Skip navigation

Walter John Lemke Papers, 1821-1969 (MC L541)

Correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, etc.

Table of Contents

About Walter J. Lemke

Walter J. Lemke (1891-1968) established the department of journalism at the University of Arkansas in 1928 and remained its head until his retirement in 1959. He was also the University publicist and supervised campus publications. In 1988 the University named the journalism department in Lemke's honor, the first department to be named for any person. He organized the Arkansas High School Press Association to encourage high school journalism and was one of the founders of the Arkansas Press Women's Association. Lemke was a founding member of the Washington County Historical Society and was the first editor of Flashback, the society's journal. He wrote several numbers in the WCHS Bulletin series. He helped to organize the Arkansas Genealogical Society and was active in the centennial observances of the Butterfield Overland Mail and of the Civil War. Walter J. Lemke died in 1968.

During World War II, Lemke wrote "Uncle Walt's Newsletter" and circulated it in mimeograph format to hundreds of Arkansas military personnel. The letters in the collection testify to the close personal relationships he formed with many students. Another collection, MC 1478, documents his friendship with another student, Lynette Thorp Wilson.

About the Collection

The Walter John Lemke Papers were a gift to the University of Arkansas in 1969, following his death, from the Lemke heirs, through Ernest Cecil Deane. The papers consist of correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, maps, bulletins, newspapers and other material created, received, or collected by journalist columnist-collector Lemke, University of Arkansas Professor of Journalism from 1928 to 1956. The material, most of which dates from 1928 to 1968, pertains primarily to Lemke's professional and academic career and interests, especially as regards his newspaper columns, the Arkansas press, the journalism of World War II, the publication of "Uncle Walt's Newsletter," and the affairs of the University's Journalism Department, the Arkansas Press Association, the Arkansas Writers' Conference, and the Arkansas High School Press Association, which he founded in 1928.

Materials also relate to: the history of the University of Arkansas; professional, social, athletic and other activities of University faculty, students, and alumni; University publications; Lemke's correspondence with University faculty, students, and alumni in military service during World War II and the Korean war; his active participation in the affairs of the Washington County Historical Society, which he founded in 1951, and his support of and interest in other Arkansas state and county historical societies and associations; his general interest in Arkansas history and genealogy; his collecting of historical maps, photographs, and other Arkansiana; and his photographing of historic and scenic sites in Arkansas.
Correspondents include: Homer Adkins, Harry Scott Ashmore, Bernie Babcock, Carl Edward Bailey, Kenneth Lawrence Beaudoin, John Tyler Caldwell, Hattie Wyatt Caraway, Hodding Carter, Francis Cherry, Homer Croy, Beverley Githens Dresbach, Orval Eugene Faubus, Charles Joseph Finger, Charlie May Fletcher, John Gould Fletcher, Edsel Ford, James William Fulbright, John Clinton Futrall, Victor Gondos, Jr., Arthur McCracken Harding, Brooks Hays, John Netherland Heiskell, Lewis Webster Jones, Benjamin Travis Laney, Sidney S. McMath, Colter Hamilton Moses, Allan Nevins, Vance Randolph, Otto Ernest Rayburn, James William Trimble, Jacob Wythe Walker, Charles Morrow Wilson, Walter Winchell.

Contents of the Collection

(183 items, 1 scrapbook; 23 feet)

The Lemke Papers were processed before the advent of computers into archives management. The present on-line finding aid adapts the information in the paper finding aid to the electronic format. The collection is arranged and described in eleven series. The original finding aid, available in the Special Collections reading room, includes a general table of contents and location key, separate tables of contents, descriptions, inventories, calendars and catalogs to series, an index of correspondents, and an index of photographs. The online finding aid, when complete, will provide this information in an adapted format for the Internet.

Restrictions apply. Limited restrictions apply to one of the two correspondence series.

Series are as follows:

1. World War II correspondence. 15 boxes
2. General correspondence. 7 boxes
3. Scrapbooks. 16 volumes
4. Photographs. 6 boxes
5. Newspapers, World War II and Korean War. 10 boxes
6. Maps. 51 items
7. Cartoon sketches. 49 items
8. Arkansas High School Press Association Bulletin. 2 boxes
9. World War II Miscellaneous Souvenirs. 39 items
10. Miscellaneous. 909 items
11. Miscellaneous printed material. 1 box

Valid HTML 5

Last updated: November 2, 2012