Cal Ledbetter Legislative Papers Open for Research

The UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture (CAHC) has announced the opening of the Calvin R. Ledbetter, Jr., Papers to the public.  The collection encompasses the years 1964 to 1988 and is now open and available to researchers.

“The collection contains many interesting items from the life of a man who played a significant role in the political and educational community in Little Rock and the state of Arkansas” said Deborah Baldwin, associate provost of CAHC and the dean of the UALR College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

In 1960, Ledbetter joined the faculty at Little Rock University, now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and served as Chair of the Political Science Department, and, later, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, now the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.  After retiring in 1997, Ledbetter became Professor Emeritus of Political Science.

Ledbetter, 84, led an accomplished 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.

Ledbetter held five terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives from1967 to 1977.  In the course of this political career, Ledbetter served alongside three of Arkansas’s iconic governors:  Winthrop Rockefeller, Dale Bumpers, and David Pryor.  CAHC holds two collections of these three, Rockefeller and Bumpers.

“This collection adds to our gubernatorial holdings.  Ledbetter co-authored, sponsored, or otherwise supported many of the bills that now characterize these governorships,” said Mylonas.

Ledbetter’s papers deal mainly with his political career, documenting the state’s legislative sessions from 1967 to 1977. A portion of the papers represent his academic career with the UALR.

Cal Ledbetter with Students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock

In addition to donating his legislative papers to CAHC, Ledbetter has also established the UALR Cal Ledbetter Arkansas Legislative Institute Endowment, founded to promote a better understanding of the state of Arkansas through scholarly study.

This endowment has encouraged the recent donation of state several legislators’ papers to CAHC including: former Representatives Kathy Webb and Johnnie Roebuck, and former Senator Jimmy Jeffress.

To commemorate the opening of the Calvin R. Ledbetter, Jr., Papers, CAHC has launched a digital exhibit that celebrates Ledbetter’s work in several key areas, such as legislative leadership, education, and progressive reform.  The online exhibit highlights the range of resources the papers have to offer, and incorporates a selection of digitized photographs, documents, and audio clips.   See the digital exhibit here.

The collection is available in the research room inside the Arkansas Studies Institute building from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, contact CAHC at 501-320-5780.

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