Ledbetter collection opens at history center

Pictured, left to right, are Dr. Deborah Baldwin, dean of UALR College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and associate provost for UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture; Dr. Calvin R. Ledbetter Jr.; UALR Provost Dr. Zulma Toro-Ramos; and UALR Chancellor Dr. Joel Anderson

The UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture revealed its newest collection, donated by educator, scholar, and legislator Calvin R. Ledbetter Jr., at a reception held at the Arkansas Studies Institute Tuesday evening, April 30.

The 12-linear-foot collection covers Ledbetter’s life between 1964 and 1988. The papers document Ledbetter’s political career including the state’s legislative sessions from 1967 to 1977. A portion of the papers references his academic career at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Ledbetter, 84, led an accomplished political and educational career.

“He went from the JAG Corps, to a Ph.D. program, to a faculty position, to five consecutive terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives, the list goes on. His dedication to political science in all of its expressions is clear to see,” said Monica Mylonas, assistant archivist at the CAHC.

In addition to the collection housed at ASI, there is an online exhibit at ualrexhibits.org/ledbetter. The digitized collection includes photographs, video clips, and a selected bibliography on articles and books written by Ledbetter.

Ledbetter creates endowment to support student research

In 1960, Ledbetter joined the faculty at Little Rock University, now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He has served as chair of the Department of Political Science and dean of the College of Liberal Arts, now the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. After retiring in 1997, Ledbetter was named professor emeritus of political science.

In addition to donating his papers for research, Ledbetter has established the Cal Ledbetter Arkansas Legislative Institute Endowment to promote a better understanding of Arkansas through the scholarly study of legislators and legislative process.

According to Mylonas, Ledbetter’s collection not only aids researchers in accessing information about the state’s legislature, it also adds value to the center’s gubernatorial holdings.

“Ledbetter co-authored, sponsored, or otherwise supported many of the bills that now characterize these governorships,” she said.

Ledbetter served for five terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives between 1967 and 1977. In the course of his political career, he served three Arkansas’ governors, Winthrop Rockefeller, Dale Bumpers, and David Pryor. CAHC holds the collections of both Rockefeller and Bumpers.

The UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture is housed in the Arkansas Studies Institute, a partnership between UALR and the Central Arkansas Library System. For more information, go to ualr.edu/cahc.

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