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Ozarks Regional Commission records, 1968-1984

Ozarks Regional Commission records, 1968-1984

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Finding aid for the Ozarks Regional Commission records UALR.MS.0257


UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
401 President Clinton Avenue
Little Rock, AR, 72201

July 19, 2016

Profile Description

Creation: This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2016-07-19T11:53-0500
Language: English

Repository: UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
Title: Ozarks Regional Commission records, 1968-1984
Dates: 1968-1984
Quantity: 4.75 linear feet; 1.5 document boxes and 12 flat boxes
Identification: UALR.MS.0257

Arrangement Note

Slides have been been arranged by state and then in numerical order based on artist numbers assigned by the Ozarks Regional Commission. The survey response data was originally stored on computer cards and was printed by UALR on 1984 May 18.

Scope and Contents Note

This collection is primarily composed of slides documenting crafts created by residents of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma as part of a survey, Crafts: The Human Dimension, conducted by the Ozarks Regional Commission. There are also reports concerning the artists involved, survey responses, and audio visual material about tourism in the Ozarks. Also included are the Ozarks Regional Commission 1968 Annual Report and the Ozarks Regional Commission Technical, Demonstration, and Supplemental Grant Projects: Completed in or in Progress in Fiscal Year 1968 Through Fiscal Year 1979. Over 500 of the Ozarks Regional Commission published reports are cataloged individually and available for viewing at the Center for Arkansas and Culture in the Arkansas Studies Institute building.

Historical Note

Created in 1966 March, the Ozarks Regional Commission (ORC) was one of five federal-state partnership commissions developed under Title V of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965. Originally a 125 county block, the area served by the ORC expanded over time and included counties in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The commission consisted of the governors of the included states as well as a federal co-chairman appointed by the president. The commission was intended to be modeled on the already operating Applachia Regional Commission, and its offices were located in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The ORC was developed in an effort to bring new investment and industrial growth in regions with low economic performance. Lyndon B. Johnson believed technology and better transportation were needed in rural areas to prevent their depopulation and the simultaneous overcrowding of cities. The ORC sought to promote economic strength in these impoverished rural areas by developing underutilized human and physical resources.

One area of concentration was post-secondary technical education focused on training for high paying industrial jobs rather than the lower paying service industry or the dwindling agricultural sector. In the 1968 fiscal year, with a combination of federal and non-federal funds, the ORC established eight technical education centers.

The ORC also promoted higher education through a management system for colleges and universities that would better use local resources and meet curricula needs in the developing economy. Arkansas Polytechnic College (now Arkansas Tech University) was selected as the model school so the new information system could be developed in a practical environment and applied to schools throughout the region.

Investments were also made in food processing to increase vegetable and fruit production in Northwest Arkansas, and in transportation to create a highway corridor system, and better air travel to increase tourism. Hot Springs already had a large tourism base to build upon. Thus, the ORC looked more closely at how the Ozark Mountain region could expand tourism, which would generate funds to create better infrastructure that could later support incoming industries.

One effort to increase tourism involved advertising the folk arts of the region, including music and crafts. This included the production of films encouraging people to visit "America Central" and enjoy all the culture the region had to offer. In an attempt to examine the income potential of craftsmen in the region, the ORC produced a report and inventory of locally produced crafts in the Ozarks with an accompanying slide set of images.

Early in the history of the ORC, the Office of Emergency Planning (OEP) encouraged more responsible government spending spurred by fears of inflation which severely limited the abilities of the commission. OEP encouraged more limited spending on development projects for both state and federal agencies. In addition, the Title V regional commissions were under the bureaucratic umbrella of the Department of Commerce and had much lower budgets than the model Appalachia Regional Commission that benefited from greater autonomy. Despite increased budget cuts in the mid-1970s the ORC's operating area expanded to include entire states rather than only counties within the Ozarks. While the ORC fit well with Johnson's Great Society planning, there was limited funding designated for such programs under the Nixon administration. When Reagan took office he used social spending cuts to reduce the nation's deficit, and the Ozark Regional Commission was defunded in 1981.

In 1981, during the dissolution of the commission, over 500 published ORC reports were donated to the Government Documents Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Ottenheimer Library. These reports are now housed at the Center for Arkansas History and Culture in the Arkansas Studies Institute building and cover topics including agriculture, human resources, natural resources, and recreation and tourism.

Artists--Arkansas--History--20th century
Artists--Kansas--History--20th century
Artists--Louisiana--History--20th century
Artists--Missouri--History--20th century
Artists--Oklahoma--History--20th century
Ozark Mountains--Economic conditions--20th century
Ozark Mountains--History
Ozarks Regional Commission (U.S.)
Stained glass windows
Textile crafts


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.

Administrative Information

Citation Notes

Bibliographic citation:

Ozarks Regional Commission Records, UALR.MS.0257. UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Arkansas Studies Institute, Little Rock.

Footnote or Endnote info:

Description of item, folder number, box number, Ozarks Regional Commission Records, 1968-1977, UALR.MS.0257.

Processing by:

Jessica Erwin, Graduate Assistant, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2015.

Related Material

The over 500 published Ozarks Regional Commission reports that were donated to the the University of Arkansas at Little Rock upon the dissolution of the Commission in 1981 are available for use at the Center for Arkansas History and Culture in the Arkansas Studies Institute building. They cover topics including agriculture, human resources, natural resources, and recreation and tourism. Of note are the publications related to the crafts survey: Crafts: The Human Dimension, executive summary, NK811 .P42 and Crafts: The Human Dimension, three volume set, NK811 .P47 1978 v.1, NK811 .P47 1978 v.2, NK811 .P47 1978 v.3.

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