Libraries and Archives

Sub Catagories:
  • No categories
Clear

Entries - Entry Category: Libraries and Archives

Arkansas Library Association

The Arkansas Library Association (ArLA) is a statewide organization created to further the professional development of all library staff members; to foster communication and cooperation among librarians, trustees, and friends of libraries; to increase the visibility of libraries among the general public and funding agencies; and to serve as an advocate for librarians and libraries. Organized on January 26, 1911, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the association was created as part of an effort to encourage the legislature to support increasing funding for public libraries. Led by the Little Rock Public Library and the Fort Smith Public Library, the new organization had additional members from Arkadelphia (Clark County), Conway (Faulkner County), Helena (Phillips County), and Waldron (Scott County). Early efforts …

Arkansas State Archives

aka: Arkansas History Commission
The Arkansas State Archives, located in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is the official state archives of Arkansas and houses the state’s largest collection of documents, publications, photographs, and other material relating to Arkansas history. The Arkansas History Commission, as the institution was originally named, was established by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1905 as part of the burgeoning state archives movement that swept the South shortly after 1900. It was created largely through the efforts of John Hugh Reynolds, a history professor at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). “The Commission exists,” Dallas T. Herndon, the first executive secretary and director wrote in 1911, the year the legislature finally appropriated funding for the commission, “to gather the …

Arkansas State Library

The Arkansas State Library (ASL) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) is the state agency charged with the task of administering state and federal funds for Arkansas libraries and their development. The library also offers library services to the public and provides administration and leadership to improve public libraries and library services. The director of the agency has the title of state librarian. The Arkansas State Library was founded by the Arkansas Library Commission. This commission was established by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1935 through Act 139. However, state funds for operation were not provided until 1937. The ASL became a division in the Arkansas Department of Education through Act 489 in 1979. This transition allowed for the duties of …

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 …

Drew County Museum and Archives

aka: Southeast Arkansas Research and Archives Center
The Drew County Museum got its start when the Drew County Historical Society officially incorporated as a nonprofit corporation on March 4, 1969. On February 27, 1970, the Drew County Historical Society purchased the historic Cavaness House from the Hoyle family in order to establish the museum. The Cavaness House is a Southern Colonial Revival Mansion on South Main Street that was built in stages from 1906 until 1916 by Monticello (Drew County) businessman Garvin Cavaness and his wife, Phenton Wells Cavaness. After his wife’s death in 1947, Cavaness sold the house to J. Porter Hoyle and his wife Lillian Hoyle. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. A walnut spool bed owned by Cavaness’s …

Moore, Bessie Grace Boehm

Bessie Boehm Moore was an educator and civic leader. She was widely known for her efforts in the promotion of libraries. Later in life, her focus was on economic education in the public schools and the creation of what is now the Ozark Folk Center State Park. She was inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2018. Bessie Grace Boehm was born on August 2, 1902, in Owensboro, Kentucky, to Edgar Boehm, a farmer, and Bessie Calloway Boehm, a homemaker. Her mother died a few hours after her birth. Boehm was taken to her aunt in Daviess County, Kentucky, where she lived until her father remarried when she was nine. Boehm learned to read at an early age …

Nixon, Esther DeWitt

Esther DeWitt Nixon was the founding librarian of the Jacksonville (Pulaski County) public library and served there for nearly three decades. The Jacksonville branch library of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) was named in her honor in 1992. Esther DeWitt, with her twin sister Ruth, was born on November 24, 1916, in Corsicana, Texas, to Marcus Henry DeWitt and Allie Ellis DeWitt. The twins had three brothers and two sisters. Esther married Watson Nixon Jr., on February 22, 1943—a marriage that lasted more than fifty years until his death on April 20, 1993—and they had two sons. The family lived in Jacksonville. Esther Nixon and her children were avid users of the Pulaski County Library’s bookmobile, and, as her …

