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Elsijane Trimble Roy Papers

Identifier: MC 1394

Scope and Content Note

Materials in the collection focus on Judge Roy's law career, especially her tenure as a Supreme Court and federal judge. They also include general information about the legal profession in Arkansas, and the Eighth United States Judicial Circuit. Other materials reflect her interest in issues relating to the status and achievements of women, as well as her involvement with women's groups. The collection also includes materials reflecting her deep religious faith. Finally, the collection includes materials on Judge Roy's father, Thomas Clark Trimble III. The materials in the collection include letters and other documents, published journals of professional legal organizations, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, one photo album, plaques, both framed and loose photographs, framed certificates, and wall plaques. Among the framed items is an autographed photograph of United States Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Other photographs include images of Judge Roy's parents and brothers, Judge Roy in chambers, and members of Arkansas's Supreme Court.


  • 1944-1999


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

A proclamation signed by Arkansas governor Bill Clinton has been removed to the Special Collections vault. Researchers should use the photocopy that has been substituted for it.

No Interlibrary Loan.

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

Biographical Note

Elsijane Trimble Roy was born in Lonoke on April 2, 1916, the daughter of Elsie Jane Walls and Thomas Clark Trimble III. Her father and her grandfather, Thomas Clark Trimble II, were well-established attorneys and law partners of Senator Joseph T. Robinson. She enrolled at the University of Arkansas in 1934, and chose to major in law. Graduating in 1939, she was the only woman in her class and the third woman in the university's history to graduate with a law degree. She was admitted to the state bar in 1939, and began practice with the law firm of W.W. McCrary, Jr., in Lonoke. From 1940 to 1942 she served as an attorney for the state revenue department, and from 1942 to 1944 she was the chief price attorney for the Office of Price Administration. About that time she married a former law school classmate, James Morrison Roy. The couple had one son, born in 1946. After their marriage, the couple resided in Houston, Texas, where Mr. Roy worked with the FBI. In 1947 they returned to Arkansas, and she joined the firm of Reid and Evrard in Blytheville. From 1954 to 1963 she worked as a partner with her husband in the firm of Roy and Roy; they were divorced in 1967. From 1963 to 1966 she served as a clerk for Justice Frank Holt of the Arkansas Supreme Court. In April 1966, she became the state's first woman judge, occupying the position of justice for Arkansas's Sixth District court through December of that year. From February to May, 1967, she served as the state's assistant attorney general. From June 1967 to 1975, she sequentially served as a clerk to judges Gordon E. Young and Paul X. Williams of the United States District Court. In 1975 Governor David Pryor appointed her an associate justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Judge Roy, the first woman appointed to the state Supreme Court, retained that position until 1977, when Governor Pryor nominated her for the position of justice of Arkansas's Eastern District of the Eighth United States Judicial Circuit. The post had been held by her father from 1937 to 1956. Receiving the endorsements of United States senators Dale Bumpers and John B. McClellan, she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, and thus became Arkansas's first woman federal judge. She remained in that position until her retirement in 1988, when she assumed the status of senior judge.

Judge Roy's achievements earned her many honors. In 1969 the University of Arkansas awarded her an honorary Juris Doctor degree, and the Business and Professional Women's Club named her Woman of the Year. The John L. McClellan Senate of the Delta Theta Phi law fraternity recognized her for outstanding achievement in 1974. In 1977 the Arkansas Democrat named her Woman of the Year. In 1978 she was made a Distinguished Alumna of the University of Arkansas and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The Women's Law Caucus of the University of Arkansas School of Law presented her with the Gayle Pettus Pontz Award in 1986, and in 1989 she was named Member of the Year by the McClellan Senate of the Delta Theta Phi law fraternity. In 1992 she was made a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International, in 1994 she received the Brooks Hays Christian Citizenship Award, and in 1995 she was included in Arkansas Business's list of the Top 100 Women in Arkansas. And on March 19, 1999, she was made an honorary United States deputy marshal by the United States Marshals Service. Judge Roy died on January 23, 2007.


11 Linear Feet (26 boxes)

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged in three series.

  1. Series 1. Documents, Publications, and Newspaper Clippings
  2. Series 1. Subseries 1. Elsijane Trimble Roy Personal and Family Materials
  3. Series 1. Subseries 2. Correspondence
  4. Series 1. Subseries 3. Judge Roy's Career and the Legal Profession
  5. Series 1. Subseries 4. Women and Women's Issues
  6. Series 1. Subseries 5. Materials on Religion and Miscellaneous Topics
  7. Series 1. Subseries 6. Oversize Materials
  8. Series 2. Scrapbooks and Photo Album
  9. Series 3. Framed Items and Wall Plaques
  10. Series 3. Subseries 1. Framed Photographs
  11. Series 3. Subseries 2. Framed Certificates
  12. Series 3. Subseries 3. Wall Plaques

Acquisition Information

The Elsijane Trimble Roy Papers were donated to Special Collections by Judge Roy on May 11, 1999.

Processing Information

Processed by Todd E. Lewis; completed July 1999.

Elsijane Trimble Roy 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