Educational Organizations and Programs

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Carnegie Libraries

Four libraries built in Arkansas between 1906 and 1915 using grants from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie carry the classification “Carnegie Libraries.” These four libraries were built in Eureka Springs (Carroll County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Morrilton (Conway County). Of these, two continue to operate as libraries (Eureka Springs and Morrilton), one has been dismantled (Little Rock), and one is being used for a new purpose (Fort Smith). It is not known how many Arkansas cities applied for grants from Andrew Carnegie, or how many requests were denied, although very few communities nationally were denied grants. One exception was Branch Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). Principal Isaac Fisher solicited library funds from …

Central Arkansas Library System

The Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) is the largest library system in Arkansas. Created in 1975, the system includes fourteen libraries located in Pulaski and Perry counties. The first public library to open in central Arkansas was the Little Rock Public Library in 1910. Earlier efforts to create libraries in the city included the library of the Little Rock Debating Society in the 1830s and newspaper publisher William Woodruff’s circulating library in the 1840s. After the Civil War, the Mercantile Library opened in the city and was available to professional men. After a merger with the Marquand Library, created for use by employees of the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad, the library was acquired by the Young Men’s Christian …

Chautauqua

The Chautauqua movement, in the form of traveling “Circuit Chautauquas,” provided self-enrichment and cultural programs for Americans across the country in the early twentieth century. In an era before widespread electronic sources of news and entertainment such as radio, Chautauqua allowed people who lived beyond large cities to experience lectures on a variety of subjects, as well as theatrical offerings and music ranging from Metropolitan Opera stars to bell ringers. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt called Chautauqua “the most American thing in America.” Governor Charles Brough of Arkansas, himself a popular circuit lecturer, said, “Chautauqua is America’s summer school.” Xenaphon Overton Pindall, who served as acting governor of Arkansas from 1907 to 1909, was also a popular circuit speaker. The name …