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


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 Backstories

Arkansas Backstories:

Quirks, Characters, and Curiosities of the Natural State, Volume One

by Joe David Rice

Highlights numerous intriguing but lesser-known aspects of America’s twenty-fifth state. The short essays in this handsomely illustrated book (covering topics starting with letters A–L) will offer surprises for even the most dedicated and devoted students of the state. Few readers may be aware of the connections between Arkansas and the Texas fight for independence. Or know that baseball’s spring training routine originally began in Hot Springs. Or that Arkansas is the country’s leading producer of goldfish. These and other captivating topics are what make this an essential addition to every coffee table in the state. The companion to this volume – Arkansas Backstories, Volume Two – covering topics starting with letters M–Z will be published by Butler Center Books in the spring of 2019.

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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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Arkansas in Ark

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.

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Arkansas Women and the Right to Vote

Arkansas Women and the Right to Vote

The Little Rock Campaigns: 1868-1920

by Bernadette Cahill

Women from all over Arkansas – left out of the civil rights granted by the post-Civil War Reconstruction Amendments – took part in a long struggle to gain the primary civil right of American citizens: voting. The state's capital city of Little Rock served as the focal point not only for suffrage work in Arkansas, but also for the state's contribution to the nationwide nonviolent campaign for women's suffrage that reached its climax between 1913 and 1920. Based on original research, Cahill's book relates the history of some of those who contributed to this victorious struggle, reveals long-forgotten photographs, includes a map of the locations of meetings and rallies, and provides a list of Arkansas suffragists who helped ensure that discrimination could no longer exclude women from participation in the political life of the state and nation.

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Arky: The Saga of the USS Arkansas


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.

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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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A Captive Audience

A Captive Audience

Voices of Japanese American Youth in World War II Arkansas

edited by Ali Welky

Using archival primary material such as photographs, yearbooks, artwork, and first-person written accounts, A Captive Audience gives an inside look at the experiences of young people at the Rohwer and Jerome Relocation Centers in Arkansas during the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Many young internees at the camps saw their families lose their homes, businesses, and possessions from their lives on the West Coast when the U.S. government rounded up people of Japanese descent after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Yet through all the chaos and heartbreak of the internment experience, young people often brought a unique perspective of hope and resiliency – going to school, having fun with friends, and even falling in love in these remote Arkansas camps, all within a perimeter of barbed wire and guard towers.

Intended for young-adult readers, this book explores important dimensions of Arkansas and U.S. history, including human rights and what it means to be an American, and gives readers a chance to consider how they would face situations of upheaval and strife.

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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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Competing Memories

Competing Memories:

the Legacy of Arkansas's Civil War

by Mark K. Christ

Between 2011 and 2015, Arkansas commemorated the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War with re-enactments, lectures, placement of historical markers, and a wide variety of other events that were collectively attended by more than 375,000 people. While the sesquicentennial commemoration highlighted the Civil War events that occurred in the state and honored the people who experienced the war in Arkansas, the question of the war's significance to modern Arkansas remained.

Competing Memories: The Legacy of Arkansas's Civil War collects the proceedings of the final seminar sponsored by the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, which sought to define the lasting impact that the nation's deadliest conflict had on the state by bringing together some of the state's leading historians.

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A Confused and Confusing Affair

A Confused and Confusing Affair:

Arkansas and Reconstruction

by Mark K. Christ

The period following the Civil War became one of the most tumultuous and controversial times in Arkansas history. The essays collected in this volume, written by leading historians from around the state, offer valuable insights into the Reconstruction era in Arkansas and explore how its effects resonate today.

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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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The Elaine Massacre and Arkansas

The Elaine Massacre and Arkansas:

A Century of Atrocity and Resistance, 1819–1919

edited by Guy Lancaster

Although it occurred nearly a century ago, the massacre of African American laborers in Elaine in Phillips County, Arkansas, remains the subject of intense inquiry. In this book, leading historians from the region seek to answer a multitude of questions about the event.

