News & Events

Butler Center Books Feature Humanitarians and Gangsters

What does a retired gangster who can't quit the crime scene have to do with a civic leader who strives to support the common good? They are both highlighted in the latest publications by Central Arkansas Library System's (CALS) Butler Center Books.

Arkansas Godfather: The Story of Owney Madden and How He Hijacked Middle America is a new, revised edition of a previously published book by Graham Edmund Nown. Arkansas Godfather details the secret life of Owney Madden, a retired mob boss from New York City and former owner of Harlem's Cotton Club, who relocated to Hot Springs, Arkansas. While Madden lived a seemingly quiet life for decades in Hot Springs, he still engaged in illegal activity and hosted other top criminals, such as Frank Costello and Meyer Lansky, who visited the resort town.

In The Company We Keep, Ruth D. Shepherd tells the stories of many civic leaders who have worked to build communities and advance opportunities for the common good. "The book is about mostly ordinary people who, because of their love for others, have been able to do extraordinary things," says Shepherd. One of the leaders featured in The Company We Keep is Dr. Bobby Roberts, director of CALS.

Both books are available at River Market Books and Gifts, the library's used book store, 120 River Market Avenue; from online retailers; and through the distributor, the University of Arkansas Press, at (800) 626-0090. Butler Center Books is a division of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of CALS. The Butler Center's research collections, art galleries, and offices are located in the Arkansas Studies Institute building at 401 President Clinton Ave. on the campus of the CALS Main Library. For more information, contact 918-3086.

About the Butler Center

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System, was created in 1997 through an endowment by the late Richard C. Butler Sr. for the purpose of promoting a greater understanding and appreciation of Arkansas history, literature, art and culture. The Butler Center's research collections and offices are located in the Arkansas Studies Institute in Little Rock at 401 President Clinton Ave., directly adjacent to the Main Library. For more information, contact Kathryn Heller at (501) 320-5717.