UALR receives national funding to process former governor’s papers

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Center for Arkansas History and Culture (CAHC) has been awarded a $136,851 grant to process the papers of former Arkansas Gov. James Guy Tucker, Jr. The grant is the largest National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) award in the state to date. The NHPRC is part of the National Archives and Records Administration.

picture of James Guy Tucker Jr.Tucker’s collection spans 746 cubic feet of materials, including letters, legislative documents, legal papers, campaign materials, and photographs that cover a wide range of political, social, and economic issues of national and international importance. The papers richly document the life and career of this accomplished progressive southern Democrat who tried to balance the interests of Democrats and Republicans amid a rapidly-changing national political landscape.

“As a donor of materials, I have had the great pleasure of working with the staff at the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture,” said Tucker. “Their collective experience and expertise have been invaluable as I have thought about the donation and its organization. This grant award is a testament to the professionalism and energy that the UALR Center and staff have brought to the task. The resulting collections are a valuable gift to the People of Arkansas and to scholars worldwide.”

Materials in the collection reflect Tucker’s service as a war correspondent in Vietnam and his work as attorney general, ambitious U.S. Congressman, lieutenant governor under Bill Clinton, and as 43rd governor of Arkansas.

“As a whole, the collection provides an unusually detailed picture of a southern governor and represents a large and significant contribution to the study of late-twentieth-century American politics,” said Dr. Deborah Baldwin, Associate Provost of the Center and Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

The two-year project will include developing detailed description of the contents of each folder, work to preserve the materials in acid-free containers, and the creation of an industry-standard online finding aid that will allow researchers around the world to view the contents of the collection.

Tucker’s collection is one of the largest collections held at the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture. It will join other important collections of former Arkansas governors, including Carl Bailey, Winthrop Rockefeller, Dale Bumpers, and Frank White.

Dr. Colin Woodward, an archivist at the UALR Center, said “processing the Tucker papers will bring the details of his life and political career to a much larger local and national audience, as well as make an important and valuable contribution to Arkansas and U.S. history.”

CAHC ensures that the history of the state is accessible through the collection and maintenance of archival material, promotes an understanding of the past through scholarly exchange and public dialog, and supports academic achievement through the education of undergraduate and graduate students. The Center’s archives are a repository that identifies, collects, and preserves Arkansas records and papers that are both of enduring value and in support of the university mission.

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