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Pulaski County Historical Society

Founded in the fall of 1951, the Pulaski County Historical Society (PCHS) is the second oldest county historical society in Arkansas.

The PCHS’s founders were James H. Atkinson, a history teacher at Little Rock Junior College (now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock); Claude Rankin, state land commissioner; C. C. Allard, editor of the Arkansas Democrat’s magazine section; and Louise Porter, head of North Little Rock High School’s social science department. Membership increased rapidly due to publicity given the society by the local press. The society originally held its meetings in the Little Rock Public Library at 7th and Louisiana. After it was demolished in 1963, the society met at various places, including the new public library and the Arsenal Building in MacArthur Park. In 1993, the PCHS began meeting in the Quorum Court Room on the fourth floor of the Pulaski County Administration Building, with some meetings convening at historic sites—a longstanding tradition from the days when the group gathered at the library. Since 2006, PCHS meetings have been held at the Darragh Center in the Main Library of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) in downtown Little Rock.

The first issue of the society’s quarterly, the Pulaski County Historical Review, edited by Margaret Smith Ross, appeared in June 1953, and the journal has been published without interruption since. Martha Rimmer served as editor of the review from 1980 to 2001, and published a forty-five-year index in 1998. In 1980, F. Hampton Roy, an ophthalmologist and local history enthusiast, endowed the F. Hampton Roy History Awards to encourage research and writing on Pulaski County history for publication in the Review.

In 1979, due to the lobbying of members Tom Dillard and William Worthen, Pulaski County Judge W. E. Beaumont and the Pulaski County Quorum Court voted to assist the society with an annual subsidy of $5,000. This continued until 1987, when the county could no longer afford the grant.

The cooperative relationship between the county and the society has been a benefit to both. The society aided in the county’s project to restore the 1887 courthouse, annex, and clock tower; acquired portraits of past Pulaski County judges back to James C. Anthony (1840–1842), which are on display in the Quorum Court Room; and serves as co-sponsor with the county for Pulaski County Day, held each May.

The society has also placed many markers commemorating important events and sites. Signage was placed at the entrance to Little Rock’s Mount Holly Cemetery in 1956. Markers were placed at the graves of Sanford C. Faulkner, who is reputed to have written the tune “The Arkansas Traveler,” in 1955, and Edward Washbourne, the artist who painted the “Arkansas Traveler,” in 1958. In 1998, the society placed a plaque on the bust of Revolutionary War general Count Casimir Pulaski, which sits beside the Pulaski County Administration Building.

In 2005, the PCHS established the Annual Peg Smith-Mary Worthen Award to be presented at the Pulaski County Day celebration for the most outstanding article in the previous year’s Review.

Pulaski County Historical Society Presidents
 
 

C.C. Allard

1951, 1952

Louise Porter

1953

James H. Atkinson

1954, 1955

David D. Terry

1956, 1957

Kenneth Hanger

1958

HarveyYoung

1959

Walter L. Pope

1960, 1961

Guy Amsler

1962, 1963

Sidney S. McMath

1964, 1965

Pauline Hoeltzel

1966, 1967

Alonzo Camp

1968, 1969, 1970

Arthur L. Mills

1971

Duane Huddleston

1972

Fred O. Henker III, M.D.

1973

C. Fred Williams

1974, 1975

Tom W. Dillard

1976

William B. Worthen

1977, 1978

Lucy Robinson

1979

Inez Martin

1980, 1981

Richard B. Dixon

1982, 1983

Rev. R. E. L. Bearden

1984, 1985

Col.A. J. Almand

1986, 1987

Aubrey F. Williams

1988, 1989

Sybil Smith

1990, 1991

Edwina Walls

1992, 1993

Mary F. Worthen

1994, 1995

Richard B. Clark, M.D.

1996, 1997

James W. Bell

1998, 1999

Carolyn LeMaster

2000, 2001

Ellen Gray

2002, 2003

Jim Metzger

2004, 2005

Jon Wolfe

2006, 2007

Sandra Taylor Smith

2008, 2009

David McCullough

2010, 2011

Jim Metzger

2012, 2013

Rachel Silva

2014

 
For additional information:
Atkinson, J. H. “Our Society: A History, 1951–1973.” Pulaski County Historical Review 49 (Winter 2001): 89–91.

Nutt, Timothy G. “A History of the PCHS: 1974–2001.” Pulaski County Historical Review 49 (Winter 2001): 92–95.

Pulaski County Historical Society. http://www.pulaskicountyhistory.org/ (accessed February 5, 2014).

 

James W. Bell
Pulaski County Historical Society

Last Updated 9/7/2017

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