Publications

Butler Center Books

A. C. Pickett's Private Journal of the U.S.-Mexican War

A. C. Pickett's Private Journal of the U.S.-Mexican War

edited by Jo Blatti

On June 11, 1846, A. C. Pickett was ready to embark from Mobile, Alabama, with other recruits on the greatest adventure of their young lives. The native Alabamian spent the next twelve months recording the scenes before him while the United States fought against Mexico. Well-educated and articulate, Pickett used a reporter's style to write about everything from the condition of crops to church services, local markets, and the people he met. Pickett later settled in northeast Arkansas where he worked as an attorney. During the Civil War, he formed the Jackson Guards (Company G, 1st Ark. Infantry Regiment) and later was active in Reconstruction politics in Arkansas.

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All Cut to Pieces and Gone to Hell

"All Cut to Pieces and Gone to Hell":

The Civil War, Race Relations, and the Battle of Poison Spring

edited by Mark K. Christ

A compilation of essays originally presented as part of a one-day seminar at the Old State House Museum in Little Rock. In this work, noted historians examine race relations, the Camden Expedition, and the Battle of Poison Spring.

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Arkansas: an Illustrated Atlas

Arkansas:

An Illustrated Atlas

by Tom Paradise

Arkansas: An Illustrated Atlas is an innovative and comprehensive look at our unique Natural State. Filled with more than 75 maps, 20 diagrams, and 115 photographs, this book goes beyond traditional atlases by using colorful graphics, fun facts, and up-to-date statistics to explain, describe, and illuminate our state.

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Arkansas Godfather

Arkansas Godfather:

The Story of Owney Madden and How He Hijacked Middle America

by Graham Nown

Owney Madden lived a seemingly quiet life for decades in the resort town of Hot Springs, Arkansas, while he was actually helping some of America's most notorious gangsters rule a vast criminal empire. In 1987, Graham Now first told Madden's story in his book The English Godfather, in which he traced Madden's boyhood in England, his immigration to New York City, and his rise to mob boss. Nown also uncovered a love story involving Madden and the daughter of the Hot Springs postmaster.
In this new, updated version of Nown's book, we see a world where people can break the law without ever getting caught, and where criminality is so entwined in government and society that one might wonder what is legality and what is not.

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Bandits, Bears and Backaches

Bandits, Bears and Backaches

A Collection of Short Stories Based on Arkansas History

by Velma Branscum Woody

A collection of eleven short stories about the human aspects of the history of Arkansas. The settings of the stories range from a pre-historical mastodon hunt to a twentieth-century family's departure from the state in search of employment. Middle school teachers can use the stories to enhance their classes in Arkansas history with lesson plans designed by the author and available for teachers in the Butler Center's Digital Collections.

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The Barling Darling

The Barling Darling:

Hal Smith in American Baseball

by Billy D. Higgins with Hal Smith

The St. Louis Cardinals were contenders in 1957 and '59, two of Hal Smith's best years as a major league player. Smith, out of tiny Barling, Arkansas, had risen in the minor leagues, and even played in Mexico, Cuba, and the Asian circuit. Readers will be intrigued to learn key roles Smith played as baseball went through profound changes in the late 1950s. They will also observe the parallels between baseball's maturation during the 1950s and those of American society at the time. Higgins has crafted the story of a man who not only stood out in his time but also reflected his country's best hopes and dynamic evolution in the postwar era, as well as the expansion of "America's game" onto the national stage, propelled in part by the new medium of the day, television.

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Beyond Central, Toward Acceptance

Beyond Central, Toward Acceptance:

A Collection of Oral Historiesfrom Students of Little Rock Central High

Edited by Mackie O'Hara and Alex Richardson

From its modest beginning as a classroom assignment, the Memory Project at Central High School has grown to become a full-sized book that commemorates the national struggle for civil rights.

The Memory Project started as a class assignment for ninth-graders in 2007 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Central's historic desegregation in 1957. As the students heard stories of that year and learned lessons on racial tolerance, the project continued to grow.

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Big Hat Law

The Big Hat Law:

Arkansas and Its State Police, 1935-2000

by Michael Lindsey

Tracing the force's origins as the "Arkansas Rangers" to Governor Cherry's plan for "a new trooper in every county" to today's sophisticated, diversified force, this new history of Arkansas's statewide policing authority relates an important part of the state's development. Lindsey's text and archival photos show how the saga of Arkansas's police has reflected the state's growth, development of crime-solving methods, and innovation in technologies used by troopers to bring criminals to justice.

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Big Woods Bird

Big Woods Bird – An Ivory-bill Story

written by Terri Roberts Luneau, illustrated by Trevor Bennett

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies is pleased to offer Big Woods Bird: An Ivory-Bill Story by Terri Roberts Luneau. Terri Luneau is the wife of David Luneau, who first captured the ivory-billed woodpecker on videotape. Big Woods Bird tells the story of the ivory-billed woodpecker and its habitat in verse. Illustrations throughout are by Little Rock artist Trevor Bennett.

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The Broken Vase

The Broken Vase:

A Novel Based On the Life of Penina Krupitsky, a Holocaust Survivor

by Phillip H. McMath and Emily Matson Lewis

The Broken Vase is a roman à clef ("novel with a key," or novel based on real life) written by Phillip H. McMath based upon research done by his co-author, Emily Matson Lewis, and in close collaboration with Holocaust survivor Penina Krupitsky, who appears in the novel as the fictional Miriam Kellerman. With the help of the World Jewish Organization, Mrs. Krupitsky emigrated from the Soviet Union with her family to the United States and now lives in Arkansas.

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The Company We Keep

The Company We Keep:

50 Years of Arkansans Creating Just Communities

by Ruth D. Shepherd

Since 1964, Just Communities of Arkansas (or JCA, formerly the National Conference of Christians and Jews/National Conference for Community and Justice) has given the National Humanitarian Award to publically recognize civic leaders who have worked to build communities and advance opportunity for the common good. In 1987, JCA was granted the opportunity to also present the Father Joseph H. Biltz Award to outstanding community servants. In total, 130 individuals have been recognized with one of these awards. Collected here are their stories, which are heartwarming, funny, and-most of all-inspiring.

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Race Relations in the Natural State

Crisis of Conscience:

Arkansas Methodists and the Civil Rights Struggle

edited by James T. Clemons and Kelly L. Farr

This book features personal stories by Arkansas Methodist pastors, laypersons, and community leaders—including Dale Bumpers, Joycelyn Elders, and Miller Williams—who lived through the struggles for civil rights in the 1950s and saw their congregations and other institutions rocked by the tumultuous events of the history-making era.

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Deep Down in the Delta

Deep Down in the Delta:

Folktales and Poems

by Greg Alan Brownderville, with paintings by Billy Moore

In Deep Down in the Delta, a book like no other, tales and poems by award-winning writer Greg Alan Brownderville are paired with paintings by "outsider" artist Billy Moore to evoke the Arkansas Delta in unforgettable fashion. One of the most soulful, most mysterious regions in America comes to life in words and pictures.

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The Die Is Cast

The Die Is Cast:

Arkansas Goes to War, 1861

edited by Mark K. Christ

Essays from five contributors examine the political and social forces in Arkansas that led to secession and transformed farmers, clerks, and shopkeepers into soldiers. Collectively, these essays provide an overview of the diverse passions that brought the people of Arkansas to war.

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Encyclopedia of Arkansas Music

Encyclopedia of Arkansas Music

Edited by Ali Welky and Mike Keckhaver

This colorful, photo-filled reference work spanning all aspects of Arkansas's musical past and present includes more than 150 entries on musicians, ensembles, musical works, and events. Covering the genres of blues/R&B, classical/opera, country, folk, gospel/contemporary Christian, jazz, rock, and rockabilly, this encyclopedia has something to interest any lover of Arkansas music and Arkansas history, as the state?s past and present are tied inexorably to its music.

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Escape Velocity

Escape Velocity:

A Charles Portis Miscellany

by Charles Portis; edited and with an introduction by Jay Jennings

Illustrations by Mike Reddy

For those who care about literature or simply love a good laugh (or both), Charles Portis has long been one of America's most admired novelists. His 1968 novel True Grit is fixed in the contemporary canon, and four more have been hailed as comic masterpieces. Now, for the first time, his other writings-journalism, travel stories, short fiction, memoir, and even a play-have been brought together in Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany, his first new book in more than twenty years.

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From Azaleas to Zydeco

From Azaleas to Zydeco:

My 4,600-Mile Journey through the South

by Mark W. Nichols

Inspired by a 1937 map and travelogue of a newspaperman's tour, author Mark W. Nichols embarked on his own long journey into the unique cities of the South.

