The Butterfield Overland Mail Company was established by John Butterfield of Utica, New York, in 1857. He contracted with the United States Postmaster General to transport the mail from the Mississippi River to San Francisco, California, including a major route from Memphis, Tennessee, to Fort Smith, Arkansas, and a route form St. Louis through Missouri and northwest Arkansas, including stops in Fayetteville and Elkhorn Tavern, and ending in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
The Butterfield Overland Mail Centennial Commission was formed in Arkansas in the 1950s as a part of the national celebration with W.J. Lemke of Fayetteville, Arkansas, as its Arkansas chairman. Others on the commission included Ted R. Worley of the Arkansas History Commission and J.H. Atkinson of Little Rock Junior College. National committee members included H. Bailey Carroll of Texas, Lewis C. Jones of New York, and William J. Peterson of Iowa. Along with local events commemorating the anniversary along the different routes, a centennial caravan was organized from Tipton, Missouri, to San Francisco, California.
The records include correspondence, newsletters, programs, maps, sketches, published materials, and research notes, as well as papers involving the organization of the Arkansas commission, as well as the organization on the national level.
- 1. Historical sketch by W.J. Lemke (Box 1)
- 2. Description and history of the Memphis to Fort Smith branch by Ted Worley
- 3. Organization papers
- 4. Correspondence, 1953-1956
- 5. Correspondence, 1957
- 6. Correspondence, 1958
- 7. Programs and invitations
- 1. Arkansas Overland Mail Centennial newsletters (Box 2)
- 2. Newsletters, other states
- 3. Published materials
- 4. Pamphlet cuts, maps, drawings
- 5. Research notes
- 6. Newsclippings