Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Moon rock found! UPDATE

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 4:32 PM

ROCK OUTED: A library find.

FOUND: Photo of rock presentation in 1976 by astronaut Dick Truly (right)
  • Hope Star
  • FOUND: Photo of rock presentation in 1976 by astronaut Dick Truly (right)
Remember the stories about Arkansas's missing moon rock? It's been found in the collection of Bill Clinton gubernatorial papers and memorabilia.

UPDATE: Bobby Roberts, director of the Central Arkansas Library System, says the rock will be returned to the state soon. He said it was clearly a gift to the people of Arkansas and he believes it might have gotten mistakenly put with Clinton papers and other items, which are now being processed at the library's Butler Center, at the end of his first term as governor in 1980. He figures it has been sitting in a box since then. He said he's been in touch with the Clinton organization and they agree with its return.

In 1976, NASA presented chips of lunar rock as goodwill gestures to the states from the Apollo 17 mission. In recent years, searches have been mounted to find them. Many states have misplaced the rocks, which were encased in clear plastic and mounted on wooden plaques.

This morning, Michael Hodge, who's archiving materials in the Bill Clinton State Government Project, found the plaque while recording other plaques and memorabilia, said Nathania Sawyer, associate head of special projects for the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, an arm of the Central Arkansas Library System.

"We will catalogue it, note its condition and then it will be part of the collection," Sawyer told me this morning. But, subsequently, that changed a bit. It won't be staying around.

According to the account linked at the top, the state received the rock, presented by astronaut Dick Truly, when David Pryor was governor, in 1976. Some think chunks of the moon, even this small, could be worth $5 million though the sales are illegal.

I had thought the plaque might have found its way into Clinton materials during the chaotic period in 1992 when he left the governor's office to prepare to move to Washington. Bobby Roberts thinks not.

SAFE KEEPING: Moon rock plaque is now in library director Bobby Roberts vault.
  • Brian Chilson
  • SAFE KEEPING: Moon rock plaque is now in library director Bobby Roberts' vault.

Clinton was defeated for re-election by Frank White in 1980. Roberts had worked for Clinton and was part of the crew that filled up more than 100 boxes with Clinton papers, which were shipped to UALR archives for storage in 1980. When the 1992 campaign began, those boxes were sent to the Clinton campaign. Roberts asked for the gubernatorial papers when the Clinton presidency was over. And eventually they arrived, for cataloguing and storage at the Butler Center.

Roberts said the discovery today was by chance as Hodge was processing some items of small research value. A rough inventory said the box contained a "flag plaque." Hodge opened it and found a plaque mentioning a donation of the moon rock to the people of Arkansas. The rock itself, in a clear plastic ball, had fallen off the plaque because the glue apparently wore out. But it was in the container. Both rock and plaque are now safely in the library vault.

Said Roberts: "I'll probably call the governor's office and say, 'You want your rock back?'"

Roberts doubts the mystery of how it wound up in Clinton papers — and when — will be solved. But he said the Frank White and subsequent Clinton administrations made no mention of the moon rock in their records and he's convinced that it was boxed up in 1980 and that he likely had a hand in it.

"We've solved one mystery, but created another," he said.

In the meanwhile, he said, he and the former president are in absolute agreement: "It belongs to the people of Arkansas and needs to go back to the people of Arkansas. We'll get it where it belongs."

Tags: , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

  • Hello from Philadelphia

    July 24, 2016
    Jay Barth will be in Philadelphia for the week, observing and analyzing the events at Hillary Clinton's DNC. /more/
  • Asa tamps down Clinton sex talk

    July 18, 2016
    Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who was a House manager of Bill Clinton's impeachment, has discouraged the Republican National Convention from delving into Clinton's sexual past, as Donald Trump has said he would do. /more/
  • Shadow of Iraq War

    July 14, 2016
    From William Hope "Coin" Harvey to Gerald L.K. Smith, Arkansas has always offered a refuge for the reviled, so it is perfect that Tony Blair and George W. Bush flee here this week to escape the slings and arrows of their nations' brutal politics. /more/
  • Gathering of presidents set Thursday in Little Rock

    July 13, 2016
    As reported here earlier, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will be joined in Little Rock Thursday afternoon by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for the invitation-only graduation of the second class of 61 Presidential Leadership Scholars, a program of four presidential libraries. /more/
  • The studies Congress won't do

    July 12, 2016
    The planned Little Rock visit this week by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Tony Blair gives Ernest Dumas a chance to write about the Iraq war and the partisan nature of topics that Congress chooses to investigate — such as Hillary Clinton, forever. /more/
  • Three former national leaders to meet in Little Rock this week

    July 10, 2016
    Three former national leaders — former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and former British prime minister Tony Blair — apparently are going to be together in Little Rock this week. /more/
  • Attorney general to defer to prosecutors on Clinton e-mail case

    July 1, 2016
    Attorney General Loretta Lynch is announcing she will not participate in any decisions made on the federal investigation of use of a private e-mail server by Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state. /more/
  • Arkansas Democrats land a Clinton, early-retire Jefferson and Jackson

    June 9, 2016
    The Arkansas Democratic Party has landed a Clinton — former president Bill Clinton — to speak at the party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, the last to be named for the former presidents on account of objections to some inglorious elements of their records. /more/
  • Just deserts for Kenneth Starr

    May 26, 2016
    Michael Tomasky, writing in the Daily Beast, says sharply what many here feel: The reported firing of Baylor University President Kenneth Starr for poor response to sexual assault by football players would be ironic justice. /more/
  • UCA archives add J. Bill Becker papers

    May 25, 2016
    University of Central Arkansas archivist Jimmy Bryant called with happy news yesterday that he'd added the papers of J. Bill Becker, the long-time head of the AFL-CIO in Arkansas, to the UCA collection. /more/
  • More »

Comments (20)

Showing 1-20 of 20

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-20 of 20

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Arkansas Supreme Court denies rehearing in death penalty challenge, but delays mandate

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today refused to rehear the case denying Death Row inmates information about drugs used by the state in the lethal injection process.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Welspun layoffs: Another example of corporate welfare folly

    Layoffs at the Welspun pipe plant in Little Rock are a reminder of the folly of corporate welfare and the inability of Arkansas to separate itself from global economic forces. See the Fayetteville shale. And keep a watchful eye on that Sun Paper pulp mill proposed near Arkadelphia.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Hamburg bank manager gets 21 months for theft

    Melinda Gwin, 49, of Hamburg has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to repay $210,875 stolen from the First National Bank of Crossett. She was sentenced in El Dorado federal court, according to a Justice Department news release.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Photos from March for TC

    Last night, dozens of friends of TC Edwards, the Little Rock musician and man on the scene who was found murdered Dec. 7, marched in his memory, chanting "Justice for TC" and "TC is metal" as they walked from Pizza D' Action up Kavanaugh.
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • Humanists sue over Baxter County nativity scene. Looks like another winner

    The Baxter Bulletin reported today on a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Baxter County resident over the Nativity scene that has been erected on the Baxter County Courthouse lawn for decades by local lawyer Rick Spencer.
    • Dec 24, 2014
  • Father and son turned away from "Muslim-free" Hot Springs gun range for being brown

    A college student and his dad who visited a gun range over the weekend for some bonding time over target practice were told to leave after the owner grew suspicious that the pair were...Muslims! Nope, not Muslims — they just happened to not be white. Either way, though, it's rank discrimination.
    • Jan 13, 2015

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation