The papers of Arkansas educator William Andrew Berry are mainly personal and professional papers consisting of his teachers’ licenses and contracts and his work record. Other items in the collection include newspaper clippings of Berry’s poetry, his mathematics teaching booklet, other miscellaneous items, and some of his sister’s undergraduate workbooks when she attended the Arkansas Normal School (now the University of Central Arkansas).
Berry was born November 16, 1871, at DeView, Woodruff County, Arkansas to James M. and Lisa Sellers Berry. Will attend schools there and helped his father work the family farm. Will’s father, a Confederate Veteran, moved the family from Pontotoc, Mississippi to DeView in the early 1850s. The family resettled to Springfield in the early 1890s.
At age 19 or 20, Will earned his teaching certificate and taught in the counties of Cleburne, Cleveland, Conway and Faulkner.
Berry married school teacher Aphra Ridgway on November 5, 1893. Married five years, Aphra died November 30, 1898, after giving birth to their only child, Carleton, on November 9, 1898.
Berry married Katherine Ristine Cureton on October 29, 1899. On August 13, 1900, his son Carleton died of pneumonia.
Between 1900 and 1909, he moved his new family to Conway. They had five children: William Madison, Hugh Eli, Annie Leah, Emma Lea, and J. Richard. During the slack periods as a teacher, Berry scouted around for other types of employment. He worked as a reporter at the Petit Jean Country Headlight, he unsuccessfully sought a state political office, he established the short-lived weekly newspaper, The Conway County Banner, in Center Ridge, and tried his hand as a carpenter. From 1911 until his retirement in 1936, he was the regular dispatcher in the Conway Post Office.
In his retirement years, Berry was associated with the Woodman of the World Insurance Company, read extensively, wrote poetry and helped his wife in their flower gardens.
Berry entered the hospital for a hernia operation the first week of May 1943. During that operation it was discovered that he had cancer. He died of the disease May 10, 1943. He was survived by his wife, “Katie,” who died March 19, 1957, his sons William and Richard, and daughter Emma Lea (Mrs. P. K. Merrill of Russellville).
This small collection is contained in one box consisting of 10 chronologically arranged files.
Tracings: Berry, Alice; Berry, Annie Leah; Berry, Aphra Ridgway; Berry, Carleton; Berry, Emma Lea; Berry, Hugh Eli; Berry, James Richard; Berry, Katherine Cureton; Berry, Will A.; Berry, William M.; Cities and Towns – Conway ; Cities and Towns – Springfield; Clubs and Associations; Colleges and Universities – Arkansas State Normal School; Counties – Conway; Counties – Faulkner; Fiction and Poetry; Periodicals and Editors
File 1 – Teachers’ Licenses and Contracts; June 18, 1892-June 14, 1915
File 2 – Teacher Work Record and General Accounting Book (1893-1913)
File 3 – History and Memorabilia
File 4 – Newspaper Clippings (Poetry, Death Notices, etc.)
File 5 – Alice Berry’s Freshman English Notebook (1909-1910)
File 6 – Alice Berry’s Latin Notebook
File 7 – Alice Berry’s History Notebook
File 8 – Alice Berry’s Physics Notebook
File 9 – Arkansas State Teachers’ College Bulletin (July 1929)
File 10- Unidentified Group Photographs (c.1905-1915)
End of Box 1
End of Collection