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Raymond Rebsamen papers, 1931-2009

Raymond Rebsamen papers, 1931-2009

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Finding aid for the Raymond Rebsamen papers UALR.MS.0263


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

July 18, 2016

Profile Description

Creation: This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2016-07-18T17:55-0500
Language: English

Repository: UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
Title: Raymond Rebsamen papers, 1931-2009
Dates: 1931-2009
Quantity: 6.2 linear feet; 3 document boxes, 6 flat boxes
Identification: UALR.MS.0263

Scope and Contents Note

The collection includes materials related to both Raymond Rebsamen’s civic and political activities and Rebsamen Insurance. Roughly half of the collection is personal papers while the other half chronicles Rebsamen Insurance. There are photographs, negatives, correspondence, newspaper clippings, certificates, ephemera, publications, realia, newsletters, newspaper clippings, and promotional materials. The photographs primarily document Rebsamen Insurance. The personal papers are largely certificates, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and ephemera, with a few photographs.

Biographical Note

Raymond Henry Rebsamen was born 1898 April 8 in Lancaster, Texas, to William Frederick (1874-1943) and Edna May Miller Rebsamen (1878-1963). Rebsamen grew up in Fort Smith, Arkansas, with his two brothers, Lloyd M. Rebsamen and Paul M. Rebsamen. He served in the United States Army as a private during World War I and a lieutenant colonel in World War II. In 1923, he married Elizabeth Purcell (1903-1987). They became residents of Little Rock and had two children, Ruth Elizabeth (1924-) and Frederick Raymond (1926-2009); four grandchildren, Ruth Ellen Remmel (1948-1995), Mary Remmel (1950-), Emily Karen Remmel (1953-), and Raymond Roland Remmel (1956-); and at least eight great-grandchildren.

Rebsamen’s long history with education began as a student in the Fort Smith public school system. He attended the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and was awarded a distinguished alumnus citation in 1960 and an honorary Doctorate of Laws in 1974. In 1948, he donated the 80 acres that became the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. A sign identifying the site as UALR’s Raymond Rebsamen Campus was unveiled in 2008.

Rebsamen began his prominent career as a field auditor for the Internal Revenue Service before becoming a Certified Public Accountant. He soon left accounting to pursue other business ventures including Rebsamen Insurance, Arkansas Printing and Lithography, International Graphics, Inc., and Rebsamen Ford. Rebsamen served as the director of numerous organizations and boards including the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company, National Association of Manufacturers, Dillard Department Stores, and Arkansas Motor Coaches. In 2009, he was inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame.

Rebsamen Insurance began in 1928 as Rebsamen and Brown Company in the Home Insurance Building at Third and Center Streets in downtown Little Rock. In 1930, the company relocated to 103 West Capitol Avenue and became Rebsamen and East, Incorporated. Rebsamen and East relocated three more times, first in the late 1930s to the Rector Building at Third and Spring Streets, then in 1960 to the newly-constructed Tower Building, and finally to the Rebsamen Center at 1500 Riverfront Drive in 1979. In 2001, Regions Financial Corporation purchased Rebsamen Insurance which by that time had become the largest insurance company in Arkansas.

Rebsamen was also a key player in the mid-20th century urban renewal movement in Little Rock. He led the Committee of 100, also known as the Pulaski County Citizens Council, a group of business and civic leaders who organized fundraising and planning for the Little Rock Air Force Base. He served as the first chair of the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (later Metroplan), helped found the Urban Progress Association, and assisted with the planning and execution of the Central Little Rock Urban Renewal Plan. Rebsamen was also the president of civic organizations such as Greater Little Rock Community Chest and Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce.

Involved in local and state politics, Rebsamen ran for governor of Arkansas in 1966 with a platform focused on economic development. His campaign slogan was “Reach with Rebsamen,” encouraging growth in Arkansas, but he lost to James D. “Justice Jim” Johnson in the Democratic primary. Rebsamen’s philanthropy extended beyond the donation of the site for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In 1954, he gave $30,000 for the development of the Little Rock municipal Rebsamen Golf Course. He supported the Little Rock Zoo through the donation of animals, including a giraffe and long-time resident Ellen the Elephant, named for Rebsamen’s granddaughter Ruth Ellen Remmel. In 1967, he donated a bronze statue of Icarus and Daedalus for the new Little Rock public library plaza. He provided funds to support the University of Arkansas College of Business and contributed to the establishment of the Rebsamen Memorial Hospital, later renamed North Metro Medical Center.

Rebsamen was a member of numerous clubs and organizations including University of Arkansas Alumni Association, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, First Presbyterian Church of Little Rock, Easter Seals, United Service Organizations, Grand Lodge of Arkansas Freemasons, and Memphis Hunt and Polo Club.

Raymond Rebsamen died 1975 December 25 and is buried at Roselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock.

Architecture--Arkansas--Little Rock--History--20th century
Business enterprises--Arkansas--History--20th century
Little Rock (Ark.)--History--20th century
Political campaigns--Arkansas--History--20th century
Urban renewal--Arkansas--Little Rock


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:

Raymond Rebsamen Papers, UALR.MS.0263. UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Arkansas Studies Institute, Little Rock, AR.

Footnote or Endnote info:

Description of item, file number, box number, Raymond Rebsamen Papers, 1931-2009, UALR.MS.0263.

Processing by:

Jessica Erwin, Graduate Assistant, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2016.

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