Monday, June 9, 2008

Featured Manuscript Collection: June

Fred K. Darragh Jr. Papers
MSS 03-14

Fred K. Darragh Kissing a Horse, March 1988
Location in Collection: Series VIII, Subseries I, Box 1, Item 43
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The papers of Fred K. Darragh Jr (1916-2003) include items that reflect one man’s broad experience in business and public service, his wide range of personal interests, and his dedication to civil and human rights. They include materials about local, state, national and international events, organizations, and activities.

After graduating from the Wharton School of Business, Darragh was active in the successful feed and grain business started by his grandfather. Although a lifelong resident of Little Rock, his interests and experience took him around the world and back more than once. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his World War II service flying The Hump between India and China, and continued his interest in flying, piloting his own plane around the world in 1962 (Image to Left: Certificate of Wings from the Chinese Air Force, July 1988. Location in Collection: Series V, Subseries VI, Box 2, File 6.). He also traveled widely, especially as a member of Lars Erik Lindblad’s Intrepids Club. In addition, he worked to promote international friendship and understanding, both in Arkansas and nationally.

Darragh’s public service experience was equally broad. A substantial portion of the collection contains materials from Darragh’s service on the Arkansas State Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and on the National Citizens Committee for Community Relations, as well as his participation on the racial crisis in Little Rock in the late 1950s (Image to Right: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Certificate, May 1962. Location in Collection: Series VI, Subseries I, Box 2, File 1.).

National Urban League Southern Leadership Conference, Winrock Farms, Petit Jean Mountain, Morrilton, Arkansas, Summer 1963
Location in Collection: Series VIII, Subseries I, Box 2, Item 38

Darragh was also active in the Episcopal Church, both locally and nationally, and much of his experience with the church reflected his commitment to human rights. This portion of the collection contains materials from his service in the local congregation and the Arkansas Diocese, as well as several national events and organizations, including the 1969 Special General Convention on racial issues.

Darragh contributed to public libraries as a delegate to the 1979 White House Conference on Libraries. He served as a member of the board of the Central Arkansas Library System and also as president of the board. In honor of the Arkansas Sesquicentennial celebration, through the Darragh Foundation he made grants to libraries throughout the State for the purchase of books on Arkansas history.

Ever one to express his opinion, Darragh’s collection includes extensive correspondence files. The collection also contains extensive materials relating to his activity in citizen action groups that addressed zoning and city planning issues, such as the extension of Rebsamen Park Road, the profusion of Christmas lights by the Osborne family, and zoning along Cantrell Road and Highway 10. (Image to Left: Correspondence Between Fred Darragh and Harry Ashmore, 1988. Location in Collection: Series II, Subseries I, Box 2, Files 57-58)

The Butler Center is grateful to the Darragh family for the donation of his papers. For more information on Darragh’s life, visit the Encyclopedia of Arkansas. (Image to Right: :Honorary Uppity Woman Award" Certificate, 1989. Location in Collection: Series VI, Subseries V, Box 2, File 9)

The collection is divided into nine series, which are further divided into subseries. The following outline gives the basic structure of the collection:
  • Series I Personal
  • Series II Correspondence
  • Series III Family
  • Series IV Business
  • Series V Organizations
  • Series VI Issues and Movements: Active Support, Financial Support, and Informational
  • Series VII Special Events and Celebrations
  • Series VIII Photographs and Slides
  • Series IX Oversize
Contributed by Shirley Schuette, Manuscripts Department


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