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Little Rock Board of Health transcripts

Little Rock Board of Health Transcripts

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Finding aid for the Little Rock Board of Health Transcripts


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

Repository: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Creator:Little Rock Board of Health. (Little Rock, Ark.)
Title: Little Rock Board of Health Transcripts
Dates: 1911-1926
Quantity: 1.3 Linear feet
Abstract:This small collection contains minutes of meetings of the Little Rock Board of Health from 1911-1926.
Identification: MSS.98.15
Language: English


This collection contained in one box.

Scope and Contents

This small collection contains minutes of meetings of the Little Rock Board of Health from 1911-1926.

Biographical Note

The Little Rock Town Council appointed the city's first board of health and built the first temporary hospital in 1832, in response to a cholera epidemic which had struck many settlements in the Mississippi River Valley and infected a caravan of Choctaws being relocated to Indian Territory. On November 3 the council appointed Dr. Matthew Cunningham, Dr. Robert A. Watkins, Dr. Bushrod Lee, Dr. Alden Sprague, William E. Woodruff, editor of the Arkansas Gazette, and Rev. William W. Stephenson, mayor of Little Rock, to the board. The four doctors on the board were instructed to inspect all steamboats and other conveyances arriving in Little Rock and report all travelers with infectious or contagious diseases. They would be responsible for providing transportation to the hospital for sick travelers and for quarantining in their homes any residents found with the disease. The cholera epidemic of 1832 was averted from Little Rock.

Little Rock's board of health did not have permanent status, but was called upon in times when epidemic disease threatened. In the summer of 1878, when a yellow fever epidemic struck New Orleans and Memphis, the Little Rock Board of Health took on the the task of preventing the spread of the disease to Arkansas. The board made regulations for the entire state, which were generally accepted and followed, although the Little Rock board did not actually have this authority. The experience with yellow fever brought out the need for a statewide regulatory agency, and many people expected the state legis-lature to pass a bill to establish a state board of health. When the legislature failed to do so, the Arkansas Medical Society appointed its own unofficial "state board of health," in 1879, to represent Arkansas at the Sanitary Council of the Mississippi Valley. This group had recently formed at Memphis to seek ways to protect the area from epidemic disease. The new organization applied to Governor W. R. Miller for official recognition by the state. Governor Miller then asked the Little Rock Board of Health to act as a statewide board, although no funds were appropriated. The state board applied to the newly- formed National Board of Health for recognition and operating funds, which it received. At the legislative session of 1881, the Arkansas State Board of Health was given official recognition. The board was charged with monitoring disease and sanitary conditions in the state and with supervision of vital statistics registration.

The State Board of Health was still regarded as a temporary entity, and both the state board and the National Board of Health eventually were abolished for lack of funds. It was not until 1913 that the Arkansas legislature would provide for a permanent State Board of Health.

Index Terms

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

Little Rock Board of Health. (Little Rock, Ark.)


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Restrictions on Use

Non-circulating; In-house use only.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Little Rock Board of Health Transcripts, MSS 98-15, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Little Rock Department of Parks and Recreation, 1998

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