History of Arkansas Girls State

In 2018 we celebrated the 76 years of Arkansas Girls State. This American Legion Auxiliary program was first presented in 1937 and is one of the most respected and coveted experimental learning programs presented in the United States.

It was not until 1942 that the first session of Arkansas Girls State was held on the campus of Arkansas State Teachers College (now UCA) in Conway with 104 girls in attendance. Florence Mitchell from Fort Smith served as Governor the first and second year. There were two counties and 4 cities the first year. The delegates were given a Girls State quiz in which Margaret Orr of Blytheville made the highest grade by answering 44 of 46 questions. Mrs. Margaret Letzig served as director in 1942. 

From the beginning, girls elected their own officials in the city, county, and state, and organized their own legislature. They made official visits to their respective counterparts at the Arkansas State Capitol. Bills that first year of Girls Stat were to reenact the prohibition law in Arkansas and to consolidate the 75 counties into 25 counties as an economy measure. Also, there was a bill calling for an annual Girls State which probably did pass.

In 1943, Girls State moved to Little Rock and was held on the campus of the Arkansas School for the Deaf with Helen Hall as the director that year. Miss Claudia Kuykendall was Department President of the Arkansas American Legion Auxiliary. In 1944, Miss Claudia became director and for the second year, sessions were held at the Arkansas School for the Deaf. 

In 1945, the Girls State session was canceled due to World War II. 

In1946, it was again held on the School for the Deaf campus with Mrs. Nels Langseth as director. Miss Claudia Kuydendall became director in 1947 and that was the last year it was held at the School for the Deaf. 


Girls State from the Arkansas House of Representatives – June 1st, 2017