B22-01 – Collection Highlights

Analysis of examples found within the E.L. Higgins Collection (M89-22) are noted below.  The analysis and accompanying list of rare books were provided by the efforts of Caden H. Carter, KT Pearson, M. Rowley, Sydney Siler, and O. Teske, UCA students from the French program in the School of Language and Literature, under the direction of Dr. Adele Okoli.  Examples with the FC or B22-01 designation indicate their place within the prospective collection: B22-01 – Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Artifacts in French.


ELHC B2F23 – A New Pronouncing Dictionary of the Russian & English Languages

This book records a moment in time wherein Higgins was trying to learn the Russian language, as can be seen by the grammatical notes in the back of the book, as well as his transliteration of the Cyrillic alphabet.







UCA Archives 

Box:2 File:26. Book of Poems Written by E. L. Higgins.

No date given. 

The poems are compiled together in a blue cardboard cover with the loose pages numbered and organized within. All the poems are typed with some with pencil edits and comments.

These are two examples of the dozens of unpublished poems written by E. L. Higgins and donated to the archives at UCA. Many of the poems include problematic thoughts, opinions, and fantasies of young women. There are some that describe physical abuse and violence against women, racial slurs against Jewish people, belitting statements regarding Black men, pedophilia, and other uncomfortable statements and subjects that readers of today may find offensive. These poems were not published and continue to be available in the E. L. Higgins collection. They give a glimpse into the world views, values, and desires of Higgins as a man who used his private poetic practice as an outlet for personal frustrations and invite readers of today to critically consider what it may have been like for women and ethnic minority students of UCA to study history and languages in the classrooms of Professor Higgins.


ELHC B2F3 – Commonly Mispronounced Words

This document shows Higgins’ larger interest in linguistics, as he marks vowel quality, word-internal stress, and uses rough IPA. It also highlights a trend of past linguistics, where prescriptivism prevails, dictating that there are “incorrect” pronunciations; a product of its time.






UCA Archives

Box: 2 File: 8. Correspondence with War Dept. Regarding Re-enlistment for World War II.

Dated April and August 1942.

These two letters are the correspondence documenting some of E. L. Higgins’s several attempts to re-enlist in World War II after having served briefly in World War I. In one letter addressed to the Commanding Officer in Omaha Nebraska April 4th, 1942 Higgins offers his services as an interpreter or translator and lists his experiences in World War I and his education and employment. The other was addressed to E. L. Higgins from Major General J. A. Ulio on August 20, 1942 with news of his failed physical exam. In the letter the General describes the results of the exam and rejects Higgins from entering the American Army. This is one of many letters from Higgins to join the war effort and one of several rejections he received that are still saved in the E. L. Higgins collection in the UCA Archives.


FC B2F22 – Mon Premier Livre de français

This book shows Higgins’ process of learning French, having put pronunciation, vocab, and grammar notes throughout the book (which in itself is designed for learning). The book also contains phonetic transcriptions for every story, and a phonetic inventory of French with examples. We can see in H1I4 that Higgins was in fact, at some point, familiar with the International Phonetic Alphabet, and he may well have used the transcriptions in this book to learn, or could have learned from the book.




ELHC B2F2 – Teaching application excerpt

This section from an academic document shows that Higgins in fact had a working knowledge of a number of languages, the clearest from his other documents being French and German. 



UCA Archives 

Box: 2 File: 3. The French Revolution as told by Contemporaries

Published 1938 by the Houghton Mifflin Company.

Green hardcover book with red and black design depicting a guillotine against a background over Higgins and the abbreviated title of The French Revolution. 

The book is in excellent condition although the paper cover is slightly crumbed and the green color is slightly faded. 

The book is written by E. L. Higgins.

As a highlight of this collection, The French Revolution as told by Contemporaries is an edited volume of excerpts from diaries, memoires, letters, books of travel, autobiographies, reports and state papers of first hand accounts of the men and women who witnessed the Revolution as it unfolded. E. L. Higgins translated and organized the accounts adding footnotes explaining unknown terms or context leaving the account in their entirety and unedited. This book is a useful source for understanding the full history of the French Revolution from various points of view and is still cited today by experts and researchers of the era. It is E.L. Higgins’s greatest academic achievement and legacy.





ELHC B2F25 – Translation Poem

This short poem highlights Higgins’ passionate interest in translation outside of simply doing the work, as well as highlighting some of his specific language interests. It also highlights his disillusionment with the public interest, something echoed in many of his other poems in the collection. 


