dr. John Hugh Reynolds, in drafting legislation that established the Arkansas History Commission (now called the Arkansas State Archives). In 1908, she began a successful campaign to preserve Little Rock’s Old State House. In 1909, she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Arkansas History Commission, where she served until her death in 1951. In 1941, she became a charter member of the new Arkansas Historical Association. For many years, she served as an associate editor of its publication, the Arkansas Historical Quarterly.

Eno died in Van Buren on August 2, 1951, and is buried in Van Buren’s Fairview Cemetery.

For additional information:
“Clara Bertha Eno.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 10 (Summer 1951): 113–115.

Clara Bertha Eno Collection. Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Davis, Bruce Lex, and Harry Forest Barnes. Among Arkansas Leaders. Little Rock: 1934.

Russell P. Baker
Arkansas History Commission and State Archives


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