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UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
Betty Gosnell Papers, 1894-1982
12.0 Linear feet19 document boxes
Scope and Content Note
This collection contains the papers of Betty Tucker Gosnell, a poet from Monticello, Arkansas. The collection is composed largely of materials related to Gosnell's interest in writing poetry, including her correspondence with Arkansas and international poets, her drafts and published works, and printed material. The collection also includes papers related to Gosnell's activities in the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches and the Girl Scouts. Also included are family papers, photographs, and scrapbooks.
The materials in the collection have been divided among the following categories: poetry-related (boxes 1-7); church-related (box 8 - box 10/3); personal- and family-related (box 10/4 - box 12); photos (Box 13); scrapbooks (Box 14); and Gosnell's book and periodical collection (Boxes 15-19). A small amount of overlap occurs among the categories (the correspondence with other poets, for example, also often addresses topics of a personal nature).
Elizabeth Duke "Betty" Tucker, daughter of Henry H. Tucker and Katharine Duke, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on 1921 April 21. She received her bachelor's degree in history at Duke University in 1942. In 1943, she married William B. Gosnell, a navy veteran and insurance agent. The couple lived in Monticello, Arkansas, and had one daughter, Katharine.
Having been a Girl Scout, Gosnell again became involved with the organization as an adult when her daughter, Kathy, joined. Gosnell served as a troop leader from 1953 to 1962. She also served as president of the Arkansas Post Girl Scout Council Board, then later as district chairperson and second chairperson.
Gosnell began writing poetry in 1965. In 1966, she began editing "The Muse," a poetry column appearing in the
Advance Monticellonian (she continued with the column until 1974). Also in 1966, Gosnell submitted samples of her work to Sue Abbott Boyd of Fort Smith. President and editor of South and West (a non-profit publisher of poetry), Boyd soon became Gosnell's mentor and close friend. By 1967, Gosnell had become a member of South and West, and she would later serve as the organization's secretary. Both of Gosnell's books,
The Poet Who Was a Painter of Souls (1969) and
Silk and Silence (1971), were published by South and West. Gosnell also maintained memberships in several national and international poetry societies. From 1971 to 1977, she also hosted "Afterglow - a World of Poetry," a biweekly radio show on Monticello's KHBM. Gosnell's poetry appeared in more than 100 publications, including
South and West, Voices International, Tulsa Poetry Quarterly, Folio, Encore, Discourses on Poetry, and the Arkansas Gazette.
An Episcopalian, Gosnell was very active in the affairs of Monticello's Church of the Transfiguration. She was a member of the Executive, Altar, and Christian Social Relations committees and also served as president of the Women of the Church and as a Sunday School teacher. In 1970, Gosnell was appointed to serve on the Diocesan Liturgical Commission, which was charged with revising the Episcopal liturgy. By 1972, however, she had joined the Presbyterian church.
Apart from her work with South and West and the church, Gosnell was also active in many local organizations. She served as president of Monticello's Sorosis Club and on the board of directors of the Drew County Historical Association. In 1964, she established Holiday School, the first school for mentally handicapped children in Drew County.
Girl Scouts of the United States of America.
Gosnell, Elizabeth, 1921-1984
Women poets, American--20th century
Women poets, American--Correspondence
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is available for viewing at the Arkansas Studies Institute.
Conditions Governing Use
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17-U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. The person using this material is liable for any infringement.
Copyright for correspondence in the collections belongs to those correspondents or their beneficiaries. Persons wanting to re-use those materials are advised to obtain permission from copyright holders.
Betty Gosnell Papers, 1894-1982, UALR.MS.0126. UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Arkansas Studies Institute, Little Rock.