10 Years of UA Little Rock and CALS Collaborating on Arkansas History

UA Little Rock and the Central Arkansas Library System partnered 10 years ago to make accessible an extensive collection of Arkansas historical documents through a joint catalogue and a well-equipped research room in the CALS Roberts Library.

The UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture and the CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies have worked together over the decade to provide more historical collections and expanded services to better serve Arkansans.

Celebrate with them at a reception in the Galleries at Library Square on March 8, 2019 from 5 pm until 8 pm.

Live music will entertain and celebratory cupcakes will be served.

Black History Month Spotlight – Arkansas Studies Institute

ASI CALS UALRThe new Arkansas Civil Rights History Audio Tour was launched in November 2015. Produced by the City of Little Rock and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock allows the many places and stories of the City’s Civil Rights history to come to life an interactive tour.  This month, during Black History Month, the Culture Vulture looks at some of the stops on this tour which focus on African American history.

The Arkansas Studies Institute building is a Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) facility. It houses both the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies (a CALS department) and the Center for Arkansas History and Culture, a department of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR).

Exterior and interior panels are featured showing Arkansas African American life through historic photographs. Both archives offer genealogy and photography collections, and visual, audio and reference materials relating to African American history and civil rights topics in Arkansas. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, a Butler Center project, has many entries on African American history.

The Arkansas Sounds music collection contains materials relating to black musicians William Grant Still, Florence Price, Louis Jordan, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Al Bell. The Butler Center’s galleries feature local art, jewelry and crafts, many by Arkansas black artists.

The UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture contains extensive archives, including virtual exhibits relating to the Civil War, Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, and the city of Little Rock. Adding another dimension to the struggle for civil rights are documents and art from the World War II Japanese American Relocation Camps at Rohwer and Jerome, Arkansas, and two large Jewish history collections.

The app, funded by a generous grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council, was a collaboration among UALR’s Institute on Race and Ethnicity, the City of Little Rock, the Mayor’s Tourism Commission, and KUAR, UALR’s public radio station, with assistance from the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.

LR Cultural Touchstone: Deborah Baldwin

9 Deborah BaldwinAs a historian, arts patron, and administrator, Deborah Baldwin has had a hand in shaping Little Rock’s cultural scene for nearly thirty years.   As Chair of the UALR History Department from 1986 to 1992, she lead the department as it created the History Institute which sponsors the “Evenings with History” lecture series.  At the time it was started, it was one of the few lecture series in Little Rock (if not the only one).

A member of the UALR faculty since 1980, Baldwin is a specialist in modern Mexican history with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She has published a book on the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and a variety of articles, primarily on Mexican social history topic.

As a History Department faculty member, she has lead the Public History seminar. This program has documented the history of several Little Rock cultural institutions over the years including the Arkansas Arts Center, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Museum of Discovery.  The Public History program has trained many of the museum professionals working in Little Rock today.  The Central High Museum, a private forerunner of the National Park Service Central High National Historic Site Visitor Center, was lead in a large part by persons associated with the UALR Public History Program.

Starting in the mid-1990s, Baldwin led the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.  In that capacity, she oversaw the visual and performing arts programming at UALR.  Under her leadership, the Departments of Art, Music, and Theatre & Dance were all revitalized.  As a part of this, she ensured that cutting-edge technology was being integrated to arts curriculum.  She also led efforts to upgrade the performance facilities.  During her tenure as Dean, the College also played leading roles in the commemoration of the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the integration of Central High School, the centennial of the Mexican Revolution, and the “Life Interrupted” exhibit which highlighted the Japanese-American internment experience in Arkansas.  She also oversaw the creation of Finale!, an event each spring which celebrates the arts in Little Rock and honors arts patrons.

With the creation of the Arkansas Studies Institute (a collaboration between UALR and Central Arkansas Library System), Baldwin took on additional duties as UALR’s supervisor on the project.

In 2014, UALR underwent a campus-wide administrative and academic reorganization.  In conjunction with that, Baldwin became Associate Provost for UALR Collections and Archives.  In that capacity she oversees the campus library system, Center for Arkansas History and Culture and the Sequoyah National Research Center.  She continues to teach in the Department of History.

She is a past member of the board of the Arkansas Humanities Council and the MacArthur Military History Museum Commission.


Dr. Cal Ledbetter Collection opens at UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture

The UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture revealed its newest collection, donated by educator, scholar, and legislator Calvin R. Ledbetter Jr., at a reception held at the Arkansas Studies Institute Tuesday evening, April 30.

Calvin R. Ledbetter Jr.The 12-linear-foot collection covers Ledbetter’s life between 1964 and 1988. The papers document Ledbetter’s political career including the state’s legislative sessions from 1967 to 1977. A portion of the papers references his academic career at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Ledbetter, 84, led an accomplished political and educational career.

In addition to the collection housed at ASI, there is an online exhibit at ualrexhibits.org/ledbetter. The digitized collection includes photographs, video clips, and a selected bibliography on articles and books written by Ledbetter.

In 1960, Ledbetter joined the faculty at Little Rock University, now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He has served as chair of the Department of Political Science and dean of the College of Liberal Arts, now the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. After retiring in 1997, Ledbetter was named professor emeritus of political science.

The gift of Dr. Ledbetter is not just his collection, ever the visionary, he has an eye on the future. In addition to donating his papers for research, Ledbetter has established the Cal Ledbetter Arkansas Legislative Institute Endowment to promote a better understanding of Arkansas through the scholarly study of legislators and legislative process.

Ledbetter served for five terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives between 1967 and 1977. In the course of his political career, he served three Arkansas’ governors, Winthrop Rockefeller, Dale Bumpers, and David Pryor. CAHC holds the collections of both Rockefeller and Bumpers.

The UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture is housed in the Arkansas Studies Institute, a partnership between UALR and the Central Arkansas Library System. For more information, go to ualr.edu/cahc.

In recognition of his contributions, the Arkansas House of Representatives passed HR1045 this session. It was sponsored by Rep. Ann V. Clemmer, a member of the UALR Political Science faculty.