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Elizabeth Paisley Huckaby collection

Elizabeth Paisley Huckaby Collection

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Finding aid for the Elizabeth Paisley Huckaby Collection

MSS.97.19

Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
100 Rock Street
Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201
(501) 320-5700



Repository: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
creatorHuckaby, Elizabeth Paisley, 1905-1999
Title: Elizabeth Paisley Huckaby Collection
Dates: 1863-1997
Quantity: 9.8 Linear feet
Abstract:This collection contains Huckaby's notes and transcriptions of the letters written by her grandparents Emma Butler and William Paisley; personal correspondence (1969-1990) including letters to the Little Rock Nine, to publishers to shop her manuscript, and a series of letters Huckaby wrote to her brother Bill Paisley during the turbulent time at Central High School which she compiled and entitled "Letters to Bill;" news clippings about her retirement, her movie and book, the Central High integration crisis, and the related issues of segregation and race relations. Most of these newspaper clippings are from the Arkansas Gazette and Arkansas Democrat and a fair amount of them are saved in two scrapbooks along with printed propaganda from the segregationist forces and memos from the Little Rock school board to the teachers.
Identification: MSS.97.19
Language: English

Arrangement

This collection is arranged topically and chronologically.


Scope and Contents

This collection contains Huckaby's notes and transcriptions of the letters written by her grandparents Emma Butler and William Paisley; personal correspondence (1969-1990) including letters to the Little Rock Nine, to publishers to shop her manuscript, and a series of letters Huckaby wrote to her brother Bill Paisley during the turbulent time at Central High School which she compiled and entitled "Letters to Bill;" news clippings about her retirement, her movie and book, the Central High integration crisis, and the related issues of segregation and race relations. Most of these newspaper clippings are from the Arkansas Gazette and Arkansas Democrat and a fair amount of them are saved in two scrapbooks along with printed propaganda from the segregationist forces and memos from the Little Rock school board to the teachers.

Also included in this collection are photographs; materials from Huckaby's travels; her 10th grade English grammar lessons; her personal journals spanning the years of 1956, 1978-1997; and her husband's materials including papers from the Smoke Hole and Pin Oak duck hunting clubs, items from a scrapbook presented to him upon his retirement from Pulaski Heights Junior High School in 1953, and his biographical stories about hunting turkeys. This entire collection spans from 1906 to 1997.

Additional Elizabeth Paisley Huckaby materials pertaining to the integration of Central High School dated from 1957-1963 along with drafts of her book Crisis at Central High can be found at the University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections Department in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


Biographical Note

Elizabeth Paisley Huckaby was born in 1905, in Hamburg, Arkansas. She attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and was hired as an English teacher at Central High School in 1930. She married Glen T. Huckaby in 1933.

In 1955, Huckaby was promoted to Vice Principal for Girls. In this role, she oversaw the first black female students during the integration of Central High School in 1957. Huckaby chronicled what occurred during the crisis while trying to keep school functioning as normally as possible. During the 1958-59 school year in which Governor Orval Faubus closed the public schools, Huckaby turned her journal entries into a running narrative that was to become the first draft of her manuscript. Huckaby was widowed in 1967 without children, and continued to work until her retirement in 1969.

Huckaby held onto her manuscript until she retired, saying that she wanted to keep her job. Publishers repeatedly rejected the manuscript, first in 1969-1971, and then again in her second attempt to get her narrative published in 1976-1977. It was only after Time-Life decided to produce a television movie from her story did the LSU Press agree to publish her book Crisis at Central High: Little Rock 1957-1958 in 1980. The movie debuted on CBS in 1980, and starred Joanne Woodward as Huckaby.

In her retirement, Huckaby spent her time traveling to places like Europe, New England, and the Pacific coast and transcribing almost 600 letters her grandmother left behind. In 1985, the University of Arkansas Press published Tulip Evermore: Emma Butler and William Paisley, Their Lives in Letters, 1857-1887 edited by Huckaby. In 1999, Huckaby died at the age of 93.


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Central High School. (Little Rock, Ark.)
Huckaby, Elizabeth Paisley, 1905-1999
School integration -- Arkansas -- Little Rock -- History -- 20th century.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted.

Restrictions on Use

Non-circulating; in-house use only.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Elizabeth Paisley Huckaby Collection, MSS 97-19, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute

Acquisition Information

Donated by Richard C. Butler Jr., September 2, 1997


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