“We brought back what ledgers could be salvaged and a lot of loose papers,” said Jane A. Wilkerson, archival assistant.
Like other counties throughout Arkansas, Lee County has struggled to find enough space to store its historical records and ledgers. Many ledgers were stored in a basement without temperature control. Preservation storage techniques recommend storing records in dry and temperature-controlled areas.
The records from Lee County are similar to records the State Archives acquired from Hempstead County and include civil, circuit and chancery court documents. State Archives staff worked with Lee County Circuit Clerk Diane Bowman.
Staff moved box after box of records with the help of inmates from the Department of Arkansas Correction. About three cargo van loads worth of records were brought back to the State Archives in two trips on June 25 and July 17.
Next, the loose papers must be unfolded and placed in acid free folders and boxes. Volunteers have already started doing some of the unfolding and indexing work, which is the first step to making the records accessible to the public.