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Arkansas State Anthem

Arkansas   Adopted: February 18, 1987

Arkansas

by Eva Ware Barnett *

I am thinking tonight of the Southland,
Of the home of my childhood days,
Where I roamed through the woods and the meadows
By the mill and the brook that plays;
Where the roses are in bloom
And the sweet magnolia too,
Where the jasmine is white
And the fields are violet blue,
There a welcome awaits all her children
Who have wandered afar from home.

CHORUS
Arkansas, Arkansas, tis a name dear,
'Tis the place I call "home, sweet home";
Arkansas, Arkansas, I salute thee,
From thy shelter no more I'll roam.

'Tis a land full of joy and of sunshine,
Rich in pearls and in diamonds rare,
Full of hope, faith, and love for the stranger,
Who may pass 'neath her portals fair;
There the rice fields are full,
And the cotton, corn and hay,
There the fruits of the field
Bloom in the winter months and May,
'Tis the land that I love, first of all, dear,
And to her let us all give cheer.

REPEAT CHORUS
	

Audio files: Office of the Arkansas Secretary of State.

The long, bumpy road to official state anthem

Eva Ware Barnett's First Effort Newpaper Clip
The Jonesboro Weekly, January, 1917

"Arkansas," words and music by E.W. Barnett, is currently the official anthem of the State of Arkansas but, first, it was the official state song… twice!

Arkansas currently has four officially designated state songs; technically, a state anthem; a state historical song; and two state songs. The State Senate has also designated an official state waltz.

The official anthem's rise to prominence began in 1916, when Mrs. Eva Ware Barnett, of Little Rock, completed her first composition. According to the January 31, 1917 edition of the Jonesboro Weekly, it was "the first and only song she ever composed."

Mrs. Barnett was a classically trained pianist, who had studied in New York, Paris, and Berlin prior to settling into life in Little Rock, Arkansas. She was a sometimes teacher at Ouachita Baptist College (now University) in Arkadelphia.

She wasn't particularly drawn to musical composition until, that is, the 1916 spring meeting of the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (U.D.C.) where conversation turned to the issue of an Arkansas state song. "The members deplored the fact that Arkansas had no state song." [ 1 ]

In response, Mrs. Barnett, an excellent musician, but with no composing experience, set out to write a song that would express her love for the state and extol its virtues.

From her pen came the words and music for "Arkansas."

Barnett's lyrics evoked visions of a bucolic, be-flowered, and fertile state always providing a warm welcome and safe shelter for "her children." [ 2 ]

(Ware)

Arkansas' state song adopted in 1917

Arkansas state anthem
Arkansas State Anthem: "Arkansas"
Image: Old State House Museum

It’s not clear to us exactly how the song came before the state legislature, but we do know that Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 6, declaring "Arkansas" the state song, was approved on January 12, 1917 and that Mrs. Barnett held on to the copyright to the song. That she did so will come into play in 1940.

We also know that members of the legislature were serenaded with the song by a quartet comprised of Mrs. Garrett, wife of Senator G. W. Garrett of Okolona, Miss Martha Blakeney, A. L. Smith, and Winston Wilson of Little Rock.

Arkansas was an early adopter in this case. When the Arkansas General Assembly approved "Arkansas" as the official state song, only four other states had made similar declarations; Iowa; South Carolina; Indiana; and Colorado.

The text of the resolution doesn't say much about the reasoning behind selecting the composition as the state song, only documenting that Arkansas had no official state song at the time and that "Arkansas" was "recognized by almost all the schools of the State as the State Song."

Text of House Concurrent Resolution No. 6, as recorded in the Journal of the House of Representatives, reads as follows:

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 6 by Senator Carter

SENTATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 6

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE, THE HOUSE CONCURRING THEREIN:

WHEREAS, Arkansas has never adopted officially a State Song, and

WHEREAS, "Arkansas" is recognized by almost all the schools of the State as the State Song.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE, THE HOUSE CONCURRING THEREIN:

THAT the song "Arkansas," by Mrs. Eva Ware Barnett be adopted as the State Song.

CARTER.

January 12, 1917

Read and adopted
H. G. COMBS, Chief Clerk

Evidently, a good distribution campaign preceded the introduction of the concurrent resolution in the Senate. Perhaps the quartet's rendition sealed the deal?

