Statesmen, Scoundrels, and Eccentrics


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About this book

From Native Americans, explorers, and early settlers to entertainers, business people, politicians, lawyers, artists, and many others, the well-known and not-so-well-known Arkansans featured in Statesmen, Scoundrels, and Eccentrics have fascinating stories. To name a few, there’s the “Hanging Judge,” Isaac C. Parker of Fort Smith, and Hattie Caraway, the first elected female U.S. senator. Isaac T. Gillam, a slave who became a prominent politician in post–Civil War Little Rock, is included, as is Norman McLeod, an eccentric Hot Springs photographer and owner of the city’s first large tourist trap.


These entertaining short biographies from Dillard’s Remembering Arkansas column will be enjoyed by all kinds of readers, young and old alike. All the original columns reprinted here have also been enhanced with Dillard’s own recommended reading lists. Statesmen will serve as an introduction or reintroduction to the state’s wonderfully complex heritage, full of rhythm and discord, peopled by generations of hardworking men and women who have contributed much to the region and nation.

About the author

Tom Dillard is head of Special Collections at the University of Arkansas Libraries and founding editor-in-chief of the Encylopedia of Arkansas. He has been writing the Remembering Arkansas column for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2002.


Roy Reed is the author of Looking Back at the Arkansas Gazette, Faubus, and Looking for Hogeye, all from the University of Arkansas Press.


“History is more than trends and statistics; it’s people. Tom Dillard understands that history is narrative, and he’s got stories to tell and a cast of characters to present that are more incredible than anybody could make up about the Wonder State. We Arkansans may not always notice our remarkable heritage, but this collection of biographies lets the light shine on our past in a whole new way.”

—Paul Greenberg, Pulitzer Prize winning editorial page editor, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


“Tom Dillard has a keen eye for interesting Arkansans, those on the scene recently and those of times gone by. His felicity of expression makes this collection a great one.”

—Judge William R. Wilson Jr., U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas