Friday, January 25, 2019

New Accessions Include Frozen Mississippi, 1940

We are pleased to showcase our new collections! This month’s accessions include photos of the winter the Mississippi River froze over in 1940 and papers from the longest-serving state historian.

Archival Collections:

  •  Ferguson, John L.: Papers from the longest-serving state historian have been transferred to Archives. John L. Ferguson served 1960-2005 as state historian and director of the Arkansas History Commission, which has since become the Arkansas State Archives. Ferguson also took the lead in the state’s effort to preserve historic sites and buildings and helped form The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program in 1968. The program is under the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Ferguson was a historian, minister, author, administrator and preservationist. He died in 2006 at age 80.

  • Photographs, 1940: The Mississippi River froze from Memphis to New Orleans during a severe cold snap in January 1940. The weather turned very cold during the last 16 days of January, and because the river was already low, it froze so hard people could walk on it. The water near the shore of the Mississippi River froze solid and ice gorges packed the rest of the river from bank to bank. The ice gorges stopped traffic on the river from Jan. 10 to Feb. 5. The last time ice had been that widespread on the river was 1918, according to information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Memphis District. Now, the Archives possess 10 photographs of the river frozen in Helena, Arkansas.
  • Barnes, Paula: The Archives received a collection from Paula Barnes. The collection has a Centralian yearbook; a special edition of Southwest Times Record on the Greenwood, Arkansas, 1968 tornado; two postcards; a photograph of the Scottish Rite in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1921; one book for the 1931 Grand Chapter Office of the Eastern Star; and one Marion County Rural School register, 1957-1958.
  • Arkansas National Guard: We received 48 boxes of records from the National Guard this month. The documents include discharged enlisted soldiers and discharged officer records from 1973 and 1974. We will be getting more of these records through 2013 over the next year. 
These new collections will be processed and available for research in the coming months. People interested in viewing the collections may contact the Archives at 501-682-6900.

The Archives and our library are open and available to the public from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 1 Capitol Mall, Suite 215, in Little Rock. You can also donate material by visiting our website or by contacting Julienne Crawford, our curator and collections services coordinator, at