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Sidney S. McMath Papers

Identifier: MC 899

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains correspondence, law material, speeches, papers, photographs, tape recordings, awards, certificates, and clippings from McMath's political and military careers, as well as his personal life. The papers also contained broadsides, which have been removed to the broadside collection.


  • Creation: circa 1880-1989


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

Original recordings are not available for research without special permission. Negatives in this collection are available for research, so long as they are not removed from the protective negative sheets.

No Interlibrary Loan.

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

Biographical Note

Sidney S. McMath was born in Columbia County, the second child of Hal and Nettie Sanders McMath. During the 1920's, the family moved to Hot Springs (Garland County). After McMath graduated from Hot Springs high school, he attended the University of Arkansas and earned a Bachelor of Arts and Law degree in 1936. McMath married Elaine Broughton in 1937 and opened a law office in Hot Springs (Garland County).

During World War II, McMath served in the Marines and in 1945 left active duty with the rank of lieutenant colonel. The McMath's first son, Sidney Sandy, was born in 1941. Elaine McMath died the next year. McMath later married Anne Phillips in 1944. After the war, McMath returned to Hot Springs where his second son, Phillip, was born. McMath and his wife had three more children; James Bruce in 1949 and twin girls, Patricia and Melissa in 1953.

McMath and other veterans in Hot Springs formed a GI political group who fought against widespread corruption in the city by running candidates against the incumbents in county elections. McMath successfully ran for prosecuting attorney in 1946 and helped abolish a twenty-year rule of machine politics. Two years later McMath ran for governor of Arkansas and was elected. During his two-term administration, highways were constructed, educational reforms initiated, medical facilities upgraded, and Governor McMath worked to improve conditions for blacks in Arkansas. McMath was defeated in his bid for a third term in 1952. He attempted two political comebacks. In 1954 McMath was narrowly defeated by incumbent John L. McClellan for the U.S. Senate, and Governor Orval Faubus defeated all opponents, including McMath, in the 1962 Democratic primary. After McMath left office he practiced law in Little Rock and remained active in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Sidney S. McMath died at his home in Little Rock, Arkansas, on October 5, 2003.


12 Linear Feet (27 boxes)

Arrangement of the Papers

Material is arranged and described in eight series:

  1. Series 1. Correspondence. Boxes 1-4.
  2. Series 1. Subseries 1. Political.
  3. Series 1. Subseries 2. 1962 Democratic Gubernatorial Campaign.
  4. Series 1. Subseries 3. Constitutional Convention.
  5. Series 1. Subseries 4. General.
  6. Series 1. Subseries 5. Legal.
  7. Series 1. Subseries 6. Military.
  8. Series 1. Subseries 7. Catholic High School.
  9. Series 2. Political, Business, and Personal Papers. Boxes 5-9.
  10. Series 2. Subseries 1. Political.
  11. Series 2. Subseries 2. Legal.
  12. Series 2. Subseries 3. Military.
  13. Series 2. Subseries 4. Catholic High School.
  14. Series 2. Subseries 5. Personal and Family.
  15. Series 2. Subseries 6. Certificates.
  16. Series 2. Subseries 7. Plaques.
  17. Series 3. Speeches, Press Releases, and Statements. Boxes 10-11.
  18. Series 4. Financial Papers. Box 12.
  19. Series 5. Clippings. Box 13.
  20. Series 5. Subseries 1. Sid McMath.
  21. Series 5. Subseries 2. Orval Faubus.
  22. Series 5. Subseries 3. J. William Fulbright.
  23. Series 5. Subseries 4. John L. McClellan.
  24. Series 5. Subseries 5. Photocopies of Clippings.
  25. Series 6. Photographs and Drawings. Boxes 14-24.
  26. Series 6. Subseries 1. Political Career.
  27. Series 6. Subseries 1. Subsubseries 1. Campaigns and Inaugurations.
  28. Series 6. Subseries 1. Subsubseries 2. President Harry Truman's Visits.
  29. Series 6. Subseries 1. Subsubseries 3. Sid McMath in Office.
  30. Series 6. Subseries 1. Subsubseries 4. Other Photographs of Governor McMath.
  31. Series 6. Subseries 1. Subsubseries 5. Governor McMath and His Family.
  32. Series 6. Subseries 1. Subsubseries 6. Governor's Mansion.
  33. Series 6. Subseries 1. Subsubseries 7. Artists Drawings (Political Cartoons).
  34. Series 6. Subseries 2. Private Life.
  35. Series 6. Subseries 2. Subsubseries 1. Post-Gubernatorial.
  36. Series 6. Subseries 2. Subsubseries 2. McMath Family.
  37. Series 6. Subseries 3. Military Career.
  38. Series 6. Subseries 3. Subsubseries 1. Military Ceremonies and Inspections.
  39. Series 6. Subseries 3. Subsubseries 2. Sid McMath in Vietnam.
  40. Series 6. Subseries 3. Subsubseries 3. Vietnam.
  41. Series 6. Subseries 3. Subsubseries 4. Other Military Photographs.
  42. Series 6. Subseries 4. Hot Springs.
  43. Series 6. Subseries 5. University of Arkansas.
  44. Series 6. Subseries 6. Highway Construction.
  45. Series 6. Subseries 7. Arkansas Medical Center Construction.
  46. Series 6. Subseries 8. Negatives.
  47. Series 6. Subseries 9. Oversize
  48. Series 7. Audio and Video Recordings. Boxes 25-27.
  49. Series 7. Subseries 1. Cassette Tapes.
  50. Series 7. Subseries 2. Film and Videocassette.
  51. Series 8. Artifacts

Acquisition Information

The Sidney S. McMath Papers were donated to the Special Collections Department by Sidney Sanders McMath of Little Rock, Arkansas on June 21, 1985.

Processing Information

Processed by Susan Lynn Parks; completed in November 1988.

Finding aid was updated by Katrina Windon in October 2020 to add references to collection materials that were stored in Manuscript Collections Oversize Boxes 7, 8, 9, and 20. These materials appear to have been processed at the same time as the original collection in 1988, but had not been included in the finding aid. An additional subseries, "Subseries 9, Oversize," has been added to Series 6, Photographs, and most of these oversize materials have been described there. They have not been assigned photograph numbers. Finding aid was updated by Katrina Windon in January 2021 to add Series 8, Artifacts, in order to incorporate items that had been processed but not included in the original finding aid; these item descriptions are derived from an inventory created by Kim Allen Scott in January 1991.

Sidney S. McMath Papers
Susan Lynn Parks
November 1988
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