Old Seeds in the New Land: History and Reminiscences of the Bar of Arkansas

By Huntsman, Susan E. | The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2002 | Go to article overview

Old Seeds in the New Land: History and Reminiscences of the Bar of Arkansas


Huntsman, Susan E., The Arkansas Historical Quarterly


Old Seeds in the New Land: History and Reminiscences of the Bar of Arkansas. By Robert Ross Wright. (Fayetteville: M and M Press, 2001. Pp. 456. Preface, dedication, bibliographic references, index. $50.00.)

Professor Robert Ross Wright's Old Seeds in the New Land, while purporting to be a history of the bar of Arkansas, focuses too much on too many details and fails to present a coherent picture of the development of the practice of law in the state. The term bar, according to Black's Law Dictionary, refers to "the whole body of attorneys and counsellors, or the members of the legal profession, collectively" (6th ed., p. 148). Professor Wright's renders the history of this bar by offering a smattering of information regarding the development of the organized bar association, legal education, and the court system interspersed amid a multitude of miniature biographical sketches and reminiscences of prominent personages in the legal community.

It is this detail that limits the book's readability and helpfulness as a stand-alone document but could render it useful as a resource for other projects. For example, in the chapter entitled, "The Organized Bar After World War II," Professor Wright describes an annual meeting of the Arkansas Bar Association as follows:

The 58th meeting on June 7, 1956, was presided over by John A. Fogleman, Chairman of the Executive Committee. As usual, it featured an extensive program from the Taxation Committee, which was chaired by Ed Bethell. Tax consequences of certain problems were discussed by Dan B. Dobbs, William H. Bowen, William B. Riley, Jr., and W. P. Hamilton, Jr., and this was followed by an address by Lewis R. Donelson, Ill, of Memphis on tax problems in the preparation of wills. The luncheon featured an address by Vanderbilt Law Professor Paul H. Sanders on recent developments in race relations law. Committee reports were presented in the afternoon, and the Junior Bar Section, chaired by Edward Lester, heard an address on law office management by Ralph R. …

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