Friends Establish Fund in Memory of Ellen Compton

Ellen Compton with a student in Mullins Library.
Photo Submitted

Ellen Compton with a student in Mullins Library.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – As a tribute to Ellen Compton's extraordinary impact on the University of Arkansas, and to celebrate her work in the University Libraries and Special Collections, a memorial fund in Compton's name has been established by Tom and Jill King of Fayetteville.

"When we moved into a Fay Jones house in 2008, we wanted to find out more about it," said Tom. "We'd heard that the university was the archive for the Fay Jones collection, so we visited Special Collections, and Ellen was so welcoming and helpful. We went back a lot in subsequent years. One of those times I remember we wanted to find Jones' original plans for an outdoor lantern for the house; Ellen helped us search, and she discovered the original, unlabeled drawing hidden on the back of another drawing. We were able to get the lantern reconstructed only because of her help." 

"Ellen was such a fount of knowledge about architecture, and also people and events in Northwest Arkansas," said Jill. "She generously shared that knowledge. As time passed, we got to know her and found out she also had a wonderful sense of humor. We ended up having a lot of things in common. Most importantly, Ellen understood our deep desire to preserve the architectural integrity of our home." 

The Ellen Compton Memorial Fund will support the collecting focus of architectural records within Special Collections, which documents the design environment in Arkansas and houses the collections of nationally and internationally recognized architects, landscape architects and architectural photographers with significant connections to the state. The collections contain models, drawings, photographs, correspondence and periodicals, and the public is welcome to view and use them any time Special Collections is open. 

"Ellen fully immersed herself in the development of the Fay Jones Collection. Her passion for her work shows in the careful, thoughtful disposition of this vast and critically important archival collection," said Cat Wallack, architectural records archivist. "The Kings' continued thirst for learning and curiosity about architecture and the work of Fay Jones make this a truly fitting gift." 

The Fay Jones Collection and the Edward Durell Stone Papers are two of the most extensive and sought-after collections within architectural records. 

While mid-20th century architecture is a strength of the archives, the collections also include materials such as the work of Neil Hamill Park, winner of the prestigious 1931 Prix de Rome in Landscape Architecture, and photographs documenting the vernacular architecture of Arkansas by internationally-recognized photographer Geoffery Winningham.  

"We're grateful to the Kings for recognizing the impact Ellen Compton had on Special Collections by creating this fund in her memory," said Lori Birrell, associate dean for Special Collections. "It's because of her vision that our architectural records have become a marquee destination for researchers and architecture enthusiasts world-wide."

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3 percent of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Kelsey M. Lovewell, director of public relations
Mullins Library


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