Ozarks Studies

Images are linked to the buy pages at our Moon City Press catalog, distributed through the University of Arkansas Press.

Confederate Girlhoods: A Women’s History of Early Springfield, Missouri (2010), $24.95

Confederate Girlhoods . . . is a treasure of historical significance, weaving the oft-told stories of America’s Civil War and its aftermath into a new pattern: as seen through the eyes of girls and women who lived through it. . . . I’m delighted that this record of local women’s voices has been preserved . . . and collected in this remarkable and important book.”
—From the Foreword by Roseann Bentley, Associate Commissioner District 2, Greene County, Missouri
Confederate Girlhoods gathers materials from the Campbell-McCammon Collection, as preserved in The History Museum for Springfield-Greene County. One of Springfield, Missouri’s founding families, the Campbells were prodigious writers whose memoirs, correspondence, and fiction portray four generations of pioneer women. Focusing on writings from 1853 to 1902, Confederate Girlhoods presents these women’s views of Native Americans and early settling; of slavery and southern patriotism; of war and its social, political, economic aftermath; of the railroad and Westward migration; of an Ozarks community’s early efforts at conservation and civic commemoration.

Daring to Excel: The First 100 Years of Southwest Missouri State University (2004), $29.95

More than a centennial celebration of Missouri’s second-largest public university, Daring to Excel charts the history of Missouri State University through a tumultuous century of wars and peace, economic booms and busts, and the many cultural, political, technological, and media revolutions that have impacted the Ozarks, Missouri, and the nation as a whole. Some of the book’s subjects belong to the university uniquely: its stories of influential teachers and alumni, its triumphs and challenges in pedagogy, varsity sports, public entertainments, and in community relations generally.
 In the research and writing of so expansive a history, Landon has relied on numerous essayist-contributors, including Robert H. Bradley, Robert Flanders, Albert R. Gordon, John H. Keiser, Arthur Mallory, Andrea Mostyn, Jon Moran, Don Payton, Mark Stillwell, Tina Stillwell, and Tom Strong.

Living Ozarks: The Ecology and Culture of a Natural Place (2004), On Sale For $29.96

A New Publication from the Ozarks Studies Institute, Missouri State University.
Lavishly illustrated, Living Ozarks: The Ecology and Culture of a Natural Place brings together essays, journal articles, book excerpts, and art/photo albums, all themed around the region’s heritage of nature and culture intertwined. Featured among the artwork are botanical drawings of S. Fred Prince, arguably the Ozarks’ first scientific illustrator; the “outsider art” of S. W. Mannon, one of the last “Shepherd of the Hills” pioneers (whose cabin is now an attraction at Silver Dollar City theme park); and internationally renowned photographer Jacek Fraczak. Readers familiar with the Ozarks’ tradition of nature writing will recognize many of the names anthologized, including Leonard Hall, Milton Rafferty, Robert Flanders, Werner O. Nagel, Robert K. Gilmore, and Dan Saults. Section topics include Defining the Ozarks, Eras of the Ozarks, Sustainability in the Ozarks, The Ozarks as Wilderness, and Experiencing the Ozarks.
As our national dialogue turns with increasing urgency toward issues of ecology and sustainable practices in business, land- and water-use, and lifestyle, an anthology like Living Ozarks offers important historical-cultural contexts. As MSU President Cliff Smart writes in his foreword, “the historical texts and images show where we have come from; the contemporary texts and images give suggestions as to where we’ve arrived and how we might move forward—our collective task being to ensure that the Ozarks remains a place of health, beauty, richness, and wonder for future generations.”

robert e smith: Paintings, Drawings, Poems, and Stories (2011), $19.95

“Folk art can help you to lead a halfway decent life,” Robert E. Smith (1927-2010) was heard to say; but Springfield, Missouri’s most famous, eccentric, and beloved painter pushed his work into the realm of outsider art. Self-taught, Smith began painting while a young man: forcibly institutionalized following a nervous breakdown, he retreated into his art. Unsurprisingly, his art brut is unbounded by logic, time, and space, brilliantly colored, at once childlike and troubling.
But Smith’s art reveals more than an imagination unfettered. The work of an inveterate story-teller, his paintings present witty, savvy, complex visual narratives. Cartoon animals mingle with sidewalk preachers, movie stars, and U.S. Presidents; in busy street scenes, bicycles and trolley cars bustle below while blimps and airplanes and UFOs—and an occasional nuclear bomb—fly overhead. Smith’s painting revels in satire, revealing an eye for incongruity and an inherent love of life. Even a cursory view of his work reflects a man who led a rich, wondrous life and whose fanciful yearnings inspired the community that cherished him.
 Born in St. Louis, Smith moved to Springfield in 1975. Drawn mainly from local, privately-owned collections, the present anthology features thirty full-color illustrations along with cartoons, poems, and stories by the artist.

Springfield’s Urban Histories: Essays on the Queen City of the Missouri Ozarks (2012), $24.95

The eleven essays included in this volume offer the most authoritative account yet published of the distinctively urban history of Springfield, Missouri—the largest city in the Ozarks. Essays on early history include “Quinine and Courage: The Battle of Springfield, January 8, 1863,” by William Garrett Piston and John C. Rutherford. Post-Civil War histories include “Retail Rivals: Springfield’s Commercial Street versus the Public Square, 1870–1945,” by Angela Wingo Miller, and “Memories of Walter Majors: Searching for African American History in Springfield,” by Richard L. Schur. Post–World War II histories include “From Zenith to Nadir: The Story of Springfield’s Largest Manufacturing Plant,” by Tim Knapp, and “The Demise of O’Reilly Hospital and the Beginning of Evangel College, 1946–1955,” by Lawrence J. Nelson. The volume concludes with Holly A. Baggett’s “Creation of a Community: A History of Gay and Lesbian Springfield, 1945–2010.”
 Contributors: Holly A. Baggett, Tom Dicke, Tim Knapp, Stephen L. McIntyre, Edgar D. McKinney, Angela Wingo Miller, F. Thornton Miller, Lawrence J. Nelson, William Garrett Piston, John C. Rutherford, Richard L. Schur, and Erin M. Smither.

The Gillioz “Theatre Beautiful”: Celebrating Springfield’s Theatre History, 1926-2006 (2006), $22.95

Recounting the many live vaudeville acts and films that graced the theatre’s stage and screen, The Gillioz “Theatre Beautiful” presents a social history of entertainment through the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War, the Sixties and the Seventies. Of note is the Springfield theatre’s hosting of three movie world premieres—with future U. S. president Ronald Reagan appearing in each.