Adolphine Fletcher Terry did not rely on her pedigree for her identity. She made her own impact on Little Rock, on Arkansas, and on the US. For over 40 years, she served on the Little Rock Public Library Board. Not only is she the longest serving female on Library Board history, she is likely the longest serving female on any City of Little Rock board or commission.
The daughter of a Little Rock Mayor, daughter-in-law of a congressman, wife of a congressman, she was raised in Little Rock and spent most of her life here.
She is perhaps best known today for establishing the Women’s Emergency Committee in 1958 and for her subsequent deeding of the family house to the City for use by the Arkansas Arts Center. But her entire life was based on civic engagement. She was instrumental in establishing the first juvenile court system in Arkansas and helped form the first school improvement association in the state. She was long an advocate for libraries, serving 40 years on the Little Rock public library board. Through her leadership, the library opened its doors to African Americans in the early 1950s. Today a branch of the Central Arkansas Library System (the successor the Little Rock public library) is named after her. Another branch is named after her Pulitzer Prize winning brother.
After her husband’s death in 1963, she continued to remain active in civic affairs. In the 1960’s, she and her sister deeded the Pike-Fletcher-Terry House to the City of Little Rock for use by the Arkansas Arts Center upon both their deaths. Following Adolphine Fletcher Terry’s death in 1976, Mary turned over the title to the City.