Shared History: Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas

“Shared History: Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas” offers 500 photographs of the City of Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas Campus. Shared History was funded in part by grants from the Happy Hollow Foundation.

This pilot project offers 500 photographs of the City of Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas Campus. Shared History was funded in part by grants from the Happy Hollow Foundation.

The Shared History Collection is a result of a pilot project to develop staff expertise in digitization technologies and in providing access to digitized materials and to make available to the public a sampling of images of Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas from the Libraries’ Special Collections. Photographs in this first collection include images of the Washington-Willow Historic District, the Fayetteville square, Dickson Street, the train station, and University of Arkansas buildings such as Old Main or Razorback Stadium.

Photographs in the Shared History project were drawn from both the Special Collections Picture Collection and from manuscript collections, including The William S. Campbell collection of photograph albums and papers (MC 1427) and the Walter Lemke collection (MS L541). Approximately 250 images were selected reflecting primarily scenes of people (students, alumni, faculty, and staff), buildings, activities, and organizations at the University of Arkansas. The other 250 were selected reflecting primarily scenes of Fayetteville people, buildings (homes, businesses, churches, public buildings, etc.), activities, and organizations.

To facilitate searching and retrieval, metadata for each record was drawn from the photos themselves, from finding aids to manuscript collections, and from shelf-list cards for the Picture Collection and entered into the CONTENTdm system. Searchable fields include: title from photograph, photographer or studio (if known), time period, physical description, content notes, source collection, and call number. Not all fields are present for all images; a future project will enrich the metadata with additional information.

Photo by J.H. Field, Lighton Family Papers
(Photo by J.H. Field, Lighton Family Papers)

About the Happy Hollow Foundation

This digital exhibit was supported by grants from the Happy Hollow Foundation to Special Collections in 2000-2001 to undertake a pilot project in digitization of archival materials. The Foundation was established by Betty Lighton of Fayetteville, who lived with her parents and siblings on the Happy Hollow Farm on the south side of Mount Sequoyah. William Rheem Lighton came to Fayetteville in 1908 with his wife Laura and three children, Dorothy, Louis, and Suzanne. Marjorie, who was called Betty, was born two years later.

They bought a hundred sixty acres of land east of town and embarked on the project that William Rheem Lighton described in articles and pamphlets. One such was "The Story of an Arkansas Farm," in The Saturday Evening Post in 1910. It enjoyed a wide circulation at a time when "back-to-the land" and scientific farming ideas were in vogue. The article was reprinted as a promotional piece by the Frisco Railroad. He expanded this work in a book, Happy Hollow Farm, which describes his successes and his tribulations.

Later he wrote a successful series of magazine stories about "Billy Fortune" and went to Hollywood to adapt some of them for the movies. Will Rogers's first movie was based on a Billy Fortune story. Louis "Bud" Lighton went with his father to Hollywood, and achieved considerable success as a screen-writer, though the senior Lighton did not long survive the move, and after his death in California in 1923 Laura Lighton and her daughters made their home in Fayetteville.

Suzanne graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1925 and read law with Judge Lee Seamster. After she passed the Arkansas Bar, she practiced law in Fayetteville, specializing in juvenile cases in the Washington County court system.

Betty Lighton, Photo by Glenn Studio

Betty Lighton graduated from Texas Women’s University in 1934 and later earned a Master’s degree in social work from the University of Tennessee. After a career in the Red Cross and other social-welfare organizations, she returned to Fayetteville in 1964, where she was a pioneering leader in social service work, establishing United Community Services and the Ozark Guidance Center. She was recognized in 1996 for her work in, among other organizations, the Girl Scouts, Youth Bridge, the Washington County Humane Society, and the Washington County Historical Society.

Papers pertaining to the Lighton family were donated to Special Collections by Betty Lighton in December, 1987. The finding aid is online.

Technical Information

The Shared History images were scanned on an Epson Expression Scanner, Model 1640XL, with a 12” X 17” scanning bed, using Epson Twain Pro version 1.75A software.

Images were imported into the CONTENTdm image management software acquisition station at 300 DPI in JPEG format. Images were re-sized for ease of printing and browsing using Adobe Photoshop to approximately 6.5 X 8 inches or 470 X 600 pixels. Image file sizes vary considerably.

Metadata and CONTENTdm indexing fields were selected from Dublin Core and MARC elements.


Personnel who have participated in various phases of planning and implementation of the project include: Alberta Bailey, Andrea Cantrell, Todd Cantrell, Trish Cody, Michael Dabrishus, Cheryl Conway, Barbara Dean, Judy Ganson, Misha Gardner, Martha Guirl, Beth Juhl, Mikey King, Arthur Morgan, Janet Parsch, Cheri Pearce, Janell Prater, Ethel Simpson, and Mary Walker.