Gender: Female - Starting with C

Clark, Mamie Katherine Phipps

Hot Springs (Garland County) native Mamie Phipps Clark was the first African-American woman to earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree in psychology from Columbia University. The research she did with her husband was important in the success of the 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, in which the United States Supreme Court declared the doctrine of “separate but equal” with regard to education to be unconstitutional on account of such separation generating “a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community” on the part of African-American students. Mamie Phipps was born on October 18, 1917, in Hot Springs to British West Indies native Harold H. Phipps, a physician, and Kate Florence Phipps, who assisted …

Clarke, Faye

Faye Clarke co-founded the Educate the Children Foundation, which was created to support rural and impoverished school districts with donations of books and other educational materials. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2002. Faye Wilma Robinson was born on August 6, 1931, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to Jerimah and Eariest Robinson. In high school, she was an Arkansas National Merit Scholar and went on to study at Hampton Institute in Virginia. After graduation, she attended a one-year program in businesses at Radcliffe College taught by professors of the Harvard Business School, where women were not yet allowed; she was the first African-American woman in this program. She began working at Aramark, a company that …

Clemmer, Ann Veasman

Ann Veasman Clemmer is a professor, politician, and public servant from Saline County. She taught political science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock from August 1992 to January 2015. She was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2008 and served three consecutive terms, followed by service in the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE). Carol Ann Veasman was born in Osceola (Mississippi County) on August 10, 1958, to Martha Lee Robinson Veasman, a teacher, and Joseph Christian Veasman, a farmer. Her father left farming for agricultural related public service, which included the Agency for International Development (USAID) in Vietnam (during the conflict years) as an agricultural advisor. The Veasman family lived in the Philippines during that …

Clinton, Chelsea Victoria

Chelsea Clinton is the only child of former U.S. president Bill Clinton and his wife, former U.S. senator and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was the Democratic nominee for U.S. president in 2016. Chelsea Clinton has served as a correspondent, public speaker, and author, and she works with the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative. Chelsea Victoria Clinton was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on February 27, 1980. Hillary Clinton stated in her memoir that the name was inspired by a walk through the Chelsea district in London, England. Hearing the Joni Mitchell song, “Chelsea Morning,” Bill Clinton said, “If we ever have a daughter, we should name her Chelsea.” When their daughter was born, …

Clinton, Hillary Diane Rodham

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton was the first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, United States senator from New York (marking the first time in the nation’s history that a first lady was elected to the Senate), and Secretary of State in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was the only U.S. first lady to keep an office in the West Wing among the president’s senior staff and the only first lady to run for president. Her independence and public involvement with a number of issues often made her a subject of controversy, but her support of women’s and children’s issues won her many admirers. In 2016, she became the first woman nominated for president by a …

Collins, Linda F.

Linda F. Collins was a state legislator in the early part of the twenty-first century. First elected as a Democrat, she switched parties not long after her first election, eventually sponsoring a controversial “bathroom bill” that was opposed by the LGBTQ+ community and others. In June 2019, she was murdered by a former member of her campaign staff. Linda Collins was born on April 17, 1962, in Pocahontas (Randolph County) to Benny Collins and Caroline Vernice Hunnicutt Collins. She grew up poor in Williford (Sharp County), once saying that she did not have running water until she was in her teens, and she attended school at Williford. She married Philip Smith in 1995, and they had two children. During their …

Comer, Robbie Gill

Robbie Gill Comer was instrumental in the founding of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan (WKKK) and served as its Imperial Commander from 1924 to its demise in the late 1930s. Robbie Gill was born in Haynes (Lee County) on May 21, 1883, to Robert O. Gill and Cornelia L. Smith Gill. Her highest level of education was the eighth grade. After her father’s death, Gill and her mother moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County). By 1909, she was working as a stenographer in the law firm of James A. Comer. In the summer of 1921, recruiters for the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) arrived in Arkansas and organized the first chapter in Little Rock. James Comer became the Exalted …