The H1 highlights Higgins’ deep and passionate interest and work in linguistics, and more specifically translation. Many of these items give viewers an inside look into his study methods, study interests, and potential further language competency outside of what is recorded. These items can also give an interesting look into the linguistic history of the time, most notably the document listing “commonly mispronounced words”, reflecting the pervasive prescriptivism of the time, and how these words may have changed in recent history.



Notable Rare Books Found within the Higgins Collection, titles in French are to be included in the prospective B22-01 – Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Artifacts in French collection.


C. Corn Tacitvs Et in Eum M. Z. Box Hornii, and H. Grotii Observations Enetiis, Apud Iuntas, et Baba MDC. XLV 

C. Corn Tacitvs Et in Eum M. Z. Box Hornii, and H. Grotii Observations Enetiis, Apud Iuntas, et Baba MDC. XLV is a small book bound in leather. The author of this publication Cornelius Tacitus is regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. This unique publication is housed in the UCA archives and can not be found anywhere else in Arkansas. It encompasses many short historical stories written in medieval Latin. It incorporates a few extraordinarily intricate lithographic prints within its bindings. 


Die Regulatoren in Arkansas

These images come from an original copy of Die Regulatoren in Arkansas by Friedrich Gerstäcker. However in poor condition, it is an invaluable look into the history of German literature in Arkansas, as well as providing an original work to compare to Higgins’ transcriptions and translations of Gerstäcker’s works. Gerstäcker was a prominent adventurer and author of the 19th century, having experienced much of the United States’ rich history, having found success as an author after his return to Germany after 6 years in the New World. He also wrote about German colonies in South America, and about Mexico after the collapse of the Second Mexican Empire. He also traveled to Australia during its gold rush. Gerstäcker, and Higgins’ preservation via transcription, translation, and even retaining an original text, sheds light on a part of the Southern US’s rich history of literature in the German language.


Les Metamorphoses 

Ovid was a Roman poet from the middle ages who was known to be controversial due to the erotic nature of his poetry and his exile into a remote region of Italy. His works are now considered to be some of the most significant in the formation of the western literary zeitgeist, but The Metamorphoses was known as his biggest achievement. This epic tragedy is characterized by its themes of transformation, chaos, and death. The story starts off with a mythological creation story and ends with the death of Julius Caesar. This copy dates from 1628 and is adapted into the French language.


Atala, René, and Le Dernier Abencérage

Atala, René, and The Last Abencérage can be considered an early piece of romantic literature which was written by Chateaubriand. The first piece, Atala, is set in an indeginous community in Florida, as two young natives show the reader around their world which is shrouded in a mysterious lively landscape and its imaginary creatures; all the while white missionaries are attempting to convert the population to christianity. The next story is René, an alleged biography of Chateaubriand about his travels in Europe and new life in America. The last story, The Last Abencérage is set in Spain and it details a fictional story of two young lovers and the conflicts that arise from their differing religions. This dramatic story is an interesting tale of post Maurish rule in Spain.


Mémoires Justificatifs de la Comtesse de Valois de la Motte

Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Rémy was known to the French court as an illegitimate granddaughter of King Henry II of France, however her legacy is most remembered by her involvement in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, one of the royal mishaps that would lead to rising class tensions in France and eventual revolution. Given the unique position to wealth that the Comtesse had, she was able to avoid being killed during the French Revolution and ran away to England for the rest of her days. She died in London in 1791 after sustaining injuries from falling from her window in a hotel room as she hid away from debt collectors. 

This memoire was likely written to fund de la Motte’s expensive lifestyle, as many French royalists had their bank accounts emptied after the revolution. This book served as a means of restoring her reputation in high class society, as she describes many situations with other royals and her participation in scandals. She is just as intent on revealing the personal lives of French nobility as she is in defending her sometimes questionable actions. This dramatized account of her involvement in the French court serves as an interesting look into the mind and life of a runaway French noblewoman.


Handwritten copy of Mémoires sur la Convention et le Directoire

As a version of Mémoires sur la Convention et le Directoire housed in this collection is a handwritten copy by E.L Higgins. The document consists of 33 chapters/ 393 pages overall. The original document this copy was based on was written by Antoine Claire Thibaudeau, a French politician & member of the National Convention during and after the French revolution. The document pertains to Thibaudeau’s time in Germany upon his exile.  The information in this document has cultural importance in a historical context; as well as an interesting look into the mind of a notable French political figure of that time.