Picture This: Pulaski County Photograph Collection Offers a Glimpse of the Past

Flooded homes, North Little Rock, Arkansas, 1927. Digitized photo from the Pulaski County Disasters Photograph Collection. (bc_pho_2a11_0130)
Flooded homes, North Little Rock, Arkansas, 1927. Digitized photo from the Pulaski County Disasters Photograph Collection. (bc_pho_2a11_0130)

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then we would need more than three million words to describe the contents of the CALS Butler Center’s Pulaski County Photograph Collection (BC.PHO.2.A). This collection was started back when the Butler Center was founded in 1997, and it now includes more than 3,100 items.

These photographs represent an important historical record of our area—from buildings that no longer exist to photos that show how
people used to live. The overall collection is broken down into these topical sub-collections: Military Affairs; Black History; Education; Buildings; Streetscapes; Landscape and Nature Scenes; Business, Industry and Natural Resources; Disasters; Religion; Gardens and Landscape Design; Agriculture; Historic Sites; Sports and Recreation; Tourism; Parades, Celebrations and Fairs; Commercial and Promotional; Transportation; Crime and Punishment; Parks, Recreation Areas and Cemeteries; Medicine and Science; Arts and Culture; Political; and Courthouse.

The collection has something for everyone. If you thought the water was high along the Arkansas River during the recent flooding, you should look at some of the images from the 1927 Flood in the Pulaski County Disasters collection. Interested in military history? The Pulaski County Military Affairs collection has more the 480 photographs in it. Want to know what Main Street looked like way back when? Check out the Pulaski County Streetscapes collection.

Accessing the Collection

You can view all of the photographs in this collection by visiting the research room on the second floor of the CALS Roberts Library in CALS Library Square in downtown Little Rock. Photocopies of each picture are housed in notebooks in the research room, providing an easy way to browse everything in the collection. Once you locate photos of interest, you can ask the staff to pull the originals. We also provide online finding aids for the collection.

More than 750 photos from the collection have been digitized, so you can see a sample of what’s available from the comfort of home. The online finding aids include links to the digital images in the descriptions, so you can click through that way. Or, you can use this link to access all of the photos that have been digitized from this collection: Pulaski County photograph collections. This collection will continue to grow as we acquire new items. If you have photographs that capture the history and spirit of Pulaski County, contact Brian Robertson (brianr@cals.org) to discuss making a donation of your own or your family’s photos.

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