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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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Faithful to Our Tasks

Faithful to Our Tasks

Arkansas's Women and the Great War

by Elizabeth Griffin Hill

The United States was a vital, if brief, participant in World War I-spending only eighteen months fighting in "the Great War." But that short span marked an era of tremendous change for women as they moved out of the Victorian nineteenth century and came into their own as social activists during the early years of the twentieth century.

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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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It's Official

It's Official!

The Real Stories behind Arkansas's State Symbols

by David Ware

Since Arkansas's creation as an independent territory in 1819, its legislature has officially designated a wide assortment of symbols. Some of these refer to economic mainstays while others attest to the aspirations of those who saw a bright future for their extensive and varied community. This volume's essays examine each of Arkansas's designated symbols, outlining their genesis, their significance at the time of their adoption, and their place in modern Arkansas. Combining political narratives, natural history, and the occasional "shaggy dog" story, Ware makes a case for considering the symbols as useful keys to understanding both the Arkansas that has been and the one it hopes to be.

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Joseph Carter Corbin

Joseph Carter Corbin

Educator Extraordinaire and Founder of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

by Gladys Turner Finney

Having operated now for more than 140 years, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) was founded in 1875 as Branch Normal College by Joseph Carter Corbin, a native of Ohio and the son of former slaves. Corbin, who had a classical education, was the first African American superintendent of public education in Arkansas and literally built the school from the ground up. There was a desperate need for teachers in Arkansas, as there was a great desire for education by former slaves who had been prohibited from learning to read and write.

Corbin himself cleared the land that would soon house the college and then set about to create a school that would produce the first African American teachers following the Reconstruction years. For almost three decades, he worked tirelessly on behalf of Arkansas's black community to meet the need for educators.

In the early days, Corbin worked both as the president and the janitor so that he could control costs and keep the school going. He often waived matriculation fees and other expenses to allow impoverished students the opportunity to graduate and become qualified to teach throughout Arkansas.

Although he might not have realized it at the time, Corbin was a member of the so-called aristocrats of color, the African American elite of national prominence and a group that included such luminaries as Booker T. Washington. Corbin was a true giant in the history of education in Arkansas. His story, told by a former UAPB student, is monumental for the scope of what one man was able to accomplish.

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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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man of vision

Man of Vision

Arkansas Education and the Legacy of Arch Ford

by Cindy Burnett Beckman

As commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education from 1953 to 1978, Arch Ford served under five governors. His vision was to expand educational opportunities because he believed education was the foundation for improving people's lives. Throughout his career, he campaigned for increased educational funding, better-qualified teachers, and higher teachers' salaries. Ford helped lead the state in peacefully integrating its schools and established twenty-three vocational-technical schools across the state. During Ford's tenure, the Arkansas Children's Colony was established to provide educational services to the developmentally disabled, and the Arkansas Educational Television Network was set up to provide instructional programming across the state.

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Mountain Feds

Mountain Feds:

Arkansas Unionists and the Peace Society

by James J. Johnston

The story of the farmers and hill people in northern Arkansas who opposed secession during the Civil War. In resistance to secession and to fighting for the Confederacy, they formed secret organizations – known commonly as the Arkansas Peace Society – and inaugurated their own leaders. Many Arkansas communities forged home protective units or vigilance committees to protect themselves from slave uprisings and what they saw as federal invasion. Unionist mountaineers did the same, but their home protection organizations were secret because they were seeking protection from their secessionist neighbors and the state’s Confederate government.

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Muzzled Oxen

Muzzled Oxen

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.

