Butler Center Books
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.
"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.
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.
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.
Arkansas in Ink
Gunslingers, Ghosts, and Other Graphic Tales
edited by Guy Lancaster
illustrated by Ron Wolfe
In 1837, state Representative Joseph J. Anthony stabs the Speaker of the House to death during a debate about wolf pelts. In 1899, the Hot Springs Police Department and the local county sheriff’s department shoot it out to determine who should control the city’s illegal gambling enterprise. In 1937, a plantation owner claims to see a huge monster, about three cars long, swimming in the White River.
Legendary cartoonist Ron Wolfe brings these and many other stories to life in Arkansas in Ink: Gunslingers, Ghosts, and Other Graphic Tales. Accompanied by selections from The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, Wolfe’s cartoons highlight the oddities and absurdities of our state’s history. Seriously—you couldn’t make up this stuff.
The Saga of the USS Arkansas
by Ray Hanley and Steven Hanley
The intriguing history of the USS Arkansas and its rightful place in modern history is told in a new book: Arky: The Saga of the USS Arkansas by Ray Hanley and Steven Hanley, just released from Butler Center Books.
The USS Arkansas, measuring almost the length of two football fields, went to sea in 1911 and sailed the world until 1947, when it served as a target for the atomic bomb tests in the South Pacific. In between, the ship participated in the invasion of Vera Cruz, Mexico; served in World War I; helped Arkansas get an official flag; and assisted in the World War II battles at Normandy, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.
Highlighting the narrative with previously unpublished photos, the authors tell the fascinating story of the ship and its men by referencing journals that were written in the midst of service and combat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reaping Cotton and Sowing Hope in 1920s Arkansas
by Genevieve Grant Sadler
Early in the 1920s, Genevieve Sadler left her home in California for what she thought would be a short visit to the Arkansas farm where her husband grew up. The trip lasted seven years and Sadler’s life was changed indelibly in the time she spent among the cotton farms near Dardanelle in Yell County, Arkansas during the Great Depression.
Sadler, an accomplished and educated woman, felt out of place in the remote confines of this Arkansas hamlet. While she dutifully stayed busy keeping house and raising two boys, she also found time to write long and detailed letters back to her mother in California. When she finally returned home, her mother gave her the letters, which she later used as the basis for this engaging memoir with its rich portrait of a small town and its inhabitants, many of whom were poor cotton farmers working on shares.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
We Wanna Boogie
The Rockabilly Roots of Sonny Burgess and the Pacers
by Marvin Schwartz
Sonny Burgess is a rock and roll pioneer and his home town is Newport, Arkansas. A member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, Burgess and his band tell of their original recordings for Sun Records in the 1950s, their shows with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and others, and their success in the contemporary rockabilly revival in the US and overseas. Burgess’ insight and wit speak to the challenges posed by the capricious music industry over a six-decade career as a performing artist.
About Butler Center Books
Butler Center Books is a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System. This nonprofit publishing program was made possible by a gift from John G. and Dora "DeDe" Ragsdale. Book purchases and direct donations help ensure that we will continue to publish unique and scholarly books on all aspects of Arkansas history. Books published by the Butler Center are available at River Market Books & Gifts on the Main Library campus in Little Rock and other local bookstores, from online retailers, and from the University of Arkansas Press (via University of Chicago Press) at (800) 621-2736 or http://www.uapress.com/productcat/butler-center/.
Rod Lorenzen, Manager
Butler Center Publishing
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Central Arkansas Library System
100 Rock St.
Little Rock, AR 72201
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
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Central Arkansas Library System
100 Rock St.
Little Rock, AR 72201