Kathryn Donham Rice was better known by her friends as Katy. As a historian, she was an archivist and an author.
A native of Little Rock, she was a lifelong Methodist. Her interest in Arkansas Methodist history led to her appointment as the Archivist of the Little Rock Conference of the United Methodist Church. In 1980, she authored A History of the First United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas 1831 – 1981 to commemorate the church’s sesquicentennial. She served as church historian for twenty-eight years, creating with her husband, James H. Rice, Jr., the History Hall where many Methodist historic photographs and artifacts are displayed. She was a board member of the Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church and a charter member of the Arkansas United Methodist Historical Society.
In the 1970’s she was employed at the Old State House Museum, first as a guide, then as Registrar, a position for which she trained at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. In 1986 she was appointed to serve on the Arkansas Sesquicentennial Commission as head of the Religious Organizations Task Force. This group sponsored four regional workshops on church history-writing and church archives management during the year.
Katy was an active supporter of Hendrix College, her alma mater. She volunteered as archivist in the Winfred Polk United Methodist Archives and the Bailey Library. She also was active in the Aesthetic Club, where she served as President; the Arkansas Women’s History Institute; the Pulaski County Historical Society; and the Arkansas Historical Association. She wrote two additional histories which were published: The History of Lakeside Country Club and The History of Belcher Lake Farms.
For several years she was a very active volunteer for the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. She assisted with registrar duties, including processing many of the photographs in the Allison collection. For several hours every week, she could be found in the basement of the museum with her white archivist gloves on helping out. She would also give tours of the museum once it opened.