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Lighton Family Papers

Identifier: MC 779

Scope and Content Note

The papers pertain primarily to William Rheem Lighton (1866- 1923), his wife Laura McMaken Lighton (1869-1948) and their children, Dorothy (1893-1967), Louis Duryea (1895-1963), Suzanne Chalfant (1905-1978), and Betty (b. 1912).

Most of the papers were collected and saved by daughters Suzanne and Betty. Included are materials pertaining to their extended family, in particular, Dorothy Lighton's children and grandchildren and Laura McMaken's father, Andrew Campbell McMaken. These include papers pertaining to Andrew McMaken's Civil War service; see Series 7 description for details. Also included are some materials pertaining to close friends Lee Seamster (a Fayetteville judge, later member of the Arkansas Supreme Court, and Suzanne Lighton's legal mentor) and Henry Tovey (music professor at the University of Arkansas).


  • Creation: 1828-1987


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

RESTRICTIONS APPLY. Certain legal and business records are restricted until the year 2038. Original patient and personnel records and correspondence concerning patients and personnel are restricted; in some cases photocopies, with names obliterated, are provided for research use. Negatives are restricted.

No Interlibrary Loan.

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

Biographical Note

The Lightons came to Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 1908 and built Happy Hollow Farm. An article ("The Story of an Arkansas Farm," Saturday Evening Post, 22 January 1910) and later a book about the farm (Happy Hollow Farm, New York: George H. Doran Company, 1914) made W. R. Lighton and Fayetteville famous. Although the family sold Happy Hollow Farm and moved to California around 1919, the women of the family later returned to Fayetteville, and all became prominent in the community. Laura Lighton and Suzanne Chalfant (Peggy Sue) Lighton were active in various local groups and the collection includes papers pertaining to their activities in such organizations as the Perennial Garden Club, the City Library, the Friday Social Club, the Arkansas Bar Association, the Washington County Bar Association, the Arkansas Democratic Women's Club, the League of Women Voters, and the American Red Cross. See series and subseries descriptions for further details on individual family members.


18.85 Linear Feet (36 boxes)

Arrangement of the Papers

Contents of Collection (31 containers)

  1. Series 1. Correspondence. Boxes 1-7
  2. Series 1. Subseries 1. 1828-1890
  3. Series 1. Subseries 2. 1890-1914
  4. Series 1. Subseries 3. 1916-1918
  5. Series 1. Subseries 4. 1919-1941
  6. Series 1. Subseries 5. 1941-1945
  7. Series 1. Subseries 6. 1945-1987
  8. Series 2. William Rheem Lighton. Boxes 8-13
  9. Series 2. Subseries 1. Personal items, Happy Hollow Farm, movie endeavors
  10. Series 2. Subseries 2. Manuscripts, notebooks and notes for books
  11. Series 2. Subseries 3. Galleys and typescripts
  12. Series 2. Subseries 4. Reprints and clippings
  13. Series 2. Subseries 5. Typescripts of stories and screenplays done in collaboration with Louis Duryea (Bud) Lighton
  14. Series 3. Laura McMaken Lighton. Box 14
  15. Series 4. Louis Duryea (Bud) Lighton. Boxes 15-17
  16. Series 5. Suzanne Chalfant (Peggy Sue) Lighton. Boxes 18-19
  17. Series 6. Marjorie (Betty) Lighton. Boxes 20-23
  18. Series 7. Dorothy Lighton, Laura McMaken Lighton's extended family, and friends of the Lightons. Box 24
  19. Series 8. Photographs. Boxes 25-28
  20. Series 8. Subseries 1. Primarily photographs pertaining to William Rheem Lighton
  21. Series 8. Subseries 2. Primarily photographs pertaining to Laura McMaken Lighton
  22. Series 8. Subseries 3. The Lighton family
  23. Series 8. Subseries 4. Primarily photographs pertaining to Dorothy Lighton and her family
  24. Series 8. Subseries 5. Primarily photographs pertaining to Louis Duryea (Bud) Lighton
  25. Series 8. Subseries 6. Primarily photographs pertaining to Suzanne Lighton
  26. Series 8. Subseries 7. Primarily photographs pertaining to Marjorie (Betty) Lighton
  27. Series 8. Subseries 8. Laura McMaken Lighton's extended family; the North family, Henry Tovey, and other friends; and Fayetteville scenes
  28. Series 8. Subseries 9. Betty Lighton's 35 mm proof sheets
  29. Series 9. William Lighton's works, scrapbooks, albums, and other books. Boxes 29-30, Volumes 1-41
  30. Series 9. Subseries 1. William Lighton's works
  31. Series 9. Subseries 2. Scrapbooks and albums
  32. Series 9. Subseries 3. Betty Lighton's college yearbooks, 1931-1934

Acquisition Information

Papers pertaining to the William Rheem Lighton family were donated to Special Collections by Betty Lighton, Fayetteville, Arkansas, December 1987. Two additional items designated for the collection were identified in the collections in November 2018.

Processing Information

Processed by Nan Lawler, June 1990. Special Collections Division, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville, Arkansas. Updated by Katrina Windon in November 2018 to incorporate Box 31, Folder 1.


Lighton Family Papers
Nan Lawler
June 1990
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