Skip to main content

McRae family papers

McRae family papers

Save page 1 of 2
Open Finding Aid

Finding aid for the McRae family papers


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

April 15, 2014

Repository: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Creator:McRae family
Title: McRae family papers
Dates: 1846-2003
Quantity: 21.0 Linear feet
Abstract:This collection contains biographical, family and business documents for members of six generations of the family of Thomas C. McRae Sr.
Identification: BC.MSS.09.09
Language: English
Permanent URL:


This collection is arranged topically and chronologically. The collection contains eleven series, as follows: Series I, Mcrae family histories; Series II, McRae family estates; Series III, McRae family partnerships; Series IV, Professional and business interests of McRae family members; Series V, Political materials; Series VI, Community histories and biographies; Series VII, Ledgers; Series VIII, Books and memorabilia; Series IX, Images; Series X, Broadsides and oversized documents; Series XI, Ephemera.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains biographical material relating to six generations of the McRae family of Union and Nevada Counties in southwest Arkansas. It also contains personal, family and business documents, with a concentration of material from Governor Thomas C. McRae Sr., his children and grandchildren. The items include land records and other documents for individual family members, family partnerships and estates, and professional partnerships. The professional records come from the McRae law practices and their participation in the Bank of Prescott and other local businesses.

Also included are the military service records of Duncan L. McRae Jr., the grandson of the former governor, including cases he handled in the Judge Advocate General’s office at Camp Pike during the closing days of World War II.

The family names of Thomas C. McRae and Duncan L. McRae occur multiple times over the generations represented in this collection. Thomas C. McRae Sr., Thomas C. McRae Jr., and Thomas C. McRae III are identified in the finding aid with the appropriate suffix. The father, son, grandson and great grandson of Thomas C. McRae Sr. are all named Duncan L. McRae. The suffix that was part of each man's legal name is supplemented in the finding aid by a Roman numeral in parentheses to identify the individual. They are Duncan L. McRae (I), father; Duncan L. McRae Sr. (II), son; Duncan L. McRae Jr. (III), grandson; and Duncan L. McRae III (IV), great grandson.

Biographical Information

Six generations of the family of Arkansas Governor Thomas Chipman McRae are represented in this collection, from his grandparents to his great grandchildren. Christopher and Janet McRae moved to Arkansas with their family in 1843 and helped found the town of Mount Holly in Union County. Their grandson Thomas, who became Arkansas's 26th governor, was born at Mount Holly on December 21, 1851 to Duncan L. and Mary Chipman McRae.

Thomas McRae established a law practice in 1873, first in Rosston and later in Prescott, in Nevada County. He was active in local and state politics and served in Congress from 1884 to 1903. He was elected governor of Arkansas in 1920 and served until 1925. Throughout his political career, he maintained his law practice, in partnership with his son Duncan and several other men. As owner and president of the Bank of Prescott, McRae also became a leader in Arkansas banking. He died in 1929.

Thomas McRae's son Duncan (II) followed his father in his law practice, as well as in the banking and real estate businesses in Nevada County. Records of the estates of both Thomas C. McRae Sr. and Duncan L. McRae Sr. (II) make up significant portions of this collection. Following the death of Duncan L. Sr., his son Duncan L. McRae Jr. (III) took over the family business responsibilities and followed a similar professional path. This collection includes records of miscellaneous transactions and correspondence of Duncan L. McRae III (IV) and other younger members of the McRae family.

The collection also includes material from several other McRae lines, including descendants of Thomas C. McRae's uncle, Washington McRae, and families who were connected to the McRaes by marriage. In addition to the McRae family, the collection contains documents of other businessmen, farm families and community leaders from Nevada County and the town of Prescott. The collection provides an overview of the economy of southwest Arkansas throughout the middle of the 20th century.

Index Terms

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

Arkansas -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950.
Arkansas. Governor (1921-1925 : McRae)
Business -- Arkansas.
McRae, Amelia A. White, 1855-1947
McRae, Duncan L. , Sr., 1885-1936
McRae, Duncan L., 1816-1863
McRae, Duncan L., Jr., 1912-2002
McRae, Thomas C., Jr., 1882-1952
McRae, Thomas Chipman, 1851-1929
McRae, Washington, 1827-1890
Mount Holly (Ark.)
Nevada County (Ark.)
Prescott (Ark.)
Probate records -- Arkansas.
Rosston (Ark.)
Union County (Ark.)
West Carroll Parish (La.)


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Restrictions on Use

Non-circulating, in-house use only.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

McRae family papers, MSS.09.09, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute

Acquisition Information

Donated by Mary Ellen McRae, 2009

you wish to report:

Select the collections to add or remove from your search