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University of Arkansas Office of the President Records

Identifier: MC 59

Scope and Content Note

Materials consists of correspondence, speeches, reports, programs, newsletters, press releases, newspaper clippings.


  • Creation: 1876-1972


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

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

Restrictions Apply: All materials in Series V are restricted and not available for research use.

No Interlibrary Loan.

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

Historical Note

The University of Arkansas was created through the Morrill Act of 1862 which provided means for states to establish universities for the purpose of teaching agricultural and mechanical arts. In 1871, Arkansas passed legislation to enable the realization of this act and created the Arkansas Industrial University. The name changed to the University of Arkansas in 1899. In addition to the required agricultural and mechanical studies, the beginning classes at the university also taught classics and military tactics. Few students at the beginning of the University were prepared to enter as college freshman and many took classes in the Preparatory Department before entering university level classes. The University also contained the Normal Department for the education of teachers. Fourteen presidents and two acting presidents presided over the University during its first century. The presidents and years of service are as follows: Noah P. Gates (1871-1873; 1875-1877), Albert W. Bishop (1873-1875), Daniel H. Hill (1877-1884), George M. Edgar (1884-1887), Edward H. Murfee (1887-1894), John L. Buchanan (1894-1902), Henry S. Hartzog (1902-1905), John N. Tillman (1905-1912), John Hugh Reynolds, acting (1912-1913), John C. Futrall (1913-1939), J. William Fulbright (1939-1941), Arthur M. Harding (1941-1947), Lewis Webster Jones (1947-1951), John Tyler Caldwell (1952-1959), Storm Whaley, acting (1959-1960), David Wiley Mullins (1960-1974).

There were academic departments which shifted and changed names through the years. Many professors taught in multiple departments, according to their backgrounds and strengths, and many of the early presidents taught classes in addition to their other duties. The first dean was appointed in 1905. Dean W.G. Vincenheller was appointed for the College of Agriculture. While there were agriculture classes taught from the beginning of the University, the first degree in Agriculture was not awarded until 1904.

Likewise, arts and sciences were taught from the beginning of the University and were referred to as "classics." In the beginning years especially, humanities departments, such as English, history, and languages converged and divided. Many departments encompassed several disciplines, such as the English department, which also contained journalism, public speaking and dramatics. The basic sciences formed early on but became more distinct through the years. The first dean of the college, George Wesley Droke, was appointed in 1915.

Engineering classes were also taught early on in conjunction with the Mechanic Arts required by the Morrill Act. The first degree in engineering was awarded in 1888. Civil, electrical and mechanical engineering departments were set up by 1897. Chemical engineering was taught in conjunction with the chemistry department. The College of Engineering was officially established in 1912.

The training of teachers also existed in the beginning of the University. This department was first known as the Normal Department. Professors often trained teachers and taught in other academic departments. In 1911, the Preparatory Department (used to prepare students to enter college) was abolished and the Training School was established for the purpose of practice teaching. The Normal Department later became the School of Education and then in 1917, became the College of Education.

The Graduate School and the Business College were established later. While students completed graduate work as far back as the 19th century, the first dean of the Graduate School, Dr. John Clark Jordan, was not appointed until 1927. Classes were first taught in Business in 1926. Classes were offered to upperclassmen as a two year program. The four year program was established in 1937 as the College of Business Administration.

The Medical School in Little Rock has been loosely associated with the University since 1879, though the finances were kept separate and the school was governed by a separate board. Dr. P.O. Hooper was the first dean of the School. He was also the first president of the Arkansas Medical Society, established in 1870. The Nursing School was not established until 1953. An attempt was made to start a Law School in Fayetteville in 1890, but the program was not successful and ended within a few years. In 1893, a law school was established in Little Rock on similar pace to the Medical School, with separate finances and under separate direction. A rocky relationship began, ending with a separation in 1915 of the University of Arkansas and the Law School in Little Rock, renamed Arkansas Law School. A Law School in Fayetteville was not established again until 1924.

The General Extension Service, not to be confused with the Agricultural Extension Service was established in approximately 1919. The General Extension Service offered credit and non-credit correspondence courses. It sponsored lectures and conferences, such as the annual Water Works and Sewage Conference. It offered book rentals and helped to establish community colleges in Harrison and Little Rock.


26.5 Linear Feet (25 boxes)

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged and described in five series

  1. Series 1: Presidents
  2. Series 1. Subseries 1: Presidents 1876-1910
  3. Series 1. Subseries 2: John C. Futrall
  4. Series 1. Subseries 3: J. William Fulbright
  5. Series 1. Subseries 4: Arthur M. Harding
  6. Series 1. Subseries 5: Lewis Webster Jones
  7. Series 1. Subseries 6: John Tyler Caldwell
  8. Series 1. Subseries 7: David Wiley Mullins
  9. Series 2: Colleges and Departments
  10. Series 3: Financial Materials, Subject Files and Special Formats
  11. Series 4: Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities
  12. Series 5: Restricted Materials

Acquisition Information

Items donated by the University of Arkansas Office of the President. Items from the following manuscript collections have been combined into this collection: AC 14c, AC 59, AC 167, AC 84, AC 250, AC 115, AC 116, AC 101

Processing Information

Amy Allen and Alexsis Bell; completed in November 2012.

University of Arkansas Office of the President Records
Amy Allen and Alexsis Bell
November 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written 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