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Online Encyclopedia of the State to be Published

November 3, 2003. What do diamonds, Brown ‘N Serve Rolls, and “A Boy Named Sue” have in common? These three very dissimilar items have one important commonality – they are part of your history, of Arkansas's history.
  • America's only diamond mine;
  • Meyer's Bakery, a Little Rock-based business which took the Brown ‘N Serve process to a nationwide market;
  • country singer Johnny Cash

All have their roots in Arkansas. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, being developed by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, will bring these and thousands of other Arkansas stories together into one reference work. It will be the first such broad-based resource about Arkansas and its heritage, adding our state to the list of 35 states with such works either published or in the process of development.

The Encyclopedia of Arkansas will be published in 2005 as an online resource, with CD/DVD and print versions to follow later. The mission of the Encyclopedia is to collect and disseminate information on all aspects of the state's history and culture and to provide a comprehensive reference work for historians, teachers, students, and other individuals for the purpose of promoting the study, understanding, and appreciation of Arkansas' heritage.

The Encyclopedia is being developed as a collaborative project that will draw upon the expertise of many groups and individuals with an interest in Arkansas history and culture. As such, it enjoys a wide base of support throughout the state. The Department of Arkansas Heritage, in addition to providing individual leadership and expertise, is providing $200,000 in funding to support the project.

Other organizations and agencies that have pledged their support include the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the Arkansas Department of Education, the Arkansas Humanities Council, Arkansas Historical Association, University of Arkansas Press, the Arkansas Genealogical Society, the Arkansas Archeological Survey, and the Arkansas History Commission, among others.

The Encyclopedia is being produced by a professional staff under the guidance of both an Oversight Board and an Editorial Board whose members have volunteered their services. Former Senator David Pryor and Lieutenant Governor Win Paul Rockefeller serve as honorary co-chairs of the Oversight Board. The administrative officers of the Oversight Board are Ellen Compton, Special Collections Librarian with the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, President; Roger Potts, publisher of the Arkansas Legislative Digest, Vice-President; and William “Bill” Norman, a retired banker from Crossett, Secretary-Treasurer.

Additional information about the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, as well as a few sample entries, are available at Send ideas and feedback about the Project

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