Arkansas State Archives

Regional Archives

Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives

Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives

A branch of the Arkansas State Archives, the mission of the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives (NEARA) is to collect and preserve primary and secondary source materials pertaining to the history of northeast Arkansas and its people. NEARA also serves as a resource center for historical research focusing on the unique history, culture and heritage of the area. NEARA opened in 2011, founded through a partnership between the Arkansas History Commission and Arkansas State Parks and is located within Powhatan Historic State Park.

NEARA collects material on a 16-county region in Northeast Arkansas, which includes the counties of Baxter, Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Fulton, Greene, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, Randolph, Sharp and Stone.

Holdings include traditional archival material such as letters, diaries, maps, photographs, newspapers and broadsides. Books, periodicals and other print resources create a general Arkansas history reference library. The core of NEARA's holdings include approximately 500 cubic feet of Lawrence County government records, donated by the Lawrence County Historical Society. These county records are among Arkansas's earliest documentary resources and date back to the earliest decades of the 19th century. Records from numerous counties in the region are also available on microfilm.

As the "Mother of Counties," Lawrence County was established in 1815 by the Missouri territorial legislature prior to the creation of Arkansas Territory (1819). The county encompassed large portions of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri and was later subdivided into more than 40 modern counties in both Arkansas and Missouri.

NEARA Research Room Information

  • If this is your first visit to NEARA, please bring a picture ID with you. You will be asked to register at the front desk and will be issued a research number and card.
  • There is no wifi currently available in our research room. Public computers have internet access and provide free access to Ancestry.com records.
  • There is limited cell reception in Powhatan. You may not be able to use cell phones or other wireless devices at our facility.
  • Patrons can purchase copies with cash, check or money order (no credit/debit).  
  • Members of the State Archives staff are available to help patrons, get microfilm rolls, bring collections from our vault and offer research guidance. Due to the low number of staff at our regional archives, research services are limited.
  • Not all NEARA's archival collections are in the online searches yet. If you need something specific to our region that isn't online, ask our staff for assistance.
  • If your family was in Lawrence County or immediately surrounding counties, bring any family names you may have. We have a large index of names from 19th and early 20th century court records that we can search.
  • See our Research FAQs and Tips for more information.

Contact this branch

Email | 870-878-6521
P.O. Box 44
11 Seventh Street
Powhatan, AR 72458


Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives

A branch of the Arkansas State Archives, the mission of the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives (SARA) is to collect and preserve primary and secondary source materials pertaining to the history of southwest Arkansas and its people and to serve as a resource center for historical research focusing on the unique history, culture and heritage of the area. SARA, which was founded in 1978 as a project of the Hempstead County Historical Society with assistance from the Arkansas History Commission, Historic Washington State Park and the Pioneer Washington Restoration Foundation, is located within Historic Washington State Park. The Arkansas History Commission acquired SARA in 2005.

SARA offers a variety of research resources related to a 12-county region in southwest Arkansas that includes the counties of Columbia, Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Polk, Sevier and Union.

Holdings include traditional archival material such as letters, diaries, maps, photographs, newspapers and broadsides. Books, periodicals and other print resources create a general Arkansas history reference library. Some collections of particular interest are the Robert B. Walz Photograph Collection, which includes over 2,500 images of people and places around southwest Arkansas in the 19th and early 20th centuries; the Simmons Collection of early Hempstead County Court Records; and the Nan Robson Brown Collection that contains photographs and genealogical information of descendants of Arkansas’s first state governor, James Sevier Conway. Records from numerous counties in the region are also available on microfilm.

As one of Arkansas’s earliest counties, Hempstead County was established in 1818, prior to the creation of the Arkansas Territory (1819). The county encompassed all of southwest Arkansas, including parts of present-day northeast Texas until a boundary dispute was settled upon after Arkansas reached statehood status in 1836. Hempstead County was eventually subdivided into the twelve counties now served through SARA.

SARA RESEARCH ROOM INFORMATION

  • If this is your first visit to SARA, please bring a picture ID with you. You will be asked to register at the front desk and will be issued a research number and card.
  • Wifi is available in our research room. Public computers have internet access and provide free access to Ancestry.com records.
  • There is limited cell reception in Washington. You may not be able to use cell phones or other wireless devices at our facility.
  • Printing and copying are both $0.25 per page (cash only).
  • A member of the State Archives staff is available to help patrons, get microfilm rolls, bring collections from our vault and offer research guidance, but due to the low number of staff at our regional archives, research services are limited.
  • Not all SARA's archival collections are in the online searches yet. If you need something specific to our region that isn't online, ask our staff for assistance.
  • See our Research FAQs and Tips for more information.

Contact This branch

Email | 870-983-2633
P.O. Box 134
201 AR-195
Washington, AR 71862