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University Receives Films Focusing on Man's History

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

(Extracted from 1973 article in local newspaper on one of Joy Pratt Markham's donations

to the U of A and giving a short biography of her life.)

With the financial assistance of a longtime Fayetteville resident, the University of Arkansas has purchased the highly acclaimed film series, "Civilization."

Mrs. Joy Pratt Markham has donated the major portion of the purchase price of the series of 13 52-minute color films, which were produced by the British Broadcasting Company and first were shown in this country on the Public Broadcasting System network.

The films, which were written and narrated by the famous art historian Kenneth Clark, were hailed by the London Times as "not merely a definition of civilization, but also a sustained and nourishing celebration of it." The series comprises a motion picture history of Western Civilization, focusing on the history of man as expressed in art, architecture, and philosophy.

The films will be used in various classes of the University according to Cyrus Sutherland, coordinator of the Basic Fine Arts Program. In addition, a series of free public showings have been scheduled in the Science-Engineering Auditorium, beginning this week, Sutherland said.

Mrs. Markham explained her decision to help finance the purchase of the film series by saying that "I like to think of the purpose of education as being to make a person worthy of living in this beautiful world in which we find ourselves, enriching, humbling, ennobling him, to the end that he will live to protect and preserve it."

Mrs. Markham is a native of Arkansas, who was born in Springdale and who moved to Fayetteville as a small girl [in 1900]. She attended the University of Arkansas preparatory school and later received her bachelor's degree from the U of A. She majored in English but also took a two-year course certifying her as a teacher. After graduation, she did post-graduate work at the Art Institute in Chicago, where she became acquainted with the pioneer social worker, Jane Addams, and began teaching part-time at Miss Addam's famous Hull House project.

After returning to Fayetteville in 1920, Mrs. Markham operated a summer camp for boys and girls for more than 10 years. As an alumna of the University, Mrs. Markham said she long "had hoped that I could do something of value for the University." She added that she hoped this film series "would be an influence in shaping the attitudes and behavior of today's students."

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