Helen Martin King Materials

Lyon College Special Collections
Regional Studies Center
Mabee-Simpson Library
Lyon College
P.O. Box 2317
Batesville, AR 72503-2317
Telephone: 870-307-7509



Title:                           Helen Martin King Materials

Accession number:     92-003-AC

Collection size:           0.5 linear ft. (1 box)

Donor:                        William Jackson Butt II

Repository:                Lyon College Special Collections, Regional Studies Center


Information About Helen Martin King and the Collection 

Helen Martin King (1895-1988) was a longtime Batesville, Arkansas, resident who gained notoriety in the mid-20th century as both a skillful hooked rug maker and a designer of hooked rug patterns.  King was a native of Powhatan, Arkansas (Lawrence County) whose father’s business interests brought the family to Batesville during Helen’s childhood.  She attended the Arkansas College preparatory school before marrying a neighbor, Fitzhugh Hail, in 1913.  However, when her husband’s unexpected death ended her brief marriage tragically the following year, Helen embarked on an educational odyssey that would take her to the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the Ohio Mechanical Institute, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans, Louisiana.

            While studying at the latter college, she met and married Harry King, a young Methodist minister from Arkansas with whom she would have two daughters.  A quarter-century later, in 1943, Harry King joined the faculty of Lyon (then Arkansas) College, returning Helen to her hometown, where she would spend the rest of her life.  By this time Helen Martin King had already begun to garner recognition for her rug hooking and designs.  Life magazine ran a feature on her, and National Geographic ran a picture of her and a daughter working on a quilt.  In the post-World War II era she began to teach the art of rug hooking, and continued to design patterns into the 1960s.  Today rugs hooked by Helen Martin King are both rare and prized. 

The Helen Martin King Materials consist of photographs, slides, magazine and newspaper articles, brochures, and other items relating to King’s rug hooking career, as well as correspondence relating to the gathering of the collection. 

Nancy S. Griffith processed the collection in 1992.  In 2002, Kim Halpain and Judy Blackwell completed detailed indexing and the website finding aid.  The collection is open for research.



            Britton, Nancy

            Butt, Cecilia King

            King, Helen Martin

            Martin, J. W.

            Rug Hooking


Detailed Series Description 


Folder 1: 

            Xerox of King Scrapbook


Folder 2: 

            Xerox Copy of Martin’s Philosophy of Life by J.W. Martin


Folder 3: 

            Brochure-         “Hooked Rug Patterns” by Mrs. Harry King; 1946

            Brochure-         “Hooked Rug Patterns Hooking Helps” by Mrs. Harry King

            Brochure-         “The Art and History of Hooked Rugs” by Mrs. Harry King


Folder 4: 

            Letter-              To Nancy from Michael Beary; April 10, 1992

            Reminiscences- Cecilia King Butt

            Reminiscences- Cecilia King Butt; June 1980


Folder 5: 

Magazine Articles-        Arkansas Traveler of 1946”; The National Geographic Magazine; September 1946

Newspaper Article-      “Authority on Rug Hooking to Address Arkansas Pen Women; Arkansas Democrat Gazette; February 5, 1950

Magazine Ad-              “Hand Hooked Rugs”; Early American Life; December 1974

Newspaper Article-      “Rug Designer; Helen Martin King; Arkansas Gazette; May 28, 1961

Newspaper Article-      “Resident Treats House Occupants like Her Sons”; Batesville Daily Guard; September 6, 1983; two copies of article

Magazine Article-         “Old Art of Rug Hooking Revived by Party-Loving Southern Women”; Life; January 29, 1940

Magazine Article-         “You’re Hooked”; Holland’s; June 1949

Newspaper Article-      “News of Other Days: 70 years ago Harry King and Helen Martin Hail are united in Marriage”; Batesville Daily Guard”; January 16, 1987

Newspaper Article-      “Helen King Moves to Fayetteville”; Batesville Daily Guard;

Newspaper Article-      “Pleasure and Profit Derived from Hook Rug Hobby by Batesville Women”; Batesville News Review; June 18, 1937

Newspaper Article-      “Hooked Rug Designer”; Batesville Guard; April 6, 1960

Articles-                       1949:  “Mrs. Harry King Plays Big Role in Reviving Rug-Making in the Home”; “Rug Designer Guest Speaker for Pen Women”; “Hooked Rug Show in Batesville Was Great Success”


Folder 6: 

            Photograph-     John W. Martin; Helen King’s Father

            Photograph-     Fitzhugh N. Hail and Helen Martin; 1913


Folder 7: 

Program-          “Refocusing the Past:  Women in Society and the Arts in Arkansas and Neighboring States”; Degray State Park; Arkadelphia, Arkansas; October 18-19, 1991

Paper-              “Helen Martin King Arkansas Rug Hooker” by Nancy Britton


Folder 8: 

            List-                 List of Boys who lived with Mrs. King

            Letter-              To Cecilia from Steve Wingo


Folder 9: 

            Letter-              To Murt from Nathan and Jan Davis; September 11, 1985

            Slides-              List of King Slides

            Package-          To Mrs. Sam Britton from Thomas F. Butt; May 8, 1989


Folder 10: 

            Agreement-      Agreement on Gifts; Powhatan Museum; June 2, 1986

            Obituary-         Helen Martin King December 14, 1988

            Letter-              To Mrs. Harry King from Townsend Wolfe; June 11, 1987; Picture Included

Letter-              To Mrs. Sam Britton from Karen Bryant; April 4, 1991

Letter-              To Ms. Nancy Britton from R.W. Meriwether; Hendrix College; October 1, 1991

            Paper-              Opera Cape” by Cecilia K. Butt, 1991

            Letter-              To Mr. William Jackson Butt II from Nancy S. Griffith, September

                                    7, 1992

Letter-              To Mrs. Griffith from Jack Butt, April 29, 1992



            Magazine-        The Magazine Antiques  October 1990

            Magazine-        The Magazine Antiques July 1992


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