Governor Charles Hillman Brough said "It is the most beautiful song I have ever heard."

Commander Shoemaker, of the battleship "Arkansas," wrote to Mrs. Barnett that her song was a favorite among his crew.

For 23 years, "Arkansas" served the state faithfully.

Contention between Mrs. Barnett and the State of Arkansas

Legal graphic

In 1939, Secretary of State C. G. "Crip" Hall created an informational pamphlet about the state. It contained the words and music to the official state song, "Arkansas." 60,000 copies of this pamphlet were printed and freely distributed.

In 1940, Mrs. Barnett, who held the copyright to the song, brought suit against the State of Arkansas claiming damages of $3,000. This was said to be the amount of lost royalties on the sale of sheet music due to the distribution of the state's pamphlet.

On June 24, 1941, Mrs. Barnett had her day in court.

On June 25, the suit was more or less dropped. Testimony by secretary of state employees indicated that Mrs. Barnett had given informal permission for the use of her song in the pamphlet. No further action was taken against the state in this case.

However, the incident most certainly had a role in Governor Homer Adkins’ decision, in 1943, to appoint a 7-member committee to come up with a new state song.

A week after the Governor’s announcement, Mrs. Barnett announced, in a newspaper ad, that she would not allow her song, "Arkansas" to be considered. This seems, to us, a curious move. We question whether or not anybody even was considering "Arkansas" as the intention of the committee was to select a "new" song.

The years passed and Barnett’s "Arkansas" would continue to hold the position of state song.

By 1948, the selection committee had not come up with a replacement although it was reported that several candidates were submitted to the committee.

What's Wrong with the Travelers?

Arkansas traveler
Currier & Ives print of Edward Payson Washbourne’s
painting Arkansas Traveler; circa 1870.
Lithograph of painting by Edward Payson Washbourne,
courtesy of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies,
Central Arkansas Library System
.

It was left to a short, light-hearted September editorial in the Arkansas Democrat to spur the committee back into action. The Democrat asked "What’s Wrong with the Travelers?" proposing that "the old fiddle tune ‘The Arkansas Traveler’ would be a fine state song." [ 2 ]

The song committee, perhaps jolted from hibernation, decided to take the road most traveled and went with the Democrat’s suggestion. The committee proposed "The Arkansas Traveler," at least the title and melody, as a candidate for the state’s new state song.

"The Arkansas Traveler" was pretty well known in the state, but it wasn’t a natural for the role of official state song. It was a fiddle tune, generally accompanied by a humorous, spoken word story of a gentleman traveling through Arkansas who came upon a man sitting on his porch fiddling the same song over and over.

"The Arkansas Traveler" had no words, but the committee proposed to remedy this situation by soliciting lyrics from the public.

In 1949, the committee published "The Arkansas Traveler" with words. They did not, however, provide the name or names of the author or authors. It seems to have become generally accepted that the lyrics were provided by the committee itself.

Despite the recommendation of the committee, "The Arkansas Traveler" was not, at the time, adopted as the state song by official legislation. This issue is alluded to in 1963's House Concurrent Resolution No. 19, where "Arkansas" was re-christened the official state song. In spite of the fact that official recognition was withheld, "The Arkansas Traveler" was, and is, often referred to as the state song from 1949 to 1963.

Without any evidence to the contrary, we assume that "Arkansas" remained the only official state song even after the recommendation of the committee put "The Arkansas Traveler" out to the public.

Regardless, things were patched up between Mrs. Barnett and the State in 1963. The State of Arkansas obtained the copyright to her song and re-christened, with House Concurrent Resolution No. 19, "Arkansas" the official state song.

House Concurrent Resolution No. 19

BY: BROWN OF CRAIGHEAD

HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

TO ADOPT THE SONG "ARKANSAS" AS THE OFFICIAL STATE SONG

WHEREAS, the Song "The Arkansas Traveler" is currently being proclaimed as the official State Song of the State of Arkansas, although there is some question as to whether it has every [sic] been officially adopted as the State Song, and

WHEREAS, the words and music of the song "The Arkansas Traveler" are not conducive to the development of love, respect, and patriotism for our beloved State of Arkansas, and

WHEREAS, the words and music of the song "Arkansas" are more clearly descriptive of the attractions, traditions and loyalties of the State and are conducive to the development of love, respect, and patriotism for the State, and

