Skip to main content

Hugh B. Patterson, Jr., Papers, 1657-1998

Hugh B. Patterson, Jr., Papers, 1657-1998

Save page 1 of 2
Open Finding Aid

Hugh B. Patterson, Jr., Papers, 1657-1998 UALR.MS.0223


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 2014-03-10T11:39-0500

Repository: UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
Title: Hugh B. Patterson, Jr., Papers, 1657-1998
Dates: Bulk, 1819-1998
Dates: 1657-1998
Quantity: 115.0 Linear feet; 219 boxes
Identification: UALR.MS.0223


Series I, by eldest family member; Series II, by subject, then chronologically within; Series III, by subject, then chronologically within; Series IV, chronologically; Series V, by subject then chronologically within; and Series VI, by subject, then chronologically within.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains correspondence, financial papers, photographs, memorabilia, and other items concerning the life and career of Hugh B. Patterson, Jr. (1915-2006), the business manager of the Arkansas Gazette.The collection also includes many items concerning the Heiskell family, which Patterson was related to by way of his marriage to Louise Heiskell. The collection is organized as follows:

Series I: Early Heiskell and Patterson Family Papers, Boxes 1-38

Series II: Hugh B. Patterson, Jr., and Family Papers, Boxes 39-170

Series III: Heiskell and Patterson Family Photographs, Boxes 171-185

Series IV: Patterson Family Medical Records, Box 186 (Restricted Materials)

Series V: Genealogical Materials, Boxes 187-188

Series VI: Arkansas Gazette Company Records, Boxes 189-219

Abbreviations used: HBP (Hugh B. Patterson, Jr.), JNH (J. N. Heiskell).

Series I. Early Heiskell Family Papers

This series contains correspondence, rare books, diaries, and other papers concerning the Heiskell and Patterson families of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas, including items from the related Wilson and Netherland families. The series begins with materials belonging to John Heiskell, a publisher born in the eighteenth century. The series contains significant materials belonging to J. N. Heiskell (1872-1972), who managed the Arkansas Gazette from 1902-1972.

The Heiskell family lived in Tennessee during the Civil War, but some members moved to Arkansas in the late nineteenth century. JNH spent most of his life in Little Rock, though he continued to have immediate family in Memphis, including his brother Fred Heiskell (1875-1931), who also worked in the newspaper industry. Series I contains items concerning the Heiskell family's role in the Civil War as well as the settling of the western territories, including a copy of a diary about the migration to California in 1849. Among JNH's papers in this series are numerous rare books that were part of his personal library, including titles concerning the Civil War, slavery, and southern history.

Series II. Hugh B. Patterson, Jr., and Family Papers

This series contains correspondence, financial materials, memorabilia, and other items concerning Hugh B. Patterson, Jr.'s personal life, relationships with family members, and professional career. Most of the correspondence in this series, arranged alphabetically by subject, concerns Patterson's business and professional relationships. Patterson's personal and family correspondence is arranged first in this series (Boxes 39-50), which include numerous letters written to Patterson from his wife and family while he was serving in the military during World War II. The archivist has made a concerted effort to separate personal from professional correspondence, though there is overlap. Significant family correspondents include Hugh's brother, the illustrator Ralph Patterson (1912-1937) and his sons Carrick (1945-) and Ralph (1947-). Also included are letters and photographs documenting Patterson's friendship with the European diplomat Dervish Duma.

Patterson's business and professional correspondence (Boxes 51-111) make up the largest part of this series. Correspondence chiefly contains discussion of industry matters with newspaper writers and publishers in Arkansas and across the United States, providing a detailed look at the management of the Arkansas Gazette and the American newspaper industry. Significant correspondents include Harry Ashmore, containing letters written while Ashmore worked at the Gazette and the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in California. Patterson also wrote to numerous influential politicians and business leaders in Arkansas, including Bill Clinton, Dale Bumpers, and Sam Walton. Patterson, furthermore, corresponded with major national figures such as Adlai Stevenson, Lyndon Johnson, and Jimmy Carter.

Boxes 119-130 contain many travel documents, including letters, photographs, and souvenirs that Patterson collected on various trips in the United States and abroad, including visits to Europe, South America, Asia, and the Middle East. Patterson was especially fond of a visit to Israel in 1968 for the country's twentieth anniversary, which he wrote about in an article for the Arkansas Gazette.

Among Patterson's papers in Series II are personal financial materials (Boxes 149-163), including documents concerning small purchases for everyday items as well as papers concerning Heiskell and Patterson family trusts, Patterson's oil investments, and real estate ventures. There are considerable materials concerning Patterson's financial dealings following the sale of the Arkansas Gazette to Gannett in 1986 and later the Arkansas Democrat in 1991. Business records from the period after 1986 include Patterson and his family's interests in the Arkansas Business Company, FGS Limited Partnership, and Hugh B. Patterson and Associates.

This series also contains papers (Boxes 165-170) belonging to Patterson's immediate family and in-laws, including his first wife Louise, sons Carrick and Ralph, and Louise's brother Carrick, who was killed on a flying mission during World War II.