Connelly, Mary

Mary Connelly was an early educator in southern Arkansas. Operating a school first in Camden (Ouachita County) and later in Arkadelphia (Clark County), she helped establish the latter city’s reputation as an educational center. Mary Connelly was born to the Reverend Henry Connelly and Jane Johnson Connelly in Newburgh, New York; her exact date of birth is unknown. The oldest of eleven children, she graduated from the Presbyterian-affiliated Washington Female Seminary in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1855. Connelly worked in Camden during the Civil War as a teacher. At the outbreak of the war, she was teaching at a private school in the town and was unable to secure transportation home to New York. She remained in Camden for the duration …

Conner, Laura Cornelius

Laura Nancy Cornelius Conner was a prison reformer, educator, and farmer. In the 1920s, she served on the penitentiary board during the governorship of Thomas McRae. Conner was shocked by the conditions in the Arkansas prisons, but despite support from prisoners, community leaders, and legal experts, she was unable to make progress in reforming the penitentiary. She returned to her hometown, where she was an educator and planter until her death. Laura Cornelius was born on October 24, 1864 in Augusta (Woodruff County). She was one of eight children born to William Cornelius and Arabella White Cornelius. Arabella Cornelius died when Laura was three. After the death of her father in 1876, Laura moved in with her sister Ella and …

Convent Inspection Act of 1915

aka: Act 130 of 1915
aka: Posey Act
The Convent Inspection Act was passed by the Arkansas General Assembly and signed by Governor George Washington Hays in March 1915. The act was not unique to Arkansas, as states such as Georgia and Florida had similar laws. The Arkansas law allowed for sheriffs and constables to inspect convents, hospitals, asylums, seminaries, and rectories on a regular basis. The purpose, as stated in one section, was “to afford every person within the confines of said institutions, the fullest opportunity to divulge the truth to their detention therein.” If twelve citizens petitioned local authorities, law enforcement could enter these facilities day or night without notice. Whatever the stated intention of the legislation, one writer in the Arkansas Gazette on February 17, …

Conway, Polly

aka: Mary Jane Bradley Conway
Mary Jane “Polly” Bradley Conway, the wife of Arkansas’s first governor, was a stable mother, supportive spouse, and respected prominent citizen. She was also a pioneer in what was then a primitive corner of the state. Polly Bradley was born on August 31, 1809, at or near Lebanon in Wilson County, Tennessee, to John Bradley and Jane Barton. Bradley’s father died the year she was born. After the War of 1812, her uncles Captain Hugh Bradley and Fleetwood Herndon moved to Arkansas. Bradley, her mother, her sisters, and her stepfather also migrated to Arkansas Territory, settling on the “Long Prairie” of the future Lafayette County. On December 21, 1826, Bradley married James Sevier Conway, presumably on Long Prairie, where he …

Cook, Doris Marie

Doris Marie Cook achieved many firsts in accounting, accounting education, and business in Arkansas. Cook was the first woman to receive the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation in the state, the first woman to be hold the rank of university professor at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), the first female member of the Arkansas Society of CPAs, the first woman to serve on and become president of the National Council for the Beta Alpha Psi academic honor organization, and the first woman to hold an endowed lectureship chair at UA. Doris Cook was born in Fayetteville on June 11, 1924. She was the second of two children born to Ira Cook and Mettie Dorman Cook. Cook …

Cornish, Hilda

aka: Brunhilde Kahlert Cornish
Brunhilde Kahlert Cornish was the founder of the Arkansas birth control movement. She was instrumental in founding the organization that became the Planned Parenthood Association of Arkansas. Hilda Kahlert was born on January 24, 1878, in St. Louis, Missouri, to German immigrants Sophie and Rudolph Kahlert. Her father was a carpenter, and her early life as a worker and as an observer of working-class struggles informed her about a broad spectrum of life experiences. After earning a high-school diploma, Kahlert left St. Louis to work as a milliner in New York. She moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1901 and married a widowed banker, Edward Cornish, in July 1902. The couple had six children between 1904 and 1917. Cornish …

Corrothers, Helen Gladys Curl

Helen G. Corrothers is a well-respected figure in the world of criminal justice who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the United States Parole Board and then the United States Sentencing Commission in the 1980s. Helen Gladys Curl was born on March 19, 1937, in Montrose (Ashley County) to Thomas Curl and Christene Farley Curl. Her father died when she was two. Following high school, Corrothers earned an Associate of Arts degree in liberal arts from Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock (Pulaski County). She then entered the U.S. Army, serving from 1956 to 1969. She earned the rank of captain. Over the course of her army career in the Far East, Europe, and the United States, …