Norman Library

The Norman Library has been known as the smallest public library in the state. Located in the town square of Norman (Montgomery County), the single-story structure constructed of brick has been used as a library and for other purposes since its construction. According to the Department of Arkansas Heritage, it once held the Guinness Book of World Records title as the smallest free-standing public library in the country. Norman was founded in 1907 along the Gurdon and Fort Smith Railroad. The town quickly grew to support several lumber mills. Originally named Womble, the name was changed in 1925. After most of the timber surrounding the community was harvested, the economy and population declined. Many residents moved to other towns to …

Richmond, Ted

aka: James Theodore Richmond
James Theodore (Ted) Richmond was the founder of the Wilderness Library on Mount Sherman in Newton County. For twenty-five years, the library provided free reading material to citizens in northwest Arkansas. Ted Richmond was born in Ogallala, Nebraska, on May 26, 1890, the second of five sons of Albert, a pioneer physician, and Etta Richmond. Drafted in 1917, he served during World War I as a private in the infantry and helped establish an American library at the University of Toulouse, France, after the war. He attended several educational institutions: Iowa Business College, University of Chicago, and Missouri Teachers College (now Missouri State University). His journalistic career included editorial and reporting positions at many newspapers: the Quincy Whig, Gem City …

Saline County Library

The Saline County Library, owned and operated by the county, is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in central Arkansas. There are two branches: the Bob Herzfeld Memorial Library in Benton (Saline County) and the Mabel Boswell Memorial Library in Bryant (Saline County). The Saline County Library seeks to “serve the citizens of Saline County by providing materials, technology, and programs that educate, connect, and entertain.” The library is governed by the Saline County Library Board, whose members are appointed by the county judge. The library board consists of five members and one who serves as liaison between the board and the quorum court. The library is funded primarily by county-wide sales taxes and millage. The Benton Junior …

Sequoyah National Research Center

The Sequoyah National Research Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), located in the University Plaza in Little Rock (Pulaski County), seeks to acquire and preserve the writings and ideas of Native North Americans by collecting the written word, art, and other forms of expression by Native Americans and to create a research atmosphere that invites indigenous peoples to make the center the archival home for their creative work. The mission is fulfilled by serving tribal communities, promoting scholarly research both on the UALR campus and worldwide, creating educational programs, providing access to the center’s collections, and collaborating with like–minded institutions and organizations across the United States. What is now the Sequoyah National Research Center began in …

War of the Rebellion [Book Series]

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies is a 128-volume collection of records pertaining to military activities during the American Civil War. It is augmented by The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies and the more recent Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. The process of compiling the Official Records began in 1863 when General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck proposed gathering and publishing documents and reports. Congress passed a resolution calling for printing Union military records on May 19, 1864, and President Abraham Lincoln signed it into law the next day. A new law calling for …

William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park

aka: Clinton Library
The William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park is located on a thirty-acre city park in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County). The center comprises the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation, the Clinton School of Public Service, Café 42 (an on-site restaurant), and the Rock Island Railroad Bridge. The Clinton Museum Store, also part of the center and managed by the Clinton Foundation, is off campus a few blocks away in downtown Little Rock. The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum is maintained, managed, and staffed by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The Presidential Libraries Act of 1955 provided that presidents may raise funds for building their libraries with no …

Williams, Sue Cowan

Sue Cowan Williams represented African-American teachers in the Little Rock School District as the plaintiff in the case challenging the rate of salaries allotted to teachers in the district based solely on skin color. The tenth library in the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) is named after her. Born in Eudora (Chicot County) to J. Alex Cowan and Leila Roberts Cowan on May 29, 1910, Sue Cowan began life in a small town in Arkansas. Her mother died soon after her birth. Raised until age four by her maternal grandmother in Texas, Cowan returned to Arkansas to live with her father. From fifth grade until high school, she attended Spelman, a religious boarding school in Atlanta, Georgia. She undertook undergraduate …