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Joseph S. Utley Journals, 1923-1943

Joseph S. Utley Journals, 1923-1943

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Joseph S. Utley Journals, 1923-1943 UALR.MS.0059

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 2014-03-10T11:58-0500

Repository: UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
creatorUtley, Joseph S., 1876-1943
Title: Joseph S. Utley Journals, 1923-1943
Dates: 1923-1943
Quantity: 3.0 Linear feet; 6 flat boxes
Identification: UALR.MS.0059



Scope and Contents Note

This collection contains bound journals as well as photographs and other materials compiled by Joseph S. Utley between 1923 and 1943. The writings focus on Utley's daily life during the 1920s and 1930s, including observations on local, state, and national events.

The below highlights entries of note in the journals:

Utley in Journal I (1923-1924) discusses the Little Rock visit of William Jennings Bryan, known for his attacks against Darwinism and evolution; the death of Guy B. Tucker, the grandfather of Arkansas’s forty-third governor, Jim Guy Tucker (1992–1996); and Arkansans’ concern over Japanese emigration to the state. Journal II (1924-1925) contains Utley’s references to John E. Martineau, the twenty-eighth governor of Arkansas (1927-1938); the Ku Klux Klan’s involvement in state politics; and African American fraternal insurance organizations. Journal III (1925-1926) notes Utley’s comments on Governor John J. Terral's removal of parole opportunities for prisoners and the fact that greater numbers of rural people are enticed to towns due to economic opportunities; Journal IV (1932-1933) notes Utley’s six-year entry lapse between Journal III and Journal IV; his comments on his time as Chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee; and the hardship of maintaining a law practice during the height of the Great Depression as “economic conditions in Arkansas are said to be the worst since the days of Reconstruction in the late 1860s and early 1870s.” Journal V (1934-1935) records Utley’s reflections on the difficulty of dissolving his law partnership due to financial conflicts with his partner; his opinion of Louisiana’s Senator Huey Long (“a madman”); and his enjoyment of working at the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation.

Journal VI (1936-1938) notes Ultley's comments on the extradition of Charles “Lucky” Luciano; his growing concern over the political unrest in Germany, Italy, and Ethiopia; and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s visit to Little Rock on 1936 June 10. Journal VII (1938-1939) reflects Utley's comments on America’s growing anti-Hitler and anti-Japanese sentiment due to their ill-treatment of the Jews and the Chinese, respectively, as well as his concern that America may become involved in European hostilities; his relief that the worst days of the Great Depression are behind his family and the country; and his comments on Governor Carl Bailey’s battles with the Legislature concerning his proposed highway bond-refunding bill. Journal VIII (1941-1942) recounts Utley's battle with heart disease; his presiding over the inaugural meeting of the Arkansas Historical Association at the Martin Hotel in Little Rock; and his observations regarding African American's military enlistment as a result of World War II.

Note the below subject index to the journals. A hard copy of the index can be found in box 6.

Adkins, Homer: 5, 6, 8

Arkansas Travelers: 6

Arkansas Traveling Exposition: 1, 9

Attorney General's Office (1920s): 9

Bailey, Carl: 6

Blacks: 2, 4, 8

Brough, Charles: 4, 5, 9

Bryan, William Jennings (visit to LR): 1, 9

Camp Robinson: 8

Capital Punishment: 3

Cappleman, Josie (death of): 6

City Transportation (Little Rock): 1

CCC - Civilian Conservation Corps (at Petit Jean): 5

Clubs and Associations: 2, 3, 7, 8

Cockrill, Ashley (death of): 4

Confederate Veteran's Club: 4

Cooper Family: 4

Courts: 1, 3, 4, 6

Democratic Convention: 4

Depression: 4, 7, 9

Depression of 1933: 5

Donaghey, George W.: 5

Economic Conditions: 3, 4, 9

Education: 3

Education (early 1900s): 9

Election - 1932: 4

Elections: 2

Entertainment and Entertainers: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7

Floods: 6

Fox Family: 4

Futrell, J. M.: 4, 5, 6

Hammock, (Judge): 3

Harris, Marvin: 3

Higgins, Jim B. (death of): 6

Home Owners Loan Corporation: 5

Jacoway, H. M.: 4

Japanese Colonists: 1

Ku Klux Klan: 1, 2, 3, 9

Laws and Legislation: 1, 2, 4

Little Rock (Transportation): 1

McDonald, Ed. F. (trial): 6

McRae, Thomas (Gov.): 1, 9

Martineau, John E.: 2, 6

Medical Conditions: 9

Miller, John: 6

Moore, John Merrick (death of): 1

Movies: 2

North Little Rock (politics): 7

Oil Industry: 9

Parnell, Harvey: 4

Political Affairs: 4, 5, 6, 7, 9

Politics and Government: 1, 2, 3

Powell, Dick: 5

Prohibition: 5

Public Utilities: 3

Racial Conditions: 8

Reconstruction: 9

Ragon, Heartsill: 4

Register of Births, etc.: 1, 4

Religion: 3, 9

Robinson, Joe T.: 4, 6

Roosevelt, Franklin D.: 6

Social Conditions: 1, 3, 6, 9

Sports: 6, 7

Terral, Tom: 2, 3, 4, 5, 9

Terry Family: 6, 8

Transportation: 1, 2, 3

Tucker, Guy B.: 1

Utley and Hammock Law Firm: 4

Utley Family: 1-9

"The Wheel" (Agricultural Wheel): 9

Women: 1, 3

World War I: 9

World War II: 7, 8

Biographical Note

Joseph Simeon Utley was born 1876 October 18 in Greenbriar, Faulkner County. Utley financed his education by working as a farm hand and teacher. In 1908, Utley began practicing law in Benton. He went on to serve as prosecuting attorney for the Seventh Judicial Circuit (1911-1915), state senator (1917-1921), and attorney general (1921-1925). After leaving political office, Utley established a law partnership with William T. Hammock, worked as state attorney for the Home Owners Loan Corporation, and ultimately served as judge of the Third Division Circuit Court, Sixth Circuit.

Utley began his journals during his second term as attorney general and comments on the activities of his office, including such topics as lawsuits, requests for favors, meetings, and politics. In addition to his duties as attorney general, Utley participated in Arkansas Democratic politics at a time when the Ku Klux Klan was attempting to take over the party. Utley also took an interest in "moving picture shows" (movies) and the theater as well as church and civic events: he belonged to Asbury Methodist Church, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Sons of the American Revolution, and was a 32 Degree Scottish Rite Mason. In addition to recording community events, Utley wrote an abridged autobiography (Journal VIII), which includes genealogical information as well as childhood and political reminiscences.

Utley married Vivian Rockwood Williams on 1903 June 18, and the couple had three children: Don, Georgia, and Ruth. The couple also adopted a daughter, Lorene. Utley died 1943 December 13.

Arkansas--Economic conditions--20th century
Arkansas--Politics and government--20th century
Arkansas--Social Life and Customs 20th century
Diaries--Arkansas--History--20th century


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:

Joseph S. Utley Journals, 1923-1943. UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Arkansas Studies Institute, Little Rock.

Footnote or Endnote info:

Description of item, item number, box number, Joseph S. Utley Journals, 1923-1943, UALR.MS.0059.

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