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Registers of Pulaski County Teachers’ Licenses, 1917-1940

Registers of Pulaski County Teachers’ Licenses, 1917-1940

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Finding aid for the Registers of Pulaski County Teachers’ Licenses UALR.MS.0265


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

February 3, 2017

Profile Description

Creation: This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2017-02-16T16:45-0600
Language: English

Repository: UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
Title: Registers of Pulaski County Teachers’ Licenses, 1917-1940
Dates: 1917-1940
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet; two flat boxes and one half-size document box
Identification: UALR.MS.0265


Chronological. Loose items laid in each register have been placed in a corresponding folder.

Scope and Contents Note

This collection contains registers of teachers’ licenses issued, reissued, or revoked in Pulaski County from 1917 to 1938. Licenses were issued for state or county first grade, elementary, high school, junior high school, and vocational. The county examiner and/or superintendent reviewed the qualifications of each candidate who applied for a license. It appears that the State Department of Education reviewed the applicants for teachers’ licenses following the abolishment of county superintendents in 1933. Required qualifications varied by license. Information recorded for each teacher seeking a license includes highest grade or degree obtained, teaching experience, knowledge of certain school topics, and examination scores. Examinations were written, conducted, and graded by the county examiner. By 1923, the ledgers were separated by “colored” or “white” teachers. One ledger is dedicated to the teachers of Gibbs High School with the same statistical information. Lists of training schools include Gibbs High School, Philander Smith College, Normal School in Conway (now University of Central Arkansas), Capitol Hill High School, Branch Normal School in Pine Bluff (now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), University of Arkansas, Dunbar Junior College, Little Rock High School (now Little Rock Central High School), and North Little Rock High School. Originally placed in some of the ledgers are pamphlets that include rules and regulations for state and county teachers’ certificates in Arkansas, receipts for examination fees, letters providing additional information about specific teachers in the county, blank preliminary school enumeration cards, blank applications for certificates, and blank teacher's’ licenses. One 1932 pamphlet from Claude M. Hirst titled Rules and Regulations Concerning Issue and Reissue of State and County Teachers’ Certificates for Arkansas gives a list of requirements that teachers must meet in order to receive a license. One unrelated pamphlet titled What is the New History Society provides an overview of the New History Society, a New York-based organization created by Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Stuyvesant Chanler and Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, founded on the Universal and Constructive Principles of Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha. The organization promoted a monthly publication, public meetings, competitions about topics such as world peace, efforts towards the realization of a United States of the World, college contributions to restore the human commonwealth, universal religion, harmony among all races, universal disarmament, and non-cooperation with wars.The New History Society dissolved following Sohrab’s death in 1958.

Historical Note

Arkansas Education Association

The State Teachers Association was created in 1869 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Their goals included working with the Arkansas Educational Commission and the State Board of Education to lobby for legislative changes in support of the Arkansas school system in the state legislature. Legislative lobbying changes came after a federal study of the public school system in Arkansas in 1923. The study began in 1921 by the U.S. Bureau of Education and listed issues with the school system, ranking Arkansas 46 out of 48 states. The report suggested a lack of equal distribution of funds throughout Arkansas, particularly in rural schools. In response, the State Teachers Association lobbied to increase taxes to pay for public school districts. The State Teachers Association changed its name to the Arkansas Educational Association in 1920. Their goals in the 1921 Forward Education Movement, a program formed from Arkansas Education Association members of teachers and school administrators to encourage legislative support for school systems throughout the nation, were to increase state funds to poorer school districts, consolidate smaller school districts, and raise the salaries and training requirements of teachers. The Association bought a privately-published journal called the Arkansas Teacher to create the Journal of Arkansas Education as its official publication for members in 1923. In 1924, the Arkansas Educational Association changed its name to the Arkansas Education Association (AEA). During the 1920s, the AEA supported a recommendation from the Arkansas Educational Commission to transfer control of teacher certification from county boards of education to the State Department of Education. The state legislature passed Act 169 in 1931, which abolished the county superintendent and county boards of education but kept the county examiner to conduct and grade the teachers’ examinations until 1944.

Arkansas Teachers Association

The State Teachers Association of Arkansas was formed in 1898 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The Association was an African American counterpart of the AEA. The goals of the group included equal salaries, rights, and integration of African American teachers in Arkansas. By the 1920s, half of the black teachers in Arkansas were members. Their first publication was released in 1928, through their journal called the Bulletin. Bulletin writer I. T. Gilliam appears to have written one of the first articles comparing and contrasting the black and white schools systems in 1928. The Bulletin continued to report on racial inequality through 1934. The State Teachers Association changed its name in 1931 to the Association of Teachers of Negro Youth in Arkansas, and again in 1938 to the Arkansas Teachers Association (ATA). The ATA moved their offices from Pine Bluff to Little Rock in the 1960s. The Arkansas Teachers Association merged with the Arkansas Education Association to form the integrated Arkansas Education Association in 1969.

Arkansas State Department of Education

The State Department of Education grew out of a series of reforms during the terms of Governors George Donaghey and Charles Brough and the Arkansas Educational Commission. J. L. Bond was state superintendent of education from 1916 to 1922. He established the County Boards of Education and instituted superintendents for each county. Before this, county superintendents were optional, and each county could elect to have one as early as 1903.

Arthur B. Hill was state superintendent of education from 1923 to 1927. His major priority was to increase state taxes in order to provide funding to Arkansas’s public school systems. He was credited for his part in an equal educational opportunity plan in 1925 as part of the American Education Week event. In 1929, the State Department of Education introduced new types of teachers’ licenses: type “A” for teachers with 24 months of experience or more, and type “B” for teachers with no experience. The goal was to increase the requirements of teaching in public schools by making it harder for teachers with less education to qualify for licenses. In order to provide more opportunities for quality education, the State Department of Education promoted the Normal School in Conway (now University of Central Arkansas) and its African American counterpart, the Branch Normal School in Pine Bluff (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff)

Claude M. Hirst served as state superintendent of education from 1929 to 1933. He provided a standard for teachers’ qualifications in Rules and Regulations Concerning Issue and Reissue of State and County Teachers’ Certificates for Arkansas in 1932. Recommendations from the Arkansas Education Commission and Arkansas Education Association in the 1920s led to the passage of Act 169 in 1931. The act invested the Arkansas Department of Education with the power to grant and revoke teachers’ licenses, while simultaneously abolishing the county boards of education and county superintendent by 1933. However, the county examiner position was retained until the 1940s to administer examinations for teachers’ licenses.

Bahai Faith
M. W. Gibbs High School (Little Rock, Ark.)
Pulaski County (Ark.)


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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:

Registers of Pulaski County Teachers’ Licenses, 1917-1940, UALR.MS.0265. UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Arkansas Studies Institute, Little Rock.

Footnote or Endnote info:

Description of item, file number, box number, Registers of Pulaski County Teachers’ Licenses, 1917-1940, UALR.MS.0265

Processing by:

Michael Fondren, Graduate Assistant, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Fall 2016.

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