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Virgil T. Blossom Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MC 1364

Scope and Content Note

Papers pertaining to Virgil T. Blossom's career as Superintendent of the Little Rock Public Schools, 1953-1958, especially his role in the desegregation crisis in 1957-58.

The papers pertain to the Central High crisis. Blossom became a central figure in the controversy, and he was removed as superintendent in November 1958. He wrote an account of the crisis, published as a series of articles, "The Untold Story of Little Rock," in Saturday Evening Post (May 23 - June 27, 1959) and then as a book, It Has Happened Here. After a short stay in New York, Blossom went to San Antonio, Texas, to continue his career in education.

Dates

  • Creation: 1952-1960

Creator

Access Information

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

Use Information

Some of the papers pertain to the suspension and expulsion of a number of students during the Central High crisis. These records are restricted according to the student records policy of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (U. S. Code). Researchers desiring access to the material should consult with the Head of Special Collections.

No Interlibrary Loan.

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

Biographical Note

Virgil T. Blossom (1907-1965) was born in Brookfield, Missouri. He attended Missouri Valley College at Marshall on an athletic scholarship, majoring in education, completing his degree in 1930. After earning a Master of Science degree from the University of Arkansas and taking classes at Northwestern University in Chicago, he started teaching and coaching athletics in the high school at Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he married Clarrene Tribble in 1934. In 1935 he went to Okmulgee, Oklahoma, as teacher and athletic director, then returned to Fayetteville High School three years later as principal. In 1942 he became Superintendent of Schools in Fayetteville. In 1953 he become Superintendent of Schools in Little Rock. Shortly after the Supreme Court found segregation to be unconstitutional, Blossom began working on a plan to integrate Little Rock's public schools. After an unsuccessful court challenge, Little Rock's plan was put into operation in the fall of 1957.

Extent

13 Linear Feet (33 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement of the Papers

This collection is organized into series:

  1. 1, Personal and Professional Papers, 1952-1959
  2. 2, Legal Papers, 1954-1960
  3. 3, Opinion Mail, 1957-1958
  4. 4, Little Rock Public School Administration, 1953-1958
  5. 5, General Files, 1955-1958
  6. 6, Clippings, 1954-1958

Acquisition Information

The Virgil T. Blossom Papers were donated to Special Collections by his widow, Clarrene Tribble Blossom, and two daughters, Gail B. Moore and Bette Sue Streng, in July 1997.

Processing Information

Processed by Nan Lawler and Todd E. Lewis, August 1997. Special Collections Division, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Source

Subject

Title
Virgil T. Blossom Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Nan Lawler and Todd E. Lewis
Date
1997
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Department Repository

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