The Justices of the Arkansas Supreme Court, in order to preserve the judicial history of the state, sought volunteers several years ago to form a historical society. These founding society members incorporated the Arkansas Supreme Court Historical Society on December 20, 1999.
Established as a non-profit, educational organization, the society exists primarily to preserve and disseminate knowledge of the history of the judicial branch of state government. To help promote its goals the society has commissioned a series of articles for The Arkansas Lawyer. These have included histories of important supreme court decisions and biographical sketches of supreme court justices. The biographical series, which began in 2005, has presented sketches on Elbert English and on Carlton Harris. The society also sponsors its own newsletter.
At supreme court ceremonies, the society has received portraits of retired supreme court justices. Most recently in April of 2005, the society received portraits of former Chief Justice W. H. "Dub" Arnold and former Justice Ray Thornton. The portraits have been placed on display in the justice building. Further, the society has cooperated with the Justice Building Exhibits program to develop conferences on historical topics that compliment the exhibit themes. This has produced three major exhibit-conference events: the first on African-American Attorneys in the state, a second on The Supreme Court and the Civil War and in September of 2005 a conference on the history of Arkansas Women in Law. A conference is also being planned for September of 2006 that will focus on the history and importance of Arkansas courthouses.
A board of directors elected by the membership governs the society. Anyone is welcome as a society member for annual individual dues of $25.00. Memberships at other dues levels are also available for students, business partnerships, corporations and other units. For membership information, please contact the Secretary-Treasurer of the Society, Rod Miller, Arkansas Supreme Court Library, 625 Marshall, Suite 1500, Little Rock AR 72201. E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and the phone is 501-682-6879.
- Frances Mitchell Ross, Past President