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Vivion L. Brewer Papers, 1888-1982

Vivion L. Brewer Papers, 1888-1982

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Vivion L. Brewer Papers, 1888-1982 UALR.MS.0121

UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
401 President Clinton Avenue
Little Rock, AR, 72201

Profile Description

Creation: This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2012-11-12T14:34-0600

Repository: UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
Title: Vivion L. Brewer Papers, 1888-1982
Dates: 1888-1982
Quantity: 1.5 Linear feetThree document boxes
Identification: UALR.MS.0121


This collection is arranged into two series. Series I, Little Rock School Crisis contains Vivion Brewer's personal correspondence and materials concerning the threat to Joe Brewer's Veterans Administration position. It also contains Women's Emergency Committee membership lists, notes, and newsletters. Various printed materials are included pertaining to the school crisis and integration in general. Brewer's manuscript, "The Embattled Ladies of Little Rock," completes the series.Series II, Lenon Family Papers, contains the business records of Warren E. Lenon, including discussion of his activities with Arkansas Abstract Company, Mercantile Trust Company, and Pulaski Heights Land Company. The series contains records related to Lenon's Peoples Trust Company, chiefly Lenon's efforts to keep the bank open during the Great Depression. Included in the Peoples Trust material is family correspondence and files on Peoples National Bank and First National Bank. The series also contains a Warren E. Lenon biographical sketch (probably written by Vivion Brewer), memorabilia, financial records, and photographs.

Scope and Contents Note

This collection contains the papers of Vivion L. Brewer, a Little Rock native who was a founder and chair of the Women's Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools during the Little Rock School Crisis. The collection includes Brewer's manuscript, "The Embattled Ladies of Little Rock," as well as Women's Emergency Committee records and correspondence. The collection also includes papers of the Lenon family, concerning the People's Trust Company and its restructuring during the Great Depression.

Historical Note

Vivion Mercer Lenon Brewer, daughter of Warren E. and Clara Mercer Lenon, was born in Little Rock 1900 October 6. She graduated from Little Rock High School and attended Smith College in Massachusetts. After obtaining her degree in 1921, Brewer worked full-time at the Peoples Savings Bank first as a stenographer, then secretary, and finally as head of the trust department. She was elected to the bank's board of directors in 1925 and to its vice presidency in 1928. On 1930 October 30 she married Joe Brewer, nephew of Arkansas Senator Joe T. Robinson. The couple lived in Washington, D.C., where Joe Brewer served as Senator Robinson's secretary and later as a personnel officer in the Justice and Interior Departments. In 1946, the Brewers returned to Arkansas and lived in Scott; Joe Brewer worked in North Little Rock as a personnel officer at the Veterans Administration Hospital.

When Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus closed Little Rock's public schools during the integration crisis in 1958, Vivion Brewer helped Adolphine Fletcher Terry to found the Women's Emergency Committee. The committee unsuccessfully campaigned to keep Little Rock schools open in a special election that September. In 1959, the group prevented Faubus's attempt to "stack" the Little Rock School Board and helped to achieve the recall of three school board members who had fired 44 school district employees earlier that year. By 1959, Vivion Brewer's activism had endangered her husband's Veterans Administration position; he accepted a disability retirement rather than be terminated or transferred. The Women's Emergency Committee disbanded in 1963, stating that its mission had been accomplished. Vivion Brewer died 1991 June 19 (for obituary, see Arkansas Gazette, 1991 June 20, page 10B).

Warren E. Lenon, son of John D. and Margaret Lenon, was born in Panora, Iowa, 1867 October 8. Lenon settled in Little Rock in 1888, having been hired by the Arkansas Abstract Company as a clerk. He was soon promoted to manager and eventually became the company's principal stockholder. In 1889, he married Clara May Mercer, an Iowa school teacher. Lenon established the Peoples Savings Bank in Little Rock in 1902. The next year, Lenon was elected mayor of Little Rock; he was midway through his third term before resigning to devote more time to the bank. In 1929, the bank's name was changed to Peoples Trust Company, and Lenon was elected Chairman of the Board. The bank was closed in 1933 and re-opened after two months as the Peoples Bank, reorganized as Peoples National Bank in 1934. Lenon remained as chairman of the board until his death 1946 June 24. His children remained active stockholders as the bank grew. In 1953, Peoples National Bank become First National Bank, which merged with The Commercial Bank in 1983 to form First Commercial Bank.

See also, Vivian Brewer Papers, 1947-1991, Sopia Smith Collection, Smith College Library, Northampton, Massachusetts.


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.

Administrative Information

Citation Notes

Bibliographic citation:

Vivion L. Brewer Collection, 1888-1982, UALR.MS.0121. UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Arkansas Studies Institute, Little Rock.

Footnote or Endnote info:

Description of item, file number, box number, Vivion L. Brewer Papers, 1888-1982, UALR.MS.0121.

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