Herbert L. Thomas Papers

MC 249

Special Collections
University of Arkansas Libraries

365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701-4002
Phone: 479-575-8444
Email: specoll@uark.edu

Machine-readable finding aid encoded in EAD by Elysa Barton and Katrina Windon, 2018.

Finding aid is written in English.

Table of Contents

Descriptive Summary

Creator
Thomas, Herbert L., 1899-1982
Title
Herbert L. Thomas Papers
Inclusive Dates
1899-1976
Identification
MC 249
Extent
1.75 linear feet (2 boxes)
Language
Materials are in English.
Repository
Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email specoll@uark.edu at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

No Use Restrictions Apply.

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Acquisition Information

The Herbert L. Thomas Papers were donated to the Special Collections Department by Herbert L. Thomas between March and July of 1976.

Processing Information

Processed by E. Betty Austin; completed in May 1979.

Preferred Form of Citation

Herbert L. Thomas (MC 249), Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.

See Specials Collections Citations Guide for more detailed information on how to cite specific documents from the collection.

Biographical Note

The founder and president of The First Pyramid Life Insurance Company of America in Little Rock, Herbert Leon Thomas was acutely aware of the importance of financial growth and stability to Arkansas' economy. Born in 1899 in Crossett (Ashley County), Arkansas, Thomas founded The First Pyramid Life Insurance Company of America in Little Rock in 1925. He was Chairman of the Board of the City National Bank of Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Arkansas and the Citizens Bank of Booneville (Logan County), Arkansas, eventually becoming director of the Eden Isle vacation and retirement home project of Heber Springs (Cleburne County), Arkansas. Conscious of the importance of education for financial growth, Thomas served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas from 1943-51. He was instrumental in the admission of the first black student to the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1948. His interests extended beyond economics and education into politics. Although he never ran for political office himself, Thomas was Chairman of the Little Rock Municipal Water Commission from 1937-40 and served on the Highway Audit Commission of Arkansas, 1951-53. His most significant political relationship was with J. William Fulbright, whom Thomas encouraged to run for the United States Senate in 1944. Further information concerning Thomas may be obtained from Who's Who in the Southwest for 1952.

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence , speeches, pamphlets, clippings, and related published and unpublished materials created, received, or collected by Herbert L. Thomas, businessman and civic leader of Fayetteville and Little Rock, Arkansas who founded (1925) the First Pyramid Life Insurance Company of America and served as its president until 1960 and as chairman of its board of directors thereafter; who became chairman of the board of City National Bank of Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1953; who served as a member (1944-1951) of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees and as a member (1951-1953) of the Arkansas State Highway Audit Commission; and who undertook, in 1960, the development of the Eden Isle resort and residential area near Heber Springs, Arkansas.

Material pertains to Thomas' political interests, especially as regards: his role, as Chairman of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees (1945-1951) in the racial integration of the University (1947); his efforts at effecting an orderly integration of Arkansas public schools (1957-1959); his political support (1943-1976) of U.S. Senator James William Fulbright; and his interests in the economic development of Arkansas.

Correspondents (Series l) include: Harry Scott Ashmore, Daisy Lee Gatson Bates, Robert Raymond Brown, Virgil T. Blossom, Arthur Frank Burns, John Tyler Caldwell, James Staton Chase, Orval Eugene Faubus, Arch[ie] W. Ford, James William Fulbright, William J. Good, [Lawrence] Brooks Hays, Robert D. Lowry, Sidney Sanders McMath, David Wiley Mullins, Edward M. Penick, James Ormond Powell, Winthrop Rockefeller, Marshall T. Steel, [Dewitt] Everett Tucker, Jr., Gordon Greenfield Wittenberg.

Related Materials

Records relating to the Herbert L. Thomas Papers include:

Herbert L. Thomas Papers, MC 437

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged into 3 series, preserving original filing order (by name of correspondent or by subject, and chronologically thereunder) imposed by creator-donor.

  1. Correspondence, 1943-1976 (19 files)
  2. Speeches and Statements, 1957-1972 (10 files)
  3. Scrapbook and Miscellaneous Printed Materials, 1947-1975 (1 vol. and 4 files)

Subject Terms

The following persons, organizations, or topics are among those represented within the collection materials:

Arkansas--Politics and government--1943-1976

College integration--Arkansas

Segregation in education

Jones, Lewis Webster, 1899-

Fulbright, James William, 1905-

    Detailed Description of the Collection

    The following contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection

    series 1: Correspondence,

    1943-1976

    Correspondence and attached related records, pertaining to: racial integration of the University of Arkansas, 1947-51, and of Little Rock public schools, 1957-59; Thomas’ political support of James William Fulbright's senatorial election campaigns of 1944, 1962, and 1968, and of his political career, 1944-1974; the exchange, between Thomas and Fulbright, of views on various national issues, domestic and foreign; the economic development of Arkansas; John Fitzgerald Kennedy's visit to Greers Ferry Dam at Heber Springs, Ark. in September, 1963; the Arkansas Highway Commission; the termination of W. Grant Cooper's employment by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; an employee stock ownership plan for City National Bank of Fort Smith, Ark.; and other matters. Correspondents include: Harry Scott Ashmore, Daisy Lee Gatson Bates, Robert Raymond Brown, Virgil T, Blossom, Arthur Frank Burns, John Tyler Caldwell, James Staton Chase, Orval Eugene Faubus, Arch[ie] W. Ford, James William Fulbright, William J. Good, [Lawrence] Brooks Hays, Robert D. Lowry, Sidney Sanders McMath, David Wiley Mullins, Edward M. Penick, James Ormond Powell, Winthrop Rockefeller, Marshall T. Steele, [Dewitt] Everett Tucker, Jr, , Gordon Greenfield Wittenberg.