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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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Notable Women of Arkansas

Notable Women of Arkansas

by Nancy Hendricks

The one hundred Arkansas women profiled in Notable Women of Arkansas have glittered in the national spotlight. They have blazed trails in athletics, civil rights, literature, politics, science, show business, and the arts. They have been outlaws and outcasts. Some were born in poverty, while others came from unimaginable wealth. They have faced off against the publishing world, political foes, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Meet one Arkansas woman who was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award, and three Grammys. Learn about a female presidential candidate whose initials are not HRC. See beauty queens on the runway and a runaway beauty queen. Meet the trailblazing black actress who, if she had been born thirty years later, might have had a career like Halle Berry's.

They are all Arkansas women, each with their own family, childhood, loves, losses, dreams, fears, hopes for the future, and ghosts from the past. These notable women-profiled together in one volume-have left an impressive legacy.

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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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Remembering Ella

Remembering Ella:

A 1912 Murder and Mystery in the Arkansas Ozarks

by Nita Gould

An account of the brutal murder of a young woman in rural Boone County, Arkansas, and the aftermath. In November 1912, popular and pretty eighteen-year-old Ella Barham was raped, murdered, and dismembered in broad daylight near her home. The brutal crime sent shockwaves through the Ozarks and made national news. Authorities swiftly charged a neighbor, Odus Davidson, with the crime. Locals were determined that he be convicted, and threats of mob violence ran so high that he had to be jailed in another county to ensure his safety. But was there enough evidence to prove his guilt? If so, had he acted alone? What was his motive? This book explores all these questions to reveal the truth behind an event that has been a staple of local folklore for more than a century and still intrigues people around the country.

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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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Southern Fried

Southern Fried:

Going Whole Hog in a State of Wonder

by Rex Nelson

For decades, Rex Nelson has been traveling Arkansas. He learned to love the back roads, small towns, and people of the state while going on trips with his father, who sold athletic supplies to high schools. They sat in old Depression-era gyms built by the Works Progress Administration, ate in small-town cafes, and waded in streams on warm spring days.

In this collection of columns from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Nelson brings to life the personalities, communities, festivals, and tourist attractions that make Arkansas unique. As he says, "Arkansas is a hard place to explain to outsiders. We're mostly Southern but also a bit Midwestern and a tad Southwestern. The Ozarks are different from the pine woods of the Gulf Coastal Plain, and the Delta is different from the Ouachitas. Invariably, though, those who take the time to get off the main roads and get to know the real Arkansas are entranced by the place."

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The High Life and Daring Stunts of a Small-town Girl from Arkansas

by Ann "Annie" Miles

Ann Miles left her home in Malvern, Arkansas, as a teenager and began a series of daring and dangerous stunt jobs. Her book celebrates the pioneering spirit of a woman in 1950s America and tells what it took for Miles to survive on her own in the entertainment business, working as a stunt woman, model, makeup artist, and wig stylist in movies (including filming a terrifying stunt for The Exorcist), in television, and on Broadway.

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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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They'll Do to Tie to

They'll Do to Tie To!

The Story of Hood's Arkansas Toothpicks

by Maj. Calvin L. Collier

They'll Do to Tie To!, originally published in 1959, details the 3rd Arkansas regiment of Confederate soldiers in the Civil War who were known for their long knives, or "Arkansas toothpicks." This regiment fought in notable places such as the "sunken road" at Antietam and Gettysburg. Please note, the author of this book, Maj. Collier, lives out of state and will not be present at the party.

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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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To Can the Kaiser

To Can the Kaiser

Arkansas and the Great War

Edited by Michael D. Polston and Guy Lancaster

To Can the Kaiser is a collection of essays detailing the ways in which World War I connected Arkansas to the world and changed the state and its people. More than seventy thousand Arkansans served as soldiers during the war, and many Arkansas families lost loved ones. Wartime propaganda led to suspicions directed against some Arkansas residents, such as German immigrants, Jehovah's Witnesses, and African Americans. However, Arkansas also benefited from war production, which increased the demand for state resources such as cotton, minerals, and timber.

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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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We Wanna Boogie

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.

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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 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


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

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

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