First Person Plural

First Person Plural: An Oral History of Arkansas Women focuses on the life stories of 20th-century women and how these portraits collectively show the range of ordinary women’s activities in a time of great change.


Working in association with a skilled group of scholars, FPP developed a life history outline and a statewide list of prospective interviewees. The working group identified philanthropy, community volunteerism, and leadership as areas of special interest.


Over the past several years, the project team has conducted interviews with women across the state. A sampling includes artist and philanthropist Robyn Horn, community volunteer Catherine West of Marianna, Shirley McFarlin of the Arkansas League of Women Voters, educator Dr. Diana Gonzales Worthen of Fayetteville, Viola Callahan Meadows of the Clover Bend restoration project, and retired foundation executive Dr. Sybil Jordan Hampton of Little Rock. Read the interview summaries and consult the map to see where we’ve been. Additional interviews are planned in coming months.


It is a pleasure and a privilege to be documenting the diversity and complexity of Arkansas women’s lives and to be placing this information in publicly accessible formats where all may make use of it. Thanks go to:

  • Our narrators, who so graciously share their reflections with us and the state at large.
  • Our advisory committee: Dr. Deborah Baldwin, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Dr. Sarah Beth Estes, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Dr. Sondra Gordy, retired, University of Central Arkansas; Dr. Sybil Jordan Hampton, retired, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation; Dr. Janine Parry, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville; Lynnette Watts, retired, Women’s Foundation of Arkansas; and Dr. Diana Gonzales Worthen, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.
  • Other valued collaborators: writer and historian Grif Stockley, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, and Maricella Garcia of Catholic Charities, all of whom helped launch the project; as well as Yihan Wang and Thomas Clifton; UA Little Rock Art Department; photographers Rita Henry, Cynthia Adams, and Brandon Markin; editor Ali Welky; and designer H. K. Stewart.
  • Project team: director Jo Blatti; research associate Marisa Nelson; and interns Cindy McCaskill, UA Little Rock, and Morgan Rogers, UCA.
  • Archival partners: the Center for Arkansas History and Culture at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.
  • The Bridge Fund Endowment of the Arkansas Community Foundation; the Esse Purse Museum; and the Rebsamen Foundation, for project support.