When the journalism department moved into Hill Hall, a reading room and journalism library was created and quickly put to good use by journalism students who found the round table a good place to study and discuss events of the day.
Tabling the Matters at Hand
When the journalism department moved into Hill Hall, a round table eight feet across was purchased by Walter J. Lemke through funds provided by Roberta Fulbright. The table was bought from a Springdale antique dealer, who had in his turn bought the table from the Salvation Army in Chicago.
For many years, Lemke propagated a legend that the table had been brought to the United States from Czarist Russia and graced the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. After the Russian Revolution and ornate tables fell out of favor with the new Marxist government, the table was allegedly sold to Al Capone for his home in Chicago.
When the journalism department moved from Hill Hall to the Communication Center (now called Kimpel Hall), the table went along. Its diameter, however, had to be trimmed by six inches all the way around to get it out of Hill Hall and into the new journalism reading room. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the table was often used by The Traveler staff for stuffing advertising inserts into the paper.
In the late 1990s, the table was completely refinished and repaired as part of the renovation of the Reading Room, funded by Sue Walk Burnett, another alumna of The Traveler staff. It continues to be used for receptions, graduate seminars and reading: "The old table is sort of the communal reading desk for UofA journalists; she usually supports a good many newspapers and not a few pair of elbows."
The Arkansas Traveler, October 5, 1970
Ibid., January 30, 1973