Historians and Historic Organizations

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Entry Category: Historians and Historic Organizations - Starting with W

Washington County Historical Society

The Washington County Historical Society (WCHS), one of the first local historical societies in Arkansas, was founded in 1951 by Walter J. Lemke, a professor of journalism at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). The society has grown steadily over the years and, as of 2010, has more than 700 members in thirty-nine states. The all-volunteer society has a very active and successful living history program, highlighted by the annual “Heritage School,” a week-long class that teaches the heritage and culture of Civil War–era Arkansans. The WCHS has a strong educational outreach program to area schools and students. Local teachers take part in programs offering professional development hours. Annual events such as the Ice Cream Social, the …

Westbrook, Parker

Parker Westbrook was an advocate for historic preservation in Arkansas throughout the late twentieth century. He was a founding member and first president of the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas (now Preserve Arkansas) and served on various preservation boards. Parker Westbrook was born on January 4, 1926, in Nashville (Howard County) to Walter and Wincie Westbrook. He had two siblings, Lucille and James. In 1943, he graduated from high school in Nashville. In 1948, he left for Washington DC to serve in the office of U.S. Congressman Boyd Tackett of Nashville. Over the course of twenty-six years, Westbrook served on the staff of four different members of the congressional delegation from Arkansas: Tackett, Representative Oren Harris of El Dorado (Union …

White County Historical Society

The White County Historical Society has been the guiding force in the preservation of the history of White County’s people and institutions. It continues to work to preserve the heritage and records of the county. The first meeting of what would become the White County Historical Society was held at the Searcy City Library on July 28, 1961, and attended by thirteen people. From the beginning, the society was dedicated to preserving the history of White County, providing information for those interested in genealogy, and encouraging the dissemination of information. In June 1962, the society began publishing White County Heritage on a quarterly schedule. The first edition was sent to over thirty people and contained several stories and two cemetery …

Williams, C. Fred

Dr. C. Fred Williams was a professor of history who chaired the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) history department through its largest expansion. Williams authored several works on Arkansas and served in many capacities at UA Little Rock; he also volunteered his services as a consultant for the Little Rock School District, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Society, the Old State House Museum, Ouachita Baptist University, the Arkansas Humanities Council, and the Historic Arkansas Museum. Williams was the recipient of the Arkansas Historical Association’s lifetime achievement award. Charles Fredrick Williams was born in Allen, Oklahoma, on December 24, 1943, to Charles H. Williams and Willie Mae Williams. He had two brothers and five sisters. Williams married Glenda …

Woodruff County Historical Society

On June 8, 1972, a group of citizens met in Augusta (Woodruff County) to plan the organization of a county historical society to gather and publish historical information about Woodruff County and its people. A nominating committee was selected, and the committee met on July 12. At the second meeting, officers were elected, and articles of incorporation were prepared and adopted. The board of directors met at the Woodruff County Library on July 25 and approved the constitution and by-laws of the newly formed Woodruff County Historical Society. The papers of organization were filed with the Secretary of State’s office on August 28, 1972. The first publication of the society, Rivers and Roads and Points In Between, was published in …

Woodward, Comer Vann

Comer Vann Woodward was arguably the twentieth century’s foremost Southern historian. Although published in the 1950s, his Origins of the New South, 1877–1913 and The Strange Career of Jim Crow remain vital interpretive narratives. C. Vann Woodward was born November 13, 1908, to Hugh (Jack) and Emily (Bess) Woodward in Vanndale (Cross County). During Woodward’s youth, his father was a school administrator in Wynne (Cross County), then Arkadelphia (Clark County), and subsequently Morrilton (Conway County). Woodward graduated from high school in Morrilton in 1926 and enrolled at Henderson-Brown College, a small Methodist institution in Arkadelphia. After two years, he transferred to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating in 1930 with an AB in philosophy. Inspired by his uncle and namesake, …

Worley, Ted Raymond

Ted Raymond Worley was a historian, teacher, editor of the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, and executive secretary of the Arkansas History Commission, as well as a prolific writer. Ted R. Worley was born on June 1, 1906, in Pope County to Ernest C. Worley and Dollie Koone Worley. After graduating from Russellville High School, he attended Arkansas State Teachers College (which later became the University of Central Arkansas) in Conway (Faulkner County), earning his degree in 1934. He received his master’s degree at the University of Texas in 1939. Worley taught at a rural Pope County school and schools at Pottsville (Pope County) and at Bald Knob (White County) while working on those degrees. He also worked toward a doctorate at …

Worthen, Mary Fletcher

Mary Fletcher Worthen was a cultural leader, volunteer, historian, and author whose life spanned an era of great changes in her home state of Arkansas. Mary Fletcher was born on October 6, 1917, on Fletcher Farm near Scott (Pulaski and Lonoke counties) to Tom Fletcher and Mamie Sandlin Fletcher. She was part of an old Arkansas family, as her great-great-grandparents—Henry Lewis Fletcher and Mary Lindsey Fletcher—arrived in what became Arkansas in 1815. Worthen was home-schooled until the ninth grade and attended one semester at East Side Junior High. She graduated from Little Rock High School (later called Central High) and Little Rock Junior College (now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock). Inspired by her cousin Adolphine Fletcher Terry, she …