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Elsijane Trimble Roy Papers Addendum

Identifier: MC 1394a

Scope and Content Note

Materials in this addendum focus on her career and reveal the types of people she corresponded with, such as other judges and justices, religious figures, and many prominent political leaders.

These materials are organized by people she corresponded with and with miscellaneous materials at the end. Materials include correspondence, newspaper clippings about the people that Roy interacted with, many holiday and birthday cards that Roy received over the years and other materials that reveal the lives of those people Roy knew.


  • Creation: 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

No Use Restrictions Apply.

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 January 23, 2007.


4.5 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged alphabetically by subjects' last names.

Processing Information

Processed by Nick Candido; completed in April 2009.

Elsijane Trimble Roy Papers Addendum
Nick Candido
April 2009
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