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06 September 2018

CGS Library Collections: Arkansas

One in a series by CGS member Chris Pattillo, highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog. Our catalog is also listed in WorldCat.

One of my photos from my drive along the Natchez Trace
 in 2017
CGS has a modest collection pertaining to Arkansas. It includes just five books and one entire shelf of the Arkansas Family Historian journal spanning the period 1962 to the Spring edition of 2018. Our collection includes their current journals.
The Outlaw Years
The first book that caught my eye was The Outlaw Years by Robert M. Coates, published in 1930. Its subtitle is The History of the Land Pirates of the Natchez Trace. (While on my 2017 Genealogy Journey I found myself in that vicinity, so I made a small adjustment in my route and drove north on a short segment of the famous road to Nashville, Tennessee.) The first chapter is about Daniel Boone and how he was the first to forge a trail from the Great Smoky Mountains. It refers to the Watauga and Cumberland Gap – places where my ancestors lived or where I visited while on my trip, so of course this book appealed to me. But I wondered: why was it shelved with Arkansas? The Natchez Trace starts in Mississippi in the south, crosses through a small portion of Alabama and ends in Tennessee. It turns out the Library of Congress catalog system, which our library uses, groups together states of the “Old Southwest,” the southwestern frontier territories of the United States from the Revolutionary War era through the early 19th century. The territory of the Old Southwest eventually formed the states of Missouri, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida panhandle.

CGS has a large collection of
Arkansas genealogy journals
The CGS collection includes two volumes of Publications of the Arkansas Historical Association, dated 1906 and 1911. Volume One is divided into two books. Part I covers topics such as "An Account of Books, Manuscripts, Papers and Documents About Arkansas in Public Repositories" covering foreign offices, federal offices and libraries and societies. Part II includes state offices, county offices, municipal offices, educational institutions, returned Confederate flags, and an Industrial History of Arkansas, and much more.

Fold-out map showing Native American lands in Arkansas
Volume Two devotes an entire chapter to the "Pronunciation of the Name 'Arkansas.'" It also has a chapter by Myra McAlmont Vaughn on "Habitat of the Quapaw Indians" that includes a map that folds out to about 15” x 20” showing “Indian Cessions, Grants to Indians and Changes in Western Boundaries of Arkansas.” It notes the dates of each transaction and shows rivers traversing the state.

The final book for Arkansas is From Memdag to Norsk: A Historical Directory of Arkansas Post Offices 1832-1971 by Russell Pierce Baker. The cover features a wonderful photo of Mr. and Mrs. George Zinn standing in front of the Avilla Post Office in Saline County. While this source is unlikely to appeal to a broad audience, to the right person it would prove a great find.
The Zinn family outside the Avilla Post Office in Saline
County, Arkansas, 1900

Coincidentally, the most recent edition of the the quarterly Arkansas Family Historian includes at least two articles about Saline County: an article about “Rock Creek’s Old Ebenezer Cemetery,” and “Abstracts from the minutes of the Columbia Colored Baptist Association, 1880.”

You might be surprised by what you can find on our library shelves.

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