Gender: Female - Starting with S

Smith, Effie Anderson

Effie Anderson Smith was an Arkansas-born landscape painter and pioneer settler of Arizona. She began painting in southwestern Arkansas, in the style of the Hudson River School. Her mature style, exemplified by her Grand Canyon paintings, emerged after studies with California Impressionists. Born near Nashville (Howard County), on September 29, 1869, Effie Anderson grew up in Hope (Hempstead County). Her mother, Martha Adelia Coulter Anderson, came from a family of planters near Lockesburg (Sevier County). Her father, Major Adolphus Anderson, whose family members were planters in South Carolina, came to southwestern Arkansas in the 1850s as a surveyor and civil engineer. Her parents married in March 1861, before her father joined ten of his brothers in the South Carolina forces …

Smith, Lindsley Farrar Armstrong

Lindsley Smith was a state representative from Fayetteville (Washington County) in the 85th, 86th, and 87th Arkansas General Assemblies, serving from 2005 to 2010. Lindsley Farrar Armstrong was born on September 8, 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama, to Jewel Dean Ott, who was a homemaker and secretary, and Lewis Munn Armstrong, a civil engineer. She attended public schools in Birmingham and graduated from Woodlawn High School in 1981. She received an AA in business administration from Jefferson State Community College in 1984. While living in Birmingham, she sang in the choir at Stockham Memorial Methodist Church, was active in community theater, and played clarinet in the Birmingham Civic Orchestra. She received a speech and debate scholarship to the University of West …

Smith, Sarah Jane

An enigmatic figure who left few documentable details of her life or wartime experiences, Sarah Jane Smith was a Confederate sympathizer who sabotaged Union military telegraph wires and poles on two known occasions near Springfield and Rolla, Missouri, in 1864. The known details of Smith’s life are limited to information gleaned from court documents, due to her illiteracy (she signed her statement to the provost marshal with an “x”) and lack of a fixed residence. Although several secondary sources describe Smith as a smuggler and saboteur of two years’ duration, there is no documentation of her involvement in any smuggling activity or in any sabotage activities other than the two incidents chronicled in her trial records. Born in approximately 1846, …

Snyderman, Nancy Lynn

Nancy Lynn Snyderman is a physician and author who became a well-known medical journalist and broadcaster. She began her broadcasting career in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Nancy Snyderman was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on March 26, 1952. Her parents were homemaker Joy Snyderman and physician Sanford Snyderman. Growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, she graduated from that city’s South Side High School in 1970. She attended Indiana University in Bloomington, where she graduated with a BA in microbiology. Her medical training took place at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where she earned her Doctor of Medicine degree in 1977. During the second year of her residency at the University of Pittsburgh, she discovered an affinity for …

Spence, Helen

Helen Ruth Spence of Arkansas County was a famous outlaw and prisoner whose story captured the imaginations of many during her life and engendered a body of legend afterward. She was the focus of unprecedented media coverage in her day, up until her death at the hands of Arkansas prison officials. The July 12, 1934, issues of the Washington Post and New York Times published accounts of Spence’s death on the previous day. The date of her birth aboard a houseboat on the White River near St. Charles (Arkansas County) was listed by the funeral home as February 23, 1912. Arkansas’s houseboat-dwelling “river rats” were eventually expelled from the area as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tamed the White …

St. Scholastica Monastery

St. Scholastica Monastery, a community of Catholic Benedictine sisters in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), has been a religious presence in the state of Arkansas since its founding in 1879. Their call is not to any specific work but rather to a life of seeking God through common and private prayer, work, leisure, and extending hospitality in service to the needs of the church and civic community. By living that call, they have impacted the lives of many in the state and beyond in education, healthcare, and social service. The sisters’ contribution includes having staffed three girls’ high schools for boarding and day students; conducting elementary schools; operating four hospitals in rural areas; and caring for children in an orphanage in …

