Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday's Wonderful Collection - German prisoner-of-war records, SMC.32.10

During World War II, Camp Joseph T. Robinson in North Little Rock, Arkansas, served as a replacement training camp and German prisoner-of-war camp, with a capacity of 4000 prisoners. Lieutenant Colonel Virgil Caldwell was in charge of the prisoners at Camp Robinson in 1943. By 1945, about 23,000 Germans and Italians had been sent to Arkansas camps. The prisoners were frequently assigned farm work to fill the void left by Arkansas men who were fighting in the war.

This collection contains some correspondence and rosters of German prisoners-of-war at Camp Robinson during World War II. The rosters provide a list of the men in each company and their pre-war occupations.
  • 1943: "Notes pertaining to the German Prisoner of War Camp at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Arkansas between August and December of 1943," Virgil E. Caldwell (Reel MG00218)
  • 1943 December 16: Heinrich Carl Radinger, Camp Leader, Camp Jos. T. Robinson, to the Camp Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Virgil E. Caldwell
  • 1943 December 20: Virgil E. Caldwell, Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Arkansas, "To All PW Camp and Guard Personnel"
  • Prisoner-of-war rosters of companies 1-12, and surveys of prisoner vocations

Thursday, April 13, 2017

AHA article about Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives


We're sharing an Arkansas Historical Association newsletter article (Spring 2017) about our branch archives, the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives.  A big thank you to them for the article!


Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives, Powhatan

In March 2011, the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archive (NEARA) became the second regional branch of what is now the Arkansas State Archives. NEARA, located on the grounds of Powhatan Historic State Park, collects and preserves historic resources primarily documenting northeast Arkansas.

The collections at NEARA include the original Lawrence County records. Lawrence County, the “Mother of Counties,” was established in 1815 by the Missouri territorial legislature. Saved by the Lawrence County Historical Society, the approximately 500 cubic feet of court cases, marriage records, probate records, and pension records are some of Arkansas’s earliest documentary records.

Kitty Sloan, whose family has deep roots in Powhatan, endowed the Arkansas Historical Association’s NEARA Award in 2013 in honor of her grandfather Eugene.

The $1,000 prize is awarded to the best manuscript article using archival records from NEARA, particularly the Lawrence County territorial papers (1815-1836). Past winners include:

2016 Edward Harthorn, “‘Pushing him back over the pulpit’: David Orr and Religious Conflict in Early Arkansas.” 2015 Blake Perkins, “Women, Early Settlement, and the Making of Territorial Lawrence County, 1815-1820.” 2014 Steve Saunders, “Dissecting Davidsonville 1815 – 1829: A Postmortem of Arkansas’ First Nine Blocks.”

According to NEARA’s archival manager, Meredith McFadden, significant collections for the region include the Townsend Papers, the Mammoth Spring State Park Collection, and the Tom McDonald Collection. The latter collection contains the work of Jonesboro-based studio photographer Tom McDonald. From the mid-1960s until 2011, he photographed families, weddings, baptisms, and natural disasters. Hanging on the wall at NEARA, is McDonald’s portrait of Rufus and Caroline Laine, the last mule farmers in Craighead County. The finding aids for these collections and others can be found on NEARA’s website, archives.arkansas.gov/neara, under the research tab.

NEARA, located at 11 7th Street on the grounds of Powhatan State Park, is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 8 am to 4:30 p.m. Staff can be contacted by email, northeast.archives@arkansas.gov, or by phone 870-878-6521.

Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives receives award

The Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives (NEARA) in Powhatan, a branch of the Arkansas State Archives, has been awarded the “More Than Home” award by Five Rivers Historic Preservation, Inc., Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst announced today. 

The award recognizes people and/or organizations who have made significant contributions toward preserving the history of Randolph County.  Records kept at NEARA were instrumental in documenting the restoration of log structures in rural Randolph County as part of Project REACH (Researching Early Arkansas Cultural Heritage). 

The “More Than Home” award will be presented to NEARA on April 20 at a reception during the Arkansas Historical Association conference. 

NEARA is a branch of the Arkansas State Archives. NEARA’s mission is to collect and preserve primary and secondary source materials pertaining to the history of northeast Arkansas. Its collections span a 16-county region dating back to 1806. The opening of NEARA in 2011 marked the return of the original Lawrence County court records to Powhatan from Arkansas State University, where they had been housed for several years.  These records constitute some of the earliest records on Arkansas, dating back to the early 19th century. Lawrence County was created in 1815 as part of Missouri Territory and was the second of five large counties in what became Arkansas Territory in 1819.

NEARA’s holdings include traditional archival material such as letters, diaries, maps, photographs, newspapers, as well as broadsides, books, periodicals, and other print resources. The core of NEARA's holdings includes approximately 500 cubic feet of Lawrence County government records, including court cases, marriage records, probate records, and pension records, donated by the Lawrence County Historical Society.

The Arkansas State Archives is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and is responsible for collecting and maintaining the largest collection of historical materials on Arkansas in the world.  The State Archives has two branch locations; the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives is located in Powhatan and the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives is located in Washington.

Other agencies of the Department of Arkansas Heritage include the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, and the Historic Arkansas Museum.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Filming in the ASA research room on April 17.

On Monday, April 17th, there will be filming in the Arkansas State Archives research room. Mangan Holcomb will be filming a TV spot and a web video for the State Archives from 8:30 a.m. until after 5:00. The research room will remain open. Thanks for your patience!