Cotnam, Florence Lee Brown

Florence Lee Brown Cotnam was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement in Arkansas, representing the state by speaking for women’s suffrage across the nation. After women received the vote, Cotnam continued the cause of women by serving as the first president of the Little Rock League of Women Voters. Florence Lee Brown was born to Tarleton Woodson Brown and Eliza Webb Thurmond on April 16, 1865, in Cobham, Virginia. She had one sibling, Sue Brown. Florence Brown was educated in private schools in Gordonsville and Richmond, Virginia, and at the Charnwood Institute in Tyler, Texas, where she met Thomas Taylor Cotnam, an insurance agent. They were married on October 20, 1885, and had three children: Charles, Nell, and Thomas Tarleton. …

Cotton, Carolina

aka: Helen Hagstrom
Helen Hagstrom is best known for her country and western swing music and yodeling, as well as her appearances in numerous television specials, radio programs, and films under the name of Carolina Cotton. Nicknamed “The Yodeling Blonde Bombshell,” Hagstrom was an entertainer and teacher throughout her life. Helen Hagstrom was born on October 20, 1925, in Cash (Craighead County), where her parents, Fred and Helen Hagstrom, and maternal grandparents had a farm, growing many crops, including cotton and peanuts. During the Great Depression, Hagstrom’s father moved his wife and two daughters to San Francisco, California. Hagstrom began performing in traveling stage shows with the O’Neille Sisters Kiddie Revue. Then, after regularly visiting KYA Radio to watch Dude Martin’s Roundup Gang …

Cotton, Sheila Holland

Sheila Holland Cotton is an artist noted for her richly painted oils embracing the visual experience of Arkansas. Her scenes of agricultural and rural landscapes give a sense of isolation and mournfulness yet remain celebratory. The mysticism in Cotton’s art links her to the modern school of Magic Realism and the legacy of artists Carroll Cloar and Al Allen Jr. of twentieth-century Arkansas.  Sheila Holland was born on May 13, 1947, in Morrilton (Conway County). She was the only child of Edward William Holland and Madeline Oliver Holland. Both her parents came from families that settled in southern Arkansas in the 1840s. In 1950, her parents moved to North Little Rock (Pulaski County), where she grew up and attended school. Her father left his job as manager of a chain of movie theaters to pursue a career in aviation. He was appointed director of aeronautics for the …

Coullet, Rhonda Lee Oglesby

Rhonda Lee Oglesby Coullet was the only Miss Arkansas ever to resign her title. After briefly fulfilling her role as Miss Arkansas 1965, she abruptly gave up her crown and went on to achieve notable successes in show business, including starring on Broadway in The Robber Bridegroom. Rhonda Oglesby was born on September 23, 1945, in Magnolia (Columbia County) to Horace and Cecil Oglesby, both employees of International Paper Company in Spring Hill, Louisiana, but she was raised in Stamps (Lafayette County). She has one brother, Scott. In 1955, the family moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). She attended Sam Taylor Elementary School and Pine Bluff High School, where she was a cheerleader. She was recognized for her beauty and …

Coulter, Hope Norman

Little Rock (Pulaski County) author Hope Coulter is a novelist, short-story writer, poet, children’s book author, and professor. Coulter has received several of Arkansas’s top literary prizes, including the Porter Prize for fiction and the Laman Library Writers Fellowship. Poems and stories by Coulter have also received awards or recognition in contests from such national literary journals as the North American Review, Terrain.org, the Southwest Review, and Louisiana Life. Hope Elizabeth Norman was born on January 25, 1961, in New Orleans, Louisiana, but spent her early years in Little Rock. Her father, Tom David Norman, was then a pathologist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Her mother, Hope Johns Norman, as a member of the Women’s Emergency …

Cox, V. L.

