Margaret Smith Ross Papers (MC 1587)
Table of Contents
Margaret Deane Smith Ross was born August 24, 1922, in North Little Rock, the daughter of Cecil B. and Myrtle Gibson Smith. She attended North Little Rock public schools, and from 1939 to 1941 she attended Arkansas Polytechnic College in Russellville. She continued her education at the University of Arkansas, which she attended from 1941 to 1942. A journalism major and a member of Delta Gamma Sorority, she developed a strong friendship with journalism professor Walter Lemke, with whom she later collaborated on several projects. She left the university before graduating to marry Captain Edwin L. Ross in September 1942; he was killed in combat in Normandy on July 4, 1944. They had one son, Edwin L. Ross, Jr.
Following the death of her husband, she lived in Little Rock and worked as a freelance writer for the Arkansas Democrat. In 1953 she became an associate editor of the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, a position she retained until 1993. She was a charter member of the Pulaski County Historical Society, and from 1953 to 1957 served as its journal’s first editor. From 1954 to 1957 she was a research assistant at Arkansas History Commission. In 1957 she became the Arkansas Gazette historian and curator of the J.N. Heiskell Collection of Arkansiana; she remained with the Gazette for twenty-seven years. From 1958 to 1968 she wrote a historical column for the Gazette, the “Chronicles of Arkansas.” She was a charter member of the Arkansas Genealogical Society, founded by Walter Lemke in 1962. In 1968 she became a member of the Arkansas Historical Association’s board of directors, a position she occupied until 1980. In 1969 she published a book, Arkansas Gazette: The Early Years, 1819-1866: A History; it received the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. From 1979 to 1984 she wrote “Grass Roots,” a genealogical column for the Gazette. Also in 1979 she became the first fellow of the Arkansas Museum of Science and History. In April 2000 she received a lifetime achievement award from the Arkansas Historical Association. She died of cancer at her home in Little Rock on December 3, 2002.
The Margaret Smith Ross Papers were donated to Special Collections by Edwin L. Ross, Jr., of Little Rock on December 17, 2004.
An avid collector of Arkansas-related historical materials, Ross assembled a collection that includes her personal papers, historical and genealogical research materials, and the original records of the Pulaski County Circuit Court dating from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her personal papers include correspondence, published “Chronicles of Arkansas” and “Grass Roots” articles, and drafts of writings. Historical materials include materials related to Arkansas during its territorial and early statehood period, Civil War and Reconstruction, and Arkansas history after Reconstruction. Original court documents pertain to notable Arkansans including Robert Crittenden, James S. Conway, Augustus A. Garland, Albert Pike, Henry Rector, Chester Ashley, William Woodruff, Powell Clayton, Elisha Baxter, Joseph Brooks, and Mifflin Gibbs. Other court documents pertain to subjects such as debt, murder, prostitution, real estate, etc. Court documents pertaining to African Americans include materials on slaves, freed Negroes, and freedmen. Also included among the court documents are post-Civil War amnesty oaths, Reconstruction era militia claims, and materials related to the Brooks-Baxter War. The history of the Arkansas Gazette is highlighted through nineteenth century court documents and papers produced during Ross’s career. Also included is significant correspondence of Walter Lemke as well as photographs made by him.
Materials include correspondence, court documents, scrapbooks, diaries, physician appointment books, photographs, drawings, etc.
The Pulaski County Circuit Court Records were received in poor condition. Efforts have been made to treat documents for mold, and to remove hazardous metal fastenings such as pins. Nevertheless, researchers should handle these materials with care, and are encouraged to wear masks and gloves (available from the reading room attendant).
Todd E. Lewis, April 2006.
106 linear feet (73 boxes)
- Series 1. Margaret Ross Personal Papers. Boxes 1-12.
- Subseries 1. Personal Materials.
- Subseries 2. Personal Correspondence.
- Subseries 3. Research and Writings.
- Subseries 4. Chronicles of Arkansas.
- Subseries 5. "Grass Roots."
- Series 2. Court Records. Boxes 13-24.
- Series 3. Arkansas History. Boxes 25-32.
- Subseries 1. Arkansas Biographies.
- Subseries 2. Colonial and Early Statehood Arkansas.
- Subseries 3. Civil War, Reconstruction and Related Topics.
- Subseries 4. Post-Reconstruction Arkansas.
- Subseries 5. Non-Arkansas History.
- Subseries 6. Little Rock Real Estate.
- Subseries 7. Chester Jennings Appointment Books.
- Series 4. Genealogy. Boxes 33-37.
- Subseries 1. Families and Individuals.
- Subseries 2. Other Genealogical Materials.
- Series 5. Arkansas Gazette. Boxes 38-40.
- Subseries 1. People.
- Subseries 2. General Materials.
- Series 6. Images and Audio Materials. Boxes 41-42.
- Subseries 1. Margaret Ross Photograph Collection.
- Subseries 2. General Images.
- Subseries 3. Walter Lemke Photographs.
- Subseries 4. Arkansas House of Representatives, 1915.
- Subseries 5. Other Images and Audio Materials.
- Series 7. Index Cards. Boxes 43-60.
- Subseries 1. Arkansas Gazette History.
- Subseries 2. Arkansas and Out-of-State Presses.
- Subseries 3. Bibliography.
- Subseries 4. "Grass Roots" and Other Biographical/Genealogical Files.
- Subseries 5. Civil War in Arkansas.
- Subseries 6. Other Historical Materials.
- Subseries 7. Little Rock and Other Localities.
- Subseries 8. Picture Index.
- Subseries 9. Subject Files.
- Subseries 10. Tombstone Indexes.
- Series 8. Artifacts and Oversize Materials. Boxes 60C-73.
- Subseries 1. Artifacts.
- Subseries 2. Oversize Materials.
- Subseries 3. Scrapbooks.