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Benjamin T. DuVal Family Papers

Identifier: MC 1212

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of personal and professional papers created or collected by members of the Benjamin T. DuVal family.

The DuVal family papers represent the combined collections of at least three of the six children of William DuVal, an early settler of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Benjamin, Catherine, and Susan DuVal were the creators and collectors of most of the papers which were afterwards passed on to Marie DuVal Johnston, the daughter of Benjamin DuVal and his second wife, Rose Scott DuVal. Marie's sons, Benjamin DuVal, Burley C., and David C. Johnston were the final inheritors of the material.

The papers consist of letters, a diary, speeches, essays, photographs and other materials pertaining to the DuVal family. The letters include three folders of military correspondence primarily dealing with the career of Brigadier General Matthew Arbuckle. Susan DuVal's husband, Major Francis Page, was Arbuckle's aide in the Seventh U.S. Infantry and was probably the collector of these letters. An additional seven folders of letters document Benjamin DuVal's courtship with Ellen Field in the 1840s, Confederate Army service, and postwar political career. Also among these letters are those written by or to William DuVal, Ellen Field DuVal, and her father, Major William Field of Little Rock. The bulk of the twentieth century letters pertain to Marie DuVal Johnston. The diary in the collection was kept by Catherine DuVal Rector from 1850-1853. Essays and speeches include those written by Benjamin DuVal, W.C. Connell, and Ellen Field DuVal. Other papers include samples of Arkansas Confederate money and war bonds, financial notes and receipts, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia. The photographs are primarily of family members and acquaintances, along with two early views of Fort Smith, Arkansas.


  • 1816-1957


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

No Use Restrictions Apply.

No Interlibrary Loan.

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

Biographical Note

Benjamin Taylor DuVal (1822-1905) was the eldest of six children born to William DuVal (1786-1851), a pioneer resident of Fort Smith, Arkansas who arrived with his family in 1822 to establish a trading business. Benjamin's brothers and sisters were named Catherine, Susan, Elias, William, and Virginia. Benjamin became an attorney and Arkansas state legislator. He served on the staff of Confederate general James F. Fagan during the Civil War and married twice, first to Ellen R. Field of Little Rock and, following her death in 1886, to Rose Scott of Fort Smith. Catherine married Elias Rector, a Fort Smith surveyor and U.S. Marshal. Susan married Major Francis S. Page, Seventh U.S. Infantry, who was stationed at Fort Smith in the 1830s and 1840s. Elias and William both became doctors, and Virginia married another member of the Fort Smith garrison, Colonel Harvey Brown. Among the siblings, Benjamin DuVal achieved the greatest prominence, and when he died in 1905 he had outlived all of them.


1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes and 1 oversize folder)

Arrangement of the Papers

The material has been arranged in eight series by document type:

I. Letters

II. Diary

III. Essays and speeches

IV. Financial papers

V. Certificates and scrapbook materials

VI. Printed materials

VII. Photographs VIII. Maps

Acquisition Information

The Benjamin T. DuVal Family Papers were donated to Special Collections by Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin DuVal Johnston, Mr. and Mrs. Burley C. Johnston, and Mr. and Mrs. David C. Johnston, all of Fort Smith, Arkansas, on September 6, 1992.

Processing Information

Processed by Kim Allen Scott, August 1992. Special Collections Division, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville, Arkansas. Updated by Katrina Windon in March 2017 to reflect identifications of photographs 6 and 33, provided by Eliot Johnston, a DuVal family descendant. Updated by Katrina Windon in April 2021 to include items in OV Folder 1, which had been processed along with the original materials but not all included in the initial finding aid; Series 8, Maps, was added to account for these materials.



Benjamin T. DuVal Family Papers, 1816-1957
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