WHEREAS, the song "Arkansas" is commonly sung in our classrooms and at other public and private gatherings as the State Song and is generally considered to be the State Song of Arkansas by the other states of the Union, and

WHEREAS, it is most fitting and proper that the State of Arkansas officially adopt the song "Arkansas" as the official State Song,

NOW, THEREFORE

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE SIXTY-FOURTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN:

SECTION 1. The song "Arkansas" is hereby adopted as the official State Song of Arkansas, provided that the author, Mrs. Eva Ware Barnett, will assign the copyright interest in the song to the Secretary of State of the State of Arkansas.

Another 24 years

Arkansas state anthem
Arkansas State Anthem: "Arkansas"

And so it was for another 24 years that "Arkansas" served as the official state song of the State of Arkansas.

In 1971 the "Arkansas Waltz," by Bill Urfer and Cletus Jones, was named as the official state waltz by Senate Resolution No. 24. The measure passed in the State Senate but, as a Senate resolution, was not reviewed by or voted on by members of the Arkansas House of Representatives.

In 1985 "Arkansas" was challenged head-on. State Representative Robert Arnold introduced a bill that would replace Mrs. Barnett’s "Arkansas" with another song of the same name. Same name different song, the bill proposing "Arkansas," written by Billie Francis Taylor and Keith Hays, was withdrawn by its author after a report that Mrs. Barnett’s daughter had burst into tears when she heard of Rep. Arnold’s intention to replace her mother’s song as Arkansas’ official state song.

State sesquicentennial offers up two contenders and state song becomes state anthem

Supported by the recent rise of two newer compositions, made popular during the state’s 1986 sesquicentennial celebrations, the state legislature visited the state song issue again in 1987.

House Concurrent Resolution No. 1003 proposed the two popular modern compositions, "Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me)" by Wayland Holyfield, and "Oh, Arkansas" by Terry Rose and Gary Klaff, worthy of the title of official state song. The same resolution declared that "Arkansas," by Mrs. Eva Ware Barnett would be the state’s official anthem.

By: Representative Stephens                    H.C.R. 1003

HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

DECLARING THE SONG "ARKANSAS" TO BE THE STATE ANTHEM, AND THE SONG "ARKANSAS (YOU RUN DEEP IN ME)" TO BE THE STATE SONG.

WHEREAS, House Concurrent Resolution No. 16 of 1963 designated the song "Arkansas", written by Mrs. Eva Ware Barnett, as the official state song, and the copyright to said song has been granted to the State of Arkansas; and

WHEREAS, the song "Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me)" by Wayland Holyfield is an additional song that is appropriate to be designated as a state song;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE REGULAR SESSION OF THE SEVENTY-SIXTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN:

That hereafter the song "Arkansas", written by Mrs. Eva Ware Barnett in 1916, shall be known and designated as the official state anthem of the State of Arkansas.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that hereafter the song "Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me)", written by Wayland Holyfield, shall be designated and known as the State Song, provided that Wayland Holyfield files written consent to the use of said song as the State Song of the State of Arkansas with the Secretary of State within ninety (90) days from the date of adoption of this Resolution.

House Concurrent Resolution No. 1003 was signed by Governor Bill Clinton on February 18, 1987. It named "Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me)" and "Oh, Arkansas" official state songs.

For the third time, "Arkansas" was bestowed, by the legislature, the honor of serving the State of Arkansas, this time as the official state anthem.

years and counting, "Arkansas" is still being honored by the State of Arkansas, for the last years as its official state anthem.

* This song's authorship is sometimes incorrectly credited to Mrs. Eva Ward Barnett and William M. Ramsey. As stipulated in the Library of Congress' Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 3; Musical Compositions, New Series, Volume II, Part 2, Last Half of 1916, on page 845, the song was originally co-copyrighted by Eva Ware Barnett and William M. Ramsey but, the Catalog of Copyright Entries records the song's "words and music by E.W. Barnett."

And, in the same legislative session

Other related actions of 1987’s 76th General Assembly designated "The Arkansas Traveler" the official historical song of the State of Arkansas and stipulated protocol for requests for Arkansas’ state song.

As an interesting side note to this story, House Bill No.1541, adopted in the same year, required that "the Secretary of State shall respond to requests for a copy of our state song by furnishing copies of "Arkansas" written by Eva Ware Barnett."