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From Carnegie to Cyberspace

From Carnegie to Cyberspace:

100 Years at the Central Arkansas Library System

by Shirley Schuette and Nathania Sawyer

Public libraries are deeply rooted in our national heritage, and one of the country's best examples is the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). From its earliest days as a private lending library, CALS has developed into a strong advocate of literacy and continuing education as the cornerstones of an informed citizenry. This is the story of how one small library grew into a major regional system, how its libraries evolved to meet the demands of changing technology and a growing population, and how, in many ways, it became a model for the rest of the nation.

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Big Hat Law

The Good Ground of Central High:

Little Rock Central High School and Legendary Coach Wilson Matthews

by George M. Cate

This engrossing autobiographical account of a student athlete who is hardened by a tough coach in a soon-to-be famous high school setting brings the civil rights era into focus.

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Hangin' Times in Fort Smith

Hangin' Times in Fort Smith:

A History of Executions in Judge Parker's Court

by Jerry Akins

For twenty-one years, Judge Isaac C. Parker ruled in the federal court at Fort Smith, Arkansas, the gateway to the wild and lawless Western frontier. Parker, however, was not the "hangin' judge" that casual legend portrays. In most cases, the guilt or innocence of those tried in his court really was not in question once their stories were told. These horrible crimes would have screamed out for justice in any circumstance. Author Jerry Akins has finally arrived at the real story about Parker and his court by comparing newspaper accounts of the trials and executions to what has been written and popularized in other books.

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Homefront Arkansas

Homefront Arkansas:

Arkansans Face Wartime

by Velma B. Branscum Woody and Steven Teske

Homefront Arkansas: Arkansans Face Wartime, written by Butler Center Books veteran Velma B. Branscum Woody, along with historian Steven Teske, illuminates for young readers the impact of war on Arkansans.

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Lessons from Little Rock

Lessons from Little Rock

A Memoir by One of the Little Rock Nine

by Terrence Roberts

This intimate and powerful account of the integration of Little Rock Central High School relates the inner struggles of one of the nine students who subjected themselves to the wrath of a mob in their quest for an equal education.

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A Life on the Black River in Arkansas

A Life on the Black River in Arkansas:

The Memoir of a Farmer, Rural Entrepreneur, and Banker

by E. R. Coleman with Mary Frances Hodges

The Black River flows from Missouri into Arkansas east of Branson and west of the Bootheel. It meanders where the foothills of the Ozarks begin to rise out of the Mississippi plain. The area was sparsely populated when E. R. Coleman was a young man. Like the population they served, businesses were modest, mostly small, and scattered. Told in his own words, this is a genuine American Horatio Alger story of hardscrabble beginnings, working longer and harder than today's youth might be able to imagine, and plain dealing from cotton fields to board rooms.

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A Little Rock Boyhood

A Little Rock Boyhood

by A. Cleveland Harrison

History books provide the statistics and the "big picture" of the Great Depression, but what did any of that mean for a family just trying to make it through those years? A. Cleveland Harrison's A Little Rock Boyhood provides that viewpoint in this evocative memoir as he captures what Little Rock was like for him as a child in the 1930s. The Harrison family's experiences and those of their extended family and neighbors bring the tough economic times down to the individual level.

The youngest Harrison is an able reporter, relating the memories of an observant though naive child. All was not grim, though, if you were a kid, and Harrison describes those happy times. He remembers his life in the residential neighborhoods of downtown Little Rock when a child could grow up in difficult times without becoming difficult. This book is an insightful look back at a time, a place, and a childhood.

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main street arkansas

Main Street Arkansas

The Hearts of Arkansas Cities and Towns — As Portrayed in Postcards and Photographs

by Ray Hanley and Steven Hanley

Main Streets in cities and towns all over Arkansas virtually spring to life in a collection of historic postcards and photos that brothers Ray and Steven Hanley have woven together in their new book, Main Street Arkansas.

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Natural State Notables

Natural State Notables:

21 Famous People from Arkansas

by Steven Teske

Everyone, including native Arkansans, may be surprised to find out how many famous and fascinating people come from or have strong ties to the state. Natural State Notables profiles twenty-one such people, including musicians, athletes, business leaders, and public servants.

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obliged to help

Obliged to Help

Adolphine Fletcher Terry and the Progressive South

by Stephanie Bayless

This illuminating look at Adolphine Fletcher Terry's life and accomplishments examines why this Southern aristocratic matron, the daughter of a Confederate soldier, tirelessly devoted herself to improving the lives of others and, in so doing, became a model for activism across the South.