Series III. This series contains hundreds of photographs, arranged alphabetically by subject, documenting the personal and professional lives of the Heiskell and Patterson family as well as the related Wilson and Mann families, including photographs of the Little Rock architect George Richard Mann. Images include weddings, vacations, family gatherings, recreation and sport, and travel. Significant individuals include J. N. Heiskell, his wife Wilhelmina, and their children: Carrick, Elizabeth, and Louise. The Patterson family is also well represented, including Hugh B. Patterson, Sr., his son Hugh B. Patterson, Jr., and the children of Hugh and Louise. Because the vast majority of the photographs were not identified before processing, the archivist has attempted to identify images using the resources within the collection as well as related collections in the UALR holdings.

Series IV. This series contains medical records of the Patterson and related families. They are restricted under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Please contact UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture and the Patterson family for permission to view these materials.

Series V. This series contains genealogical charts, correspondence, and other papers concerning the Heiskell and Patterson family. Papers document the Heiskell family's roots in Tennessee and the Patterson family's descendants from Mississippi. Also included are materials concerning the related Bennet, Davis, Netherland, Spence, and Wilson families.

Series VI: This series contains correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia concerning the management of the Arkansas Gazette. Some nineteenth century materials are included, though the series chiefly documents events after World War II. While most of HBP's business papers are contained in Series II of this collection, Series VI does contain writings by him. This series chiefly includes materials related to, and generated by, other employees at the Arkansas Gazette. Significant materials include correspondence and other papers concerning the Central High School integration controversy from 1957-1958, documenting Patterson and his newspaper's stand on desegregation in Little Rock. Other items of interest include photographs of Gazette employees from the 1950s and 1970s and significant correspondence of editor Harry Ashmore.

Biographical Note

Hugh Baskin Patterson, Jr., was born in Cotton Plant, Mississippi, in 1915, the son of Hugh Baskin Patterson (1872-1965) and Martha Rebecca Wilson (1881-1958). With his family, he traveled to Arkansas in 1917, settling first in Russellville and then moving to Pine Bluff in 1921. He attended Pine Bluff High School and Henderson State Teachers College (now Henderson State University). In 1936, he moved to Little Rock, where he worked for the Democrat Printing and Lithograph Company, and he later worked in the graphic arts in Washington, D.C., and New York City. During World War II, he rose to the rank of major after receiving training at Air Corps Officer Candidate School in Miami Beach and later served on the staff at Mobile Air Service Command at Brookley Field in Alabama. In March 1944 in Little Rock, Patterson married Louise Caroline Heiskell (1921-1990), the daughter of J. N. Heiskell, publisher of the Arkansas Gazette. With Louise, Hugh had two sons: Carrick (1945-) and Ralph (1948-).

In January 1946, Patterson joined the staff of the Arkansas Gazette as National Advertising Manager. Two years later, he rose to the rank of Assistant Business Manager and Advertising Director and soon after, Publisher. In 1958, the Gazette won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Central High integration crisis. Although he was not among the editorial staff, Patterson played an important role in keeping the Gazette afloat financially amid intense public attacks, which included a boycott.

For his efforts, in 1958 Patterson won the Freedom Award from Freedom House. In 1973, he received an honorary doctorate in law from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. During his lifetime, Patterson was a member of many clubs and organizations, including the Foreign Policy Association, Council on Foreign Relations, Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, American Newspaper Publishers Association, International Press Institute, Inter American Press Association, and Sigma Delta Chi. He was also active in Little Rock groups such as the XV Club and Farkleberry Follies.

In 1986, Gannett Corporation purchased the Arkansas Gazette, the oldest newspaper west of the Mississippi River, which led Patterson to retire from daily operations. The paper merged with its cross-town rival the Arkansas Democrat in 1991, after being purchased by Walter Hussman, Jr., the owner of the Democrat. In 1987, Hugh and Louise Patterson divorced. In 1992, Hugh married Olivia Lid Nisbet. Hugh Patterson died 2006 May 29.

Arkansas gazette (Little Rock, Ark. : 1889).
Ashmore, Harry S., 1916-1998
Central High School (Little Rock, Ark.)
Heiskell family
Heiskell, John Netherland, 1872-1972
Newspapers--United States--History--20th century
Patterson family
Patterson, Hugh B. (Hugh Baskin), 1915-2006
School integration--Arkansas--Little Rock


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for viewing at the Arkansas Studies Institute.

Conditions Governing Use note

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:

Hugh B. Patterson, Jr., Papers, 1657-1998, UALR.MS.0223, UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Arkansas Studies Institute, Little Rock.

Footnote or Endnote info:

Description of item, folder number, box number, series number, Hugh B. Patterson, Jr., Papers, 1657-1998, UALR.MS.0223, UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture.

Processed by:

Colin Woodward, Ph.D., UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, 2012-2013.

Related Material

J. N. Heiskell Collection, UALR.MS.0150

Arkansas Gazette Business Files, 1819-1981, UALR.MS.0187

Harry Ashmore Papers, UALR.MS.0178

you wish to report:

Select the collections to add or remove from your search