Herbert L. Thomas Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Herbert L. Thomas Papers contain correspondence, some with such noted figures as Brooks Hays, Senator J. William Fulbright and Governors Winthrop Rockefeller and Orval Faubus. Additional materials consist of legal documents, speeches, and clippings. A small group of photographs concludes the collection.
Significant correspondents include:
- Arthur F. Burns
- Orval Faubus
- J. William Fulbright
- Brooks Hays
- Wilbur D. Mills
- David Pryor
- Winthrop Rockefeller
- Edward Durell Stone, Jr.
- John Williams
- Thomas, Herbert L., 1899-1982 (Person)
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The founder and president of The First Pyramid Life Insurance Company of America in Little Rock, Herbert Leon Thomas was acutely aware of the importance of financial growth and stability to Arkansas' economy. Born in 1899 in Crossett (Ashley County), Arkansas, Thomas founded The First Pyramid Life Insurance Company of America in Little Rock in 1925. He was Chairman of the Board of the City National Bank of Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Arkansas and the Citizens Bank of Booneville (Logan County), Arkansas, eventually becoming director of the Eden Isle vacation and retirement home project of Heber Springs (Cleburne County), Arkansas. Conscious of the importance of education for financial growth, Thomas served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas from 1943-51. He was instrumental in the admission of the first black student to the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1948. His interests extended beyond economics and education into politics. Although he never ran for political office himself, Thomas was Chairman of the Little Rock Municipal Water Commission from 1937-40 and served on the Highway Audit Commission of Arkansas, 1951-53. His most significant political relationship was with J. William Fulbright, whom Thomas encouraged to run for the United States Senate in 1944. Further information concerning Thomas may be obtained from Who's Who in the Southwest for 1952.
9.5 Linear Feet (21 Boxes)
Language of Materials
Arrangement of the Papers
NOTE: The series and subseries in the collection conform to Thomas' arrangement of the material.
- Series 1. Biographical and First Pyramid Life Materials, 1899-1975. Box 1.
- Series 1. Subseries 1. Biographical Items
- Series 1. Subseries 2. First Pyramid Life Insurance Company of America
- Series 2. University of Arkansas, 1943-72. Boxes 2-3.
- Series 2. Subseries 1. Admission of Black Students
- Series 2. Subseries 2. Athletic Advisory Committee
- Series 2. Subseries 3. Board of Trustees
- Series 2. Subseries 4. Honorary Degree
- Series 2. Subseries 5. Medical Center
- Series 3. Desegregation of Public Schools, 1948-59. Boxes 4-5.
- Series 4. Political Materials, 1940-74. Boxes 6-8.
- Series 4. Subseries 1. Materials concerning J. William Fulbright
- Series 4. Subseries 2. Arkansas Highway Commission
- Series 4. Subseries 3. General Political Materials
- Series 5. Arkansas Economy, 1953-79. Boxes 9-20.
- Series 5. Subseries 1. Arkansas Industrial Development Commission
- Series 5. Subseries 2. First Arkansas Development Finance Corporation
- Series 5. Subseries 3. "Flight of the Dollar" and Other Speeches
- Series 5. Subseries 4. Small Business Act
- Series 5. Subseries 5. Water Spectacular
- Series 5. Subseries 6. General Economic materials
- Series 6. Arkansas Arts Center, 1957-72. Box 21.
- Series 6. Subseries 1. Community Center of Arts and Sciences
- Series 6. Subseries 2. Arkansas Arts Center
- Series 7. Photographs. Box 21.
Ruby Geraldine Collier Thomas of Eden Isle, Heber Springs (Cleburne County), Arkansas donated the Herbert L. Thomas Papers, the papers of her late husband Herbert Leon Thomas, to Special Collections on May 4, 1982.
Processed by Janet G. Tucker; completed in April 1988.
- Arkansas Industrial Development Commission
- Arkansas. State Highway Audit Commission
- College Integration -- Arkansas
- Economic development -- Arkansas
- First Pyramid Life Insurance Company of America (Little Rock, Ark.)
- Fulbright, J. William (James William), 1905-1995
- Insurance -- Arkansas
- University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
- University of Arkansas, Fayetteville – Administration
- Herbert L. Thomas Papers
- Janet G. Tucker
- April 1988
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Materials are in English.