Staggs, Monica

Monica Staggs is an actress best known for her work as a stunt double in numerous films and television shows. Monica Ann Staggs was born on February 24, 1970, in Boulder, Colorado, to Nova Staggs and Thomas Staggs. She has one sister. Staggs spent most of her youth in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) and graduated from Sylvan Hills High School in 1988. She then did work in the drama and English departments at both the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, as well as attending the University of Central Arkansas in Conway (Faulkner County) for a time. Without completing a degree, in 1996, she took a job as a stand-in …

Stallcup, Mary

Mary Stallcup was the first woman to serve as attorney general of Arkansas, although her tenure was brief. She also served as general counsel and in top administrative roles at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner County). Before she was on staff at UCA, she served in various divisions at the state attorney general’s office. Mary Barbara Stallcup was born on June 21, 1954, in Omaha, Nebraska, as one of six children of Lieutenant Ed Stallcup and Helen Conroy Stallcup. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana College in Pineville in 1974, having majored in history, and earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1979. Beyond her admission to the state …

Starr, Belle

aka: Myra Maybelle Shirley
In the late 1800s, Belle Starr was known as a notorious female outlaw in America’s “Old West.” As a resident of Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, she came under the jurisdiction of Judge Isaac C. Parker in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). Her close friends included the legendary American outlaws Cole Younger and Frank and Jesse James. Her reputation as an outlaw, the novelty of being a woman outlaw, and her violent, mysterious death led to her being called “The Bandit Queen.” Belle Starr was born Myra Maybelle Shirley near Carthage, Missouri, on February 5, 1848. Her father was John R. Shirley, a farmer who later owned a local inn. Her mother, twenty years younger than her husband, was Elizabeth (Eliza) Hatfield …

Steenburgen, Mary Nell

Mary Nell Steenburgen is one of Arkansas’s most celebrated actors. Noted for roles in cinema, television, and stage, she has portrayed a wide range of characters, from the president’s mother, Hannah Nixon, in Nixon (1995) to schoolteacher Clara Clayton in Back to the Future III (1990) and seductress Betty Carver in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993). She has won many awards, including an Academy Award for her portrayal of Lynda Dummar in Melvin and Howard (1980). Mary Steenburgen was born on February 8, 1953, in Newport (Jackson County) to Maurice Steenburgen, a freight train conductor, and Nellie Mae Wall Steenburgen, a school secretary. Her family—including a younger sister, Nancy Lynn—moved to North Little Rock (Pulaski County) when she was three …

Stephens, Charlotte Andrews (Lottie)

aka: Lottie Stephens
Charlotte Andrews Stephens was the first African-American teacher in the Little Rock (Pulaski County) school district. She worked as a teacher for seventy years, and Stephens Elementary School in Little Rock was named for her in 1910. In addition, she was the first African American to be accredited by the North Central Association and was a charter member of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) federated club in Little Rock. Lottie Andrews was born in 1854 in Little Rock to William Wallace Andrews, a “mulatto” slave to U.S. Senator Chester Ashley, and Caroline Williams Andrews, a slave to the Noah Badgett family. The system of urban slavery in Arkansas allowed the Andrews family special privileges. Andrews’s parents were both …

Stern, Jane Rita Ellenbogen

Jane Rita Ellenbogen Stern was a well-known conservationist and environmentalist from Arkansas. She dedicated herself to the preservation of the natural waterways and migratory bird habitats of the state, especially in eastern Arkansas. Jane Ellenbogen was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on August 2, 1918, to Leonard E. Ellenbogen—owner of a real-estate firm, a clothing store, and a laundry—and Birdie Berger Ellenbogen. She grew up in Little Rock and attended Little Rock public schools. Thereafter, she attended Little Rock Junior College (now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock). In 1940, Ellenbogen married Dr. Howard S. Stern; they had two children. In 1948, the Stern family moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), an area where much of Stern’s conservationist …

Stickney, Phyllis Yvonne

Phyllis Yvonne Stickney is an actress, comedian, poet, playwright, producer, and motivational speaker best known for her television and film roles in the late 1980s and 1990s. Noted in the twenty-fifth anniversary issue of Essence magazine as one of 200 African-American women who have changed the world, she was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1998. Phyllis Stickney was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Belle and Felix Stickney Jr. She has publicly been vague about her age, and no available sources offer the year of her birth. Her father was an executive with the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), and the family moved frequently. She has two siblings, one of whom, Timothy, is also an …