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main street arkansas

Open House

The Arkansas Governor's Mansion and Its Place in History

by John P. Gill

In its six decades of existence, the Arkansas Governor's Mansion, which sits in the middle of Center Street near downtown Little Rock, has played a prominent role in Arkansas history and has had its share of national attention. Now, much of that history is available in a new book from John Gill, who opens the doors of the mansion to reveal how the building and its occupants have changed through the years. It also provides a unique glimpse into the everyday lives of the governors and their families.

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Pfeiffer Country

Pfeiffer Country:

The Tenant Farms and Business Activities of Paul Pfeiffer in Clay County, Arkansas, 1902-1954

by Sherry Laymon

Clay County, Arkansas, was a flatland with little improvements at the outset of the twentieth century. Into this primitive society came a St. Louis entrepreneur with a liking for agriculture. Paul Pfeiffer bought large tracts of land, set up tenant farmers, and reigned for nearly fifty years as a beneficent landlord. When farming was interrupted by the coming of the railroad, both Pfeiffer and his tenants adapted to a lumbering economy — so long as the hardwood forest lasted. Laymon's account depicts the fate of tenants following the break-up of "Pfeiffer Country."

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Political Magic

Political Magic:

The Travels, Trials, and Triumphs of the Clintons' Arkansas Travelers

by Brenda Blagg

Political Magic is the story of how Bill Clinton’s lifelong friends—the Arkansas Travelers—helped the governor of a small state become president of the United States. The Travelers personalized politics and helped make a difference in Clinton’s election.

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Proudly We Speak Your Name

Proudly We Speak Your Name:

Forty-four Years at Little Rock Catholic High School

by Michael J. Moran

If it can happen within the walls of an all-boys high school, the author has probably seen it in his four decades of teaching. And he has probably reported on it in this book, which was written during his first year of "retirement." While the spirit is often light, Moran's book ends with a stirring tribute to the man who, though departed, still epitomizes the spirit of the place, the man whose name is now given to the school's street, Father George Tribou. Readers will leave Moran's account glad for the experience of following in his (remembered) footsteps.

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A Pryor Commitment

A Pryor Commitment:

The Autobiography of David Pryor

by David Pryor with Don Harrell

David Pryor's career of public service is unparalleled in Arkansas history: he has been elected state representative, congressman, governor, and, alongside Dale Bumpers, U.S. senator (1979-1997), a seat his son, Mark Pryor, now holds. Through it all, Pryor's curiosity, compassion, and concern for ordinary Americans draw the reader from one colorful vignette to another. His father sold Chevrolets, volunteered at church, and held local office just to be sure the right things were done in their community. Pryor's account of richly detailed childhood memories are worth the price of the book. Yet there is so much more.

In the best tradition of American populists, Pryor threw himself into fray after fray as advocate — often as champion — for the last, the least, and the neglected of our society.

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Race Relations in the Natural State

Race Relations in the Natural State

by Grif Stockley

In this book, noted Arkansas historian Grif Stockley (Blood in Their Eyes, Daisy Bates) presents a clear depiction of the struggles of race and class in Arkansas, using personal stories to give a deeper understanding of the price of racism in Arkansas. The last chapter explores the experiences of Hispanics in the state. Lesson plans developed by the author are available for teachers in the Butler Center's Digital Collections.

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A Pryor Commitment

Ready, Booted, and Spurred:

Arkansas in the U.S. - Mexican War

edited by William A. Frazier and Mark K. Christ

Part military history, part social history, and part history of the westward movement during the major conflict of the 1840s, this anthology of essays bridges the gap between scholarly and popular history. Five contributors have examined the role of the citizen-soldier, the impact of war preparations upon the citizenry, movement of troops and yet-to-be organized volunteers, the war’s effect on Americans’ perception of their nation, and the strain caused by massive territorial acquisition following the war.

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A Rough Introduction to This Sunny Land

"A Rough Introduction to This Sunny Land":

The Civil War Diary of Private Henry A. Strong, Co. K, Twelfth Kansas Infantry

edited by Tom Wing

Strong's diary provides a rare record of the experiences and observations of a Western Federal infantryman. It covers his enlistment in Kansas in 1862, duty in southwest Missouri, march across Indian Territory to Arkansas, camp life in Fort Smith, and the Camden Expedition. He describes Confederate guerrilla operations, the execution of bushwhackers, and aspects of civilian life in Arkansas during the war. Strong pulls no punches as he questions leadership decisions and expresses admiration for former slaves in the Union army and respect for the conviction of Rebel forces. The diary is a testament to the hardships, struggles, and bonds created by the war.

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Ruled By Race

Ruled by Race:

Black/White Relations in Arkansas From Slavery to the Present

by Grif Stockley

Award-winning Butler Center Dee Brown Fellow Grif Stockley has added a benchmark to Arkansas-studies research with this comprehensive and compelling history of black/white race relations in Arkansas.

Published by our distributor, The University of Arkansas Press

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Salty Old Editor

Salty Old Editor:

An Adventure in Ink

by Charlotte Tillar Schexnayder

Charlotte Tillar Schexnayder and her husband, Melvin, owned the Dumas Clarion newspaper, an influential voice in the life and politics of the Arkansas Delta, and Schexnayder later served for fourteen years in the Arkansas House of Representatives. She was a pioneer in helping to open the professions of politics and journalism to women. Salty Old Editor is the story of how Schexnayder overcame the many challenges she faced with abundant humor and grace – and with ink on her fingers.

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Surprised by Death

Surprised by Death:

A Novel of Arkansas in the 1840s

by George Lankford

In Surprised by Death, Lankford evokes the essence of Arkansas in the early years of its statehood through the 1841 murder of Nick Burton, a young boy from a proud family, and the subsequent manhunt in the Batesville area. Blood feuds and vengeful posses blend with larger political and economic concerns emerging from a national financial panic, sparked in part by the failure of the Arkansas State Bank.

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Things Grew Beautifully Worse

Things Grew Beautifully Worse:

Captain John O'Brien, 30th Arkansas Infantry, C.S.A.

edited by Brian K. Robertson

A native of Ireland, O'Brien heeded his adopted state's call and cast his lot with the Confederacy. Shortly after his enlistment, his unit was sent across the Mississippi River to serve in the Army of Tennessee. O'Brien's diary begins only days prior to the battle of Murfreesboro. He provides an honest and detailed description of the battle and his subsequent capture. The confusion of battle, the ordeal of the hospital, and the uncertainty of life as a prisoner of war are all vividly portrayed.

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This Day We Marched Again

"This Day We Marched Again"

A Union Soldier's Account of War in Arkansas and the Trans-Mississippi

Edited by Mark K. Christ

On September 17, 1861, twenty-two-year-old Jacob Haas enlisted in the Sheboygan Tigers, a company of German immigrants that became Company A of the Ninth Wisconsin Infantry Regiment. Haas describes the war from the perspective of a private soldier and an immigrant as he marches through scorching summers and brutally cold winters to fight in some of the most savage combat in the west.

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Unvarnished Arkansas

Unvarnished Arkansas:

The Naked Truth about Nine Famous Arkansans

by Steve Teske

Author Steven Teske rummages through Arkansas's colorful past to find – and "unvarnish" – some of the state's most controversial and fascinating figures. The nine people featured in this collection are not the most celebrated products of Arkansas. More than half of them were not even born in Arkansas, although all of them lived in Arkansas and contributed to its history and culture. But each of them has achieved a certain stature in local folklore, if not in the story of the state as a whole.

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Voices of the Razorbacks

Voices of the Razorbacks:

A History of Arkansas's Iconic Sports Broadcasters

by Hoyt Purvis and Stanley Sharp

The creation and development of the Razorback Sports Network not only helped to build a loyal following for the Razorbacks, but also forged a close identification among Razorback fans with broadcasters such as Paul Eels and Bud Campbell, who became "voices of the Razorbacks." A sense of kinship developed within the audience, and the broadcasts of Razorback sports have become an integral part of the state's culture.

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About Butler Center Books

Butler Center Books is a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System. This publishing program was made possible by a gift from John G. and Dora "DeDe" Ragsdale. Butler Center Books publishes volumes that increase knowledge about and appreciation of the history and culture of Arkansas. The University of Arkansas Press in Fayetteville is the distribution agent for Butler Center Books.

Contact

Rod Lorenzen, Manager
Butler Center Publishing
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Central Arkansas Library System
100 Rock St.
Little Rock, AR 72201
501.320.5716
rlorenzen@cals.org

Submission Guidelines

Butler Center Books, a division of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, publishes books in Arkansas history and regional studies. Submissions are not invited for fiction, textbooks, children's books, poetry, family/community histories, or collections of blog posts and newspaper columns.

Please contact the following acquisitions editor to submit a manuscript:

Rod Lorenzen, Manager
Butler Center Publishing
rlorenzen@cals.org
501.320.5716

Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Central Arkansas Library System
100 Rock St.
Little Rock, AR 72201