Monday, May 4, 2009

Featured Manuscript Collection: May/June

Worthen Bank Records
MSS 08-06

Worthen Bank and Trust Company, 200 East Capitol, Little Rock, Ark., circa 1970. Location in Collection: Series VII, Box 3, Item 34.

On January 1, 1877, William Booker Worthen (1852-1911) and Edward W. Parker opened the firm of Parker and Worthen, Bankers, Brokers and Real Estate Agents on the corner of Markham and Louisiana streets in Little Rock, Arkansas. In the summer of 1888, Worthen bought out his partner and established W.B. Worthen and Company, Bankers. The bank again changed names to Worthen Bank and Trust Company in 1947, but is best known as simply Worthen Bank. After years of growth in Arkansas, Worthen Bank came to be owned and operated by First Arkansas Bankstock Corporation (FABCO), the first registered bank holding company in Arkansas, in 1968. In 1994, Worthen Bank was purchased by Boatmen’s Bank of St. Louis, Missouri and ceased operations. Remnants of the institution can be seen in today’s Bank of America.

While in operation Worthen Bank expanded into a number of branches and divisions, merged with and bought out a number of banking institutions in Arkansas, and was a mainstay of Arkansas business and banking.

Image on Top Left: Parker & Worthen Account Register, 1887-1888. Location in Collection: Series II, Box 1, File 7.

Image on Bottom Left: Lease for office space in the State Bank Building, Little Rock, Ark., 1915. Location in Collection: Series I, Box 1, File 1.

Image to Right: Worthen Loan Association cancelled stock certificate, issued October 1, 1947. Location in Collection: Series I, Box 2, File 31.


This 148 box collection is arranged into eight main series—General; Services and Departments; Personnel; Advertising, Publicity, Publications; General Banking/Arkansas Banking; Arkansas History; Photographs; Oversized. It contains the records of Worthen Bank including ledger books dating back to the original firm, correspondence, staff newsletters, photographs, and other banking documents from the various departments and endeavors of Worthen Bank. The documents are representative of the change in banking from the nineteenth century into the twentieth century and the electronic age.


These photos are representative of what can be found in the 31 boxes of photographs in this collection. The collection features an impressive number of photographs featuring employees, particularly from the 1960s-1970s.
Left: Worthen Bank employees during Red Cross blood drive, March 3, 1970. Location in Collection: Series VII, Box 5, Item 59.
Center: Customers at Worthen Bank Teller Stations, Little Rock, Ark., circa 1970. Location in Collection: Series VII, Box 3, Item 15.
Right: Ina Johnson opening safe, circa 1970. Frank Butler, Photographer. Location in Collection: Series VII, Box 3, Item 5.


This information is taken from the finding aid. The finding aid for this collection is not currently available online, but can be accessed in the Arkansas Studies Institute research room.

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