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A View From The Banks of the Arkansas River

A&L A View From the Banks of the Arkansas River

On this episode, we return to our conversation with historical geographer Andrew J. Milson, this time about botanist and Arkansas Traveler, Thomas Nuttall, who chronicled his 1818-1820 journey along the Arkansas and Red Rivers.

British-born Nuttall set out to explore the western and southern US frontier in search of new flora and fauna and chronicled his journey through Arkansas in his 1821 publication the "Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory During the Year 1819."

Over forty genera and species are named after him with the descriptive nuttalli. However, what do his writings about the indigenous peoples, hunters, and settlers of this region say about Nuttall himself?

Andrew J. Milson's book "Arkansas Travelers: Geographies of Exploration and Perception, 1804–1834" published by the University of Arkansas Presscontextualizes Nuttall's writings through the geographical landscape and historical account of his travels. Milson's book was awarded the J.G. Ragsdale prize by the Arkansas Historical Association.

Nuttall's 1818 -1820 travels took him through much of the frontier territories.
Cartography by Erin Greb.
Nuttall's 1818 -1820 travels took him through much of the frontier territories.
Professor and author, Andrew J. Milson

"Nuttall did not think that the choice of 'Arkansas' for the name of the town was a good one since the 'name [is] by far too easily confounded with that of the river, while the name Osark, still assumed by the lower villages of the Quapaws, and in memory of whom this place was first so called, would have been perfectly intelligible and original.'"

Andrew J. Milson is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia and B.A. and M.Ed. degrees from the University of North Texas.

He enjoys teaching courses in human geography, historical geography, and regional geography for undergraduate students at UTA. He has been honored numerous times for his dedication to teaching by the UTA College of Liberal Arts and the National Council for Geographic Education.

In 2020, he was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at UTA. His current research focuses on nineteenth-century travelers in the United States and the environmental and cultural perceptions evident in their writings.

Music from this episode was scored by Joseph Fuller, with additional contributions by Michael Fuller, Jessica Fuller, Donna Fuller, and Bobby Fuller, and the native Arkansas duo The Lark and The Loon. A special thank you to actor Brent Cook, for voicing Nuttall.

Thank you to BJ and Jimmy Moses for their support. Thank you to Stickyz Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicken Shack for keeping music alive and well in Arkansas.

Generous funding for Arts & Letters Radio was provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This episode is dedicated to the memory of Donna Fuller.

This episode is dedicated in loving memory of Donna Fuller, mother, friend, and whistler extraordinaire.

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Contact Arts & Letters Radio at artsletters@kuar.org or via phone at 501-916-6400. Our mailing address is: Arts & Letters Radio | KUAR 89.1 | 5820 Asher Avenue, Suite 400 | Little Rock, AR 72204.

Executive Producer and Host: J. Bradley Minnick
Producer & Story Editor: Mary Ellen Kubit
Sound Mastering: Joseph Fuller, Orchestra of One

This episode is a production of Living The Dream Media, Inc.

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