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The Arc of Douglas County records

Call Number: RH MS 815


The Arc of Douglas County, Kansas was organized in May 1956 under the name Douglas County Association for Retarded Children (DCARC). Known since 1999 as the Arc of Douglas County, the organization provides advocacy and referral services for people with developmental disabilities and their families. This collection includes administrative records, correspondence, and collected material regarding the Kansas Association for Retarded Citizens, the Topeka Association for Retarded Citizens, the Bess Stone House, and Cottonwood, Inc.


  • Creation: 1956 - 1989


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Arc of Douglas County

The Douglas County Association for Retarded Children, or DCARC, was organized in 1956 by parents of developmentally disabled children in Lawrence, Kansas. The Association became a member unit of the Kansas Association for Retarded Children and the National Association for Retarded Children later that year. The name of the organization was officially changed to the Douglas County Association for Retarded Citizens in 1977 and in 1986 to the Association for Retarded Citizens/Douglas County. In 1999, the organization became known as the Arc of Douglas County; the Arc now provides services for Douglas, Jefferson, and Franklin Counties.

The primary purpose of the Arc is to promote the general welfare of developmentally disabled persons. The Association sponsored several classes for adults and preschool children from 1956 to 1961. Some of these classes were eventually taken into the Lawrence public schools.

The Bess Stone Activity Center (later called Bess Stone House) was established at 745 Ohio by the Association on Sept. 17, 1962. The Center served persons with mental disabilities as a gathering place for training, instruction and other activities. On July 1, 1972, Cottonwood, Inc., a separate non-profit corporation that Arc members had help establish took charge of the former Bess Stone clients. The Association has continued to be involved with Cottonwood, providing funds and professional expertise.

Other services offered by the Association have included the Lawrence Early Education Program, People First, and the Special Olympics.

[Information retrieved from the Arc of Douglas County website and collection materials.]


5.5 Linear Feet (7 boxes + 1 volume)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 815

Physical Location

RH MS 413

Physical Location

RH MS E190

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, DCARC, 1985, 1991.

Processing Information

Collection description information updated in summer 2023 to reflect the organization's latest name. Folder titles and other information dating from when the Arc used terms more typical of the mid- and late-20th century remain as is, both in this finding aid and on the folders themselves.

Guide to the Arc of Douglas County Collection
The Arc of Douglas County records
Finding aid prepared by rs, 1990; kac, 2006. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2004; kac, 2006. Finding aid revised by mrm, 2009; mwh, 2020, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
The Arc of Douglas County records, Kansas Collection, RH MS 815, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States