ASA's traveling exhibit opens at Historic Arkansas Museum

The Arkansas State Archives’ traveling exhibit, The Great War: Arkansas in World War I, will open Friday, April 14th, with a reception at Historic Arkansas Museum as part of 2nd Friday Art Night.  A selection of original World War I artifacts picked up off the battlefields along with several World War I propaganda posters from the collections of the Arkansas State Archives will be displayed at the museum as part of the exhibit.

Elizabeth Griffin Hill will also be signing copies of her new book, “Faithful to Our Tasks: Arkansas's Women and the Great War,” at the exhibit opening.

The exhibit will be on display at Historic Arkansas Museum from April 14, 2017 through August 16, 2017 and can be viewed Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 - 5.

Wednesday's Wonderful Collection - Heinz-Joachim Bartels letters, MS.000262

Obergefreite [Corporal] Heinz-Joachim Bartels of the German Luftwaffe was a prisoner of war at Camp Robinson, Arkansas, during World War II. He was captured in Sicily in the summer of 1943. Bartels worked as an interpreter and in the prisoner-of-war hospital at Camp Robinson. These letters were written to Bartels' uncle and his uncle's family in Brooklyn, New York. The first letter, dated January 10, 1944, is probably not the first one written by Bartels since he refers to earlier letters. The last letter, dated May 3, 1946, was written the day before he left Arkansas to be repatriated to Germany.

This collection consists of letters written by Heinz-Joachim Bartels while interned as a prisoner of war at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Arkansas, during World War II.

  • Heinz-Joachim Bartels, Camp Robinson, Arkansas, to Hans Haase and family, New York City, New York. (Box 1)
    • 1. 1944 January 10: Dear uncle Hans, aunt Anna and cousin Greta!
    • 2. 1944 April 21: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna and Cousin Grete!
    • 3. 1944 June 30: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna, Cousin Grete and Husband Henry
    • 4. 1944 October 20: Dear Uncle Hans, aunt Anna and cousin Grete!
    • 5. 1944 November 27: Dear cousin Greta, uncle Hans and aunt Anna!
    • 6. 1944 December 30: Dear uncle Hans, aunt Anna, cousin Greta and husband Henry!
    • 7. 1945 January 4: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna and Henry
    • 8. 1945 February 9: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna, Cousin Greta and Henry!
    • 9. 1945 March 20: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna, Cousin Greta and Henry!
    • 10. 1945 May 17: Dear cousin Greta, uncle Hans and aunt Anna!
    • 11. 1945 July 20: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna, Cousin Greta and Henry!
    • 12. 1945 August 8: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna, Cousin Greta and Henry!
    • 13. 1945 September 25: Dear Uncle Hans and Aunt Anna!
    • 14. 1945 October 19: Dear Uncle Hans and Aunt Anna!
    • 15. 1945 October 26: Dear Aunt Anna!
    • 16. 1945 November 20: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna, Greta and Henry!
    • 17. 1945 December 12: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna, Cousin Greta and Henry!
    • 18. 1946 January 3: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna, Cousin Greta and Henry!
    • 19. 1946 February 6: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna, Cousin Greta and Henry and little Susan Ann!
    • 20. 1946 March 14: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna, Cousin Greta, Henry and little Susan Ann!
    • 21. 1946 April 3: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna, Cousin Greta, Henry and little Susan Ann!
    • 22. 1946 April 20: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna, Cousin Greta, Henry and little Susan Ann!
    • 23. 1946 May 3: Dear Uncle Hans, Aunt Anna, Cousin Greta, Henry and little Susan Ann!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Arkansas State Archives and Arkansas Genealogical Society announce genealogy symposium

The Arkansas State Archives and the Arkansas Genealogical Society will host a symposium on Sat., May 6, at the WPA Gymnasium in Historic Washington State Park from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst announced today. The symposium’s theme, “In the Genealogical Trenches: Tracing Your Wartime Ancestry,” will feature speakers Mark Christ, Mike Polston, Peggy Lloyd and State Archives staff member Mary Dunn.

Topics include "Arkansas Commemorates the Centennial of the Great War;" "Heaven, Hell or Home by Christmas: Untapped Sources Documenting the Role of the Arkansas Soldier in the Great War;" "Genealogical Reconnaissance: Researching Military Records;" and "Modern Military Records: A Changing Society Documented."

“The centennial commemoration of World War I provides an opportunity to focus interest on a conflict that often gets lost between the American Civil War and World War II,” remarked Dr. Lisa Speer, director of the Arkansas State Archives and state historian.  “We are excited to be teaming up with AGS on this symposium for people who want to learn more about World War I, and how to conduct their own research into it.”

The seminar is free to attend but registration is required. Deadline for registration is Mon., May 1. Registration is limited, so be sure to make reservations soon. Check-in will begin at 9 a.m. Teachers can earn up to four professional development hours through attendance. Lunch will be provided.

The Arkansas State Archives is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and is responsible for collecting and maintaining the largest collection of historical materials on Arkansas in the world.  The State Archives has two branch locations: the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives is located in Powhatan and the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives is located in Washington.

Other agencies of the Department of Arkansas Heritage include the Arkansas Arts Council, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, and the Historic Arkansas Museum.

For more information about the symposium or to register, email events.archives@arkansas.gov or call 501-682-6900.