Arkansas Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
This entry was originally written by Wendy Bebout Elliott, Ph.D., FUGA for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
The Arkansas Genealogical Society’s publication Arkansas Family Historian serves the entire state. An index is available for a few years; see John Sanders, Consolidated Index of The Arkansas Family Historian, 1981–1988. (Hot Springs: Arkansas Genealogical Society, n.d.). The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, published for over fifty years by the Arkansas Historical Association, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701, contains relevant background information for both genealogists and historians. Many other county and regional genealogical and/or historical societies publish periodicals that contain valuable records pertaining to the region or locality they serve. Often these publications carry articles concerning records that are not available elsewhere. The Arkansas History Commission maintains copies of most of the state’s published periodicals.
Two important early newspapers were the Arkansas Advocate and the Arkansas Gazette. Abstracts of articles and data from both newspapers have been published. These volumes are available at the Arkansas History Commission. A valuable source is the Union List of Arkansas Newspapers, 1819–1942: Partial Inventory of Arkansas Newspaper Files Available in Offices of Publishers, Libraries, and Private Collections in Arkansas, prepared by the Historical Records Survey, Division of Community Service Programs, WPA (Little Rock, Ark.: Historical Records Survey, 1942). Although current publications are not included, it is an excellent guide to those newspapers published during the territorial period through the beginning of World War I.
The Arkansas History Commission maintains files of approximately 700 Arkansas newspapers published at about 200 different places for the period 1819 to date. It also has an index to the Arkansas Gazette for 1819 through 1881 and 1964 through 1983. See also:
- Allsopp, Fred W. History of the Arkansas Press for a Hundred Years and More. 1922. Reprint. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1978.
Several recent compilations cover vital records abstracts from Arkansas newspapers. Examples include:
- Morgan, James Logan. Arkansas Newspaper Abstracts, 1819–1845. Vol 1. Obituaries and Biographical Notes from Arkansas Newspapers. Newport, Ark.: Morgan Books, 1981.
- Russell, Oscar G. Index to Death Notices Appearing in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. North Little Rock, Ark.: the author, various years. Each compilation is alphabetically arranged, and includes approximately 10,000-plus deaths reported to Little Rock’s only daily newspaper.
Copies of the DAR (see page 13) collection of vital records, which includes family records, marriages, and Bible records for Arkansas, are available at the Downtown Branch, Central Arkansas Library System, 700 S. Louisiana, Little Rock, AR 72203 and on microfilm both at the Arkansas History Commission and through the FHL.
The Arkansas History Commission in Little Rock has a card index to its extensive manuscript collection. A second major source of manuscript material is located at the Special Collections Library, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.