Gender: Female - Starting with C

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 …