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Max Howell Papers, 1934-1996

Max Howell Papers, 1934-1996

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Max Howell Papers, 1938-1995 UALR.MS.0238

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 2015-06-03T09:50-0500

Repository: UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
Title: Max Howell Papers, 1934-1996
Dates: 1934-1996
Quantity: 45.0 linear feet; 81 document boxes, three flat boxes, one oversized box, and one cassette box.
Identification: UALR.MS.0238


I. Personal Papers, 1938-1994Subseries I: Biographical and campaign materials, 1940-1993Subseries II: Correspondence, 1940-1994Subseries III: Civic activities, 1938-1992II. Legal Practice Papers, 1948-1989III. Political Papers, 1934-1994Subseries I: Legislation subject files, 1934-1994Subseries II: Committee materials, 1965-1992Subseries III: Senate rosters and General Assembly digests, 1967-1992IV. Printed Materials, 1939-1993V. Photographs, 1941-1981VI. Oversize materials, 1945-1987VII. Audio, 1994-1996

Scope and Content

This collection contains the political and personal papers of Max Howell (1915-1999), a prominent Arkansas lawyer and politician. His legislative career, the longest in state history, comprised four years in the Arkansas House of Representatives and forty-two years in the Arkansas Senate, where he sponsored over 700 bills. His papers include correspondence, club materials, Arkansas Supreme Court briefs, legislation and committee materials, General Assembly rosters and digests, newspaper clippings, photographs, and an interview series recorded after his retirement.

Biographical Note

William Max Howell was born 1915 December 22in Lonoke, Arkansas, to Marguerite and Flavius Joseph Howell. When Howell was five years old, the family moved to Little Rock, where his father sold insurance and his mother sewed for the Gus Blass Company and Pfeifer department stores. Howell graduated from Little Rock High School (later Central High School) and read law under the guidance of his neighbor, L. J. Dowd, a retired law professor. He joined the Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in 1941 and served in the Arkansas National Guard for over 30 years. After his active duty ended in 1946, Howell joined a small law firm. Some years later, he and Dale Price left the firm to start their own.

After finishing high school, Howell married Lula Agnes Gray, with whom he had a son and a daughter. They later divorced and in 1967, he married Inez Donham of Little Rock, who had four children from a previous marriage.

Shortly after World War II, Howell began his political career. He was elected to the state House of Representatives from Little Rock in 1946, served two terms, and was elected to the Senate in 1950. In 1955 he introduced a bill to establish a state program for severely handicapped children. The Arkansas Children’s Colony in Conway was the first of six regional centers for the disabled. During the same session, Howell held his ground against a wave of anti-integration legislation that was sweeping the South. Although he gained support in the Senate, he was ultimately unable to stop the legislation that gave rise to the Central High Crisis.

Howell held leadership positions on more than 20 committees throughout his career, including long-term appointments as either Chairman or Co-Chair of the Legislative Council, Select Committee on Children and Youth, and Joint Budget, Joint Performance Review, Judiciary, and Administrative Rules Committee. His most celebrated legislation included the development of a modern mental health system in Arkansas, the merger of Little Rock University (now University of Arkansas at Little Rock) with the University of Arkansas system, the establishment of the UALR Law School, and the creation of an adult probation system for the state. He also worked to consolidate school districts and allocate more funding to the Pulaski County Special School District. Continuing in the vein of education and youth services, Howell was responsible for the establishment of 23 vocational-technical schools and sought improvement in child custody, adoption, and abuse issues, as well as juvenile court. In addition, his work with the Department of Human Services led to the creation of the Department of Natural and Cultural Heritage and the Little Rock Convention Center.

Howell gave up his seat in Little Rock and moved to Jacksonville, Arkansas, after the decennial reapportionment of the legislature in 1971 abolished multi-member legislative districts and placed him in a district with a fellow senator. He ran unopposed until he retired in 1992 after the adoption of a constitutional amendment limiting the terms of legislators.

Howell died in 1999 October 15 and is buried at Roselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock.

Arkansas--Politics and government--20th century
Democratic Party (Ark.)
Horse racing--Arkansas--Hot Springs
Howell, Max (William Max), 1915-1999
Political campaigns
Pulaski County (Ark.)
Sarver, C. Robert (Charles Robert), 1931-1989
Vertac Superfund Site


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:

Max Howell Papers, 1934-1996, UALR.MS.0238. 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, Max Howell Papers, 1934-1996, UALR.MS.0238.

Acquisition Information

Received from Max Howell in August 1995. Political cartoons received from Elizabeth Shores in May 1999.

Processing Information

Processed by Monica Mylonas, UALR Center for Arkanas History and Culture, 2013. Processing completed by Sarah Bost, UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, 2014.

Related Material

Calvin R. Ledbetter, Jr., Papers, 1964-1988, UALR.MS.0191, UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture.

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