V. L. Cox is a painter and mixed media artist whose work has achieved national acclaim for confronting institutional racism and homophobia. Vicki Lynette Cox was born on August 14, 1962, in Shreveport, Louisiana, to Lynn Cox and Mary Hardman Cox; she has one sister. Her father, an illustrator and engineer, was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, and following the end of his service, the family moved to Arkadelphia (Clark County), where both he and his wife had been born and raised. When Cox was ten years old, her grandmother, Virginia Louise Pilkington Hardman, enrolled her in a children’s summer art program at Henderson State University. Cox’s great-grandmother, Virginia Louise Betts Pilkington of Washington (Hempstead County), …

Cranford, Lorraine Albert

Lorraine Albert Cranford was the founder of Ballet Arkansas—a company that traces its roots to the Little Rock Civic Ballet of the 1960s—as well as a dance teacher in the Little Rock (Pulaski County) area. Lorraine Albert was born on September 4, 1918, in Steubenville, Ohio, to Henri Albert and Arthurine Van Klempette Albert. Her mother was a ballroom dancer who started her daughter in dance classes. By the time she was three, her family lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Albert studied ballet under Karl Heinrich in Pittsburgh and went to New York at age fifteen to continue her dance training. Her training was not limited to classical ballet, and she studied and danced in the same shows as famous performers such as …

Crawford, Maud Robinson

Maud Robinson Crawford, a lawyer with the Gaughan, McClellan and Laney law firm in Camden (Ouachita County), mysteriously disappeared from her stately Colonial home on Saturday night, March 2, 1957, at age sixty-five. U.S. Senator John L. McClellan, a former partner in the law firm, was at the time of her disappearance the chairman of a high-profile Senate investigation into alleged mob ties to organized labor. The disappearance of Sen. McClellan’s former associate was international news, a first assumption being that she had been kidnapped by the Mafia to intimidate the senator. When no ransom note appeared, however, the theory was rejected by law enforcement. No body was ever found, and the case was never solved. Maud Robinson was born …

Crawford, Phyllis

aka: Josie Turner
Phyllis Crawford was the author of children’s books and adult fiction, including Hello, the Boat!, which won the Ford Foundation award for the best book manuscript for children in 1938. Over several decades, Crawford also contributed to the New Yorker and other magazines under the pseudonym of Josie Turner. She often drew upon her experiences growing up in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to frame the plots of her stories. Phyllis Crawford was born on February 8, 1899, in Little Rock to T. Dwight Crawford and Bessie Williams Crawford. Her father was an attorney and worked for the Arkansas Supreme Court for many years. She had one brother, John, also an author. The Crawford family resided at 416 Fairfax, in one …

Crescent College and Conservatory

The Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women operated out of the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs (Carroll County). It was opened on September 23, 1908, and operated from September through June, with the summer months being devoted to hotel operations. The college remained open until 1924, when it was forced to close due to lack of funding. It reopened as Crescent Junior College in 1930 and remained open until 1934. Founded by the Eureka Springs Investment Company, specifically A. S. Maddox and J. H. Phillips, Crescent College was established as an exclusive boarding school for young women.  Maddox had previously operated a successful female seminary, known as Maddox Seminary, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and was seeking a new …

Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Often affiliated with anti-abortion Christian organizations such as Care Net and Heartbeat International, crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), which are also known as pregnancy resource centers, target women facing decisions about unintended pregnancies. In many states, including Arkansas, the centers offer free informational and assistive services designed to dissuade women from choosing abortion. In the late 1960s, before the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade (1973) legalizing first-trimester abortion, CPCs originated in response to the liberalization of state abortion laws. Beginning in the 1980s, during anti-abortion Republican Ronald Reagan’s presidency, CPCs began to receive public funding and increase in number. By 2016, CPCs existed in more than 3,500 locations in the United States, outnumbering abortion clinics. By 2021, according …

Curtis, Dorris Lafferty

Dorris Lafferty Curtis was a nationally recognized folk art painter, author, and songwriter. Compared to folk art painter Grandma Moses (who started painting at age seventy-five) by herself and others, Curtis began painting at age sixty-five just before she retired from teaching. She produced hundreds of paintings, many of which are on display at the Torreyson Library at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner County). Dorris Lafferty was born on March 4, 1908, in Rogers County, Oklahoma, near Foyil, to Roy Lafferty, a farmer, and Nan Lafferty. She was the third of four children. She grew up on the family farm, and much of her folk art is based on memories of her early years. Her mother …