By Becca Bona
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Center for Arkansas History and Culture (CAHC) hosted a reception on Tuesday, Sept. 23 at Cache Restaurant in the River Market to celebrate the receipt of a national grant. The $136,851 grant will be used to process the papers of former Arkansas Gov. James (Jim) 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 CAHC expects the processing to take a full two years, but is excited for the finished product.
Associate Provost Dr. Deborah Baldwin began introductions, she briefly detailed the amount of work that the CAHC staff put into the grant. 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.
Chancellor Joel Anderson said, shortly after, “I’m very enthusiastic about our archives and special collections,” naming other Arkansas gubernatorial greats that Tucker’s papers will sit alongside, including former Gov. Dale Bumpers and Winthrop Rockefeller. He continued, “A governor’s collection for the period of time that a governor was in office is the best single source of documents that tell the story of that particular era. … It’s a special pleasure to the university to have those papers coming here.”
Before handing the microphone to Tucker, Chancellor Anderson said, “I know I speak on behalf of everyone here when I say a big, heartfelt thanks to you for theyears of public service that you have given to the people of Central Arkansas and the state of Arkansas.”
As Tucker listened to the applause, he thanked people by name for coming out to the event. Although he admitted jokingly that he’ll be glad to be rid of the papers from the storeroom, he was excited to be part of an archive.
“The most important thing about these papers is that they are not just my papers. They are your papers as well, they are the papers of the people, the history the culture of Arkansas, a part of our shared history. … They reflect what we did together as citizens, voters, workers, business people, doctors, lawyers, legislatures, appointees, board members, state employees, teachers, farmers, mothers fathers, citizens, period, you name it.”
More about the UALR’s CAHC
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.