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David H. Pryor Papers 1934-2004 (MC 336)

Personal and Professional Papers

Table of Contents

About David H. Pryor

David Pryor, ca. 1985 David Hampton Pryor was born in Camden, Arkansas, August 29, 1934, the son of William Edgar and Susan Newton Pryor. He graduated from Camden High School in 1952, after which he briefly attended Henderson State Teachers College in Arkadelphia. He graduated with a B.A. in government from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in 1957. In November 1957 he married Barbara Jean Lunsford of Fayetteville; they had three sons–David, Jr., Mark, and Scott. The Pryors moved to Camden where he founded a weekly newspaper, The Ouachita Citizen. A Democrat, he was elected as representative from Ouachita County to the Arkansas General Assembly in 1960. After serving three terms in the Arkansas state legislature, he was elected United States representative from Arkansas's Fourth Congressional District in 1966, serving three terms. In 1972 he made an unsuccessful bid for the United States Senate, challenging Senator John L. McClellan in the Democratic primary. In 1974 he was elected governor of Arkansas, a post he occupied for two terms. In 1978 he was elected to the United States Senate. He served in the Senate for eighteen years, where he supported elderly concerns, fiscal responsibility in government spending, and the rights of taxpayers. He also promoted the interests of Arkansas farmers, opposed profiteering by pharmaceutical drug companies, and sought the reform of government consultant practices. After retirement from the Senate in 1996, Pryor served as a Fulbright Distinguished Fellow of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Arkansas in 1997. In 1999 he became a fellow at the Institute of Politics of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and for the years 2000 and 2001 served as the institute's director. In 2004 he was named founding dean of the Clinton School of Public Service at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.

About the collection

The David Hampton Pryor Papers were donated in two major accessions. Early, congressional, and gubernatorial papers were donated by David H. Pryor on December 26, 1978, following his election to the Senate. The senatorial papers were donated by Senator Pryor on July 21, 2000.

The collection is divided into four major groups. Group I includes materials from Senator Pryor's time as publisher of the Ouachita Citizen, his terms in the Arkansas General Assembly and United States House of Representatives, and his two terms as governor of Arkansas. Group II includes materials related to his term in the United States Senate; this group also includes materials related to Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign and inauguration as well as the creation of his cabinet. Group III is comprised of personal materials; this group includes personal schedules, appointment books, and scrapbooks. It also includes materials related to the activities of Mrs. Pryor. Group IV includes photographs, audio and visual materials, and artifacts.

Materials include correspondence, speeches, legislative bills, position papers, personal and office financial records, microfilm, scrapbooks, posters, printing plates, photographs and negatives, video and audio tapes, and artifacts.


Restrictions apply.


705 containers; 821 linear feet

Group I. Early Political Career and Gubernatorial Papers (Boxes 1-99c)

Group II. Senatorial Papers (Boxes 100-527)

Group III. Personal Materials (Boxes 528-597)

Group IV. Multi-Media and Artifacts (Boxes 598-701)

Group I

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Last updated: May 28, 2013