Artifact of the Month
Gov. Orval Faubus's Hat
Donated by James McNally
This circa 1960 was made for Gov. Orval Faubus by Harry Rolnick, co-owner and designer of Resistol Hats. Rolnick and E.R. Byer founded Byer-Rolnick Company in Dallas in 1927. They specialized in Western and dress hats branded Resistol for "resist all weather." Resistol hats quickly became famous for their trademarked Self-Conforming Band and Kitten Finish (a method of processing felt which produced a softer texture than conventionally-made felt).
The following information comes from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture:
Orval Eugene Faubus was born January 7, 1910, at Greasy Creek in southern Madison County, Arkansas. He entered politics in 1938 when he won the office of circuit clerk and recorder of Madison County. After distinguished service in World War II, Faubus came back to Madison County to Huntsville where he served as postmaster and he and his wife, Alta, bought the local newspaper, the Madison County Record. His editorials caught the attention of Sid McMath, who enlisted him in his campaign for governor in 1948. Following McMath's victory, Faubus was appointed to the state highway commission. He later served as administrative assistant to the governor's office. In 1954 he ran for governor and won. In 1957 he faced a political and constitutional crisis when the Little Rock school board attempted to integrate Central High School following the Supreme Court ruling outlawing segregated schools. Faubus called out the National Guard to block the entrance of nine black students. President Eisenhower federalized the Guard and the students were admitted. Faubus's action produced bad publicity but got him re-elected to office four more times. He left office undefeated in 1967.