Stinson, Katherine

Katherine Stinson, who was living in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) when she began her career as a stunt pilot, was one of the first female pilots licensed in the United States. She also founded the Stinson School of Flying in Hot Springs (Garland County). Stinson was the first woman to master the loop-the-loop aviation maneuver. She is also reported to have been the first person to perform night skywriting with fireworks. She performed her stunts throughout the country and internationally. Katherine Stinson was born in Fort Payne, Alabama, on February 14, 1891, one of four children; her mother’s name was Emma Stinson. As a young woman, Stinson developed an interest in music and intended to pursue a career as a …

Stockard, Sallie Walker

Sallie Walker Stockard was a historian, author, and frontrunner in the equality of women in education. Her book The History of Lawrence, Jackson, Independence and Stone Counties of the Third Judicial District of Arkansas is a valued source of early Arkansas history. Sallie Stockard was born on October 4, 1869, in Alamance County, North Carolina, the oldest of six children of John Williamson Stockard and Margaret Ann Albright Stockard. Her father was a farmer, and her mother took in sewing to earn money to pay for their children’s educations. Stockard entered Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1892, from which she graduated in 1897 with a BA degree. She was one of the first female students to enroll at …

Strong, Anna

Anna Strong was a noted African-American teacher and school principal in Marianna (Lee County). She also served one term as president of the Arkansas Teachers Association (ATA). Strong labored to provide quality education to the African-American citizens of Lee County and was widely recognized for her efforts. Anna Mae Paschal was born in rural Phillips County in 1884 to Chandler and Lucy Paschal. Her father, active in the Religious Society of Friends (generally known as Quakers), was listed in the 1880 census as a miller. Anna Paschal was the oldest of four children and helped her parents to raise her sister and brothers. She began her educational and religious training with the Quakers at the highly regarded Southland School at …

Stuart, Mary Routh McEnery

aka: Ruth McEnery Stuart
Mary Routh McEnery Stuart, working under the name Ruth McEnery Stuart, wrote a body of fiction and poetry based on the experiences she had in Arkansas, modeling characters, dialect, and even a fictional town on her interactions within the state. She was, both financially and critically, one of the most successful fiction writers of her time, and in recent years has been studied by feminist and social literary critics. Routh McEnery was born on February 19, 1852, (according to the date provided on her marriage license; though she may have been born as early as 1849). Her parents were Mary Routh Stirling and James McEnery, who was at that time the mayor of Marksville, Louisiana, where McEnery was born. In …

Stuck, Dorothy

Dorothy Stuck became a newspaper publisher, civic activist, and governmental official in the latter half of the twentieth century. Both as a private citizen and journalist, she was a consistent and unwavering voice calling for equal rights for all in Arkansas in the 1950s and 1960s. Dorothy Willard Davis was born on February 5, 1921, in Gravette (Benton County) to Floyd Davis and Mimi Davis. She spent most of her youth in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and graduated from high school there in 1939. She then returned to Arkansas to attend the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), from which she graduated in 1943. While at UA, she majored in history and was a member of the Pi Beta Phi …

Sullivan, Orean Lencola

Orean Lencola Sullivan of Morrilton (Conway County) broke many color barriers in Arkansas and became a nationally known public figure. She won four scholarship pageants from 1977 to 1980 and was the first African American to win those pageants. She was Miss Morrilton in 1977, Miss University of Central Arkansas in 1978, Miss White River in 1979, and Miss Arkansas in 1980. In September 1980, Sullivan competed in the Miss America Pageant and won the preliminary swimsuit competition. Overall, she was the fourth runner-up in the national pageant, the highest placement achieved by an African-American contestant up to that time. Lencola Sullivan was born on October 29, 1957, to Richard and Macie Sullivan of Morrilton. She was the oldest of …