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Sam Boyce Papers

Identifier: MC 1643

Scope and Content Note

The Sam Boyce Papers consist primarily of materials related to his political career, especially his campaign for Attorney General of Arkansas in 1962; his campaign for Prosecuting Attorney of the Third Judicial District in Arkansas in 1964; his campaign for Governor of Arkansas in 1966; and his campaign for Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas in 1993. Other materials pertain to his activities as Assistant Attorney General of Arkansas in 1961 to 1962, and his involvement with the Young Democratic Clubs of Arkansas in 1959 to 1966. Also included are materials related to his activities with the Arkansas Bar Association and the Jackson County, Arkansas, Easter Seals drive from 1963 to 1966. Materials include programs from the inaugurations of John F. Kennedy in 1960 and Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Finally, general materials include a sticker featuring the seal of the Arkansas Peace Officers Association.

Materials include correspondence, financial records, newspaper clippings, contact lists, speeches and related materials. Also included are political campaign pamphlets, bumper stickers, pins, and cards.


  • 1950-2013


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

Sam Harvey Boyce was born in Tuckerman (Jackson County), Arkansas, on February 22, 1932, the son of Wayne Boyce Sr. and Sylva Harvey Boyce. He attended Tuckerman public schools, and as a youth became a skilled amateur magician. Graduating in 1949, he attended the University of Arkansas, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism in 1953. Afterwards he served as a lieutenant in the United States Army Signal Corps, being a director and scriptwriter for “The Big Picture.” In 1956 he attended the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The same year he enrolled in the University of Arkansas law school, completing a bachelor of laws degree in 1958.

Following his graduation from law school he became Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Third Judicial District, after which he became Democratic congressman Wilbur D. Mills’s chief administrative assistant. While in Washington, D.C., he met Jean Chambers of Lynchburg, Virginia. They married in 1960. Their children included Sam Boyce, Jr., Allison, and Henry Harrison Boyce.

In 1961 Boyce returned to Arkansas to serve as Assistant Attorney General under Frank Holt. With Holt seeking a position on the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1962, Boyce sought election to the post of attorney general, but lost in the Democratic primary election. After two years of private law practice in the firm Bowie and Boyce, in 1964 he ran unopposed to become the Prosecuting Attorney of the Third Judicial District of Arkansas. Involved in the Young Democratic Clubs of Arkansas for several years, he was elected the organization’s president in 1965. By this time he had emerged as a strong critic of then Governor Orval Faubus; his campaign for president, in which his opponent was Sheffield Nelson, proved to be extremely contentious.

In 1966 Faubus declined to run for reelection. Boyce and six other candidates entered the Democratic primary race for Arkansas governor, including former congressmen Brooks Hays and Thomas Dale Alford, and current Arkansas Supreme Court justices Frank Holt and James “Justice Jim” Johnson, the segregationist candidate. Boyce finished fifth in the initial primary election, with a run-off election resulting between Holt and Johnson. The segregationist won the second election only to be defeated by Republican Winthrop Rockefeller in the general election.

After the election Boyce returned to a private law practice. However, he remained an active member of the Arkansas Democratic party, attending five Democratic National Conventions and serving as state national committeeman during the 1990s. In 1993 he entered the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas, finishing third in a field of six.

In addition to his political and professional activities, Boyce was civic groups such as the Newport Rotary Club. He was a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. For several years he served as the director of Jackson County’s Easter Seal Drive. A gifted amateur magician, he was admitted into the Order of Merlin in the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Boyce died on December 12, 2013. He was buried at Gracelawn Cemetery in Tuckerman.


6 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged as follows: personal materials, correspondence, subject files in alphabetical order, photographs and slides, unidentified 15mm films, and artifacts.

Acquisition Information

The Sam Boyce Papers were donated to Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, in September 2005, by Sam Boyce of Newport, Arkansas.

Processing Information

Processed by Todd E. Lewis; completed in February 2014.



Sam Boyce Papers
Todd E. Lewis
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