August 27, 2012
In 1897, John Jefferson Lee Spence established the Drew Normal Institute in the city of Wilmar (Drew County). Subsequently, the college was renamed Beauvoir College, after the Mississippi estate where Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy, retired. The college was initially a success, but it closed in 1907. Beauvoir College, with a group of students shown here, signaled a new trend in higher education, as the institution sought to meet the higher-educational needs of southeast Arkansas’s working-class and rural population.