Morrison and Eppinette, Historical Ouachita County, p. 5
In 1979 Dr. George Brown, Chancellor of Southern Arkansas University Tech, presented the idea of making a collection of historical photographs of Ouachita County as a community project for the college. After enlisting the aid of the Ouachita County Historical Society, Larry Morrison began the collection process by borrowing original negatives and photographs from area citizens. Bruce Eppinette used the SAU Tech photography facilitates to produce copy negatives and prints.
The first use of the photgraphs was as decoration for the library and a conference room on the Tech campus. Community interest in the photographic collection led to the creation of a slide presentation of the photographs. The slide program has been presented to numerous school groups, civic clubs, and senior citizen groups.
The interest in state and local history engendered by the approaching celebration of the Arkansas Sesquicentennial led to the creation in 1985 of a Tech photographic history book project to publish Historical Ouachita County: A Photographic Collection. An earnest effort was made to select from the Tech picture archives the most representative photographs of Ouachita County's history for inclusion in the book.
Efforts to complete the project involved extensive school and community support. At SAU Tech, Dr. George Brown and Dr. Gail Kettlewell were unfailing in their backing for the project; the Arts and Sciences Division and the Business Management Division provided workers and technical assistance; and the Phi Beta Lambda organization assisted by providing typists. From the community, many individuals were indispensable in providing photographs and historical information. Finally and most importantly, initial funding for the project came from the First Federal Savings and Loan, River Valley Credit Union, Watts Department Store, Moseley Candy Company, Merchants and Planters Bank, and First National Bank.
Without this broad communtiy support, which reflects the pride Ouachita County citizens have in their history, this book could not have been completed. Proceeds from the sale of this book will provide funding for the continuation of the Tech historical photographic archives and for special projects by the SAU Tech Foundation.