Former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker has donated his papers to the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture. His papers add to UALR’s archive collection of papers from five Arkansas governors.
“The papers are unique in that they provide an excellent representation of all aspects of Jim Guy Tucker’s public life as attorney general, congressman, lieutenant governor, and governor,” said Dr. Colin Woodward, an archivist at the UALR center.
Once Tucker’s papers are processed, his papers will be the largest collection held at the UALR center, which also holds the gubernatorial papers of Arkansas governors Carl Bailey, Winthrop Rockefeller, Dale Bumpers, and Frank White.
Those papers and President Bill Clinton’s gubernatorial papers held by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, are all housed in downtown Little Rock at the Arkansas Studies Institute, a collaboration between UALR and the Central Arkansas Library System.
UALR’s acquisition of the Tucker collection includes personal and professional papers containing approximately 540 linear feet of materials from every phase of Tucker’s political career.
“We are delighted Gov. Tucker entrusted his papers to us,” said Dr. Deborah Baldwin, associate provost of the center and dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. “The collection will provide a significant contribution to the study of Arkansas and its politics during the late 20th century.”
Born in Oklahoma in 1943, Tucker moved to Arkansas with his family as a young boy. He attended secondary school in Little Rock before graduating and enrolling at Harvard University, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree. Tucker married Betty Allen in 1975.
After a medical discharge from the Marine Corp officer training, Tucker entered South Vietnam in 1965 as an accredited freelance war correspondent. He later published “Arkansas Men at War,” a collection of interviews with troops from the state that he followed into combat.
After serving as Arkansas attorney general and representing Arkansas’ Second District in Congress, he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1978, narrowly losing the Democratic primary to David Pryor, then the sitting governor.
A consistent inter-party rival of Bill Clinton, Tucker briefly ran for governor in 1990, but when Clinton decided to go for a fifth term, Tucker ran for and won election as lieutenant governor. He became governor when Clinton became president.
Tucker’s donation to UALR also includes childhood photographs and items documenting the history of the Tucker family, which has deep roots in Arkansas.
Among the early 20th century papers are those of Guy Beckwith Tucker, who was a marshal in El Dorado, Ark., and Tucker’s father, James Guy Sr., who served along the U.S. southern border during the Mexican Revolution before heading to France during World War I.
In-depth work has already been done on the Tucker Papers, but the project, led by CAHC archivist Woodward, could take several years to complete.
The ASI, which houses the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture and The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, is the largest facility in the state dedicated to the study for Arkansas history and culture.Through its connection to the university, the archives benefit from the rigorous scholarship of UALR faculty, creating a valuable resource for students, researchers, stakeholders, and the general public.
The research room at ASI is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, contact Woodward at 501-320-5780.