Butler Center for Arkansas Studies 100 Rock Street Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201 (501) 320-5700
July 13, 2004
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Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Lawhon, Ross Luther, 1894-1969
Ross L. Lawhon papers
19.0 Linear feet
This collection contains the governmental and personal papers of Ross L. Lawhon, mayor of North Little Rock, Arkansas and the personal papers of his daughter Dorothy Ross Lawhon and grandson Ross Lawhon.
Within each series, materials concerning individual family members are arranged topically and chronologically.
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of three series. Series I is comprised of the personal and professional papers of Ross L. Lawhon and his family. Series II contains the personal and professional papers of Dorothy Ross Lawhon. Series III consists of textual and non-textual oversized materials pertaining to the Lawhon family.
Ross Luther Lawhon was born in Floresville, Texas, on June 28, 1894, to Virginia Winn (Worsham) and Luther Allen Lawhon. The senior Lawhon was a successful lawyer and publisher in Floresville. Ross Lawhon finished his high school studies and worked odd jobs in his home state. In 1916, Lawhon married Irene Harbord, and they had a daughter, Dorothy Ross, the next year. Lawhon served for a brief time in WWI with the 67th Infantry, training in Alabama.
In the mid 1920s, Lawhon entered the Arkansas Law School in Little Rock, Arkansas; he did not complete his studies and was not admitted to the bar. Instead, he worked as a traveling salesman until his election as Mayor of North Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1927. This was the first of seven successful campaigns for mayor. His tenure as mayor of North Little Rock ran from 1927 to 1931, 1937 to 1939, and 1949 to 1953. Lawhon was instrumental in having the North Little Rock post office separated from Little Rock's, and in providing a post office building for North Little Rock. In addition, he served as the city's first postmaster.
Lawhon ran for mayor again in 1960, but lost to Mayor William "Casey" Laman. Lawhon had plans to run for governor in 1950 and 1952, but the campaigns never materialized. He resigned as mayor in 1954; once again, he gave hints at running for the governorship, but instead moved to San Antonio to care for his ailing mother.
Throughout his life Lawhon worked varied non-political positions, such as, cook, ordained minister, oil field worker, deputy sheriff, truck line operator, among others. Ross L. Lawhon died in Little Rock on February 14, 1969.
Ross Lawhon's daughter, Dorothy Ross Lawhon, became successful as an interior decorator. Dorothy graduated from North Little Rock High School, then from Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Missouri. She later graduated from the New York School of Interior Design, and studied in Florence, Italy. She held executive positions in the interior design departments of the San Antonio based department stores, Frost Brothers and Joske's of Texas.
In the early 1950s, Dorothy Ross became executive head of the interior design and contract department of W. A. Hathaway Company in New York City, the city's largest home furnishing business at that time. She returned to Little Rock and, in 1958, founded Dorothy-Ross Lawhon Interiors Inc., a highly successful business for over a quarter of a century. Dorothy Ross had one son, Ross Lawhon, born in 1950. She died on June 15, 2001. Her son, Ross Lawhon, resides in Little Rock, Arkansas.
This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Interior decorators -- Arkansas.
Lawhon, Dorothy Ross, 1917-2001
Lawhon, Ross L., 1950-
Lawhon, Ross Luther, 1894-1969
Municipal government -- Arkansas -- North Little Rock.
North Little Rock (Ark.)
Political participation -- Arkansas -- North Little Rock.
Restrictions on Access
Restrictions on Use
Non-circulating, in-house use only.
Ross L. Lawhon papers, MSS.01.11, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute