University of Arkansas home page Special Collections
  bullet Library Home  Special Collections Home  Manuscripts Home

Joseph Taylor Robinson, 1872-1937

Papers, 1900-1937, 1950, 1954

Manuscript Collection MC MS R563

There are two supplements to the collection. The finding aid to the Joseph Taylor Robinson Papers, supplement, 1879, ... (1905-37) ... 1965, is online. Click here for the Joseph Taylor Robinson Papers, Supplement 2.

Return to Special Collections Home Page
Return to University of Arkansas Libraries Home Page


Joseph Taylor Robinson was born in a log cabin near Lonoke, Arkansas, in 1872. He attended the University of Arkansas for two years and then read law with Judge Thomas C. Trimble before taking a law degree at the University of Virginia in 1895. Even before he was called to the Arkansas bar he was elected to the Arkansas General Assembly. In 1902 Robinson was elected to Congress from the Sixth District of Arkansas and served five terms. He supported progressive measures to reform government and control big business and voted for the income-tax and woman-suffrage amendments.

In 1912 Robinson was elected Governor of Arkansas on a platform of fiscal and administrative reform. He was inaugurated on January 14, 1913, ten days after the death of Jeff Davis, U.S. Senator from Arkansas. On January 28, Robinson was elected Senator by the Arkansas General Assembly, so serving as Congressman, Governor, and Senator within a two-week period. He was the last Senator to be elected by vote of a state legislature.

Robinson was re-elected to four more Senate terms. In 1928 he was nominated for Vice President on the Democratic ticket with Al Smith of New York, but Herbert Hoover was elected President. He  was Majority Leader under Franklin Roosevelt from 1932 until his death in 1937, and the leading spokesman for the Roosevelt New Deal in Congress. He died of a heart attack while working for Roosevelt's "court-packing" proposal  in 1937.


The Robinson papers were donated to the University Libraries by H. Grady Miller, Jr., Robin Miller Hartley, and Emily S. Miller in May 1976.They contain correspondence, memoranda, speeches, legislative bills, business and financial records, legal files, scrapbooks, clippings, photographs, and other materials created or received by or pertaining to Robinson's life and career, especially to his service as U. S. Senator from Arkansas, 1913-1937. They were processed in two parts. This is the on-line finding aid to the first accession; it describes series and subseries in the collection. A paper finding aid in the division describes materials to the folder level. A separate finding aid describes the second accession.


Series 1. Personal papers, 1900-1937...1950. Records pertaining to the biography and personal life of JTR. Boxes 1-13.

Series 2.Records pertaining to congressional election campaigns, July 1901-April 1910. Box 14.

Series 3.Records pertaining to gubernatorial election, 1911-1912, and to gubernatorial administration, 1913. Boxes 15-18.

Series 4.Records pertaining to Senatorial election campaigns, 1913-1936. Boxes 18-31.

Series 5.Records pertaining to Presidential elections, April 1912-January 1937. Boxes 31-42.

Series 6.Records pertaining to constituent services and legislative matters, House of Representatives, 1902-1912. Boxes 42-54.

Series 7. Records pertaining to constituent services and legislative matters, Senate, 1913-1922. Boxes 54-61.

Series 8.Records pertaining to constituent services and legislative matters, Senate, 1922-1933. Boxes 62-147.

Series 9.Records pertaining to constituent services and legislative matters, Senate, 1922-1937. Boxes 147-302.

Series 10.Records pertaining to veterans and military affairs, 1910, 1913, 1920-1937. Boxes 302-331.

Series 11.Records pertaining to patronage and to applications for employment, 1913-1917. Boxes 331-411.

Series 12.Personally identifiable case files, 1921-1937. Boxes 412-422.

Series 13.Records pertaining to speeches, press releases, and other statements by JTR, 1901 ... 1937. Boxes 423-431.

Series 14.Photographs, 1923... 1938. Boxes 431-432.

Return to Special Collections Home Page
Return to University of Arkansas Libraries Home Page