Ancestor Fair – 2008 – Speaker Biography

Featured Speaker – 2008 North Arkansas Ancestor Fair

Dr. Michael B. Dougan

Michael B. Dougan
Michael B. Dougan grew up in Neosho, Missouri. He earned his undergraduate degree from Southwest Missouri State College (now Missouri State University), where he majored in History and minored in Philosophy. He began his Arkansas studies under the noted Civil War professor Bell I. Wiley at Emory University, writing his master’s thesis on the Little Rock press during the Civil War. His first publication, “The Little Rock Press Goes to War,” appeared in Arkansas Historical Quarterly in the spring of 1969. His dissertation on Confederate Arkansas came in 1970, the same year he joined the faculty at Arkansas State University, where he remained until 2006.

His first book, Confederate Arkansas; The People and Policies of a Frontier State in Wartime (1976), won the Mrs. Simon Baruch University Award of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. In 1980, he and his wife, Carol, edited By the Cypress Swamp; The Arkansas Stories of Octave Thanet, a book that has prompted a reevaluation of this nineteenth century authoress. Confederate Women of Arkansas in the Civil War (1993) consisted of republishing a rare Arkansas imprint and adding new stories and more material about Arkansas women during the War.

Following the publication of Arkansas Odyssey in 1994, he received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History and was honored in a joint resolution passed by the Arkansas legislature. In 1995 came Arkansas History: An Annotated Bibliography, compiled by Dougan, Tom W. Dillard and Timothy G. Nutt. In 1997, he joined Richard P. Wang in editing Arkansas Politics: A Reader. He returned to journalism history for Community Diaries; Arkansas Newspapering, 1819-2002, in 2003.

Dougan served as president of the Arkansas Historical Association from 1984 to 1986. In 1980 he was the first winner of that group’s Violet B. Gingles Award for his article on bridge and ferry law in Arkansas. In 1987, the Arkansas Women’s History Institute presented him with the first Susie Pryor Award for his article on the Arkansas married woman’s property law. In 2005, he produced a compact disk set of the recordings of Arkansas opera star, Mary Lewis. Other scholarly papers have dealt with medical history, literature, music, law, drainage ditches, and green beans, the latter, along with tomatoes, being a special interest. An article on historic restoration, “The Horseless Carriage House,” written with his wife, appeared in Old-House Journal in 1994, and his articles on Mary Lewis appeared in Opera NewsArkansas TimesThe Arkansas Historical Quarterly, and The Record Collector. Part of his recent fame is due to a Google entry entitled “Puke Buzzard.” In 2006, the Arkansas Historical Association presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Dougan and his wife Carol reside in the J. V. Bell House in Jonesboro, a property listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A photograph and brief description of it appeared in America’s Painted Ladies (1994). Besides his scholarly awards and publications, Dougan has coached and played slow-pitch softball for more than 25 years and is noted for his singular lack of speed in area 5K races. He is adored by his cats.

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