Date Original



This collection contains campaign letters for Ben Laney.

Biographical/Historical Note

Benjamin Travis Laney Jr. (1896-1977) was born on November 25, 1896, in Jones Chapel, Arkansas the son of Benjamin Travis Laney and Martha Ellen Saxon. Laney entered Hendrix College in 1915 but left in 1916 to teach before serving in the U.S. Navy during World War I. He received a BA from Arkansas State Normal School in 1924.Laney worked in business and banking from 1925 to 1926 in Conway, where married Lucile Kirtley on January 19, 1926; they had three sons. In 1927, Laney returned to Ouachita County. He was the mayor of Camden (Ouachita County) from 1935 to 1939. A relative unknown when he ran for the 1944 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, he had the support of conservative business and financial interests. His opponents were former congressman David D. Terry and State Comptroller J. Bryan Sims. Sims withdrew ten days before the election amid accusations of a negotiated deal, and Laney easily defeated Republican opponent H. C. Stump in the general election, as was the norm in this essentially one-party political era. His re-nomination and reelection in 1946 were effortless. The governor was a leader in the States’ Rights Democrats (Dixiecrats) movement, and the Dixiecrats considered him for a presidential or vice presidential nomination. Laney died on January 21, 1977, in Magnolia and was buried in Camden Memorial Cemetery.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area

Fayetteville, Washington County (Ark.)





Resource Type



Ben Laney campaign letters, SMC.037.015


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Ben Laney campaign letters, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History