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 1

    Gov. Orval E. Fabus, 1959 6 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 2

    Orval Eugene Faubus, 1959 5 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 3

    J.W. Fulbright, 1943-51 23 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 4

    J.W. Fulbright, 1956-58 9 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 5

    J.W. Fulbright, Feb.-Mar. 1959 11 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 6

    J.W. Fulbright, Apr.-Jun. 1959 17 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 7

    J.W. Fulbright, Jun. 1959-May 1960 16 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 8

    J.W. Fulbright, Jun.-Dec. 1960 15 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 9

    J.W. Fulbright, Nov. 1962-Nov.1968 26 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 10

    J.W. Fulbright, Jan. 1969-Jun. 1970 13 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 11

    J.W. Fulbright, Feb.-Dec. 1971 10 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 12

    J.W. Fulbright, Jan. 1972-Jan. 1976 4 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 13

    Brook Hays, Oct. 1956-Aug. 1960 8 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 14

    Jim Powell, Mar. 1972-Oct. 1973 14 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 15

    Integration Correspondence, Sept. 1957-Apr. 1958 20 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 16

    Integration Correspondence, Apr.-Dec. 1958 25 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 17

    Integration Correspondence, Apr. 1958-Aug. 1959 2 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 18

    City National Bank, Fort Smith, May 1976 3 items

    series I Box 1 Folder Series I, Folder 19

    University of Arkansas Integration Correspondence, Sept. 1971-June-1972 12 items

    series 2: Speeches and Statements,

    1957-1958, 1963, 1971-1972

    Speeches delivered by or statements prepared by Thomas, principally relating to his proposal for a voluntary cooperative program for racial integration of public schools in Arkansas. Other speeches include: Thomas' address delivered at University of Arkansas Medical Center Honors Day convocation on June 7, 1957; his address at dedication of Prince Gardner manufacturing plant at Conway, Ark. on September 7, 1963. Files 9 and 10 contain published statements issued in April 1972 by Thomas and by former University of Arkansas President Lewis Webster Jones, as well as other material relating to the racial integration of the University in 1948.

    series II Box 1 Folder Series II, Folder 1

    HLT-Speeches, May-Jun. 1957 6 items

    series II Box 1 Folder Series II, Folder 2

    HLT-Speeches, Apr. 1958 2 items

    series II Box 1 Folder Series II, Folder 3

    The Arkansas Plan - - HLT, Apr. 1958 2 items

    series II Box 1 Folder Series II, Folder 4

    HLT-Speech, Apr. 1958 2 items

    series II Box 1 Folder Series II, Folder 5

    HLT-Speech, Apr. 1958 2 items

    series II Box 1 Folder Series II, Folder 6

    HLT-Speech, Apr. 1958 2 items

    series II Box 1 Folder Series II, Folder 7

    HLT-Speech, May 1958, Nov. 1971 3 items

    series II Box 1 Folder Series II, Folder 8

    HLT-Speech, Spet. 1963 2 items

    series II Box 1 Folder Series II, Folder 9

    HLT - Statement Admission of Blacks to University of Arkansas, Apr. 1972 1 item

    series II Box 1 Folder Series II, Folder 10

    Lewis Webster Jones - Notes Admission of Blacks to university of Arkansas, Apr. 1972 1 item

    series 3: Scrapbook and Miscellaneous Printed Materials,

    1947-1975

    Scrapbook of mounted clippings, two printed pamphlets, section of a newspaper Sunday magazine supplement, and photocopy of unidentified newspaper clipping, pertaining to racial integration of Arkansas schools, to the history of First Pyramid Life Insurance Company of America, and to Thomas' development of Eden Isle resort and residential area near Heber Springs, Arkansas.

    series III Box 1 Folder Series III, Folder 1

    "Founding Strength: The Man and The Pyramid", Jul. 1975 1 item

    series III Box 1 Folder Series III, Folder 2

    "The Editorial Position of the Arkansas Gazette in the Little Rock School Crisis", Oct. 1957 1 item

    series III Box 1 Folder Series III, Folder 3

    Newpaper article - - Race issue (unidentified newspaper), ca 1947-48 1 item

    series III Box 1 Folder Series III, Folder 4

    Magazine Article - - Eden Isle, The [Memphis, Tenn.] Commercial Appeal Mid South Magazine, pp. 7-22), Aug. 13, 1967 1 item

    series III Box 2 Item 1

    Scrapbook - - Integration, 1957-1960

    END OF COLLECTION

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