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Herbert L. Thomas Papers

Identifier: MC 437

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:

  1. Arthur F. Burns
  2. Orval Faubus
  3. J. William Fulbright
  4. Brooks Hays
  5. Wilbur D. Mills
  6. David Pryor
  7. Winthrop Rockefeller
  8. Edward Durell Stone, Jr.
  9. John Williams


  • Creation: 1899-1979


Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

No Use Restrictions Apply.

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

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.

  1. Series 1. Biographical and First Pyramid Life Materials, 1899-1975. Box 1.
  2. Series 1. Subseries 1. Biographical Items
  3. Series 1. Subseries 2. First Pyramid Life Insurance Company of America
  4. Series 2. University of Arkansas, 1943-72. Boxes 2-3.
  5. Series 2. Subseries 1. Admission of Black Students
  6. Series 2. Subseries 2. Athletic Advisory Committee
  7. Series 2. Subseries 3. Board of Trustees
  8. Series 2. Subseries 4. Honorary Degree
  9. Series 2. Subseries 5. Medical Center
  10. Series 3. Desegregation of Public Schools, 1948-59. Boxes 4-5.
  11. Series 4. Political Materials, 1940-74. Boxes 6-8.
  12. Series 4. Subseries 1. Materials concerning J. William Fulbright
  13. Series 4. Subseries 2. Arkansas Highway Commission
  14. Series 4. Subseries 3. General Political Materials
  15. Series 5. Arkansas Economy, 1953-79. Boxes 9-20.
  16. Series 5. Subseries 1. Arkansas Industrial Development Commission
  17. Series 5. Subseries 2. First Arkansas Development Finance Corporation
  18. Series 5. Subseries 3. "Flight of the Dollar" and Other Speeches
  19. Series 5. Subseries 4. Small Business Act
  20. Series 5. Subseries 5. Water Spectacular
  21. Series 5. Subseries 6. General Economic materials
  22. Series 6. Arkansas Arts Center, 1957-72. Box 21.
  23. Series 6. Subseries 1. Community Center of Arts and Sciences
  24. Series 6. Subseries 2. Arkansas Arts Center
  25. Series 7. Photographs. Box 21.

Acquisition Information

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.

Related Materials

Records relating to the Herbert L. Thomas Papers include:

Herbert L. Thomas Papers MC 249

Processing Information

Processed by Janet G. Tucker; completed in April 1988.

Herbert L. Thomas Papers
Janet G. Tucker
April 1988
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Materials are in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Department Repository

University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville AR 72701 United States
(479) 575-8444