State of Arkansas
76th General Assembly
Regular Session, 1987   AS ENGROSSED 2/17/87   HOUSE BILL 1541

By: Representative Flanagin

"AN ACT TO REQUIRE THE SECRETARY OF STATE TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS FOR COPIES OF THE STATE SONG BY FURNISHING COPIES OF 'ARKANSAS' WRITTEN BY EVA WARE BARNETT; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES."

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS:

HangingIndent

SECTION 1. Recognizing that Arkansas has two (2) state songs, one (1) state anthem, and an historical state song, the Secretary of State shall respond to requests for a copy of our state song by furnishing copies of "Arkansas" written by Eva Ware Barnett.

SECTION 2. All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are hereby repealed.

/s/ Pat Flanagin


Sources...

Lampkin, Sheilla. "Memories From the Museum—Arkansas' State Song." Monticello Live. N.p., 17 Jan 2009. Web. 19 Feb 2014. <http://www.monticellolive.com/memories-from-the-museum-arkansas-state-song/>.

de Brie, Tim. "Barnett, Eva Ware." composers-classical_music.com. N.p., 02 Jan 2010. Web. 19 Feb 2014. <http://composers-classical-music.com/b/BarnettEvaWare.htm>.

[ 1 ] "'Arkansas' Was First Effort of Mrs. Eva Ware Barnett." Jonesboro Weekly 15 Jan 1917, 8. Print.

[ 2 ] Ware, David. "Official State Songs." Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. Central Arkansas Library System, 09 May 2013. Web. 12 Feb 2014.

The State of Arkansas. Arkansas State Legislature. Arkansas Code. LexisNexis, 2013. Web. <http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/arcode/Default.asp>.

Shankle, George Earlie. State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols. Irvine, Calif.: Reprint Services Corp, Revised edition, 1971.

Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.


Additional Information

Arkansas official songs: All of Arkansas' official state songs, including the "anthem," the state "historical song," and the two state "songs" from NETSTATE.COM.

State Songs: Words to all of Arkansas' state songs from the office of the Arkansas Secretary of State. MP3 and Wav files included for each.

Official State Songs: Overview of state songs from the Arkansas Encyclopedia of History & Culture from the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) in Little Rock, Arkansas.

State songs: Complete list of official state songs from NETSTATE.COM

More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Arkansas state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.

Arkansas (The Official Arkansas State Song) for Voice and Piano
Arkansas
for Voice and Piano

E.W. Barnett

Arkansas (The Official Arkansas State Song) for Voice and Piano, by Mrs. Eva Ware Barnett. Sheet Music. Available: Kelly Bryant, Secretary of State, Ark. (1963)

Vocal edition with complete piano score. Back cover has photos from around the state and drawings of the state flower, flag, tree and bird. Words begin: I am thinking tonight of the Southland, of the home of my childhood days.

This is the music to the song that served as the State of Arkansas' official state song until 1987. In 1987, it was designated the state's official anthem.

Encyclopedia of Arkansas Music
Encyclopedia of
Arkansas Music

Encyclopedia of Arkansas Music, edited by Ali Welky and Mike Keckhaver. 240 pages. Publisher: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies (September 1, 2013)

Encyclopedia of Arkansas Music is a special project of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture (EOA), an online encyclopedia launched in 2006 by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System.

This colorful, photo-filled reference work spanning all aspects of Arkansas's musical past and present includes more than 150 entries on musicians, ensembles, musical works, and events.

State Songs of America

State Songs of America Edited by M. J. Bristow. 184 pages. Greenwood Press (February 28, 2000)

This book provides the music and lyrics for the official songs adopted by the state governments.

Arranged alphabetically by state, each song has a single vocal line over a piano accompaniment, with one verse only under the vocal line and remaining verses appearing separately.

State Songs: Anthems & Their Origins

State Songs: Anthems & Their Origins by John Hladczuk and Sharon Schneider Hladczuk. 240 pages. Scarecrow Press (September 26, 2000)

Histories of these songs, biographical information about the composers and lyricists, and background on each song's entrance into status as official make this source the most comprehensive in existence.

The entries include sheet music, allowing readers to reproduce for themselves the tunes that have proved so important in the history of the Union.

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