Reagan sisters donate $1.2 million to UA libraries

(Left to right) Sisters Betty Lynn Reagan, Agnes Lytton Reagan, and Mary Sue Reagan in 2001.


Three University of Arkansas alumnae and sisters have designated an estate gift worth more than $1.2 million to the UA library system, according to school officials.

Agnes Lytton Reagan, Mary Sue Reagan, and Betty Lynn Reagan all graduated from the Fulbright College at the university. Agnes Lytton graduated in 1935 with a degree in mathematics, while her sisters, Mary Sue and Betty Lynn, both earned degrees in history in 1942 and 1945, respectively.

Their gift will be used to purchase library materials, including books, periodicals and digital resources.

The University Libraries’ Special Collections Department began archiving the Reagan Family Papers in 1988, which include essays, photographs, correspondence, clippings, a scrapbook, and the Mary Sue Reagan Political Collection. With their estate gift, the department also received hundreds of books for the Arkansas and Rare Books collections, as well as an antique bookshelf once owned by famed Cherokee attorney E.C. Boudinot. The bookshelf currently houses an exhibit about Boudinot and is on display in the Special Collections Reading Room in Mullins Library.

“The Reagan sisters were some of my first friends when I moved to Arkansas in 2000,” said Carolyn Henderson Allen, dean of University Libraries. “I found them to be charming, interesting gentlewomen who could talk on everything from politics and history to gardening and food. They were fun to be around, and they were curious about everything in the world. They were voracious readers, wonderful conversationalists and they were interested in all aspects of the university, not just the libraries.”

Mary Sue went on to earn a Master of Arts in history from the University of Missouri, and Betty Lynn completed her Master of Arts in history from Emory University. Betty Lynn was also a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Paris in the summer of 1962. Both Mary Sue and Betty Lynn enjoyed careers as history and government teachers in the Rogers School District and accumulated 94 years of service between them.

Betty Lynn Reagan died in 2005 at the age of 80. Mary Sue Reagan died in August 2013 at 93, and Agnes Lytton Reagan died in December 2013 at the age of 99.

“They were beautiful ladies,” said Alice “Russell” Eubanks, a next-door neighbor of the sisters for nearly 30 years, who substituted for them occasionally. “They had a sense of humor, enjoyed life, liked to laugh, supported their church and loved people. They always had a positive outlook on life.”